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Lecture 2

PSYB01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Simple Explanation, Sensemaking, Empiricism

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Anna Nagy

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Introduction of the scientific method, and introduction of ethics
Library lab on the 26th, long weekend next class
Library lab: sign-up will be posted on Blackboard, it will be a 1-hour library lab
Read chapter 1 of the Tri-Council policy for the first class of June
There can be different views with different explanations to a challenge, for example a psychiatrist and a
cognitive-behavioural therapist. It is good to have an open mind, and not necessarily believe one or the
Go and do the research yourself, determine who is really giving you a strong argument and who is
feeding you a lie
Experts disagree with each other all the time
The data out there is probably more useful than your own intuition
Confirmation bias—your coworkers say the new worker is lazy and you start to look for things that
confirm this bias
Little data—you have one experience and make a judgment. That little data could lead you to make a
wrong judgment
Influence of expectations—focusing on the context, what is going on in the background. Picture:
science class, that picture must be a heart
Pleasant truths
Base rates, and what variable is causing the change—we must have something to compare it against
and know what things looked like to begin with
Keep these 7 factors in mind when you look at things
Theoretical frameworks differ based on interpretation of what we are looking at
Why Science?
Provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating, and reporting information
We have to be skeptical of science as well
Some of what you read is not very good, despite all of the safeguards in place
People disagree with each other in published studies
Every study has a flaw of some sort—nothing is perfect
You want to be looking for convergence in literature, where studies come together to support a
similar idea
You also want to look for disagreement
You also want to look at gaps, where the questions remained unanswered
When you read research articles, do not just take the conclusions that the authors have made, look at
them more carefully
Is this a good study?
How did they operationalize their variables?
Was the methodology appropriate for the question?
Is other data supportive or contradictory to this one?
Science is designed in a way that we are creating framework to make sense of information
In science, a theory is the sense-making of the data available
For example, there are a number of ways to conceptualize “stress”—there are difference lenses to look
at stress
Skepticism and Empiricism
Intuition and authority legitimate source of ideas
Need for skepticism
Ideas must be evaluated based on careful logic and results from scientific investigations
More you know about scientific method, the more skeptical you will be of research results
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