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PSY213 LEC 2 NOTES.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Giampaolo Moraglia

Thursday January 17, 2013 METATHEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES (LEC2) *Bronfenbzemme -Today: precise understanding of concepts -How is one to make sense of “this”; Look for differences between research and methods used, statistical analysis -Methodological choices METATHEORIES PROVIDE AN OUTLOOK ON THE KEY ASPECTS OF A LARGE DOMAIN OF REALITY  Three major meta-theories in the area of adult development - Mechanistic - Organismic -Contextual -Historically human-development has been approached by different perspectives, referred to as meta-theories. -A meta-theory is a theory whose subject matter is some theory of the world or methods for accessing the world. It is an object of concern to the area in which the individual theory is conceived -Meta: beyond and above -Provides an insight -Plays an essential role in research because it drives theory development and determines what data is to be collected and why, and what constitutes as a values explanation and question -Extends beyond boundaries of just one discipline -Influence a number of developments -3 major theories have stood out in data collection and theory Mechanistic st -Predominated in the first half of the 21 century when behavior psychology became dominant -Black state -All learning and everything that we are is to be acquired by experience -Watson and Skinner -Watson strongly objected to the dominant paradigm of psychology at the time: Structuralism (first school of psychology setting its own definition of the mind) -It sought out to accomplish this goal of INTROSPECTION (the act of introspection is the act of the content of your own mind, not observable by others and difficult to build a science on this subjective methodology) -Tried to create a psychology without a mind (non observable) What is observable? -An environment and the behavior of the organism to the environmental contingencies -We can observe and define the environment and the behavior of the organism -We can control as well -In the assumption of behavior: the organism comes into the world “empty” --If the mind does exist, it is empty --Depends entirely what we put into it --The experiment has total control of the environment and how the animal can respond -More recently, this form of radical behavior was done by Skinner. -Social Learning Theory -Moving away from a strict mechanistic view -Maybe the organism had come into the world with predispositions Organismic Perspective -Unfolds to a largely predetermined blueprint or plan -As long as the environment provides basic necessitates; support and stimulation the organism will unfold**** -The earliest theories of human dev. Within this perspective begin with Motor development -The theory of Cognitive development (Piaget) -Gesell -Erick Erikson -Carl Young -Adopt a similar organismic stage base of development Contextual Perspective -“Dialectical meta-theory” -Development springs/arises from the interruption between the individual’s biological and psychological makeup and layers and components of the environment -This approach integrates both mechanistic and organismic view of development -One of the most influential of this view is Bronfenbzemme Metatheories are so broad that they cut through other important disciplines -Common between these are age related, and the unfolding of human life -Differ in terms of level of analysis they document SEVERAL DISCIPLINES CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF ADULTHOOD  Life Sciences  Psychology  Sociology  Anthropology  History  Humanities Life sciences: Biological Psychology: concentrates instead in changes that occur within the individual Sociology: Anthropology and History study the effects of cultural influences -All play a role and complex way in determining human development -A better understanding is found by integrating all these disciplines -Based on assumptions that are incompatible with one another: A problem in integration of successful theories --If within the same disciple it is difficult to harmonize different theories, imagine the difficulties in integrating different fields KEY RESEARCH CONCEPTS THAT GUIDE EMPIRICAL RESEARCH  RELIABILITY - Test-retest - Inter-observer -2 concepts of great importance are reliability and validity -Reliability: consistency and stability of findings over time -In general we trust our findings (considered reliable) every time we start with the same conditions -One study that has achieved something is not enough* -Various types of reliability: A couple of them are test-retest and inter-observer -Test-retest: high on first then low on the next  Regarded as unreliable; cannot know which IQ score is a real index of the individual’s intelligence -Another issue is… -Inter-observer: if observers rate the same level of anxiety with different judgment (found acutely in medical diagnosis when different experiments perceive symptoms to different conclusions)  VALIDITY - Construct - Predictive - Internal - External -VALIDITY: whether we succeeded in studying what we sent out to study…when a certain research addresses what the research wanted to study in the first place -Construct validity: the fit between the research instrument and the behavior it seeks to measure. (IQ Tests: some argue that it measures much more than intelligence, and therefore not valid as a measure of intelligence) Construct Validity: Ability of a researcher to demonstrate that the manipulation and measures used in a study pertain to, or represent, the concept or phenomenon under study. Other critics go even further and contend that many intelligence tests are much too narrow to measure intelligence, and based upon intelligence in a mechanistic context Question the construct: does not measure what it seeks to measure -Predictive validity: how well someone does on a test predicts how someone does in real life -Internal validity: is an issue that arises in studies Researcher has designed an experiment in such a way as many factors that are extraneous to the purpose and the controls. If the experiment succeeds in controlling these extraneous factors--if the investigator succeeds in this, research seen as succeeding in internal validity Very careful to control the time of day, the size of the room, the temperature, and the level of illumination: all equalized across all conditions controlling all these extraneous variables that can impact the study Any finding is threatened when internal validity fails, and fails to control extraneous variables -External validity: extent to which it is possible to generalize our research If results of study can be applied to similar situations than succeeds to accomplish external validity Is this something that normally applies to a general situation? To what extent can the findings be generalized? Choices -One of the key ways by which we insure external validity that enables us to trust that our findings can be generalized is by making a sound decision in the subjects of our study  SAMPLING - Random - Random-stratified Interested in finding things about a population (made up of all members in the study, as long as they are the target of the study) Up to the observer to choose the target of the investigation -In many cases, populations are much too large to study Select a sample (small group of members in that population) and study this sample…choose a sample that is represented -The key choice to be made in order to ensure external validity is Random sample Random Selection: Each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected to ensure representativeness. -If a sample is large enough for the purposes of our study then we can trust that the study contains representative subgroups of the population Ex. Do a study on the effects of age: want to make sure our sample represents each stage; stratifying sample is important (proportion to population is important) Stratification is the process of dividing members of the population into homogenous sub-groups before sampling. -Now that we have the participants, how do we go about collecting data from these subjects? -Choose method based on question seeking to answer MAIN METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION  SELF-REPORT METHODS - Interviews - Surveys - Questionnaires SELF-REPORT METHODS -Rely on the subjects’ responses on a set of questions (vary) -This type of method has ADVANTAGES: a lot of info can be collected easily, quickly and cheaply from a lot of people DISADVANTAGE: quality of the question is bound to affect the validity of the results. -Make question as unbiased as possible -Quality of the data depends on the responses of the participants -Subjects responses can be distorted by cognitive reasons; faulty memory -“Answer to look good”; socially desirable and produce a response in accordance to social desirability -Interpretation that the subject makes that is expected of them Especially in the case of certain types of questions: unconscious psychological defenses can interfere with the subjects’ ability to answer truthfully --“Truthfulness”  BEHAVIORAL METHODS BEHAVIOURAL -Physiological measure and tests -When we take this route we do not ask people to tell us an aspect of their personality or ability (reading ability) -You administer a test of reading ability and obtain quantitative data on ability Do not rely on subject’s perception of their reading ability ADVANTAGE: quantification is highly prized -Measure is quite efficient with good reliability and validity, a great deal can be learned from subjects DISADVANTAGES: accuracy of measures is achieved by using tasks that are fairly simple that are not representative of the population Simplify the task that is no longer representative of real life behavior There are limits of time and money in using these types of tools -Many of these tests have the level of reliability and validity that we require them to have  NATURALISTIC OBSERVATIONS NATURALISTIC -Methods used to conduct a purely descriptive research -Observe and report what is spontaneously happening in the observation field -Diane Facet and gorillas -Real life behavior as opposed to artificial created behavior created in experiments -DISADVATAGES: no control on behavior that you wish to observe Do not have the power to produce these behaviors, and must wait for these behaviors to be manifested Natural settings are complex: Find that there is so much activity you cannot observe all the important observations all at once Observer Fatigue in natural settings The potential that bias and subjectivity on part of the observer can affect the results that the research wants to serve Presence of observer comes known may change results Field studies are difficult to replicate the same sets of conditions Often provides a description but not an explanation of a behavior Can see the gorillas are fighting but unsure of what brought it about Sometimes the same answers can be addressed by a lab study and control and produce the behavior under controlled conditions BASIC RESEARCH DESIGNS  Case Studies  Correlational Studies  Experimental Studies  Quasi-Experimental Studies What kind of instruments will be used to acquire data…and now we must choose the research design of a study -4 basic designs are used CASE STUDIES: Info is gathered through interviews, testing, observations etc. …Research design covering a single case or life, based on observations, interviews, or biographical and documentary material -Often conducted by clinicians in order to diagnose and treat -May be used as a starting point for research -Piaget studied his own children -This methodology can generate useful hypothesis Investigate the life of a highly creative individual and find specific factors and events that appear to play a critically important role in developing his/hers’ creativity Environment can play an important role Tantalizing clue, but you cannot base your conclusion on one study you can use it as a start, and conduct more studies -Comes from interviews with the subject, relatives and friends -Limitation: Study can influence one individual and the findings cannot be generalized (external validity is at risk) -Case studies can only get us so far -Require a lot more data in order to validate our hypothesis CORRELATIONAL seeks to determine if there is a relationship between 2 or more variables -Only describes but does not explain the relationship -Many use correlation coefficient that is simply a number that measure the strength between the 2 variables -The stronger the relationship between these 2 variables -1 1 -In general .7 or stronger is considered “strong” in psychology -Vary in the same direction --Positive and negative correlation --Negative correlation reflects and inverse relationship ADVANTAGES -Correlations are used in making predictions -Correlation between accidents and age group  insurance price DISADVANTAGES -Cannot tell us if there is a causal effect between the variables -The recent study of health found a strong correlation between vitamin C intake and longevity: cannot conclude that vitamins make you live longer because there are other factors at play as well (those who intake vitamins are most likely to eat well, exercise, etc) -The fact that two variables are correlated does not imply that one causes the other -Correlation may suggest a hypothesis that then can be tested Case studies and correlation studies can provide hypotheses or predictions to be tested by experimental research EXPERIMINTAL: The only methodology that causal relationships between 2 variables can be established -Response to treatment can be measured with the purpose of measuring the causal effect between medication and those who get better -Must be careful to choose a representative sample --Need a sample that contains boys and girls with similar socio-economic status etc --Population at large in the polio case is children. One group is given the medication and the other group is given a placebo. You know which child is in each group to see the differential treatment on group assignment. Double-blind study. In all other aspects the groups are treated in the same way. In the end there should only be one difference between the groups, so that the internal validity is high, and the conclusion of the study is dependent on dependant variables. Then can see if cure is to the effects of the vaccine ADVANTAGES: -Ability to establish cause and affect relationship -This method provides internal validity -Can be replicated DISADVANTAGES: -Critics argue that main laboratories fail to achieve External validity -Additional concerns of some experimental treatment -Cannot expose subjects to dangerous chemicals QAUSI EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES A study which resembles an experiment, in that it attempts to measure change or to find differences among groups, but which lacks control based on random assignment ( Technique used in assigning members of a study sample to experimental and control groups, in which each member of the sample has an equal chance to be assigned to each group and to receive or not receive the treat)…nt -All Age studies are quasi-experimental studies -Ex. Has been an explosion somewhere in the city where toxins are being spewed in the surround
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