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Social psychology lecture2.docx

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Jennifer Ostovich

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Research methods The scientific method  Observe, theory, hypothesis, prediction, test  If confirmed, adds to theory and observations  Theories are always being developed by more research (supported and not supported)  Some hypothesis fail to support it and it is back to the drawing board Do scientists prove stuff?  Scientists support it with evidence but it is not 100%  Use statistics but statistics don’t prove something 100%  No hypothesis or theory can ever be proven  Doesn’t prove, makes it seem very likely after showing supporting evidence How to test hypotheses  Data collection decisions o Faced with a trade off between 2 things 1. experimental control (internal validity): are the findings real or a fluke due to uncontrolled factors? Can we say that x caused y? 2. Generalizability (external validity): can the finding be applied to others or are they relevant only to the group being studied?  Other types of experiments tend to have a lot of control whereas correlational studies and field studies don’t have a lot of control (asking questions, watching them)  We end up with a lot of generalizability  The subjects experience that the experience is very real Correlational studies  Not the best way of determining causality  Question: how are a set of variables related with one another? (Relationship)  Methodologies: surveys (ex. Personality correlated with behaviour)  Correlations are never perfect  Uncontrolled variables can make something look like its not correlated with something else (Ex. extraversion has nothing to do with parties because you didn’t think to measure other variables that are like going to parties)  Pre-existing data: elevation level and athletic achievement  The closer the points are to the line the higher correlation  Positive goes up; negative goes down  Positive +1; negative -1; the number is what matters; the + or – tells you in which direction the correlation is moving  The zero correlation: no correlation (back to the drawing board)  Correlation does not equal causation o You want to say A cause B but you can also say B caused A; really you don’t know which is which o Could be other variables o Don’t make causal statements; we just know there is a relationship between 2 variables  The third variable problem: violent crime and ice cream sales; third variable is temperature Experiments  Where things are at in social psychology  Social psychologists are famous for their fun, silly, and smart experiments  Done in a lab with controlled conditions (control lets to make a causal statements) o Use a cover story: lie about what the experiment is really for to distract them from what we are really doing; if they knew what we were doing it might change their behaviour
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