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Chapter 2 Notes

by: Rebecca Bergmann

Chapter 2 Notes Psychology 0010

Rebecca Bergmann

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About this Document

These notes are an in-depth look into chapter 2, and provide a more comprehensive look into the material covered in the 3rd lecture.
Intro to Psychology
Travis Alvarez
Class Notes
Intro to Psychology, psych, chapternotes, chapter2, scientific method
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Bergmann on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psychology 0010 at University of Pittsburgh taught by Travis Alvarez in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 26 views. For similar materials see Intro to Psychology in Psychology (PSYC) at University of Pittsburgh.


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Date Created: 09/15/16
Psychology’s Scientific Method  1) Observing some phenomenon  ● Variable:​  anything that can change  ● Theory​: a broad idea or set of closely related ideas that attempts to explain observations and  to make predictions about future observations  2) Formulating hypothesis and predictions  ● Hypothesis​: an educated guess that derives logically from a theory; a prediction that can be  tested  ● A theory may generate a hypothesis  ● When many hypotheses are true for a specific theory, the theory gains more credibility  3) Testing through empirical research  ● Empirical research​: collecting and analyzing data  ● Operational definition​: a definition that provides an objective description of how a variable is  going to be measured and observed in a particular study  ○  this operational definition will eliminate obscurities about the research and research  question  ○ effective operational definitions = effective research  ● Example theory) self­determination theory  ○ Do people who value extrinsic rewards or intrinsic rewards feel more fulfilled in life?  ○ Extrinsic rewards​: examples include money, material possessions, prestige, physical  appearance  ○ Intrinsic rewards​: examples include relatedness, autonomy, competence  4) Drawing conclusions  ● Do the data support the predictions?  ● Do the findings support the theory behind the study?  5) Evaluating the theory  ● Evaluations happens after the publication of research  ● Replication​: repeating the study and getting the same results  ● Direct replication​: doing the study precisely as it was conducted in its original form  ● Conceptual replication​: doing the study with different methods or different types of samples  ● If the research findings are replicated many times with different researchers and different  specific methods, then the research is considered reliable  ● Meta­analysis​: a method that allows researchers to combine the results of several different  studies on a similar topic in order to establish the strength of an effect  ○  more powerful that the results from just one study    Types of Psychological Research  There are three types of research: descriptive, correlational, experimental  1) ​Descriptive research​: research that determines the basic dimensions of a phenomenon, defining  what it is, how often it occurs, and so on  ● Observation ­ for observations to be effective, they must be systematic  ● Surveys and interviews ­ surveys can only measure what people think about themselves  ○ Cannot be used to study unconscious variables  ○ People do not always know the truth about themselves  ■ ex) are you a generous person?  ● Likert Scales​: invented by Rensis Likert, the subject selects a number on a scale to indicate  the level of agreement with the statement  ○ ex) on a scale of 1 ­ 10, how outgoing/sociable are you?  ● Case studies/case history​: an in­depth look at a single individual  ○ unique, cannot be duplicated  ● The value of descriptive research: this type of research can uncover a lot of information on a  subject, but it does not answer how and why  2) ​Correlational research​: research that examines the relations between variables with the purpose  of determining whether and how two variables change together  ● Correlational research/co­relations  ● How are variables related?  ● Correlational coefficient (r)​: a statistic that show the strength and the direction of the  relationship between two variables  ○ between ­1.00 and +1.00  ○ if the number is close to +/­ 1.00 then the relationship is strong  ○ if the number is negative (­) as one variable increases, the other decreases  ○ if the number is positive (+) as one variable increases, the other increase as well  ○ a zero (0) correlation means the two variables have no systematic relationship  ● Correlation =/= causation  ● Third­variable problem​: a variable that has not been measured accounts for the relationship  between two other variables  ○ confound  ○ ex) ice cream consumption and violent crime are positively correlated however, ice  cream does not cause violence, the third variable = heat, as it gets warmer outside,  more people buy ice cream. and more people are prone to violence  ● A correlation cannot determine the direction of the relationship  ○ Does happiness lead to better health? Or does better health lead to happiness?  ● Cross­sectional design​: a type of correlational study in which variables are measured at a  single point in time  ● The value of correlational research  ○ quasi­experimental​: comparing a group exposed to a natural disaster or a similar  event, with a group who has not been exposed to the same stimuli  ○ valuable to conduct correlational studies in situations where there may be ethical  dilemmas  ○ useful in studying everyday experiences  ● Experience sampling method (ESM)​: daily reports that track experiences  ● Event­contingent responding​: complete a report each time they (participants) engage in a  particular activity  ● A study is correlational when it relies on measuring variables to see how they’re related  ● Longitudinal designs​: a special kind of systematic observation, used by correlational  researchers, that involves obtaining measures of the variables of interest in multiple ways  over time  ○ different from cross­sectional because in cross­sectional, variables are measured  only once  ○ longitudinal research can suggest potential causal relationships  ○ example study) nuns and longevity: nuns that expressed happier emotions early in  life were 2.5x more likely to live longer ­ cannot prove absolute causation though  3) ​Experimental Research​: this method is used to determine causation  ● If a manipulated variable causes differences between groups/individuals, the experiment has  demonstrated cause and effect  ● Experiment​: a carefully regulated procedure in which the researcher manipulates one or  more variables that are believed to influence some other variable  ● Random assignments​: researchers assign participants to groups by chance  ○ this works better with larger groups of people  ● Independent variable​: a manipulated experimental factor  ○ variable that changes to witness the effects (cause)  ● Dependent variable​: variable that may change as a result of manipulations of the  independent variable  ○ represents outcome (effect)  ● Confederate​: a person who is given a role to play in a study so that the social context can be  manipulated  ● Experimental group​: consists of participants in an experiment who are exposed to the  change that the independent variable represents  ● Control group​: a group like the experimental group, but they are not exposed to the change  ● Quasi­experimental design​: do not randomly assign participants to conditions because  assignment is impossible or unethical  ● Cautions about experimental research  ○ a reliable finding may not be valid  ○ validity​: refers to the soundness of the conclusions  ○ external validity​: the degree to which an experimental design actually reflects the real  world issues its supposed to address ­ applicable to real world  ■ ensure a large enough sample to generalize to the population  ○ internal validity​: the degree to which changes in the dependent variable are  genuinely due to the manipulations of the independent variable  ○ experimenter bias​: experimenters may subtly or unknowingly influence their subjects  when the expectations of the experimenter influence the outcome of the research  ○ research participant bias​: when behavior of a participant is influenced by their own  personal experiences  ○ demand characteristics​: when a participant behaves differently because they are  under observation  ○ placebo effect​: occurs when participants expectations produces a similar effect as an  actual pill or substitute for placebo  ○ placebo​: harmless substance with no physiological effects  ○ double­blind experiment​: neither the experimenter nor the participants know if they’re  in the control group or experimental    Research Samples and Settings  ● The research sample  ○ population​: the entire group about which the investigator wants to draw conclusions  ○ sample​: the subject of the population chosen by the investigator for study  ○ random sample​: a sample that gives every member of the population an equal  chance of being selected  ■ in real life, the randomness is approximate  ● The research setting  ○ The laboratory is good for control, but often behavior is changed due to unnatural  environment  ○ naturalistic observation​: viewing behavior in a real­world setting    Analyzing and Interpreting Data  ● Descriptive statistics​: mathematical procedures that are used to describe and summarize  sets of data in a meaningful way  ○ measures of a central tendency​: a single number that indicates the overall  characteristics of a set of data  ○ mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation  ○ measures of dispersion​: describe how much the scores in a sample differ from one  another ­ range, std. dev.  ● Inferential statistics​: these are the mathematical methods that are used to indicate whether  results for a sample are likely to generalize to a population ­ draw conclusions  ○ helps to determine whether a difference is likely/unlikely to be the result of chance  ○ in order to test predictions about the sample, the researcher needs inferential  statistics  ○ T­test​: compares two means to see how likely it is they came from the same  population  ■ helps to rule out “chance” differences ­ p­value  ■ if odds are <.05, differences are not due to chance, and are statistically  significant    Conducting Ethical Research  ● Nazi treatment of prisoners spurred ethical codes  ● Institutional Review Board (IRB)  ● American Psychology Association (APA)  ● Ethics guidelines            1) Informed Consent    2) Confidentiality    3) Debriefing            4) Deception  ● Ethical treatment of research animals  ○ humane treatment  ○ controversial ­ there is no informed consent, does the research benefit or harm the  animal?  ○ rats and mice account for 90% of all research animals    Thinking Critically About Psychological Research   ● Avoid overgeneralizing based on little information  ○ The media often leaves out important details that could alter how we think about  certain research  ● Distinguish between group results and individual needs   ○ Individuals often differ from the average  ● Look for answers beyond a single study  ● Avoid attributing causes where non have been found  ○ Don’t apply causation to only correlational studies  ● Consider the source of psychological information  ○ Studies aren’t always immediately accepted    The Scientific Method and Health and Wellness  ● James Pennebaker​: conducts many studies that concluded that writing about a traumatic  experience leads to health benefits such as superior immune function, better response to  vaccines, higher psychological well­being, better adjustment to entering college life, quickly  finding work after employment   


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