The Science of Psychology CH1 Ghazal Naimi
o Buy the textbook!
o Read Chapter One on your own with notes. VERY IMPORTANT to read!
o The course will be recorded with slides. But you should still attend anyway…
o What is Psychology?
o Study of science, the mind and behaviour
o Psychological science is the study of mind, brain and behaviour.
o Psychology is personally relevant and relevant to us all.
o Goals: understand mental activity, social interactions, and how people acquire
Isn’t psychology just common sense?
Our psychological processes can surprise us. Not expected as they are.
(The example from Williams & Bargh, 2008). Sensation must have felt better since
it was warmer…ice=don’t want to hold onto it. Is it related to the time of year?
Question and reflect on the things that you are being told.
Humans are intuitive psychologists
Can people intuitively know if claims related to psychology are fact or fiction?
Critical thinking: Systematically evaluating information to reach reasonable
What am I asked to believe? Interpretations… Is there any evidence?? What are the
most reasonable conclusions?
How critical thinking works
Researchers found listening to Mozart led research participants to score
higher on a test related to intelligence (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1993)
Subsequent research largely failed to get the same results
A review of studies testing the Mozart effect showed that listening to
Mozart is unlikely to increase intelligence (Chabris, 1999)
What are the Scientific Foundations of Psychology? Learning objectives:
Trace the development of psychology since its formal inception in 1879
Define the nature/nurture debate and the mind/body problem
Identify the major schools of thought that have characterized the history
of experimental psychology.
Psychology originated in philosophy
Chinese/Muslim philosophers and scientists speculated about human
In nineteenth century Europe, psychology emerged a scientific discipline
o Development of schools of thought
Psychology is not an isolated science. It took what it needed from
biology, philosophy or any other sciences…in order to further it’s
understanding of the processes.
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, take two breaks.” –Confucius
(In the quest of taking revenge, you can take damage to yourself and the person
The Nature/Nurture Debate has a long history
Ancient Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato debated the source of
Nature/Nurture debate: the arguments concerning whether
psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through
education, experience, and culture.
Is individual psychology innate or is it a cultural phenomenon?
Received view today: Nature and nurture influence each other and are
Psychologists widely recognize that nature and nurture are important to
humans’ psychological development.
They study for example that the ways that nature and nurture influence
each other in shaping mind, brain, and behaviour.
They are so enmeshed that they cannot be separated.
The Mind/body problem also has ancient roots Mind/body problem: a fundamental psychological issue: Are the mind
and body separate and distinct, or is the mind simply the physical brain’s
Early scholars: The mind is entirely separate from and in control of the
1500s: Leonardo da Vinci challenged this doctrine when he dissected
human bodies to make his anatomical drawings more accurate. (This
offended the Roman Catholic Church because they violated the presumed
sanctity of the human body.)
Da Vinci theorized that all sensory messages (vision, touch, smell,
etc) arrived at one location in the brain—called sensus communis
He believed it to be the home of thought and judgement; its name
may be the root of the modern term common sense.
1600s: René Descartes: according to the Descartes’ theory of dualism,
the mind and body are separate yet intertwined. (Psychologists now reject
o Cartesian dualism suggested body and mind were indeed separate
but that some mental functions resulted from bodily functions.
o Renee Descartes—theory of dualism
The censuses that we have to which we perceive to a large degree
determine what we are thinking… we are restricted by our senses. If you
disagree: try to explain to a blind person the color blue.
Biased based on your own experiences… associations between color and
perception. Come up with examples but ultimately meaningless for
someone who has never seen or experience that. Mind and body are
indeed not inseparable… we wouldn’t be able to think in that manner.
Experimental Psychology began with introspection
Early 1800s: John Stuart Mill argued psychology should be a science of
observation and of experiment - He defined psychology as the ―science of the elementary laws of the
mind‖ and argued that only through the methods of science would the
processes of the mind be understood.
1879: Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology laboratory and
o --Wundt trained many of the great early psychologists. Founded
modern experimental psychology.
o -Wundt realized that psychological processes, the products of
physiological actions in the brain, take time to occur—therefore,
he would present each research participant with a simple
psychological task and a related but more complex one.
o Laboratories were established throughout Europe, Canada, US.
o Developed the method of
introspection: a systematic examination of the subjective
mental experiences that requires people to inspect and report
on the content of their thoughts. (When you try
decomposing into specific steps to categorize your
o Wundt asked people to use introspection in comparing their
subjective experiences as they contemplated a series of objects—
for example, by stating which one it found more pleasant.
Introspection and other methods led to structuralism
Edward Titchener: a student of Wundt’s, used methods such as
introspection to pioneer a school of thought that became known as:
o Structuralism: an approach to psychology based on the idea that
conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying
o Used introspection to study consciousness (the awareness of self—
related to what we feel and think, nothing special because not
every living organism has consciousness. Easy way to know if
living organism has consciousness is a mirror in front of animal—
animal will not realize the picture of himself. The level of self-
awareness then you would have reached the level of
consciousness.) Moment where psychologists disagree with each other because breaking down complex components of
consciousness psychologists did not think this was possible to do.
Problems with introspection: experience is subjective;
reporting of the experience changes the experience.
Everything you experience is subjective, when more formal it’s objective
and by applying the method you actually change the consciousness
Functionalism addressed the purpose of behaviour
William James: physiologist, philosopher
o In 1890, published first overview of psychology
o Captivated by the nature of conscious experience.
Argued the mind consisted of a
stream of consciousness (ongoing wave of thought)
that could not be frozen in time, broken down and
o Functionalism: Psychologists ought to examine the functions
served by the mind (simply look at the outcome)
The mind developed over the course of human evolution because it is
useful for preserving life
The mind helps humans adapt to environmental demands
We have the ability to adapt environmental demands… through our
Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour
James was influenced by Charles Darwin’s
o evolutionary theory: a theory presented by the naturalist Charles
Darwin; it views the history of a species in terms of the inherited,
adaptive value of physical characteristics, of mental activity, and
Darwin reasoned that species change over time.
Adaptations: in evolutionary theory, the physical
characteristics, skills or abilities that increase the chances of
reproduction or survival and are therefore likely to be passed
along to future generations. Darwin first presented the mechanism of evolution which was called :
Natural selection: the idea that those who inherit characteristics that
help them adapt to their particular environments have a selective
advantage over those who do not.
o Species struggle to survive.
Those species that are better adapted to their environments
will survive and reproduce, their offspring will survive and
reproduce, and so on.
This idea came to be known as:
Survival of the fittest: species that are better adapted to their
environments will survive and reproduce.
Functionalists argue that behaviour serves a purpose (has a function)
Gestalt Psychology emphasized patterns and context in learning
Founded by Max Wertheimer in 1912 (expanded by Wolfgang Kohler)
Gestalt theory: A theory based on the idea that the whole of personal
experience is different from simply the sum of its constituent elements.
o The whole is different from the sum of its parts.
Ex: if a researcher shows people a triangle, they see a
triangle—not three lines on a piece of paper, as would be the
case for the introspective observations in one of Titchener’s
o This theory has influenced many areas of psychology, including
the study of vision and our understanding of human personality.
The perception of objects is subjective and dependent on context
Influenced the study of vision and human personality.
Whole is more than the sum
two people can look at the same object and see two different things.
Women have helped shape the field
Mary Whiton Calkins
studied with William James at Harvard
Harvard denied her PHD First woman president of the APA in 1905
Important early contributor to psychological science, despite having been
denied the doctorate she earned in psychology.
First woman to set up a psychology laboratory
Published more than 100 articles
For the first half of the 20 century, societal forces continued to limit women’s
participation in psychology.
They were relatively underrepresented in other areas of psychological science.
Margaret Floy Washburn
studied with Edward Titchener at Cornell
First woman to be officially granted a PHD 1894 Cornell
Second woman president of the APA
Used a gift to set up a scholarship fund for women.
Freud emphasized the power of unconscious
Was trained in medicine
Began his career working with people who had neurological disorders
(paralysis of various body parts)
o He found that his patients had little medical reasoning for their
He came to believe that their conditions were caused by
psychological factors. th
Psychology was at its infancy stage at the end of the 19 century when
Freud deduced that much of human behaviour is determined by mental
processes operating below the level of conscious awareness, at the level
Unconscious: the mental processes that operate below the level of conscious
Freud believed that the unconscious mental forces, often sexual and in
conflict, produced psychological discomfort, even apparent psychological
disorders. Many of these unconscious conflicts arose from troubling childhood
experiences that the person was blocking from the memory.
Introduced the notion of the unconscious
Unconscious mental forces can produce psychological
o Developed psychoanalysis:
A method developed by Sigmund Freud that attempts to bring the
contents of the unconscious into conscious awareness so that conflicts
can be revealed.
Freud also used free association, a technique in which a patient would
talk about whatever he or she wanted to for as long as he or she wanted
o Freud believed that through free association, a person eventually
revealed the unconscious conflicts that caused the psychological
Ways to treat patients was to be psychology or psychiatrist
Behaviourism studied environmental forces
John B. Watson
challenged psychology’s focus on conscious and unconscious mental
o A psychological approach that emphasizes the role of
environmental forces in producing behaviour.
o focus on how observable environmental stimuli affect behavioural
People needed to study the environmental stimuli, or triggers, in
o By understanding the stimuli, people could predict the animals’
behavioural responses in those situations.
-believed all behaviours are learned (nurture)
B.F.Skinner took up the mantle of behaviourism
denied the existence of mental states
research emphasized how behaviour is shaped by the consequences that
skinner argued that mental processes were of no scientific value in
controversial book Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971)
Behaviourism dominated Psychology into the 1960s.
Consequences will each of the behaviour…. Used to shape the entire
person. Decrease the probability of the behaviour reoccurring.
Cognitive Approaches emphasized mental activity
Studies showed that the simple laws of behaviourism could not explain
George A. Miller
o 1957 launches the cognitive revolution by establishing the Center
for Cognitive Science at Harvard University.
Cognitive psychology: the study of how people think, learn, and remember
Computers led to information processing theories
1980s: Cognitive psychologists joined forces with neuroscientist, comp
scientists, and philosophers
1990s: emergence of cognitive neuroscience:
Cognitive neuroscience: the study of the neural mechanisms (mechanisms
involving the brain, nerves, and nervous tissue) that underlie thought, learning
Social Psychology studies how situations shape behaviour During the Mid twentieth century increased interest in understand how
behaviour is affected by the presence of others.
o This occurred partly BC people sought to understand the atrocities
committed in Europe before and during WWII.
Pioneering researchers: Flloyd Allport, Solomon Asch, Kurt Lewin
rejected Freudian theory.
o Instead, they emphasized a scientific, experimental approach to
understanding how people are influenced by others
Social psychology: focuses on the power of situation and on the way people are
shaped through their interactions with others.
Science Informs Psychological therapy
Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow pioneered a humanistic approach to
the treatment of psychological disorders.
o This approach emphasized how people can come to know and
accept themselves in order to reach their unique potentials.
Some techniques developed by Rogers are:
Specific ways of questioning
Listening during therapy
Are staples of modern treatment.
Behaviourism gave rise to therapies designed to modify behaviour rather
than address underlying mental conflicts.
Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapies to correct faulty
Drugs treat conditions by altering brain physiology
Advancements in understanding the biological and environmental bases
of psychological disorders are leading to effective treatments.
1.3 What are the Latest Developments in Psychology?
o - Identify recent developments in psychological science
o - Distinguish between subfields of psychology Biology is Increasingly Important
The last three decades have seen tremendous growth in our understanding
of the biological bases of mental activities.
For the first time in the history of discipline, the full power of biology is
being used to explain psychological phenomena
o Progress has been made in understand brain chemistry.
o We now know that hundreds of substances play critical roles in
mental activity and behaviour, not just a few.
o Brain chemistry is different when we are aroused than when we are
calm, and those same chemicals influence the neural mechanisms
involved in memory.
o Progress in understanding the neural basis of mental life has been
rapid and dramatic.
o We now know that there is some localization of function:
Some brain areas are important for specific feelings,
thoughts and actions
But many brain regions work together to produce
behaviour and mental activity.
The Human Genome
o Genetic researchers have mapped the human genome, the basic
genetic code, or blueprint, for the human body.
o This map represents the knowledge for how specific genes (the
basic units of hereditary transmission) affect thoughts, actions,
feelings and disorders.
By identifying the genes involved in memory, a researcher
may be able to develop therapies based on genetic
manipulation, that will assist people who have memory
CHAPTER SUMMARY: What are the seven themes of psychological science?
Psychology is an empirical science: psychological science relies on empirical
evidence as a way of knowing about how we think, feel, and behave.
Nature and Nurture are inextricably entwined: nature and nurture depend on
each other, and their influences cannot be separated.
The Brain and Mind are inseparable: older dualist notions about the
separation of the brain and mind have been replaced with the idea that the
(physical) brain enables the mind; brain and mind cannot be separated.
A new biological revolution is energizing research: the scientific knowledge
of brain activity has been enhanced by the discovery of more neurotransmitters.
Mapping of the human genome has furthered genetics’ role in analyzing both
disease and behavior. Tremendous advances in brain imaging have revealed the
working brain. These advances are changing how we think about psychology.
The mind is adaptive: the brain has evolved to solve survival problems and
adapt to environments. Many modern behaviors are by-products of adaptation.
Psychological science crosses levels of analysis: psychological scientists
examine behavior from various analytical levels (brain systems,
neurochemistry, and genetics), individual (personality as well as perception and
cognition), social (interpersonal behavior), and cultural (within a single culture
and across several cultures).
We often are unaware of the multiple influences on how we think, feel, and
act: hundreds of studies show that subtle events in the environment can change
how we think, feel, and act without our awareness of the way they influence us.
How did the scientific foundations of Psychology develop?
Experimental psychology begins with structuralism: although psychology’s
intellectual history dates back thousands of years, psychology began as a formal
discipline in 1879, in Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory in Germany. Using
techniques of introspection, scientists attempted to understand conscious
experience by reducing it to its basic elements—its structure.
Functionalism addresses the purpose of behavior: according to
functionalists, the mind is best understood by examining its functions, not its
Gestalt Psychology emphasized patterns and context in learning: the
assertion that the whole experience (the gestalt) is greater than the sum of its
parts led to an approach emphasizing the subjective experience of perception. Women made pioneering contributions to psychology: women’s early
contributions to psychological science, such as the achievements of Mary
Calkins, Mary Salter Ainsworth, Margaret Washburn, and Emma S. Baker have
Freud emphasized the power of the unconscious: the psychoanalytic
assumption that unconscious processes are not readily available to our
awareness but influence our behavior had an enormous impact on psychology.
Most behavior can be modified by reward and punishment: discoveries that
behavior is changed by its consequences caused behaviorism to dominate
psychology until the 1960s.
Cognition affects behavior: the computer analogy of the brain and the
cognitive revolution led to the information processing perspective.
Social situations shape behavior: work in social psychology has highlighted
how situations and other people are powerful forces in shaping behavior.
Psychological therapy is based on science: Scientific research over the course
of the 20 century taught psychological scientist that there is no universal
treatment for psychological disorders. Instead, different treatments are effective
for different disorders.
How did the scientific foundations of psychology develop?
Psychological knowledge is used in many professions: because psychology
focuses on human behavior, it is of interest to many students and professionals
and is used in virtually every profession.
People are intuitive psychological scientists: humans naturally explain and
predict others’ behavior, but biases and prejudices often lead to wrong
conclusions, so we need to use scientific methods and critical thinking.
Psychological science requires critical thinking: the use of critical thinking
skills will improve how we think. Skepticism, an important element of science,
requires the use of critical thinking skills, including a careful examination of
how well evidence supports a conclusion. Using critical thinking skills and
understanding the methods of psychological science are important for
evaluating research reported in the popular media.
Psychologists adhere to a code of ethics: in most countries, psychologists are
governed by a code of ethics. These codes require psychologists to treat people
with respect and dignity and to show utmost concern for people’s safety. Psychology is relevant to every person’s life: the popular press regularly
reports psychological findings, so educated adults need to know how to think
about research reports and how to apply psychological knowledge. Psychology
can help us be better students, parents, employees and employers, team
members, peacemakers, and more. The field is broad with applications to all
areas of life. Lecture #2 notes Jens Preussner
2.1 What is scientific inquiry?
Describe the scientific method and differentiate between theories,
hypotheses and research:
o Unexpected findings can be valuable: unexpected (Serendipitous)
discoveries sometimes occur, but only researchers who are
prepared to recognize their importance will benefit from them.
Psychologists study the what, when and why of behavior and mental
Scientific inquiry utilizes the scientific method.
More objective than casual observations
Systematic: procedures follow orderly steps that are carefully planned
-free from bias
In summary: our subjective beliefs such as intuitions can be useful in suggesting
research questions. They are often biased, however, or based on limited
information. To explain behavior, researchers use the scientific method which is
objective, systematic procedures to measure behavior. The empirical process is
based on the use of theories to generate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting
objective date through research. Theories in turn must be adjusted and refined as
new findings confirm or disconfirm the hypotheses. Good theories will generate
several testable hypotheses. Unexpected findings can suggest new theories.
The Scientific method it depends on theories, hypotheses and
research: inquiry relies on objective methods and empirical evidence to
answer testable questions. Interconnected ideas or models of behaviour
(theories) yield testable predictions (hypotheses) which are tested in a
systematic way (research) by collecting and evaluating evidence (data).
The scientific method has three essential elements:
1. Theory: a model of interconnected ideas or concepts that explains what is
observed and makes predictions about future events. 2. Hypothesis: a testable prediction about the outcome that would best support
the theory. A specific prediction of what should be observed if a theory is
3. Research: a scientific process that involves the systematic and careful
collection of data (objective observations or measurements). o “Journal impact number” Number can go from 0.1 to 50… refers to how many
times you will be published that year.
Theories Should generate Hypothesis
o A good theory produces a wide variety of testable hypotheses
o Jean Piaget’s theory of infant and child development generated
thousands of hypotheses and scientific papers
o Freud’s theory that dreams served a wish fulfillment function
generated few testable hypotheses’ Unexpected findings can be valuable
o Many significant scientific findings are a result of serendipity:
o Late 1950s: Physiologists Wiesel & Hubel hypothesized certain
brain cells in cats would respond when cats looked at dots on slides
o -After much effort they were not getting the expected results
o -When their projector jammed, the slide produced a visual “edge”
on the screen.
o They discovered that the cells respond to lines and edges, not dots.
2.2 What types of studies are used in Psychological Research?
o Distinguish between descriptive studies, correlational studies, and
o List the advantages and disadvantages of different research
o Explain why random sampling and random assignment are
important when conducting research studies.
There are three main types of designs:
What’s a variable?
o Something in the world that can vary and that a researcher can
Descriptive studies involve observing and classifying behaviour:
o A research method that involves observing and noting the
behaviour of people or other animals to provide a systematic and
objective analysis of behaviour.
o involves observing and classifying behaviour, either with no
intervention by the observer (naturalistic observation) or with
intervention by the observer (participant observation). Advantages: especially valuable in the early stages of
research, when trying to determine whether a phenomenon
Takes place in a real-world setting.
Disadvantages: errors in observation can occur because
of an observer’s expectations (observer bias).
Observer’s presence can change the behaviour being
o Naturalistic observation:
a type of descriptive study in which the researcher is a
passive observer, making no attempt to change or alter
o Participant observation:
a type of descriptive study in which the researcher is
actively involved in the situation.
o longitudinal studies:
a research method that studies the same participants multiple
times over a period of time.
Advantages: provide information about the effects
of age on the same people, allowing researchers to see
takes a long time
may lose participants over time.
o cross-sectional studies:
a research method that compares participants in different
groups (e.g. young and old) at the same time.
less expensive than longitudinal studies.
Disadvantages: unidentified variables may be
involved (cohort effect).
Observer bias: systematic errors in observation that occur because of an
Experimenter expectancy effect
o Actual change in the behaviour of the people or nonhuman animals
being observed that is due to the expectations of the observer.
example: expectations altered how students treated rats,
which influenced the speed at which the rats learned to run a
maze. The students were not aware of their biased treatment
of the animals Correlational studies examine how variables are related:
Correlational studies: a research method that examines how variables
are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the
researcher to alter them or assign causation between them.
o Researchers do not attempt to alter variables
o Researches cannot draw causal conclusions from correlational
relies on naturally occurring relationships.
May take place in real-world setting.
cannot be used to support causal relationships(that one
thing happened/because of the other).
Cannot show the direction of the cause/effect
relationship between variables (directionality
An unidentified variable may be involved (third
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.
o Example: Sleep (A) and stress (B) are correlated, but….
Does less sleep cause more stress (A B)
Does more stress cause less sleep? (BA)
Third Variable problem: a problem that occurs when the researcher
cannot directly manipulate variables; as a result, the researcher cannot be
confident that another, unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of
differences in the variables of interest.
o Example: drinking before driving (A) is correlated with being
distracted while driving (B)
Stress( C) causes some people to drink before driving
(CA) Stress (C ) causes some people to be distracted while driving
Ethical reasons for using correlational designs:
o Some research questions require correlational research designs for
For example: Do soldiers who experience severe trauma
during combat have more difficulty learning new tasks after
they return home compared to soldiers who have
experienced less-severe trauma?
o It would be unethical to induce trauma in some soldiers so that you
could compare the different groups.
o Establishing correlations between variables, researchers are able to
For example: correlational research has identified a strong
relationship between depression and suicide
o Clinical psychologists often assess symptoms of depression to
An experiment involves manipulating conditions:
o Experiment: researcher manipulates one variable to examine its
effect on a second variable.
Independent variable: variable that is manipulated
o Dependent variable: variable that is measured.
Experiment: a study that tests casual hypotheses by measuring and manipulating
Experimental group: the treatment groups where the participants in a study
Control group: a comparison group that does not receive the intervention (or
receives one unrelated to the independent variable) being investigated. Independent variable: In an experiment, the variable that is manipulated by the
experimenter to examine its impact on the dependent variable.
Dependent variable: in an experiment, the variable that is affected by the
manipulation of the independent variable.
A properly performed experiment depends on rigorous control:
o here, control means the steps taken by the researcher to minimize
the possibility that anything other than the independent variable
will affect the experiment’s outcome.
The independent variable is assumed to be the cause of any change in the
A confound is anything that affects a dependent variable and may unintentionally
vary between the experimental conditions of a study.
Random sampling and random assignment are important for research: Psychologists want to generalize findings from a sample of individuals to
the population of people beyond the study
Random sampling: Every person in the population has an equal chance of being
selected; most researchers use a convenience sample.
External validity: the degree to which the findings can be generalized outside the
Relationship: Validity depends on Reliability (SEE FIGURE in book.)
Selection bias: In an experiment, unintended differences between the participants
in different groups.
Example in a study of the effects of alcohol, one group is assigned to
drink tonic water; another group is assigned to drink alcohol.
How would you know if the people in the different conditions of the study are
You can never be sure that you have assessed all possible factors that may differ
between the groups.
Random assignment: placing research participants into the conditions of an
experiment in such a way that each participant has an equal chance of being
assigned to any level of the independent variable.
This balances out known and unknown factors, increasing the likelihood
that the groups are equivalent. 2.3 What are the data collection methods of psychological science?
Distinguish between five methods of data collection
List the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of data
Discuss the use of animal models in psychological research
Identify ethical issue associated with psychological research o Researchers must choose a data collection method
The first step is to determine the level of analysis a particular question is
addressing (biological, individual, social, cultural)
o Data collection methods must be appropriate for questions at a particular level
Culturally sensitive research: studies that take into account the role that culture
plays in determining thoughts, feelings and actions.
Advantages: examine the effect of culture on some variable of
o In this way, they help make psychology more applicable around
Disadvantages: some situations and some specific words do not convey
the same meaning when translated across cultures.
o These cultural differences can leave room for alternate
explanations (other than culture per se).
For example, misunderstandings can occur during research
Observing is an unobtrusive strategy
Observational techniques: a research method of careful and systematic
assessment and coding of overt behaviour.
Coding involves determining the previously defined category of
behaviour fits into.
o For example, researchers might watch and note people’s gestures
during social interactions
or they might code the behaviour of people’s gestures during
or they might code the behaviour of nonhuman
animals that have been injected with drugs that affect
Should the study be conducted in the laboratory or in a natural environment?
How should the data be collected?
Should the observer be visible? Reactivity: when the knowledge that one is being observed alters the behaviour
The Hawthorne effect refers to changes in behaviour that occur when
people know that others are observing them.
Case Studies examine individual lives and organizations
Case study: intensive examination of unusual people or organizations. Case studies are a special type of observational/descriptive study that
involves intensive examination of one person or a few individuals
(clinical case studies) or one or a few organizations (organizational case
o Advantages: can provide extensive data about one or a few
individuals or organizations.
can be very subjective
if a researcher has a pre-existing theory (for example,
people who are loners are dangerous)
this theory can bias what is observed and recorded.
The results cannot be generalized from a single case study to
The goal of an organizational case study is to
determine which practices led to success or
Case studies of people with psychological
disorders are the type used most frequently in
o Problems case studies are subjective and have a small sample
Asking takes a more active approach:
Compared to observation, asking people about themselves is a more
interactive way of collecting data
Self-report methods such as questionnaires or surveys are used to gather
data from a large number of people in a short time.
o experience sampling
Interactive methods: involve asking questions of participants.
The participants then respond in a way they feel is appropriate (open-
o or select from among a fixed number of options (closed-ended
self-report methods such as questionnaires can be
used to gather data from a large number of people.
They are easy to administer, cost-efficient, and a
relatively fast way to collect data.
Interviewing people face-to face gives the researcher
the opportunity to explore new lines of questioning.
Experience sampling allows researchers to determine
how responses vary over time.
people can introduce biases into their answers (self-
They may not recall information accurately.
Self-report methods: methods of data collection in which people are asked to
provide information about themselves, such as in questionnaires or surveys.
o Problem with “asking-based methods of data” is that people often
introduce bias into their answers.
These biases make it difficult to discern an honest or true
In particular, people may not reveal personal
information that casts them in a negative light.
Consider: How many times have you lied to get something you wanted?
Socially desirable responding/faking good: person responds in a way that is most
Better-than-average effect: people tend to describe themselves in positive ways
that are necessarily true.
For example, most people believe that they are better-than-average
Response performance measures the processing of information Response performance: A research method in which researchers quantify
perceptual or cognitive processes in response to a specific stimulus.
Three major types:
o reaction time th
for responding to simple stimuli are often measured in 100 s
or 1000 s of a second
speed of a response
o response accuracy
for example, does paying attention to visual stimulus
improve a person’s perception of that stimulus?
See page 56.
o stimulus judgments
regards the different stimuli with which they are presented.
For example, you might ask whether participants
notice a faint stimulus, such as a very soft sound or
You might ask them to judge whether two
objects are the same in some way, such as
color, size or shape.
Response performance methods
measure information processing while psychological tasks are being
Researchers measure reaction time, measure response accuracy, and ask
participants to make stimulus judgments.
relatively simple way to study cognition and perception.
Less affected by observer bias or subject reactivity.
can be costly and time consuming.
Less likely to be useful in real-world settings.
Reaction time= speed of a response
Stimulus judgment= response to different stimuli Body/Brain activity can be measured directly
Psychophysiological assessment: researchers examine how bodily functions
(physiology) change in association with behaviours or mental states (psychology)
A polygraph measures physiological activity (e.g., heart rate, perspiration rate,
blood pressure) related to behaviors or mental states.
SEE image in book..
Electrophysiology: data collection method that measures electrical activity in the
Electroencephalograph (EEG): a device that measures brain activity
o Produces electroencephalograms, which reflect all brain activity; are too
“noisy” or imprecise to isolate specific responses to particular stimuli.
Event-related potential (ERP): by averaging across many trials, brain activity in
response to a specific stimulus can be observed.
Positron emission tomography (PET): provides a computer-aided reconstruction
of the brain’s metabolic activity by tracking a radioactive substance.
Magnetic resonance imagine (MRI): A scanner produces a powerful magnetic
field that the tissues in the brain respond to.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): an imaging technique used to
examine the measures of blood flow indirectly by assessing changes in the blood’s
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):
The use of strong magnets to briefly interrupt normal brain activity as a
way to study brain regions. A very fast, powerful magnetic field disrupts brain activity momentarily
in a specific brain region.
o Example: Placing a TMS coil over areas of the brain involved in
language will temporarily disrupt a person’s ability to speak.
o Powerful method for examining which brain regions are necessary for specific
Research with animals provides important data
Many important research findings in psychology have been obtained by
studying the behaviour of nonhuman animals
Forces that control the behaviours of all animals exert their effects in
For ethical reasons, some research cannot be conducted with humans
Transgenic mice are produced by manipulating the genes in developing
There are ethical issues to consider!
When scientists select a rese