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PSY 302 Lecture Notes - Naturalistic Observation, Prenatal Development, Test Validity

Course Code
PSY 302
Alba A.

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Class Notes – Lecture 2 – Chapter 1 continued & Chapter 2
A. The Scientific Method
An approach to testing beliefs that involves:
Choosing a question
Formulating a hypothesis
(i.e., an educated guess)
Testing the hypothesis
Drawing a conclusion
Importance of Appropriate Measurement
- Relevance to hypotheses
- Reliability
- Validity
Reliability and Validity
Is a particular test a good measure of development?
Must be both reliable and valid to
Reliability: does test given consistent outcome each time?
Validity: does test really measure what it purports to measure?
Some measure may be reliable one time but not other
How you test validity? Most part is what u believe in
Reliability and Validity
Measurement (cont’d)
Extent to which a test accurately reflects what it is intended to measure
Validity = reliability
Reliability ≠ validity
Ex. Intelligence and a tape measure
The degree to which independent measurements of a given behavior are
Interrater reliability: The amount of agreement in the observations of
different raters who witness the same behavior. quality
Test-retest reliability: Attained when measures of performance are similar
on two or more occasions quantity

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Refers to the degree to which a test or experiment measures what it is intended to
Researchers strive for two types of validity:
Internal validity is the degree to which effects observed within
experiments can be attributed to the variables that the researcher intentionally
manipulated. --> being able to say that the outcome is because of the manipulation
that I did.
High internal validity: the researcher has control the experiment as much as
Test scores: those who studied more get more mark, this is low internal
validity unless the experimenter control other factors that might affect the
mark ex. Motivation level, gender, etc
External validity: is the degree to which results can be generalized beyond
the particulars of the research.
Questions of Interest
Table 1.3
B. Contexts for gathering Data about Children
1. Interviews
Structured interview: A research procedure in which all participants are asked to
answer the same questions. try not to deviate from script, more general knowledge
Clinical interview: A procedure in which questions are adjusted in accord with the
answers the interviewee provides detailed knowledge, the interviewer will deviate
from the script questioned
Caveat: Although interviews yield a great deal of data quite quickly and can
provide in-depth information about individual children, the answers to interview
questions are often biased.
2. Naturalistic observation
Observe situation without intervening
Examine how events/behaviors unfold in a natural setting
Pepler & Craig (1995) bullying in the school yard
Problem with naturalistic observation naturally occurring contexts vary on
many dimensions; many behavior occur only occasionally in the everyday environment.\
Takes longer to observe the desired question that’s wanted to be observed
3. Structured observation
Exposure to a setting that might cue behavior in question compliance of
children with parents. boys are more likely to be distracted and less compliant than
There are so many variables to answer the why

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Naturalistic Observation
Used when the primary goal of research is to describe how children behave
in their usual environments
Because naturally occurring contexts vary on many dimensions, it is often
hard to know which ones influenced the behavior of interest.
Also, many behaviors occur only occasionally in everyday environments,
and so researchers’ opportunities to study them through naturalistic
observation are reduced.
Observer influence (biased?)
Structured Observation
- Involves presenting an identical situation to a number of children and recording
each child’s behavior, enabling direct comparisons of different children’s behavior
and making it possible to establish the generality of behavior across different tasks
Does not provide as much information about children’s subjective
experiences and does not provide as natural a situation.
Contexts for Gatherin.g Data
Table 1.4
C. Correlational & Causation
The primary goal of studies that use correlational designs is to determine how
variables are related to one another.
A correlation is the association between two variables.
The direction and strength of a correlation is measured by a statistic called
the correlation coefficient.
Correlation Scatterplot
Correlation Scatterplot (cont’d) positive correlation independent variable increase, dep
variable also increase. Ex. R= 0.9
Correlation Scatterplot (cont’d) negative correlation ind incr, dep dec. ex. R= -0.9
Correlation Causation!
Direction-of-causation problem
It is not possible to tell from a correlation which variable is the cause and
which is the effect.
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