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Date Created: 08/30/16
Lecture 2 Chapter 2 Part 1 How is the Scientific Method Used in Psychological Research? Identify the four primary goals of science To Describe, To Explain, To Predict, To Control/ Modify Describe the scientific method Differentiate among theories, hypotheses and research Theories are a model of interconnected ideas that explain what is observed and makes predictions about the future. Theories are based on EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. Hypothesis is NOT AN EDUCATED GUESS. It is a specific, testable prediction, narrower than the theory it is based on. Research is a scientific process that involves the careful collection of data. Scientific method: A systematic and dynamic procedure, how we get to that research before and after. Theory has been supported by evidence. Hypothesis: a testable prediction Good Theories: IT SHOULD BE FALSIFIABLE [meaning it should be possible to prove the theory is incorrect. Good Theories are going to produce a wide variety of testable hypotheses. They are also going to be simple. Piaget’s contemporary Sigmund Freud outlined the theory that all dreams represent the fulfillment of an unconscious wish. His theory was not “good” because it allowed for few testable hypotheses! (Researchers had no way of evaluating if the wish fulfillment theory was either reasonable or accurate). The Scientific Method 1. Theory: explanation based on observations 2. Hypothesis: prediction based on the theory 3. Research: Test of the hypothesis. This test yields data. 4a. Support the theory: Which you then refine with new hypotheses and research OR 4b. Refute or fail to support the theory: which you either discard or revise (and then test your revised theory. After the theory, do we know more than when we started. No single study can provide a definitive answer about any phenomenon. No theory would be discarded on the basis of one set of data. REPLICATION IS KEY!! “Replication involves repeating a study and getting the same (or similar) results. When the results from two or more studies are the same, or at least support the same conclusion, confidence increases in the findings.(The Psychology Textbook) Unexpected findings can be valuable Wiesal and Hubble—hooked cats up in a machine and pried their eyeballs open. Projector jams and discovered there are certain specific cells that respond to lines and edges, not dots. Empiricism in Johnny’s life? Johnny does not read the textbook and then gets a very low grade on the Chapter 2 quiz. (This is empiricism because you need a hypothesis you can test). Section 2.2 Distinguish between descriptive studies, correlational studies, and experiments. List the advantages and disadvantages of different research methods. Explain the difference between random sampling and random assignment, and explain when each might be important. Three main types of designs that differ to which the researcher has control over the variables in the study: Descriptive: research methods that involve observing behavior to describe that behavior objectively and systematically. Correlational Experimental Participant observation: A type of descriptive study in which the researcher is involved in the situation. Naturalistic observation: A type of descriptive study in which the researcher is a passive observer separated from the situation and making no attempt to change or alter ongoing behavior. Example: Jane Goodall observes a family of chimpanzees is a little bit of both. Reactivity: behavior changes when being observed. Hawthorne Effect—if the manager was observing you doing your job, your performance will be a lot better. Observer bias: systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observer’s expectations. For instance, in many societies women are freer to express sadness than men are. If observers are coding men’s and women’s facial expressions, they may be more likely to rate female expressions as indicating sadness because they believe that men are less likely to show sadness. Experimenter Expectancy Effect— actual change in the behavior of the people or nonhuman animals being observed that is due to the expectations of the observer. Rosenthal’s experiment: College students trained rats to run a maze. Half the students were told their rats were bred to be very good at running mazes. The other half were told their rats were bred to be poor performers. But truthfully, there was NO DIFFERENCE. The ones that were said to be very good ‘learned the tasks more quickly’. Thus, these students’ expectations altered how they treated their rats. The students were not aware of their own biased treatment. Self-report methods: people are asked to provide info about themselves, such as in surveys or questionnaires. Used to gather data from a large number of people. They are said to be easy to administer, cost efficient, and relatively fast way to collect the data. A lot of bias from self-report methods. So the best way to do it is anonymously because people get rid of that “faking good” thing. Interviews: helpful on getting more in depth view. Correlational studies: a research method that describes and predicts how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them or assign causation between them. A correlational study cannot demonstrate the cause of the relationship. Positive correlation: two variables increase or decrease TOGETHER. That’s all. Negative correlation: two variables are going to be inverse to one another. That’s all. Zero correlation: no relationship between the two variables. Correlational research has identified a strong relationship between depression and suicide. Directionality problem: A problem encountered in correlational studies; the researchers find a relationship between two variables, but they cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in the other variable. Suppose you survey a large group of people about their sleeping habits and their levels of stress. Does less sleep cause more stress? Does more stress cause less sleep? Both scenarios seem plausible. Mediator vs moderator: The Experimental Method Controls and Explains Experiment Independent variable Experimental group Control group Confound—anything that affects a dependent variable and that may unintentionally vary between the experimental conditions of a study. Participants need to be carefully selected and randomly assigned to conditions How to select participants for the study. o Psychologists typically want to know that their findings generalize to people beyond the individuals in the study. 1. Population: everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in 2. Sample: a subset of a population Convenience sample: this sample consists of people who are conveniently available for the study. Random assignment balances out known and unknown factors, increasing the likelihood that the groups are equivalent. Selection bias aka selection threat: in an experiment, unintended differences between the participants in different groups; it could be caused by nonrandom assignment to groups. This question needs to be asked, “How would you know if the people in the different conditions of the study are equivalent?” Convenience Sample—A convenience sample is taken from an available subgroup in the population. (Students at a certain school). Random Assignment—participants are assigned at random to the control group or the experimental group. Random assignment is used when the experimenter wants to test a CAUSAL HYPOTHESIS. FYI** Case Study: one specific person. Experimental—need random assignment Self Report—surveys and questionaires type things used to grab data from a large group
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