PSYC 2010- Chapter 2 Notes
PSYC 2010- Chapter 2 Notes Psyc 2010-003
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Morgan Dimery on Tuesday January 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psyc 2010-003 at Clemson University taught by Edwin G. Brainerd in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 94 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Psychology in Psychlogy at Clemson University.
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Date Created: 01/26/16
Chapter Two The Research Enterprise in Psychology Scientific Goals Measurement & Description Researchers must find a way to measure the subject of interest. They then use these measurements to describe the situation. Understanding (Explanation) & Prediction Scientists feel that they can understand results if they can explain the reasons behind them. To further their understanding, scientists make predictions and then test them. Application & Control Scientists take the results they have found and use them to solve everyday problems. They solve problems in places such as schools, businesses, factories, and mental hospitals. THEORIES ALLOW PSYCHOLOGISTS TO GO FROM JUST A DESCRIPTION TO AN UNDERSTANDING 5 steps in Scientific Investigation 1. Form a hypothesis • Make a prediction 2. Design a study • Plan an experiment to test the prediction 3. Collect data • Run the experiment, and record the results 4. Analyze data and make conclusions • Find the average of the results, explain what the results mean in relation to your study 5. Report findings • Publish a report of the study The experimental method involves manipulating one variable to observe if it has an impact on another variable. Experiments can show cause-‐and-‐effect relationships. Different parts of the experimental method include: • Experimental group-‐ group that consists of subjects who have received special treatment, which is what is to be studied in the experiment (independent variable) • Control group-‐ group that consists of subjects who did not receive any special treatment (placebo) • Random assignment of subjects-‐ this occurs when all subjects share an equal chance of being part of the experimental group, or being part of the control group. This helps control extraneous variables • Independent variable-‐ variable that the experimenter can manipulate. It is predicted to have an effect on the dependent variable • Dependent variable-‐ variable that is said to vary because of manipulations of the independent variable. Usually the subject’s behavior is the dependent variable • Extraneous variables-‐ variables other than the independent variable that may have an effect on the dependent variable. This is why it’s important to make sure that the experimental and control groups are very similar to each other There are advantages and disadvantages to experimental research. The biggest advantage is that experiments can determine cause-‐and-‐effect relationships, because they are able to control extraneous variables. No other research method is able to do this. One disadvantage of experimental research is that sometimes the experiments are artificial. Experiments sometimes have to be done on a smaller scale and this makes people question the accuracy of them. Another disadvantage to experimental research is that some questions cannot have experiments done on them because they would not be ethical. Descriptive/Correlational Research These studies are usually done whenever it is not possible to do an experiment (maybe because of cost, or ethical issues). They cannot manipulate any variables, and they are not able to show cause-‐and-‐effect relationships. They are only able to show whether or not there is an association (correlation) between variables. The correlation coefficient, r, is used to measure the degree of relationship between the two variables. The number will always be between -‐1 and +1, depending on whether the correlation is positive or negative. If the correlation coefficient is equal to 0, there is no correlation. -‐1 represents the strongest negative correlation possible, and +1 represents the strongest positive correlation possible. So, the closer the correlation coefficient is the -‐1 or +1, the stronger the relationship between the two variables. If the correlation coefficient is extremely close to -‐1 or +1, it is much easier to predict how one variable will act based on the other variable. A positive correlation simply means that as one variable increases, the other also increases. Or as one variable decreases, the other also decreases. The variables change together in the same direction. A negative correlation simply means that as one variable increases, the other decreases, or vice versa. The variables change in the opposite direction from one another. HIGH CORRELATION DOES NOT TELL US THAT THERE IS A CASUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VARIABLES; IT ONLY TELLS US THAT THERE IS AN ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THEM!!!! Since there has not been an experiment conducted to rule out any extraneous variables, correlational studies cannot be used to predict cause-‐and-‐effect relationships. The example Dr. Brainerd used in class was about foot size and intelligence. Having a large foot does not effect how intelligent someone is. Babies have a small foot and are not very intelligent, but they are also younger so their foot has not had the time to grow. Age would be an extraneous variable. Correlational studies widen the amount of questions researchers are able to investigate. Naturalistic Studies The researcher will carefully observe the subject without directly intervening in anything that they do. The behavior is able to occur naturally. Jane Goodall’s work with the chimpanzees is an example of this type of study. A disadvantage to this study is that sometimes it is hard for the observer to be completely unknown, and that effects how the subject behaves (reactivity). It is also hard to translate the observations into numerical data. Case Studies This is a study in which an individual subject is very carefully observed for a long period of time. The subject is aware of what is going on. Maybe personal interviews with the subject and people close to the subject are conducted. Psychological testing can also take place. Clinical psychologists conduct these studies a lot, and they do not always use empirical thinking. Case studies are used a lot to try to determine the root cause of psychological disorders. A problem with them is that they are very subjective. Survey Methods-‐ Questionnaires & Interviews Questionnaires and interviews are used to find out information about a subject. They are used whenever it would be difficult to observe the subject directly. They make it extremely easy to find out a lot of information (data) in a short amount of time. Overtime people have become less and less fond of participating in questionnaires and interviews. The main weakness of these types of studies is that they depend on self-‐report data. Descriptive Statistics Measures of Central Tendency-‐ Mean, Median, & Mode The mean is the numeric average of a set of data, the median is the value in the data that is in the exact center, and the mode is the value in the data that shows up the most. The mean is not resistant to outliers, but the median and the mode are. Variability-‐ Standard Deviation The standard deviation is a form of measurement that describes how much variability there is in a set of data. It is a method of measurement that is not resistant to outliers. Inferential Statistics These statistics help us to decide when we have a significant difference between our two groups. T-‐tests and Chi-‐square tests are widely used to determine p-‐values, and these p-‐values let us know if the difference between the groups is significant, or if it is just due to chance. A significant difference means that it is not due to chance more than 5% of the time. Factors that can lead to misinterpretation of experimental data: Replication Scientists like to repeat studies to see if they get the same results. This can sometimes lead to contradictory results. Meta-‐Analysis This is the combination of different results from different studies on the same question. It shows the size and consistency of a variable’s effects. This method is very objective. Major differences between the experimental group and control group The experimental group receives the special treatment (independent variable) and the control group does not. The control group is just there for a means of comparison. Extraneous & Confounding Variables Extraneous variables are things other than the independent variable that may affect the dependent variable. Confounding of variables occurs when it is hard to sort out the specific effects that the two variables have. This makes it hard to know which variable is actually influencing the dependent variable. Experimenter Bias This is when the researcher’s feelings, thoughts, or preferences toward the experiment influence the results. It is normal for the researcher to lean towards the hypothesis predicted, so sometimes they see what they want to see. This type of bias can influence observations and subject behavior. Sampling Bias This occurs whenever the sample obtained does not accurately represent the population from which is came from. If this is the case, then generalizations about the population may be incorrect. This happens whenever not everyone in the population is given a chance to take part in the experiment, survey, interview, etc. Placebo Effects A placebo is something like a pill that looks like a drug, when in reality it has no effect at all. The placebo effect occurs when someone who has taken the placebo feels that they feel different, as if they have actually taken the drug. This can cause results to be off, because the “drug” is not really affecting the subject, but they think that it is. This problem can be fixed by doing a double-‐blind study. In a double-‐blind study neither the researcher nor the subject know to which group they are assigned to. Distortion of Self-‐Reports Social desirability bias occurs whenever the subject gives answers on a survey or interview because they feel that is what is socially acceptable or what other people want to hear. This happens a lot when there is a sensitive topic involved. People who are answering in such a way usually take longer to respond. The way that interviews are conducted also cause bias at times. Sometimes the questions are asked in a weird order or the subjects just don’t understand the questions. The halo effect occurs whenever the overall evaluation influences data on more specific things. Inaccurate results may be produced because of this. Personal Application-‐ Finding and Reading Journal Articles • We live in a very research-‐orientated society, so it is important that we understand how to properly look at research. • A journal publishes technical and scholarly material, usually about a very specific topic. • In psychology, journals are usually about different empirical studies. • Sometimes summaries found on the Internet are not very accurate, checking multiple sources are always a good idea. • PsycINFO makes it possible to find the original technical article. Most academic libraries have this tool available. • Searching for an article using the author’s name and year is the easiest way to use this software. • This software makes it really easy to search for articles by topic, which is a very difficult task to do just looking around a library. • It is important to understand how journal articles are laid out: o Abstract-‐ summary about the article o Introduction-‐ history of the topic, brief overview of topic, may include a thesis o Method-‐ description of what was done to find this research, it will be detailed enough so that someone else could duplicate it o Results-‐ data is found in this section. Tables, graphs, and figures are commonly used here o Discussion-‐ this is where the author of the article evaluates the findings and explains why he thinks the results are what they are o References-‐ this is a list of other articles that supports the information given in this article Critical Thinking Application-‐ The Perils of Anecdotal Evidence: “I Have a Friend Who…” • Joint custody is when the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, but it might make the child stressed because of having to move back and forth all the time. • Anecdotal evidence is when you take just one incident and base your results solely on that. Not good!!!! • Politicians use anecdotal evidence a lot-‐ it is fundamentally flawed. • Anecdotal evidence focuses on one specific case study. In order for it to be accurate you would need multiple case studies to compare. • Evidence-‐based decision-‐making should be used when making decisions in court. • A lot of case studies need to be evaluated in order to make a decision. Some information found from: Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes and Variations. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.
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