EXAM 1 – Study Guide
1. Explain five ways by which information about the world may be obtained. Which one
does the scientific method rely on?
1) METHODS OF TENACITY: long held beliefs (resistance to challenge them) -Eg: belief that Earth was flat
- Does not mean some are not correct (but no way of knowing)
2) METHOD OF AUTHORITY: rely on experts
-Eg: belief that Earth was at center of universe (by Church), Galileo challenged it (was ostracized)
3) REASON: logic and rationality
- May make sense but may not be true (flawed sense of logic)
4) PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
-Eg: conclude heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones based on your observations
5) EMPIRICISM: based on our senses (I believe what I can SENSE) -Beware of confirmation bias If you want to learn more check out montserrat geier
2. What are the basic characteristics of the scientific method that distinguish it from other
ways of knowing?
The scientific method is:
-EMPIRICAL: based on information obtained through our senses/devices and systematic observation
. What we are studying must be empirically available (eg: can’t study ghosts) . Self- correcting: importance of replication, since I may be mistaken in my observations
-ANALYTIC: breakdown complex phenomena into its constituent parts .Eg: in chemistry, breaking down complex molecules to see elements in it . Some complex concepts (eg: motivation) require THEORETICAL analysis since they can’t be broken down
If you want to learn more check out promenades of euclid
. SYNTHESIS = proof that analysis is correct by putting elements back together in complex unity
(hard to do in theoretical situations)
3. Explain three basic procedures used in scientific inquiry. Which one(s) permit(s) causal inferences to be made?
1) DESCRIPTION: based on observation (describe what I’m interested in learning and the facts involved in the behavior I’m observing)
2) PREDICTION: based on established relationships and involves correlation - Use data from sets of observations (can we know something by knowing something else?)
3) EXPLANATION: establishes conditions under which phenomenon occurs - Based on experimentation manipulate variables thought to underlie phenomena
. INDEPENDENT VARIABLE= manipulated
. DEPENDENT VARIABLE= measured (effect)
- Permits to infer CAUSALITY, which requires:
. Covariation = as x changes, y changes
. Temporal order: change in x precedes the change in y
. Other factors have to be ruled out (controlled) If you want to learn more check out chespon
4. Explain the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. . INDUCTIVE= explain phenomena (data) by formulating a theoryDATATHEORY . DEDUCTIVE= collect data to see whether it’s consistent with theory THEORYDATA
5. What are the major functions of a theory?
.Organize data (eg: the periodic table)
6. Why can’t a theory be considered “proven” when it is supported by experimental data?
Confirmation does not prove a theory is correct, since only disconfirmation (falsifiablity) is useful. This disproves your theory and can be objectively ruled out.
7. Explain three criteria for evaluating theories.
1) PARSIMONY: can explain many occurrences with few statements (proved simplest possible explanation for a phenomena) If you want to learn more check out clutch fiu
2) PRECISION: the more precise, the better (best if quantitative) 3) TESTABILITY: if you can’t test it, it can’t be falsified (eg: Freud’s ego and superego)
8. Explain the concept of “strong inference” in comparing different theories.
The concept of strong inference involves comparing different theories by putting one against the other. The theory that did not predict the resulting outcomes is rejected, but that does not mean that the one that did is correct, only that data is consistent with it.
- Problem: blind men/elephant analogy (restrictive data leads to partially accurate guesses)
- Science proceeds by this process: DATA THEORY NEW DATA NEW THEORY ETC.
9. What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory? A theory is a set of statements that explain a variety of occurrences, which organizes data and generates predictions. Those predictions are the hypotheses, which are suggested explanations of observable phenomena and the possible correlations among multiple phenomena.
10. What are the major threats to validity in (a) naturalistic observations (b) case studies
and (c) surveys? How can they be minimized?
(a) NATURALISTIC OBSERVATIONS
- Reactivity (reaction of subjects)
- Observer Bias
. Minimized by:
- Using unobtrusive observations/measures
- Habituating subjects to presence of observer
- Using deception as to what is really being measure We also discuss several other topics like determining formal charge
- Observer bias: using well-developed coding system and operational definitions, using rigorous
observer training, assessing inter-rater reliability, keeping observers “blind” to experimenter’s hypothesis
(b) CASE STUDIES
- Forgetting (patient may forget details critical to investigation) We also discuss several other topics like texas russian class
- Repression (some facts may be too painful and repressedincomplete information)
- Observer Bias
. Minimized by:
- Getting corroborative evidence
- Response style: habitual ways of responding
1) Response acquiescence (yea saying)
2) Response deviation (nay saying)
- Social Desirability: people answer questions in a way that’s socially acceptable
- Sampling issues: inadequate/non representative sample, volunteer problems (limit generality),
don’t know anything about non-responders
. Minimized by:
- Social Desirability: use forced choice between equally desirable/undesirable alternatives
(eg: instead of asking, do you use illegal drugs?, ask, which of these drugs do you prefer?)
11. What is the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r)? What would a
scatter plot look like for r = +1? r = -1? r = 0? What kind of relationship do each of these
. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r) = measures the direction and strength of linear
relation between 2 variables
. Scatter plots:
- r=+1 perfect positive linear relationship (as one increases, the other too) - r=-1 perfect negative linear relationship (as on increases, the other decreases)
- r=0 no linear relationship
12. Why doesn’t a strong correlation imply causation? Why doesn’t a ‘0’ correlation
necessarily imply a lack of relationship between two measures? Correlation does not imply causation given that they may be a third variable that is actually causing the effects. But a ‘0’ correlation does not imply no relationship either since: may have truncated (limited) data range, or relationship may not be linear (eg: relationship between age and memory bell curve)
13. Explain the multiple meanings of “control” as it applies to experiments.
1) A control condition (for comparison)
2) The treatment is produced/manipulated by experimenter
3) All other aspects of the experimental setting are held constant
14. Define independent variable, dependent variable and control variable. - INDEPENDENT= variable that is manipulated
- DEPENDENT= variable that is measured
- CONTROL= variables held constant by experimenter (potential independent variables, as they could
affect the dependent variables)
15. How do retrospective studies differ from true experiments? They may not be comparable due to lack of random assignment to groups and, thus, may present confounding.
16. Critique the following statement: When there are no significant differences between
the experimental and control groups, we can safely conclude that the independent
variable does not have an effect.
This is not true since null effects are difficult to interpret.
. Possible interpretations other than the independent variable having no effect: - Independent variable was not adequately manipulated (eg: dosage too low to see results)
- Problem with the dependent variable (eg: “floor”/“ceiling” effects a balance that only goes
up to 300 lbs. may be unable to reflect weight loss)
- Insufficient control of extraneous (control) variables
17. What is an interaction?
When effects produced by one independent variable are NOT the same across levels of a second independent variable.
- Proves effect you saw is only possible under those certain circumstances - Reflect complexity of real world (influence of context)
- Eg: to what extent are bystanders willing to help someone w/medical emergency
. Effect of one independent variable (birthmark) depends on level of other
independent variable (presence of medical professional)
18. Who is responsible for overseeing that research at universities involving human
subjects is conducted ethically? What are the major criteria for defining a research
project as “ethical”?
The IRB (Institutional Review Board) must oversee that research at universities involving human subjects is conducted ethically. The major criteria are: - Informed consent
- Ethical deception (if absolutely necessary, and must debrief at conclusion of experiment)
- Risk/Benefit ratio (minimize harm and maximize benefits)
19. What is the rationale for the claim that animals have rights and should not be used as
subjects in research projects? What is the counter-argument put forth by Cohen (1986)
regarding animal rights?
. The rational is that animals are equal to humans and, thus, have rights. Species ism is like racism.
. Counterargument: Cohen questions the idea that animals have rights by saying that rights imply having a moral sense, which animals lack.
20. Explain two advantages of using animals as research subjects. 1) ETHICS: some procedures are unethical to do on humans (eg: brain tissue destruction)
2) EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL (over extraneous variables)
21. Who is responsible for overseeing that research at universities using animal subjects
is conducted ethically? Who sets the standards governing the proper use and care of
The IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) is responsible. The standards are set by:
- APA Guidelines: focused more on behavioral research
- NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: provides funding (guidelines apply
only for those funded)
- U.S Department of Agriculture Regulations: oversees animals in general, not just for research