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Lecture 4

PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Control Variable

Course Code
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

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Individual Processes
Social nature
Interpersonal Relationships
Social Influences
Intergroup Relationships
The goal of science: To understand, NOT to describe- this is WHY it is like this
Why understanding, because…(the cause of behavior)
The way you understand is your ability to explain the CAUSE
Scientists have to convince/ prove to others that their cause is correct by
disproving all the other causes science is self-defending
Social psychologists don’t have to defend causes
Sometimes third cause- cars and babies, related by healthy economy
Defining variables:
Scientists take world and break it down into variables- properties of a
situation that vary (involved in understanding)
Even a question is a variable- how the kids are doing in school? Poorly,
mediocre, excellent. Others, who cares how the kids are doing The only
important thing is that they’re happy
Which one of those variables is causing good or bad effects? = CREATIVE
Must look at all variables and for each one make one of four choices:
1. Measure a variable- dependent, how they’re doing depends on
2. Manipulate a variable (independent variable)- worthy of study
3. Control variable
o One class gets a new math program; the other gets the old math
program, which does better? If everyone in new math does better, it is
a better program.
o SAMPLE is too small; all smart could be in new math.
o What is new math teacher is more motivated?
o Must prove to researcher that no other variable expect the new math
program that the students are doing better
o All kids have same IQ- if new do better, it’s the program- control
variable of IQ- its obviously a potential player
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