PSY 2012- Chapter 2 Outline
PSY 2012- Chapter 2 Outline PSY 2012
Popular in General Psychology
Popular in Psychlogy
This 18 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amanda Martinez on Friday February 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 2012 at University of Florida taught by in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 82 views. For similar materials see General Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Florida.
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Date Created: 02/05/16
Chapter 2: Research Methods The Beauty and Necessity of Good Research Design • Research design matters Why We Need Research Designs • Without research design, even intelligent and well-‐trained people can be fooled o Naïve realism and confirmation bias • Prefrontal Lobotomy-‐ surgical procedure that severs fibers connecting the frontal lobes of the brain from the underlying thalamus o The practice of slicing the front lobe didn’t cure schizophrenia How We Can Be Fooled: Two Modes of Thinking • EVERYONE can be easily fooled • We’re easily fooled because the same psychological processes that serve us well in most situations also predispose us to errors in thinking o Most mistaken thinking is cut from the same cloth as useful thinking • 2 types of thinking o 1-‐ System 1 Thinking (intuitive thinking) § Our first impressions are surprisingly accurate § Quick and reflexive § Output consists of “gut hunches” § Doesn’t require much mental effort § Brains are on autopilot § Use it for snap decisions • When we meet someone new and form a first impression • When we see an oncoming car § Heuristic-‐ mental shortcut or rule of thumb that helps us streamline our thinking and make sense of our world • When I’ve heard of a city I’ll assume it’s larger in population than a city I’ve never heard of • Often leads us to make mistakes o 2-‐ System 2 Thinking (analytical thinking) § Slow and reflective § Takes mental effort § When we’re trying to reason through a problem § Figure out a complicated concept § Allows us to override intuitive thinking and reject our gut hunches when they seem wrong § Use it when we dislike someone and change our minds after speaking to them • Research designs: o Help us avoid the pitfalls that can result from an overreliance on intuitive thinking and an uncritical use of heuristics o Systematic techniques developed by scientists in psychology and other fields to harness the power of other type of thinking § Analytical thinking o Force us to consider alternative explanations for findings that intuitive thinking overlooks o Protect us from misguided snap judgments The Scientific Method: Toolbox of Skills • Hypothesis are confirmed-‐ justified in having more confidence in a theory • Hypothesis is disconfirmed-‐ theory is revised or abandoned altogether Naturalistic Observation: Studying Humans “In the Wild” • Naturalistic observation-‐ watching behavior in real-‐world settings without trying to manipulate the situation • We watch behavior unfold “naturally” without intervening • We can better understand the range of behaviors displayed by individuals in the “real world” • External validity-‐ extent to which we can generalize findings to real-‐world settings o Since psychologists apply these designs to organisms as they go about their daily business, their findings are often relevant to the real world • Disadvantages o Low on internal validity-‐ extent to which we can draw cause-‐and-‐effect inferences from a study § Laboratory experiments are high on internal validity because we can manipulate key variables ourselves o People can know they’re being observed § Can affect their behavior Case Study Designs: Getting to Know You • Case study-‐ research design that examines one person over a small number of people in depth, often over an extended time period o Researcher spending 10-‐20 years studying someone with schizophrenia o Helpful in proving existence proofs-‐ demonstration that a given psychological phenomenon can occur § Recovered memories of child abuse o Provide a valuable opportunity to study rare or unusual phenomena that are difficult to recreate in a lab o Offer insights that researches can follow up on and test in systematic investigations § Enormously helpful for generating hypothesis o If we’re not careful they can lead to misleading conclusions Self-‐Report Measures and Surveys: Asking People about Themselves and Others • Psychologists frequently use self report measures (questionnaires) to assess a variety of characteristics o Personality trait o Mental illnesses o Interests • Use surveys to measure people’s opinions and attitudes o Tricky to interpret o Can also learn a lot from them if we design and administer them well • Random Selection: The Key to Generalizability o Administer a representative sample of a population and perform the survey to people from that sample o Random selection-‐ procedure that ensures every person in a population has an equal chance of being chosen to participate o If the selection isn’t random their election forecasts are inaccurate o Bigger isn’t always better • Evaluating Measures o Reliability-‐ consistency of measurement o Test-‐retest reliability: yielding similar scores for a reliable test o Interrater reliability: extent to which different people who conduct an interview agree on the characteristics they’re measuring o Validity-‐ extent to which a measure assesses what it purports to measure § Truth in advertising o Reliability and validity are 2 different things o Reliability is necessary for validity § We need to measure something consistently before we can measure it well o Reliability doesn’t guarantee validity § A reliable test can be completely invalid • Advantages/Disadvantages of Self-‐Report Measures o Easy to administer o Typically assume that respondents possess enough insight on their personality characteristics to report them accurately o Assume that participants are honest in their answers o Response sets-‐ tendency of research participants to distort their responses to questionnaire items o Malingering-‐ the tendency to make ourselves appear psychologically disturbed with the aim of achieving a clear-‐cut personal goal • Rating Data: How Do They Rate? o Alternative to asking people about themselves is asking others who know them well to provide ratings on them o Rating data can circumvent some problems from self-‐report data § Observers might not have the same “blind spots” as the people they’re rating o Have their drawbacks § Halo effect-‐ tendency of ratings of one positive characteristic to “spill over” to influence the ratings of other positive characteristics • Attractive people are perceived as more successful, confident, assertive and intelligent Correlation Designs • Correlation design-‐ research design that examines the extent to which two variables are associated • If two things are correlated, they relate to each other statistically • Allow us to generate predictions about the future • Identifying Correlational Designs o Often use terms like associated, related, linked or went together o Travel together = correlational • Correlations: A Beginner’s Guide o Correlations can be positive, zero or negative § Positive-‐ as the value of one variable changes, the other goes in the same direction • If one goes up, the other goes up • If one goes down, the other goes down § Zero-‐ the variables don’t go together at all • Knowing someone is good at math tells us nothing about their singing ability § Negative-‐ as the value of one variable changes, the other goes in the opposite direction • As one goes up, the other goes down o Correlation coefficients range in value from -‐1.0 to1.0 § -‐1.0 is a perfect negative correlation § +1.0 is a perfect positive correlation § >1.0 are less-‐than-‐perfect correlation coefficients § To find how strong a correlation coefficient is we need to find its absolute value • The Scatterplot o Scatterplot-‐ grouping of points on a two-‐dimensional graph in which each dot represents a single person’s data o Each point on a scatterplot depicts a person o Slope of graph states correlation of graph • Illusory Correlation o Illusory Correlation-‐ perception of a statistical association between two variables where none exists § Statistical mirage o Full moon causing strange occurrences à more police are on call to work and nurses say more babies are born o Full moon isn’t correlated with any of these events o Joint pain and rainy weather • Illusory Correlation and Superstition o Form the basis of many superstitions o Keeping a rabbit’s foot o Not walking under ladders • Why We Fall Prey to Illusory Correlation o We’re all susceptible to illusory correlation o Tend to focus on upper left hand corner of fourfold table § Fits what we expect to see § Causes confirmation bias to kick in o Our minds don’t remember nonevents-‐ things that don’t happen o Minimize our tendencies toward illusory correlation § Give the other 3 cells more time and attention • Correlation vs. Causation: Jumping the Gun o We shouln’t confuse correlation vs causation fallacy with illusory correlation § Illusory-‐ perceiving a correlation where none exists § Correlation vs causation fallacy-‐ correlation exists but we mistakenly interpret it as implying a casual association Experimental Designs • Known as experiments • When performed correctly they permit cause and effect inferences • Researchers manipulate variables to see whether these manipulations produce differences in participant’s behavior • The differences among participants are measured in correlational designs • In experimental designs, they’re created • Experiment-‐ research design characterized by random assignment of participants to conditions and manipulation of an independent variable • Experiments consist of 2 ingredients o Random assignment of participants to conditions § Random assignment-‐ randomly sorting participants into 2 groups § Tend to cancel out preexisting differences between two groups • Gender • Race • Personality traits § One of these two groups is the experimental group-‐ the group of participants that receives the manipulation § The other is the control group-‐ the group of participants that doesn’t receive the manipulation § Shouldn’t confuse random assignment with random selection-‐ procedure that allows every person an equal chance to participate § Random selection-‐ how we initially choose our participants § Random assignment-‐ how we assign our participants after we’ve already chosen them o Manipulation of an independent variable § Independent variable-‐ variable that an experimenter manipulates • What we’re changing § Dependent variable-‐ variable that an experimenter measures to see whether the manipulation has an effect • What we’re measuring; data • Dependent on the level of the independent variable § Operational definition-‐ a working definition of what a researcher is measuring • Important to specify how we’re measuring our variables because different researchers may define the same variables in different ways and end up with different conclusions • Operational definitions aren’t like dictionary definitions • In order to draw cause and effect conclusions (internal validity), the independent variable must be the only difference between the experimental and control groups • Confounding variable-‐ any variable that differs between the experimental and control groups other than the independent variable • The 2 major features of an experiment allow us to infer cause-‐and-‐effect relations • How to decide whether to infer cause-‐and-‐effect relations from a study o Ask yourself if a study is an experiment o If it isn’t an experiment, don’t draw casual conclusions from it, no matter how tempting it might be • Placebo effect-‐ improvement resulting from the mere expectation of improvement o Participants may improve because they know they’re receiving a treatment o Can instill confidence and hope or exerted a calming influence o Reminder that expectations can create reality o Control for placebo by administering a sugar pill § Patients in both experimental and control groups don’t know whether they’re taking the actual medication or placebo § Equated in their expectations of improvement o Patients must remain blind to the condition they’ve been assigned (control or experimental) o Blind-‐ unaware of whether one is in the experimental or control group o 2 things can happen if the blind is broken § patients in the experimental group might improve more than patients in the control group because they know their treatment is real § patients in the control group might become resentful that they’re receiving a placebo and try to “beat out” the patients in the experimental group o Placebo effects are just as real as those of actual drugs and worthy of psychological investigation o May show some of the same characteristics as real drugs § Ex. Having a more powerful effect at higher doses • The Nocebo effect o Evil twin of the placebo effect o Harm resulting from the mere expectation of harm § Ex. Voodoo § People believed that others were causing them pain by sticking needles in a doll • Experimenter expectancy effect-‐ phenomenon in which researchers’ hypotheses lead them to unintentionally bias the outcome of a study o Rosenthal effect o Researchers’ biases affect the results in subtle ways o Researchers may end up falling prey to confirmation bias o Psychological investigators try to conduct their experiments double blind-‐ neither researchers nor participants are aware of who’s in the experimental or control group § Guarding themselves against confirmation bias § Show how good scientists take special precautions to avoid fooling themselves and others o Experimenters need to be kept blind to which condition is which so they don’t unintentionally influence the results • Demand characteristics-‐ cues that participants pick up from a study that allows them to generate guesses regarding the researcher’s hypothesis o Guesses may be correct or not o When the participants think they know how the experimenter wants them to act, they may alter their behavior o Can prevent researchers from getting unbiased views of participants’ thoughts and behaviors o To fight it researchers may disguise the purpose of the study § Give participants a cover story § May include distractor tasks or filler items § Help prevent participants from altering their responses in ways they think the experimenters are looking for Ethical Issues in Research Design • Psychologists believe that science itself is value-‐neutral • Because science is a search for truth, it is neither inherently good nor bad • Doesn’t imply that research is value-‐neutral o Ethical and unethical ways of searching for the truth • We may not all agree on the ways of searching for the truth Ethical Guidelines for Human Research • Every major American research college and university has at least 1 Institutional Review Board (IRB) that reviews all research carefully o Faculty members drawn from various departments within a college and outside members • Informed consent-‐ informing research participants of what is involved in a study before asking them to participate o Participants can ask questions and learn more about the study o IRB’s might allow researchers to forgo certain elements of informed consent when it’s deemed essential § Some research entails deception-‐ deliberately mislead participants about the study’s design or purpose § Deception is justified only when • Researchers couldn’t have performed the study without deception • The scientific knowledge gained from the study outweighs its cost o Up to researchers and IRB to determine if scientific benefits justify deception • IRBs may request that a full debriefing be performed at the end of the research session o Debriefing-‐ the process whereby researchers inform participants what the study was about o Use debriefing to explain their hypotheses in nontechnical language o Becomes a learning experience for the investigator and subject Ethical Issues in Animal Research • Animal research generates much anger and discomfort • Invasive research-‐ investigators cause harm to animals • 7-‐8% of published psychological research relies on animals, mostly rodents • Goal is to generate ideas about how the brain relates to behavior in animals and how these findings generalize to humans without harming people • Animal rights activists have raised concerns regarding the ethical treatment of animals o Have also underscored the need for adequate housing and feeding conditions • Others have gone to extremes o Ransacking labs and liberating animals • Individuals on both sides of the argument agree that liberating the animals is bad o Animals die shortly after being released • Some commentators maintain that the deaths of 20 million lab animals/year aren’t worth the costs • Many critics say the knowledge gained on aggression, fear, learning, memory, etc. is doubtful external validity to humans and is virtually useless • Some animal research has led to direct benefits to humans • Without animal research, we’d know little about the physiology of the brain • No good alternatives to using animals o Without animals we’d be unable to test the safety and effectiveness of many medications Statistics: The Language of Psychological Research • Statistics-‐ application of math to describing and analyzing data • 2 kinds of stats o Descriptive stats-‐ numerical characterizations that describe data § Central tendency-‐ measure of the “central” scores in a data set, or where the group tends to cluster • 3 measures of central tendency: o Mean-‐ average o Median-‐ middle score o Mode-‐ most frequent score in a data set § Variability-‐ measure of how loosely or tightly bunched scores are • Range-‐ difference between the highest and lowest scores • Standard deviation-‐ measure of variability that takes into account how far each data point is from the mean Inferential Statistics-‐ Testing Hypotheses • Inferential statistics-‐ mathematical methods that allow us to determine whether we can generalize findings from our sample to the full population o Asking whether we can draw inferences o Statistically significant results are believable o Practical significance-‐ real world importance Evaluating Psychological Research Becoming a Peer Reviewer • Psychological journals send submitted articles to outside reviewers who screen articles carefully for quality control • Called peer review-‐ identify flaws that could undermine a study’s findings and conclusions • Tell researchers how to do the study better next time Most Reporters Aren’t Scientists: Evaluating Psychology in the Media • Few newspapers hire reporters with any formal psychology training so we shouldn’t assume that people who write news stories about psych are trained to distinguish psychological fact from fiction • News stories are prone to faulty conclusions • Important tips to keep in mind when evaluating the accuracy of psychological reports in the media o We should consider the source § Place more confidence in reputable sources o Be on the lookout for excessive sharpening and leveling § Sharpening-‐ tendency to exaggerate the central message § Leveling-‐ tendency to minimize the less central details of study § Result in a good story o Can easily be misled by “balanced” coverage of a story § Crucial difference between genuine scientific controversy and the kind of balanced coverage the news reporters create by ensuring that representatives from both sides receive equal air time § Usually tries to include comments from “experts” on opposing sides to make the story appear more balanced § Creates pseudosymmetry-‐ the appearance of scientific controversy where none exists
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