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Lecture 9

PSYC 2360 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Demand Characteristics, Social Desirability Bias, Research Question

Course Code
PSYC 2360
Dan Meegan

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Chapter 9: Multigroup Design
* Research question: can the experience of warmth lead you to see global warming
as more problematic, consequently influencing your attitudes and behaviours?
Ideas to Innovation operationally defining DV
- First, you want to develop clear, concise and repeatable conceptual
definitions of our key terms
- an existing definition from a credible source is useful because the definitions
validity has been already established
- Good self-report measures ask multiple questions (participants can then
provide thoughts indicating how much they agree with each statement on a
5-point scale)
- Self-report measures may inadvertently introduce demand characteristics
o Ex. the self-report item may make it very obvious what you are hoping
to find in the study so the participant would think “They are asking
me about global warming, so it must be a problem. They seem likeable
enough and I want to help them out so I will pick, yes strongly agree
o Demand characteristics may even be more of a problem if we ask
questions about global warming right after we provide participants
with a direct and obvious experience of heat or cold
- To minimize demand characteristics and social desirability: disguise purpose
of study
o Include questions that don’t relate to dependent variable
o Add questions about other social issues if you have a topic of global
warming (marriage rights, health care) or environmental issues
(water quality, littering) so that there dozens of questions with the
key global warming issue nestled with other issues these would act
as distractor questions to help counteract hypothesis-guessing
o Assure participant of confidentiality and anonymity
o Consider asking the participant during the post-experiment interview,
or debriefing, about what they were thinking as they read over the
self-report items
May be social desirability concerns during debriefing so make
process as nonthreatening as possible
- Hypothesis-guessing: this occurs when the participant actively attempts to
identify the purpose of the research
o If the participant don’t know which questions are the “real” ones, they
will have a harder time figuring out the study’s true purpose
- True test of a person’s belief focuses on what the person does, rather than
what they say
- To increase the mundane realism of a petition, you can add a few signatures
ahead of time making sure each signature appears unique by using different
ink colours and handwriting styles and put petition on a clipboard
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o Addition of fake signatures ahead of time is deceptive, they have to be
fake in order to keep the identity of the actual participants hidden
don’t let participants actually sign the petitions or else they can see
the other participant names (give different sheets)
o Each participants should get the exact same sheet so that its constant
o If it was different for each participants, the number of signatures
would be considered another variable because it could influence the
decisions to sign petition or not
To resolve this, debrief participants by telling them the
purpose of the study, the nature of the deception and the
reason for its use to make sure the participant left the study in
a similar place as entered
- Self-report benefit: directly asking participant about their feelings in a
quick and simple fashion, but has downside of participant being less than
- Behavioural measure of asking participant to sign a petition can give more
authentic responses, but required a bit of inference regarding the underlying
meaning of the behaviour
o Ex. person could sign a petition because of their actual concerns about
global warming, or because they just like signing petitions
- Methodological pluralism: the use of multiple methods or strategies to
answer a research question
o In most cases, operationally defining most attitudes by using self-
reports and behavioural measurements would be beneficial such that
the strengths of some compensated for the weaknesses of another
Operationally defining IV
- multigroup design: an experimental design with three or more groups
o allows us to have multiple levels of independent variable
- Benefit of multigroup: two studies for the price of one
o Instead of 2 distinct studies, we can run one study where we have 3
groups (3 levels of independent variable: hot, cold and moderate)
o Saves time, saves the hassle of finding more participants for different
studies participants in moderate (control group) can be compared
to both hot and cold temp
o Allows us to make direct comparisons between hot and cold and to
test the possibility that experiencing any type of aberrant or different
temperature influences attitudes towards global warming
- Benefit of multi group design: identifying relationships
o Without a moderate condition, we would only have 2 data points
which would lead us to assume linear relationship between our values
o Allows us to identify a potential nonlinear (or functional) relationship
o Nonlinear (or functional) relationship: any association between
variables that using just two-comparison groups cannot uncover.
Those relationships, often identified on a graph as a curved or
curvilinear line, help provide us with a clearer picture of how IV may
influence the DV
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