PSYCH 1200 - CH 2 NOTES.docx

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31 Mar 2012
Scientific Principles
- Immediate environment powerfully influences behaviour
- Each bystander assumes that someone else would help or call for help
Diffusion of responsibility psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal
responsibility for intervening
Hypothesis a tentative explanation or prediction about some phenomenon
- *if an emergency occurs, then the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any one
bystander will be to intervene
- Formulate a testable hypothesis (ask a question) translate hypothesis into prediction test
hypothesis (research) analyze findings & draw conclusions build theories develop new
hypotheses (self-correcting)
Theory set of formal statements broader than hypotheses; specify lawful relations between certain
behaviours & their causes
Theory of social impact used to explain a variety of human social behaviours
Causes conditions responsible for an occurrence
Hindsight after-the-fact related past events can be explained in many creative, reasonable, &
sometimes contradictory ways
o Understanding through prediction & control is a scientific alternative to after-the-fact
- Integrated network of predictions
- Good theory must:
o Incorporate existing facts & observations w/in a single broad framework organizes
info in a meaningful way
o Be testable; generate new hypotheses ((in)accuracy can be evaluated)
o (findings) be supported by findings of new research
o Conform to law of parsimony (if 2 theories can explain & predict the same phenomena
equally well, the simple theory is the preferred one)
Variable any characteristic that can differ (i.e. gender, age, ethnicity, etc.)
o Memory, personality, intelligence, stress, etc.
Operational definition defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or
measure it; translate an abstract term into something observable & measureable
Self-report measures ask ppl to report on their own knowledge, beliefs, feelings, experiences, or
behaviour (via interviews, questionnaires, psychological tests)
Social desirability bias tendency of participants to give an answer that gives a good impression
rather than one that reflects how they truly feel/behave
o Minimize bias by wording questions in such a way that social desirability is not relevant
or by guaranteeing anonymity/confidentiality
- Suggestive (biased) interview techniques used to “draw out” allegations suggestive questions
that are repeated can cause some children to falsely report/come to believe that fictitious
events are real
Physiological measures heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, hormonal secretions, etc.
Behavioural observations facial expressions, parent-child interactions, marital communications, etc.
o Arguments/measurements must be reliable/consistent
Archival measures already-existing records or documents
Unobtrusive measures behaviour recorded in a way that keeps the participant(s) unaware that
they are being observed
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