PSYC496AV Lecture Notes - Testability, Eating Disorder, 7 Women

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12 Feb 2013
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There is less than total agreement about how ab beh ought to be studied and what are the
facts of the field
SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS
Science is the pursuit of systematized knowledge through observation
Comes from latin term “to know” refers to both a method and to a goal
Its always imp for scientific observations and explanations to be testable and reliable
(replicable)
Testability and Replicability
A scientific approach requires 1st that propositions and ideas be states in a clear and
precise way
Must be testable in the public arena
If the event cannot be reproduced scientists become wary of the legitimacy of the original
observation
The role of theory
A theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena
A primary goal of science is to advance theories to account for data often by proposing
cause –effect relationships
A theory permits the generation of hypotheses ---expectations about what should occur
if a theory is true ---to be testes in research
Theories are constructions put together by scientists. Ex: repression is a theoretical
concept
A theoretical concept such as acquired fear is useful in accounting for the fact that some
earlier experiences can have an effect on our current beh
Several advantages can be gained by using theoretical terms: ex: we may want to bridge
temporal gaps with theoretical concepts or theoretical concepts can also summarize
already observed relationships EX: PG 134
Earlier school of thought called operationism proposed that each concept take as its
meaning a single observable and measurable operation. This way each theoretical concept
would be nothing more than one particular measurable event
Theoretical concepts are better defined by sets of operations than by a single operation
THE RESEARCH METHODS OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
All empirical research entails the collection of observable data
Sometimes research remains at a purely descriptive level but often researcher observe
several events and try to determine how they are associated or related
Ex: eating disorder much more common in women than men.
We want more than a description of relationships we want to understand the causes
The case study
Study ppl one at a time and record detailed info about them
J.Brett Barkley is an ex
Prepare a case study by collecting historical and biographical info on a single indiv often
including experiences in therapy
The role of the clinicians paradigm in determining the kinds of info actually collected and
reported in a case study. Ex: case studies of psychoanalytically oriented clinicians contain
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