PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Dependent And Independent Variables, Operational Definition, Phonics

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15 Nov 2016

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Lecture 6 and 7: Experiments, Finding the Cause
- Experiments validate causal relationships
Shark Example
- When a shark attacks a cage with a human inside, we believe that we
understand what the shark is feeling
o We believe that they are trying to attack the human
- Sharks don’t want to eat humans
o They are fussy eaters and you can dive with them
- The sharks have sensors called the ampules of antranzinni
o They sense electrical activity and they use it to hunt and to tell the
difference between humans and fish
o Whats going on doesn’t have to do with predatory behaviour
o The senses are affected by the metal, so they cant figure out what is in
front of them, like a light being shone into our eyes
We would want to get the light out of the way
The shark is attacking the cage
- An experiment would be to put a metal bar in the water and turn electrical
currents on and off and see the behaviour the shark shows
More terminology
- Experiment: Contrasting behaviour in at least 2 conditions
o Want the conditions to differ in a way that matters
In this case, current on vs current off
Experimental and controlled condition
- Variables
o Independent variable: The variable we are manipulating
The presence of an electrical current in the bar (On vs off)
o Dependent variable: What we are measuring
Independent variable affects the dependent
In this case it would be a sharks aggression
o Operational Definitions: how we are going to do it
How will we measure aggression
Its an abstract concept, but it needs to be measured
Biting or hitting is aggression
When the current is off, how often does it hit or bite the bar
When it is on, how often do they hit or bite the bar
- Validity vs Reliability
o Validity: Refers to whether one believes that a given operational
definition really reflects the theoretical entity it means to represent
o Belief in validity is increased by
Manipulation checks
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