Question: The article Doctor Dogs Diagnose Cancer by Sniffing It Out
The article “Doctor Dogs Diagnose Cancer by Sniffing It Out” (Knight Ridder Newspapers, January 9, 2006) reports the results of an experiment described in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies. In this experiment, dogs were trained to distinguish between people with breast and lung cancer and people without cancer by sniffing exhaled breath. Dogs were trained to lay down if they detected cancer in a breath sample. After training, dogs’ ability to detect cancer was tested using breath samples from people whose breath had not been used in training the dogs. The paper states “The researchers blinded both the dog handlers and the experimental observers to the identity of the breath samples.” Explain why this blinding is an important aspect of the design of this experiment.
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