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Chapter one notes

by: Alisha orr

Chapter one notes Psych 302-50

Alisha orr
U of L
GPA 3.2
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About this Document

These notes cover all of chapter One
Experimental Psychology
Lora Haynes
Class Notes




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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alisha orr on Thursday June 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 302-50 at University of Louisville taught by Lora Haynes in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 70 views. For similar materials see Experimental Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Louisville.


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Date Created: 06/09/16
Chapter One Science – a set of methods used to collect information about phenomena in a particular area of  interest and build a reliable base of knowledge about them.  This knowledge is acquired via research ­ Involves a scientist identifying a phenomena to study ­ Developing hypothesis ­ Conducting a study to collect data ­ Disseminating the results At the heart of any science is information that is obtained through observation and measurement  of phenomena  All scientific observations, conclusions, and theories are always open to modification Scientist – Is a person who adopts methods of science in his or her quest for knowledge. ­ All scientist have a common goal : to acquire knowledge through the application of  scientific methods and techniques A scientist approaches a problem by carefully defining it’s parameters, seeking out relevant  information and subjecting proposed solutions to rigorous testing. ­ Having scientific outlooks leads a person to question the validity of provocative  statements ­ Scientist do not accept everything at face value Basic and Applied Research  Basic research – conducted to investigate issues relevant to the confirmation or  disconfirmation of theoretical or empirical position ­ Major goal of basic research is to acquire general information about a phenomenon, with  little emphasis placed on applications to real world examples of the phenomenon.  Applied research – primary goal is to generate information that can be applied directly to  a real world problem The distinction between applied and basic research is not always clear Even applied research is not independent of theories and other research in psychology ­ The defining quality of applied research is that the researcher attempts to conduct a study  the results of which can be applied directly to a real world event. To accomplish this task, you must choose a research strategy that maximizes the applicability of findings. Finding a Problem in Scientific Terms ­ In most cases, the explanations for everyday events are made up on the spot, with little attention given to ensuring their accuracy. ­ If we do give more thought to our explanations, we often base our thinking on hearsay, conjecture, anecdotal evidence, or unverified sources of information. Confirmation bias – the human tendency to seek out information that confirms what is already believed.  Scientific Method – involves observing phenomena, developing hypotheses, empirically testing the hypotheses, and refining and refining hypotheses. Exploring the Causes of Behavior  Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. The major goals of  psychology are: 1) To build an organized body of knowledge about its subject matter 2) Describe mental and behavioral processes and develop reliable explanations for these  processes. People who are not planning a career in research should still care about learning about research  because it is used in everyday life. Each time you read a scientific article, hear things on the  news about cures for new diseases or when you are persuaded to buy certain products over others you are being exposed to science. Explaining Behavior What distinguishes a true described science from protoscience, nonscience and pseudoscience?  The difference lies in the methods used to collect information and draw conclusions from it.  Protoscience – deals with issues and phenomena at the fringes of established science ­ Often uses the scientific method ­ Can develop into true science if the phenomena being studied receive legitimate scientific support ­ On the other hand, protoscience can descend into pseudoscience if claims cannot be  verified. A nonscience can be legitimate academic discipline (like philosophy) that applies systemic  techniques to the acquisition of information EX: philosophers may differ on what they consider ethical behavior and support positions  through logical argument but lack testing to support argument.  Pseudoscience – literally means “false science” ­ Set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not scientific ­ Does not have the same rigor or standards required of a true science EX: astrology, phrenology (reading bumps on the head) Several qualities that define pseudoscience: 1) Using situation – specific hypotheses to explain away falsifications 2) Having no mechanisms for self – correction and consequent stagnation of ideas of claims 3) Relying on confronting one’s beliefs rather than disconfirming them 4) Shifting the burden of proof to skeptics and critics away from the proponent of an idea or  claim 5) Relying on nonscientific anecdotal evidence to support ideas or claims 6) Avoiding the peer review process 7) Failing to build on an existing base of scientific knowledge 8) Using impressive sounding jargon that lends to false credibility 9) Failing to specify conditions under which ideas or claims would not hold true  Scientific explanation ­  explanation based on the application of accepted scientific  methods ­ An explanation is empirical if it is based on the evidence of the senses ­ An explanation is testable if confidence in the explanation could be undermined by a  failure to observe the predicted outcome ­ Parsimonious explanation is the one that explains behavior with the fewest number of  assumptions ­ Scientist prefer explanations of broad explanatory power over those that “work” only  within a limited set of circumstances ­ Scientist may have confidence in their explanations, but they are nevertheless willing to  entertain the possibility that an explanation is faulty ­ Scientific explanations are constantly evaluated for consistency with the evidence and  with known principals for parsimony and for generality ­ Commonsense explanations – because they are not rigorously evaluated, they are likely  to be incomplete, inconsistent with other evidence, lacking in generality or probably  wrong ­ Belief based explanations – explanations based on belief are accepted because they come  from a trusted source or appear to be consistent with the larger framework of belief. No  evidence is required ­ Explanations based on belief are simply assumed to be true Failures Due to Faulty Inferences Explanations may fail because developing them involves an inference process. This inference  process always involves the danger of incorrectly inferring the underlying mechanisms that  control behavior  Pseudoexplanation – an explanation proposed for a phenomenon that simply relables the  phenomenon without really explaining it  Circular explanation (or tautology) – an explanation of behavior that refers to factors  whose only proof of existence is the behavior they are being called on to explain Methods of Inquiry ­ Knowledge about behavior can be acquired be several methods, including the method of  authority, the rational method, and the scientific method ­ Method of authority – when you use expert sources ­ The method of authority does not always provide valid answers to questions about  behavior for at least two reasons 1) The source may not be truly authoritative 2) Sources are often biased by a particular point of view The Rational Method  Rational method – developing explanations through a process of deductive reasoning ­ Depends on logical reasoning rather than on authority or the evidence of ones senses  ­ Because of its shortcomings, the rational method is not used to develop scientific  explanations The Scientific Method One goal of psychology is to establish general laws of behavior that help explain and predict  behavioral events that occur in a variety of situations Scientific method compromises a series of four cyclical steps: 1) Observing a phenomenon 2) Formulating tentative explanations or statements of cause and effect 3) Further observing or experimenting 4) Refining and retesting the explanations  Observing a phenomenon – the starting point for using the scientific method is to observe the behavior of interest ­ Variable – any characteristic or quality that can take on two or more values  Formulating tentative explanations ­ Tentative explanations often include a statement of the relationship between two or more  variables ­ Called a hypothesis  Further observing and experimenting ­ Unlike the other methods of inquiry the scientific method demands that further  observations be carried out to test the validity of any hypothesis ­ Can be a: Correlational study – when you measure two or more variables and look for a relationship  between them A quasi experimental study – when you take advantage of some preexisting condition Experiment – when you systematically manipulate a variable and look for changes in the value  of another that occur as a result  Refining and retesting explanations ­ Final step of scientific method ­ Process of generating new, more specific hypotheses in the light of previous results  illustrates the refine process ­ Sometimes your research does not support your hypothesis, in this instance you would  revise and retest your hypothesis. This is known as retesting Steps of the Research Process 1) Developing a research idea and hypothesis – identify an issue you want to study. Once  you identify a behavior to study, you must then state a research question in terms that will allow others to test it ­ You must be able to form a precise, testable hypothesis using deductive reasoning 2) Choosing a research design ­ You must choose what type of study to conduct (ex: correlational) 3) Choosing subjects ­ Human or animal 4) Deciding on what to observe and appropriate measures ­ Decide exactly what it is you want to observe 5) Conducting your study ­ Observe and measure their behavior 6) Analyze your results ­ After you collect data, you must summarize and analyze. This analysis process involves a number of decisions 7) Reporting your results ­ After analyzing your paper you are ready to prepare a report of your research 8) Starting the whole process over again ­ Results from your first study may raise more questions. These questions serve as the  seeds for a new study


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