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Lecture 4

PSYCO 104 Lecture 4: PSYCH 104 – LECTURE #4 – Psychological Methods

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Eric Legge

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PSYCH 104 – LECTURE #4 – Psychological Methods
Topic 2: Psychological Methods
Difficulty in Studying Humans
1. Complexity: 500 000 000 interconnected neurons in brain
2. Variability: No 2 individuals are exactly the same
3. Reactivity: Observe vs not observe when performing an action
oOperational definition: Defining concept or variable in terms of specific
procedures used to produce or measure it
o3 things to be effective
1. Reliability: Measure assesses a given characteristic, or difference observers
agree on given score – degree which clinicians show high levels of
agreements in diagnosis
2. Validity: Extent which tests measures what it’s supposed to – degree which
diagnostic systems’ categories contain core features of behaviour disorders
and permit differentiation
3. Power: Detect conditions specified in operational definition
Demand Characteristics
oAspects of observational setting causing people to behave as they THINK they
Experiment: You may answer a certain way because you are under
study, resulting in bias
“Succumb to demand characteristic”
Naturalistic Observation
oA way around demand characteristic
Observe people in their natural environment without them knowing (best
method to prevent demand characteristic)
Can’t study everything
Can’t alert person being studied in any way – meaning can’t study many
Require LONG periods of observation to get SINGLE measure of desired
Alternatives to Naturalistic Observation
oEnsures anonymity and confidentiality
oMeasures not prone to demand characteristics
eg. fMRI (physiological measures)
eg. galvanic skin response test
Measures electrical conductivity of skin
oIncrease in emotions = increase in conductivity
Don’t tell people what you are studying until after experiment
Deception – using a cover story
Filler items: Make people think you are studying something else
Observer bias
oTwo main types
1. Expectations can influence measurements
Collect data in a fashion they wish to see it
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