PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Dependent And Independent Variables

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PSYA01 – Introduction to Psychology Part 1 Chapter 2.2
Chapter 2.2: Experimentation - Finding the Cause
Shark Example
Scenario 1: Person is in a cage, the shark looks like it wants to eat the person
Scenario 2. Person is not in a cage, the shark doesn’t look like it wants to eat the person and is
swimming with the person
The cage is attracting the shark, and the person inside is just there coincidently
Hypothesis: if you turn the electrical current on that is connected to the cage, the shark
will act more aggressive
Terminology
Experiment – involves contrasting “behaviour” across two (or more) conditions that “differ” in
some way that should matter according to some theory.
Shark Scenario Example: affecting behaviour
Independent Variable – variable that was changed to create the critical difference across
conditions
Shark Scenario Example: presence/absence of current
Present = experimental condition
Absence = controlled condition
Whether it is on/off = independent variable
Dependent Variable – a variable that reflects the “behaviour” of interest
1. Shark Scenario Example: aggression <-has to be specific
oSpecifically: if the shark has physical contact/biting against the bar then it is
defined as “aggression”
Operational Definitions
The need to make the connection between abstract theoretical ideas and concrete variables
that can be manipulated or measured
Example: You blame a group of people that they knocked over a stock of paper. If you lower
someone’s self-esteem, then they will be more prejudicial towards that race.
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Document Summary

Scenario 1: person is in a cage, the shark looks like it wants to eat the person. Experiment involves contrasting behaviour across two (or more) conditions that differ in some way that should matter according to some theory: shark scenario example: affecting behaviour. Independent variable variable that was changed to create the critical difference across conditions: shark scenario example: presence/absence of current, present = experimental condition, absence = controlled condition, whether it is on/off = independent variable. Dependent variable a variable that reflects the behaviour of interest: shark scenario example: aggression

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