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Second Week of PSY 2012

by: Lindsay Everest

Second Week of PSY 2012 Psy 2012

Marketplace > University of South Florida > Psychlogy > Psy 2012 > Second Week of PSY 2012
Lindsay Everest
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover the material from the second chapter and the accompanying two lectures that concern research methods in the field of psychology.
Introduction to Psychology
Jennifer Bosson
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Everest on Sunday December 27, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Psy 2012 at University of South Florida taught by Jennifer Bosson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Psychology in Psychlogy at University of South Florida.


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Date Created: 12/27/15
PSY 2012 Bosson Introduction to Psychology Chapter Two Notes “Methods in Psychology” Start at the time 2:03 The video goes a little more in-depth on the scientific method than necessary but still provides a good overview that will help explain everything. Section One: Empiricism I. EMPIRICISM: the belief that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation (in contrast to dogmatism – the tendency for people to cling to their assumptions) II. SCIENTIFIC METHOD: a procedure for finding truth by using empirical evidence A. Empiricism is at the heart of the scientific method, which suggests that our theories about the world give rise to falsifiable hypotheses, and that we can thus make observations that test those hypotheses. The results of these tests can disprove our theories but cannot prove them. B. After observing a phenomenon, a scientist should develop a HYPOTHESIS: specific, prediction about what we should observe stated so it can be refuted or supported. C. The hypothesis should be in tune with certain THEORIES: organized sets of principles that describe, predict, and explain a natural phenomenon. The Rule of Parsimony states that one should begin with the simplest theory possible, only adding complexity when necessary. III. EMPIRICAL METHOD: set of rules and techniques for observation in the hopes of discovering relationships, particularly causal relationships, between variables IV. What makes humans so difficult to study? A. Complexity: 500 million interconnected neurons constitute the brain and give rise to thoughts, feeling, and actions B. Variability: no two individuals ever do, say, think, or feel exactly the same thing under exactly the same circumstances, which means that when you’ve seen one, you’ve most definitely not seen them all C. Reactivity: people often think, feel, and act one way when they are being observed and a different way when they are not V. To meet these challenges of studying human behavior, psychologists have developed two kinds of methods: methods of observation, which allow them to determine what people do, and methods of explanation, which allow them to determine why people do what they do. Section Two: Methods of Observation (Measurement and Description) I. Measurement requires we define the property (generate an operational definition that has validity) we wish to measure and then find a way to detect the property (design an instrument that has reliability and power). A. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION: a description of a property in concrete, measureable terms (as opposed to a CONSTRUCT LEVEL DEFINITION which merely describes the variable) B. INSTRUMENT: anything that can detect the condition to which an operational definition refers C. What are the properties of a good operational definition and a good instrument? 1. Validity: the goodness with which a concrete event defines a property (e.g., howl well the frequency of smiling defines happiness) 2. Reliability: the tendency for an instrument to produce the same measurement whenever it is used to measure the same thing 3. Power: an instrument’s ability to detect small magnitudes of the property D. Common Types of Measures 1. Self-Response: people describe their own thoughts and behaviors 2. Behavioral: people emit behaviors which one observed and recorded 3. Physiological: record biological processes E. DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS: those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they think someone else wants or expects F. In order to avoid demand characteristics, psychologists use NATURALISTIC OBSERVATION: a technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environments. This is in contrast to other methods like laboratory research (in controlled environment with knowledge of observation), survey study (via self-report), and case studies (intensive examination of a single person/group). G. Observer bias occurs because expectations can influence observations (easy to make errors) and expectations can influence reality (may unknowingly do things to influence outcomes). One way to avoid this is the DOUBLE-BLIND observation: an observation whose true purpose is hidden from both the observer and the person being observed II. Description A. Graphic Representations of Measurements 1. FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTION: a graphic representation of measurements arranged by the number of times each measurement was made 2. NORMAL DISTRIBUTION: common shape (see below) of a frequency distribution in which the frequency of measurements is highest in the middle and decreases symmetrically in both directions B. Summary Statements 1. Descriptions of central tendency are statements about the value of the measurements that tend to lie near the center or midpoint of the frequency distribution. Three common descriptors are: mode, mean, and median. 2. Descriptors of variability are statements about the extent to which the measurements differ from each other. Descriptors include range and STANDARD DEVIATION: a statistic that describes the average difference between the measurements in a frequency distribution and the mean of that distribution. Section Three: Methods of Explanation I. Although the goal is to find causal relationships, sometimes you have to do correlational studies because you cannot manipulate all variables (e.g., political orientation in voting behavior). If you have a strong correlation, however, you can make a prediction. II. CORRELATION: occurs when variations in the value of one variable are synchronized with variations in the value of the other A. Direction is easy to measure because the direction of a correlation is either positive or negative. A positive correlation exists when two variables have a “more-is-more” or “less-is-less” relationship. A negative correlation exists when two variables have a “more-is-less” or “less-is-more” relationship. B. CORRELATION COEFFICIENT: mathematical of both the direction and strength if a correlation, symbolized by r 1. Perfect positive correlation: r=+1; perfect negative correlation: r=-1; no correlation: r=0 2. Strong correlation: r=0.9; moderate correlation: r=0.7; weak correlation: r=0.3 3. *Know the direction on graphs for positive and negative correlation trends for the exam III. Causation A. THIRD-VARIABLE PROBLEM: a causal relationship between two variables cannot be inferred from the naturally occurring correlation between them because of the ever-present possibility of third-variable correlation B. Experiments solve this third-variable problem through the use of control variables, random assignment of participants to the experimental and control groups, and the measurement of the dependent variable. 1. MATCHED SAMPLES TECHNIQUE: a technique whereby the participants in two groups are identical in terms of a third variable 2. MATCHED PAIRS TECHNIQUE: a technique whereby each participant is identical to one other participant in terms of a third variable 3. These two techniques can be useful, but neither eliminates the possibility of THIRD-VARIABLE CORRELATION (two variables are correlated only because each is causally related to a third variable) entirely. 4. The best way to understand how experiments eliminate all the differences between groups is by examining their two key features: manipulation and random assignment. C. MANIPULATION: changing an independent variable in order to determine its causal power on a dependent variable; there are two groups of participants in an experiment 1. EXPERIMENTAL GROUP: the group of people who are exposed to a particular manipulation 2. CONTROL GROUP: the group of people who are not exposed to that particular manipulation 3. This helps to reduce CONFOUND VARIABLES: variables other than the independent variable that differ across conditions (i.e., are present in some conditions but not in others) D. RANDOM ASSIGNMENT: a procedure that lets chance assign people to the experimental or the control group; increases the likelihood that groups start out equivalent/similar because everyone has a roughly equal chance of ending up in any condition E. Random assignment solves the problem of SELF-SELECTION, which occurs when anything about a person determines whether he or she will be included in the experimental or control group. If participants decided what group they participated in, we would end up with experimental and control groups that differed in countless ways and could possibly produce third-variables that are responsible in difference/discrepancies in data. IV. INTERNAL VALIDITY is an attribute of an experiment that allows it to establish causal relationships in our conclusion. Such conclusions would read like: If our own experiment revealed a difference of the dependent variable in experimental or control groups, then we could conclude that the independent variable as we defined it caused the dependent variable as we defined it in the people whom we studied. A. Representative variables (as we defined it) 1. EXTERNAL VALIDITY is an attribute of an experiment in which variables have been defined in a normal, typical, or realistic way that lends real-world context and/or application to the experiment. 2. Most psychologists don’t care if an experiment is externally invalid because psychologists are rarely trying to learn about the real world by creating tiny replicas of it in their laboratories, but are usually trying to learn about the real world by using experiments to test hypotheses derived from theories. B. Representative people (whom we studied) 1. Psychologists rarely observe an entire POPULATION but rather a SAMPLE 2. Sometimes individuals are so remarkable that they deserve close study using the CASE METHOD: a procedure for gathering scientific information by studying a single individual 3. RANDOM SAMPLING: allows us to generalize from the sample to the population V. Thinking critically about evidence is difficult because people have a natural tendency to see what they expect to see, to see what they want to see, and to consider what they see but not what they don’t. A. We see what we expect and want: Beliefs, prejudices and preferences, aversions and ambitions, hopes and needs, and wants and dreams color our views of evidence and influence WHICH evidence we consider in the first place. B. The tendency to ignore missing evidence can cause us to draw all kinds of erroneous conclusions. C. The Skeptical Scene: What makes science different than most other human enterprises is that science actively seeks to discover and remedy its own biases and errors Section Four: Ethics Set by the American Psychological Association (APA) I. Institutional Review Board approves certain experiments II. Informed Consent must be given to participants before they begin any experiment so that they are educated as to any risks/benefits of the experiment III. Risk-benefit analysis: participants may be asked to accept small risks (e.g., minor shock, small embarrassment, etc.) but may not be asked to accept large risks (e.g., severe pain, psychological trauma, etc.) or any risk than they would ordinarily take in their daily lives IV. Deception: can only be used when justified by the study’s scientific, educational, or applied value and when alternative procedures are not feasible; Debriefing must occur after experiment if deception is used


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