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PSYC 332 - Intro to Personality

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PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

Friday January 14 2011 Lecture 5: Personality When can we trust research findings? Questions of the day: • How do you judge the scientific quality of a research study? • How important is it to have a theory to explain research findings? An experiment with problems • Ghostbusters clip of Bill Murray as Columbia University Professor • What are the problems with this “experiment”? o He lies, doesn’t give accurate responses, treats the woman differently than the man o Need to warn people if you’re going to give electrical response o Experimenter bias – you don’t want the experimenter running the experiment because they know the hypothesis etc (want someone who doesn’t know it) o Hypothesis of the study: negative reinforcement will improve ESP performance (most ppl will say there is no such thing as ESP) • Video Journal’s Paper on ESP Expected to Prompt Outrage • One of psychology’s most respected journals has agreed to publish a paper presenting what its author describes as strong evidence for extrasensory perception, the ability to sense future events. QuickTimeª and a TIare needed to see this picture. Daryl Bem By Benedict Carey, New York Times, Jan 5, 2011 The reactions: “Some scientists say the report deserves to be published, in the name of open inquiry; others insist that its acceptance only accentuates fundamental flaws in the evaluation and peer review of research in the social sciences.”  Most psychologists struggle to take this as a science The Editor of the Journal • “The editor of the journal, Charles Judd, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, said the paper went through the journal’s regular review process. “Four reviewers made comments on the manuscript,” he said, “and these are very trusted people.” • All four decided that the paper met the journal’s editorial standards, Dr. Judd added, even though “there was no mechanism by which we could understand the results.” o He is saying the empirical research lives up to our standards and we have no way of explaining this but we will publish it anyway Top Journals in Personality and Social Psychology • The best one is Journal of Personality and Social psychology – impact factor of about 5 or 6 • The rest only about 2 (J of Personality, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, J or Personality Research) Something I never thought I would teach: • Psi – anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are currently unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms. (has to do with ESP) 5 categories of Psi: • Telepathy – transfer of information from one person to another without any sensory communication mediation • Clairvoyance – perception of objects or events that don’t provide any known stimulus (to the known senses) perceiving something you cant possibly have access to • Psychokinesis – apparent influences of thoughts or intentions on physical or biological processes (move a pencil by thinking it should move) • Precognition – a cognitive or affective awareness of a future event, awareness can be conscious or unconscious it can be (anticipate and make a guess) • Premonition – affective or emotional awareness Psi is a controversial subject: survey of 1100 college profs Purpose of the research: Nine experiments designed to test precognition and premonition effects by “time- reversing” several well-established psychological effects so that the individual’s responses are obtained before the putatively causal stimulus events occur.  Priming – has been well demonstrated (speed up how quickly you can make judgments)  Bem is doing priming after something and he is going to show that what came after actually sped up your performance before (what went after went back in time and affected your behaviour) Empirical Challenge  Physical scientists are more likely than psychologists to accept the idea that there might be some Psi phenomenon  Arts professors etc are more likely, most skeptical are psychology professors  Bem knows there is an Empirical Challenge and a Theoretical Challenge • Empirical Challenge: To provide well-controlled demonstrations of psi that can be replicated by independent investigators. He wanted to meet this study by… o Simple and transparent as possible o Participants from general population o No complex instrumentation o Brief sessions o Straightforward statistical analyses Theoretical Challenge – to provide an explanatory theory for the alleged phenomenon that is compatible with physical and biological principles (acknowledges that even if he demonstrates that precognition can be shown, he still has to have a theory to explain it) He did 9 experiments, going to show 3 of them Study 1: Precognitive Detection of Erotic Stimuli This is an experiment that tests for ESP. It takes about 20 minutes and is run completely by computer. First you will answer a couple of brief questions. (measures an individual difference variable that predicts better performance on precognition, related to big 5 traits) Then, on each trial of the experiment, pictures of two curtains will appear on the screen side by side. One of them has a picture behind it; the other has a blank wall behind it. Your task is to click on the curtain that you feel has the picture behind it. The curtain will then open, permitting you to see if you selected the correct curtain. There will be 36 trials in all. WARNING: Several of the pictures contain explicit erotic images (e.g., couples engaged in nonviolent but explicit consensual sexual acts). If you object to seeing such images, you should not participate in this experiment. Materials: • 18 – neutral picture • 18 – erotic picture • After you picked than you would find out if there was a picture there or not • The way he set it up is that the computer doesn’t decide until after you picked where the picture would be (generated a random order) • Tried to differentiate between foretelling the future and being able to see whats behind Study 1 Results • 100 sessions • 50% hit rate expected by chance. • Actual hit rate for erotic photos: 53.1% (people guess correctly, you can do a t test that checks the probability of finding this result and its significant…) • Actual hit rate for neutral pictures: 49.6% • Difference from chance is significant, t (99) = 2.51, p < .01 Only 1 experiment Repeated study with unpleasant images – found people avoided the unpleasant image (more likely to pick away from the unpleasant image) and he again found a better than random chance Study 2: Retroac
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