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Lecture 2

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PSYC 2600
Elizabeth Nisbet

Lecture 2 Theory & Hypotheses (psychology terminology) - Research questions are translated into testable hypotheses - Atheory is a set of statements designed to explain how the world works - Ahypothesis is a statement of what you think should happened in your experiment Sources of Personality Data - Self-Report Data (S-Data) - Observer-Report Data (O-Data) - Test-Data (T-Data) - Life-Outcome Data (L-Data) Self-Report Data (S-Data) - Information provided by a person, such as through a survey or interview - Individuals have access to a wealth of information about themselves that is inaccessible to anyone else - Most commonly used in personality research • It is not expensive and it is effective • Best source because it is personal • You can get a lot of information from asking people • It can be anonymous Self-Report Data - S-data personality tests • Unstructured items—open-ended • Structured items—response options provided (ex: scales) - Limitations of S-data • People may not respond honestly • People may lack accurate self-knowledge Experience Sampling - S-data. But creating something similar to L-data. SIMILAR TO S-DATA, BUT IT IS OVERTIME!! • For example, pager studies  Ask you in the moment how you are feeling. Can get a picture as to what your emotions were like on a day to day basis. How often you felt good and how often you felt bad. Sampling methodology.  Measuring experiences repeatedly  Expensive. Hard to do. - Get people to report feelings as they occur Observer-Report Data (O-Data) - Information provided by someone else about another person - Key features of O-data • Provide access to information not attainable through other sources  Can see how people with certain traits react/act in everyday situations • Multiple observers can be used to assess a person  If multiple people rate the person the same, it is more accurate they are that type of person Observer-Report Data - Selecting observers • Professional personality assessors • People who actually know the target person  Often in better position to observe target’s natural behaviors than professional personality assessors  Allows for assessment of multiple social personalities  Because of relationship to target, however, observer may be biased Observer-Report Data - Naturalistic vs.Artificial Observation • Naturalistic observation: Observers witness and record events that occur in the normal course of lives of the participants (realism but no control) • Artificial observation: Occurs in artificial settings or situations (control but sacrifice realism) Test-Data (T-Data) - Information provided by standardized tests or testing situations - Idea is to see if different people behave differently in identical situations - Can include physiological tests, projective techniques, mechanical recording devices - Get data of how people respond differently to the same situation Test-Data - Situation designed to elicit behaviors that serve as indicators of personality - Elicited behavior “scored” without reliance on inference - Objective. Not biased (mechanical) - Can combine with self report or observer report Test-Data - Limitations • Participants might try to guess what trait is being measured and then alter their behavior to create certain impressions • Difficult to know if participants define testing situation as intended by experimenter • Researcher might influence how participants behave Test-Data - Mechanical recording devices, e.g., “Actometer” used to assess children’s activity • Strengths  Not hampered by biases of human observer  May be used in naturalistic settings • Disadvantage  Few personality dispositions lend themselves to mechanical assessment Test-Data - Physiological data • Includes information about a person’s level of arousal, reactivity to stimuli—potential indicators of personality • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) • Key benefit is that it is difficult to fake responses • Disadvantages  Often used in artificial laboratory setting  Accuracy of recording hinges on whether participant perceives situation as experimenter intended • Look at images. See how people react differently to positive vs. Negative stimuli Test Data - Projective Techniques • Person presented with ambiguous stimuli and asked to describe what she sees; assumption is that person “projects” personality onto ambiguous stimuli • Strengths: May provide useful means for gathering information about wishes, desires, fantasies that a person is not aware of and could not report • Disadvantages: Difficult to score, uncertain validity, and reliability Life-Outcome Data (L-Data) - Information that can be gleaned from events, activities, and outcomes in a person’s life that is available for public scrutiny—e.g., marriage, speeding tickets L-Data - Benefits • Not necessarily limited to self-report – can use historical documents • An important source of “real-life” data - Limitations • Record may be partial, difficult to obtain Issues in PersonalityAssessment - Links among different data sources - Fallibility of personality measurement • All sources of data have limitations • Results that replicate through “triangulation” are most powerful  Same result from a number of data sources Evaluating Personality Measures - Reliability - Validity - Generalizability Reliability - Degree to which measure represents “true” level of trait being measured - Types of reliability • Test-retest reliability: scores at one administration positively correlate with scores at second administration  Temporal stability  Scoring the same on the same test taken at different times • Inter-rater reliability: applicable only to observer-based personality
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