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EMORY UNIVERSITY / Psychology / PSY 110 / What is the value of skepticism?

What is the value of skepticism?

What is the value of skepticism?


School: Emory University
Department: Psychology
Course: Introductory Psychology
Professor: Andrew kazama
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Psychology, psych, and PSYCH110
Cost: 25
Name: Psych 110 Chapter 2 Notes
Description: These are notes from chapter 2 of the textbook, which corresponds to week 2 of the lecture.
Uploaded: 09/11/2017
3 Pages 45 Views 5 Unlocks

∙ Facts, Theories, and Hypotheses

What is the value of skepticism?

o Fact: an objective statement, usually based on direct  observation, that reasonable observers agree to be true o Theory: idea that is designed to explain existing facts and make  predictions about new facts

o Hypotheses: any prediction about new facts that is made from a  theory  

∙ Lessons

o Value of skepticism

 Parsimony: simplest explanation is probably the best one  o Value of careful observations under controlled conditions o Problem of observer-expectancy effects  

 Observer can unintentionally communicate with subjects ∙ Types of Research Strategies

o Research designs:  

 Experiments

∙ A procedure in which a researcher systematically  

What is the meaning of parsimony?

manipulates one/more independent variables and  

looks for changes in dependent variable

o Independent variable: the variable that is  

hypothesized to cause some effect on another  


o Dependent variable: the variable hypothesized  We also discuss several other topics like What are crops?

to be affected

∙ Used to prove causation

∙ Within-subject: each subject is tested in each of the  

different conditions of the independent variable

∙ Between-group: there’s a separate group of subjects  for each different condition of the independent  


o Random assignment: used in between-group  

experiments to prevent bias

What are the different types of research strategies?

 Correlational Studies

∙ Researcher doesn’t manipulate any variables, but  

observes or measures two/more variables to find  


o Correlation is not causation

∙ Descriptive Studies

o Describes behavior, not relationships

o Research Settings

 Lab study

∙ Experimenter has control

∙ Sacrifices natural behavior

 Field Study

∙ In subject’s natural environmental  

∙ Researcher has less control

o Data Collection Methods

 Self-report

∙ Can be questionnaire or interview

∙ Introspection: personal observations of one’s  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the linnaeus system for the classification of organisms and how to correctly “format” scientific genus and species names?

thoughts and feelings

 Observational methods: all procedures by which  

researchers observe and record behavior  

∙ Tests

∙ Naturalistic observation  

o Avoids interfering with subject behavior

o Hawthorne Effect: people may behave  

differently if they know they’re being watched

o Habituation: subjects getting used to  

researcher’s presence

∙ Statistical Methods in Psychology

o Descriptive statistics

 Used to summarize sets of data

 Mean, median

 Variability and standard deviation

 Correlation coefficient: -1 to 1, tells how closely two things  are correlated)

∙ Close to 0 means less correlation

o Inferential statistics

 Statistical significance  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the content of charles darwin’s themes of evolution?

∙ P: level of significance; probability that a result as or  more extreme could take place by chance if there’s  

truly no difference from null

∙ If p < .05, result is statistically significant  

∙ Test Components:

o Size of observed effect (larger differences from  

mean/etc. are more likely to be significant)

o Number of individual subjects/observations:  

larger samples are less distorted

o Group variability: less variability usually means  

a more significant result

∙ Minimizing Bias in Research

o Bias: nonrandom effects caused by some extraneous factor  Not correctable by averaging

o Avoiding biased samples Don't forget about the age old question of What refers to the capacity to do work?

 Biased sample: when two groups are systematically  

different from each other or population

 Use random sampling and assignment

o Reliability and validity of measures

 Reliability: yielding similar results each time it’s used under x conditions (replicable)

∙ Interobserver reliability: same behavior seen by one  

observer is also seen by another  

∙ Operational definition

 Validity: measures/predicts what it’s intended to  


∙ Face validity: when we know with common sense the  measurement assesses intended characteristic

∙ Criterion validity: correlate with a more direct index  

of measured characteristic

 Avoiding expectancy bias

∙ Observer expectancy bias: if they know that they  

want to/is supposed to happen, they might “see”  

those results or act in a way to make them happen.

o Keep observer “blind” about aspects of study  If you want to learn more check out What is a coherent set of values and beliefs about public policy?
Don't forget about the age old question of Why do consumers prefer higher indifference curves?

design that could lead to bias

∙ Subject expectancy

o Double blind

o Use placebo

∙ Ethical Issues

o Research with humans considers…

 Person’s right to privacy

 Possibility of discomfort or harm

 Use of deception

o Research with animals

 Some things can be done ethically with animals that can’t  be done with humans (control)

 Obligation not to subject animals to unnecessary pain

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