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AU / Psychology / PSYC 2010 / What is the direction of correlation?

What is the direction of correlation?

What is the direction of correlation?


School: Auburn University
Department: Psychology
Professor: Seth gitter
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 25
Name: PSYC 2010-007 Chapter 2
Description: Notes
Uploaded: 01/28/2017
4 Pages 35 Views 2 Unlocks

Psychology Notes- Chapter 2  

What is the direction of correlation?


Bad science is harmful 

- The Mozart effect

- one small study, failed to replicate

- MMR vaccine/ Autism scandal

- falsified data

- facilitated communication: autistic individuals would communicate using a keyword with the  help of a facilitator


- well supported evidence

- allows us to confirm claims

- understanding how to interpret evidence will make you a better consumer of information - ex: therapeutic touch


1) Describe- what a phenomenon is, no testing- just observing

2) Predict- when will it occur  

What is the example of scientific thinking?

3) Control- how it occurs (causes)  

4) Explain- why it occurs

ex: studying addiction- one can answer all of these questions

How psychologists ask and answer questions: The scientific method - The cyclical process of testing our ideas about the world by:

1) turning theories into testable predictions

2) gathering info related to our predictions (research)

3) analyzing whether the data supports or refutes our theory

* test them again= REPLICATION

THEORIES We also discuss several other topics like What are the parts of a sheet of the film?

- explanation for how a phenomenon works Don't forget about the age old question of What is the function of transmembrane proteins?
Don't forget about the age old question of Darwin's theory stemmed from?

- e.g.: therapeutic touch helps people by detecting and altering energy fields - a good theory:

- falsifiable

What is the mozart effect?

- makes clear and simple predictions

- generates a variety of testable hypothesis


- Piaget’s theory of cognitive development (good theory)

- Freud’s dream theory (bad theory- cant be tested)


Hypothesis: testable prediction related to a theory

- e.g.: if therapeutic touch is real, then practitioners should be able to detect the presence of a  person’s hand at a rate better than chance

step 1) form a hypothesis: “using a cellphone while driving will cause more accidents”

step 2) conduct a literature review: has someone already done your experiment? can it be  tweaked?

step 3) design a study: select the most appropriate research method

step 4) conduct the study: recruit participants and measure their responses step 5) analyze the data: does the data support or refute the hypothesis step 6) report the results: share findings with the scientific community

Research Process: example 

theory: sleep boss memory —> hypothesis: when sleep deprived, people remember less —>  research and observations: make someone study information and tell them how much sleep  to get, observe findings and repeat Don't forget about the age old question of How do new species form?
Don't forget about the age old question of What is the irreconcilable contradiction?


- all research involves variables

Variable: something in the world that can vary

- something that is measurable- ex: age, memory, temperature Don't forget about the age old question of What is a sports pyramid?

- sometimes manipulated- ex: caffeine level, drug dose, temperature

- some variables are easily measured- ex: blood pressure, heart rate, body temp, weight, age,  etc

- psychological variables aren't as easy- ex: intelligence, anxiety, love, aggression, guilt, frus tration, etc

- need to be able to measure in order to do research!

- example: hypothesis- students enjoy class more if they have a friendly professor  - how to measure “enjoyment”= count number of smiles  

- test- record how often students smile (there is variation in what is considered a smile)

Variables must be defined 

operational definition: precise definition of a variable that allows it to be described and mea sured

- consistency and objectivity in:

- measurement

- replication

- examples:  

- memory= items recalled

- attention= eye fixation greater than 3 seconds

How could you operationally define:

- intelligence? - IQ test

- Anxiety? - sweaty palms, heart rate

- sleep? - brain waves



- observing behavior in order to describe it

- variables are observed and measured

- but not manipulated

- ex: do males or females text and drive more?

A) Case studies: in depth examination of one individual  

- unusual circumstances  

- advantage: can be a source of rich info on what can happen

- disadvantage: low generalizability

B) Observational studies: watch and record subject’s behavior in an environment - participant (experimenter participates)

- naturalistic (no interference- ex: go to a classroom, Jane Goodall)

- laboratory (bring people into lab)


- more realistic

- more generalizable


- reactivity: subjects’ behavior changes when being watched

- observer bias: experimenter’s observations are biased

- experimenter expectancy effect: observer’s expectations affects subjects (they treat sub jects differently)

- solution: “blind” experimenters

C) self- report: surveys, interviews, questionnaires to assess self-reported attitudes/ behaviors advantages: easy to get large amounts of data

disadvantages: people are unreliable, inconsistent, and biased (“socially desirable responding”)


- how closely 2 variables are related

- describe relationship between 2 variables

- ex: is there a correlation between attendance and exam scores?

 - predict relationships

- ex: if so, higher attendance should predict higher exam scores  

- different ways in which variables are related

Direction of correlation 

- positive correlation: variables move in the same direction

- as one increases, the other increases

- as one decreases, the other decreases

- negative correlation: variables move in the opposite direction

- as one increases, the other decreases

- as one decreases, the other increases

- no relationship

- ex: height and GPA- not related at all, cant predict

Third variable problem 

ex: there is a positive correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks - A and B may be correlated, but one does not cause the other

- another variable (C) causes both- in this case, C= temperature

- correlation does not equal causation

ex: a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado showed that regular church  attendance was correlated with longer lifespans

- lifestyle (less likely to smoke, drink, and engage in other activities that can result in premature  death)

More problems with correlations 

directionality problem: we don't know which one causes the other

ex: sleep and stress are negatively correlated

- stress leads to trouble sleeping? or trouble sleeping leads to stress?


- variables are manipulated to measure resulting effects on behavior

- independent variable: factors we are manipulating

- caffeine levels, lighting, drug dose

- dependent variable: behavior we are measuring

- memory, speed, mood

- all other variables are held constant

- does the IV cause a change in the DV?

ex: texting and driving

correlational study: survey found a positive correlation between those who reported texting and  driving and number of accidents they have been in

- how can we design an experiment?

- IV: texting

- DV: driving accuracy


1) recruit participants (how can we ensure the results will generalize)

- random sampling: sample chosen at random from population

- most researchers use a convenience sample

2) subjects are placed into groups, and the IV is manipulated between groups experimental group= texting

control group= no texting

- if experimental group differs from control, we conclude that the IV caused the difference Placebo effect: expectations or biases of participants can influence their behavior - how to prevent?

- participants should be blind to conditions

- in studies in which IV is a treatment/drug, control group os given a placebo ex: does oxygenation from plants in the office improve worker’s productivity? - experimental group: IV- plants in office

- control group: no plants


confound: other factors that may unintentionally vary between groups, causing differences be tween them

- e.g.- differences in cars, weather conditions, age

- the IV should be the only difference between groups, and everything else should be held  constant

How to control for possible participant difference confounds?

random assignment of participants to the groups

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