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Chapter 2 Notes

by: Gina Goodson

Chapter 2 Notes Psych 3510

Gina Goodson
GPA 3.17

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About this Document

These are the updated, highlighted version of Chapter 2. Highlighted terms/phrases were mentioned in lecture.
Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
Dr. Megan Wilson
Class Notes
psych3510, chapter2notes, Psychology, researchandmethodspsych
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Gina Goodson on Saturday August 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 3510 at Georgia State University taught by Dr. Megan Wilson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology in Psychology (PSYC) at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 08/27/16
Psych 3510: Chapter 2 (Textbook/Lecture Highlights) 1. The Research vs. Your Experience a. Experience Has No Comparison Group (pg. 25) i. Personal experience does not take a comparison group into account. 1. Example: You may have had a bad experience with a Honda Accord, but there are reports of 1,000 Accord owners who report that the car is excellent. ii. Based on anecdotal evidence of one individual (Lecture) 1. It is better to look at group trends iii. Research includes a: 1. Comparison group: Enables us to compare what would happen both with and without the thing we are interested in (pg. 25) a. Example: Without a comparison group, theories can be perceived to be accurate. Dr. Benjamin Rush used bloodletting (draining blood from a patient’s wrist) to cure yellow fever because some of the patients recovered from this practice while some died. Based off of his personal experience, it seemed that the practice of bloodletting supported his theory and those who died were simply too sick and would have died anyway. However, there was no group of patients who were treated with any other practice, which, again, makes Rush’s theory inaccurate. (pgs. 25-26) b. Experience is Confounded (pg. 27) i. Personal experience has too many factors going on at once 1. There are many reasons why an outcome could have occurred ii. Research defines these alternative reasons as: 1. Confounds (or confusions): When you think one thing caused an outcome but in fact other things changed too, which confuses what the actual cause is (pg. 27) a. In personal experiences, it is difficult to isolate variables i. Example: If you have a stomach ache, you would think about many things you would’ve eaten that day and probably not know which food caused your stomach to be upset b. In research, there are controls that are used and are manipulated one at a time c. Research is Better than Experience (pg. 28) i. Bushman examined the effect of venting by comparing what happened if angry people were allowed to vent and if they did not vent 1. He invited 600 undergraduate students into a laboratory to write a political essay 2. Each essay was shown to another person called Steve a. Steve was a confederate, an actor playing a specific role for the experimenter (pg. 28) 3. Steve insulted and criticized the students and their essays 4. Bushman divided the angry students into three groups a. Group 1 sat quietly in the room for 2 minutes b. Group 2 punched a punching bag for 2 minutes c. Group 3 punched a punching bag while imagining Steve’s face on it for 2 minutes 5. All 3 groups were given the chance to blast Steve’s ears with a loud noise a. Steve was a confederate so he did not actually experience the noise 6. Group 3 blasted the loudest noises, which trumped the hypothesis that venting would have calmed group 3 down the most 7. Group 2 subjected Steve to least noise 8. Group 1 subjected Steve the least of all 9. As a result, people’s anger will diminish more quickly if they sat in a room quietly than if they tried to vent ii. In a controlled study, confounds are avoided and conditions are set to include at least one comparison group 1. The researcher can also control for potential confounds (pg. 29) a. In Bushman’s study, exercise (punching the punching bag) and venting anger would usually occur at the same time iii. The researcher has a privileged view, or an outside perspective (pg. 29) iv. From your personal experience, you have an inside perspective so you only see one possible condition (pg. 29) d. Research is Probabilistic (pg. 29) i. Probabilistic: Research findings are not expected to explain all cases all of the time (pg. 30) 1. Scientific conclusions are based on patterns that occur only when researchers set up comparison groups and test many people 2. Personal experience does not invalidate general trend, but general trends do not validate that your experience will follow those trends a. Predictions are not perfect (Lecture) 2. The Research vs. Your Intuition a. Intuition is Biased by Faulty Thinking (pg. 30-33) i. Being Swayed by a Good Story 1. We accept a conclusion just because it “makes sense” a. Examples: i. Bottling up negative emotions seems unhealthy while expressing anger is sensible because it “seems” better to release the pressure ii. Stomach ulcers were thought to have been caused by stress and excess stomach acid, so doctors treated them with antacid medications and advised patients against acidic foods 2. If empirical evidence contradicts commonsense, adjust your beliefs based on the research ii. Being Persuaded by What Comes Easily to Mind 1. Availability heuristic: Things that pop up easily in our mind tend to guide our thinking a. Vivid, recent, or memorable events or memories come into the mind more easily and feed into our bias b. Might lead us to wrongly estimate or overestimate the number of something of how often something occurs iii. Failing to Think About What We Cannot See 1. Present/present bias: It is easy to notice what is present a. Examples: i. Dr. Rush looked at who did recover from yellow fever through bloodletting, excluding those who did not ii. Thinking a book must be great because famous people wrote a good review but not realizing the people may not have read or endorsed the book b. Intuition is Biased by Motivation (pg. 33-35) i. Focusing on the Evidence We Like Best 1. We sort through evidence we like based on our beliefs and only accept evidence that supports those beliefs 2. “Cherry-picking” through evidence ii. Asking Biased Questions to Get Expected Answers 1. We ask questions to get the answers we desire or expect 2. Confirmatory hypothesis testing: Select questions that would lead to a particular, expected answer (pg. 34) iii. Biased About Being Biased 1. We conclude that biases do not apply to us, even after reading about the biased ways people think 2. Bias blind spot: The belief that we are unlikely to fall prey to the cognitive biases previously described (pg. 35) a. In a situation, we conclude that “I am the objective one here” and “you are the biased one” b. Makes us trust our faulty reasoning 3. Trusting Authorities on the Subject a. Ask yourself about the source of the authorities’ ideas (pg. 36) i. Whether they systematically and objectively compared different conditions ii. Whether they are practitioners who base their conclusions on empirical evidence iii. Authority’s experience vs. intuition (Lecture) iv. Authority’s empirical research is good (Lecture) 1. We still must be critical consumers 4. Finding and Reading the Research a. Consulting Scientific Research i. Journal Articles: Most Important Source (pg. 39) 1. Journal articles are written for an audience of other psychological scientists and psychology students 2. Two types: a. Empirical: Report, for the first time, the results of an empirical research study i. Contain details about the study’s method, the statistical tests used, and the numerical results b. Review: Summarize all the published studies that have been done in one research area i. Uses meta-analysis (combines results of many studies and gives a number to summarize the magnitude, or the effect size, of a relationship) ii. Chapters in Edited Books (pg. 42) 1. Not peer-reviewed as rigorously 2. Editor carefully invites only experts to write the chapters iii. Full-Length Books b. Finding Scientific Sources i. PsychINFO (pgs. 42-43) 1. Maintained and updated weekly by the APA 2. Shows whether a source was peer-reviewed or not 3. Shows you which other articles have cited each target article ii. Alternatives to PsychINFO (pg. 44) 1. Visiting the research author’s home page 2. Use Google Scholar ( c. Reading the Research i. Components of an Empirical Journal Article (pgs. 44-45) 1. Abstract: Concise summary of the study’s hypotheses, method, and major results 2. Introduction: Explain the topic of the study 3. Method: Details how the researchers conducted their study 4. Results: Describes the quantitative and relevant qualitative results of the study 5. Discussion: Summarizes the study’s research question and methods and indicates how well the data supported the hypotheses 6. References: Contains a full bibliographic listing of all the sources the authors cited in the article ii. Reading with a Purpose: Empirical Journal Articles (pg. 45) 1. Ask two questions: a. What is the argument? b. What is the evidence to support the argument? iii. Reading with a Purpose: Chapters and Review Articles (pg. 46) 1. Ask questions from previous section d. Finding Research in Less Scholarly Places i. Retail Bookshelf (pg. 47) 1. Trade books a. Look at the end of the book to find footnotes or references documenting the research studies ii. Wikis (pg. 48) 1. Provide quick, easy-to-read facts 2. Can rely on research sometimes a. Downsides: Uncomprehensive, cherry-picked references, and may be inaccurate iii. Popular Press (pgs. 48-49) 1. Use critical thinking (Lecture)


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