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Psych 102, Week 2 notes

by: Rebecca Goldman

Psych 102, Week 2 notes PSYC 102

Marketplace > Towson University > Psychology (PSYC) > PSYC 102 > Psych 102 Week 2 notes
Rebecca Goldman

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About this Document

Talks about forming a hypothesis, study subjects, and forms of research such as surveys or case studies.
Honors Introduction to Psychology
Amy L. Bennet
Class Notes
psych, IntrotoPsych, hypothesis, research, casestudies
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Goldman on Wednesday September 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 102 at Towson University taught by Amy L. Bennet in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Honors Introduction to Psychology in Psychology (PSYC) at Towson University.

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Date Created: 09/07/16
B. Research Methods Why is research necessary? Common sense and reasoning can fail Example: an empty container and full container will hit the ground at the same  time Research is empirical­ one directly tests something It tests to distinguish between ideas that sound good and ideas that are actually  correct 1. Forming a Hypothesis Definition: A testable prediction about the relationship between two variables Must be testable and made in advance Operational definitions describe something in measurable terms Example: Going to measure stress based on scale give to people in survey, or  blood pressure  Examples of Hypotheses Students who attend class get better grades than students who don’t attend class. A person with hippocampus can form new memories while a person without a  hippocampus cannot.  2. Who do we study? Population – everyone we are interested in studying (i.e. people, women, students, etc.) Sample – the subgroup of the population you actually study Ideally similar to the population Subjects (Participants) ­ the people or animals in your sample Participants refers to people, subjects refer to animals Random Samples­ Randomly choose a sample from everyone in population How to: Form a list of everyone in the population Randomly choose a sample from the list Advantage: Usually you get a representative of the population Disadvantage: Hard to get list of people Have to track people down  Becomes expensive Used in Election Polls Availability Samples Choose whoever is available for the sample (college students, white rats, etc.) Advantage Convenient, inexpensive Disadvantage Not representative of population Used in most psychology research (operant conditioning works equally across species, therefore  you do not need a representative sample of the population) Bad Sampling Techniques Anecdotal evidence  Using one person’s experience to draw conclusions  NEVER representative Memorable and persuasive Often used in commercials such as Proactive Self­selected samples  Subjects choose to respond­are often people who have more powerful and  negative opinions People are biased to both extremes NEVER representative Found in online surveys and product reviews 3. Designing the Study Each design has advantages and different advantages a. Naturalistic Observations Careful observation of the subjects without interference, nothing manipulated  Advantage: Most natural environment and behavior  Disadvantage: Reactivity­ observation changes behavior (being watched changes how  people act) Observer bias­ see what they expect to see Can’t determine motivation (can’t know why someone helped pick up fallen  books) Examples: Wildlife observations (Jane Goodall was able to get close to animals) Child development studies (consent comes from parents so child doesn’t know they are  being watched b. Case Studies­ In depth investigation on an individual (or a small group of individuals) Advantage Get lots of detailed information on “typical” or unique case Disadvantage  Not representative Used in cases where it is not going to happen again (clearly not representative) Examples when used: H.M. had epilepsy­ had hippocampus removed; couldn’t form new  memories; his memory was studied in great detail for decades  c. Surveys Can be questionnaires (written) and interviews (spoken) If you are asking questions, and subjects respond, it is a survey Advantage:  Can get a very large sample (thousands or more) Disadvantage Wording of questions can change answers Social desirability bias – people give socially appropriate answers (happens even when  answers are anonymous) Hard to get representative sample Examples: voting polls, course evaluation forms, job interviews d. Correlational studies­ all of the previous techniques are correlational in nature, because  nothing is manipulated Determine relationships between two variables As one variable increases, does the other increase, decrease or stay the same? Measure two variables in one individual As one increases, does the other increase, decrease, or stay the same? Strong positive correlation­ as one shows up to class more, grades highly increase As A increases, B increases R= 1 Strong negative correlation­as one skips class more, grades decrease more As A decreases, B decreases R= ­1 No correlation No relationship between A and B R= 0 The directionality problem A could cause B or B could cause A  How would you describe a correlation of…? R=.8 (positive correlation) R=­.2 (negative correlation) Correlation is NOT Causation Can only determine that there is an association between two variables Can’t determine causal relationships because of... The directionality problem A could cause B or B could cause A The 3  variable problem There could be an unknown variable that causes the change in both  variables Are there other possible conclusions? A social psychologist observes that older people with pets live longer than people without pets. She concludes having a pet causes people to live longer. An industrial organizational psychologist observes that people who are more satisfied  with their jobs perform at higher levels than people who are dissatisfied. He concludes  that job satisfaction causes performance.   Disadvantage Can’t say one variable causes the other Advantages Sometimes an experiment isn’t possible or ethical, so the best you can do is a  correlational study Examples: studies on age, smoking, class attendance, etc.  Review Questions What is a hypothesis? What is the advantage of random samples? What is the problem with self­selected samples? What is the advantage of case studies? What is one disadvantage of surveys? What is the limitation of correlational studies? For each of the following, which type of research study would be most appropriate? Why? Large University X has more successful graduates than Large University Y. ­surveys Children behave better in the presence of both parents than either parent alone.­  naturalistic observations


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