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Lecture 1

PSYB01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Term Paper, Critical Thinking, Epigenetics


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB01H3
Professor
Anna Nagy
Lecture
1

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Anna Nagy—Instructor
Sometimes, we have biases that we are not aware of
Science is a method. It is a tool to gather and make sense of data. Therefore, we also should question
science
How did they do the research in the study? What were their methods and flaws?
Every study has flaws
We look for contradictions—studies that disagree with each other
You might believe that people come along with groundbreaking ideas, it is actually usually a slow
process
Why are these two studies not agreeing? We come up with ways of testing why they are not
Today: A basic introduction, Syllabus, term expectations, August 6th (Wednesday) we have class
Professor likes participation, put your hand up and ask questions
Next week: ethics, case study, short reading
Other days there will be group work and interactions with classmates
Professor is interested in stress and health, the effects of chronic stress on brain function
Bio-psycho-social approach
Stress hormones secreted in important events is good, it helps survival
However, our memory, immune system etc. would be affected. Being stressed for a chronic time would
be harmful
You would catch every cold and flu, be unable to heal wounds, etc.
How does stress affect wound healing? Ohio State University found that people even mildly chronically
stressed had immune function severely compromised compared to non-stress controls
Everything that is not essential during acute stressful events are compromised in chronic stress
For your project, think about something that is exciting and meaningful to you. Otherwise, it will be
boring
Textbook: Methods in Behavioural Research by Cozby and Rawn
Attend lectures AND read the textbook every week
Critical thinking, and research—research is a valuable tool
The lens through which you ask a question will influence the answer you receive
Up to 2% bonus provided for proposal
If you study—understand the contents and apply them—the class will be easy
Deep-encoding strategies: thinking about the material and integrate it with what you already know
After every paragraph, stop and ask yourself, “What did I just read?”
Syllabus
Course runs on Blackboard—all materials will be posted there
Slides are just basic, you should actually come to class because professor adds more detail
Ethics chapter: only read the summary because majority comes from external reading
Email should be replied to in 2 days, otherwise send the message again
Midterm exam (35%): 50 M/C, 2 Short answer/Essay questions
Very rarely are questions based on memory, they are more often application questions
Short answer questions are drawn from in-class topics
Final exam (40%): M/C only—but will have scenario questions for application
Research proposal (25%)
Term paper is due in-class and on turn-it-in, July 28
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Research proposal: You are not conducted experiments or collecting data. You are just proposing a
study and talking about what you would be doing for your study
Introduction: 4-5 pages double-spaced
Tell your reader about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and showing why it is logical to believe
that you’ll find what you think you’ll find
Research proposal should take your area of interest a step further from what has already been done
You have to start soon—do not leave it for the last week
The most time-consuming part would probably be finding the literature
Empirical articles tell you about abstract/summary of an actual study that was done, tells you about
detailed methods, how the study was done, has a results sections and then has a discussion which
takes the data and relates it back to original framework and hypothesis
6 peer reviewed articles must be included, 5 of which have to be empirical articles
So, somehow you are addressing a contraction, or simply reading a body of literature and saying,
“What questions remain unanswered”
It is expected that you articulate an understanding of research and take the work to a next step
It is not as difficult as you think—the worst part is probably thinking about how hard it can be
Find something you can actually get excited about
Potential topics: think about your favourite topics in A01 or A02, or something related to your own/
family’s mental health issues. That would make this project fun
2-3 pages for introduction, 1-2 pages for your methodology (how you would conduct your study)—you
can use other methodologies, but make sure to cite
It is an application of what we learn in the course
You can use this as a starting point for further papers/work, such as your thesis!
No class May 19th
May 26th class is not in IC 130, it is a library lab for which you will have to sign up for
For this day, try to have an idea of what your topic would be
Start brainstorming ideas!
For next week, read Chapters 1-3, and Chapter 1 of the Tri-Council policy
Lecture
The Scientific Approach
Studying Psychology
Psychology is the explicit study of how people think, feel, and behave
Psychology is a vast field, and has changed a lot. Back in the day, it was more philosophical. Today,
it has become more scientific. Again, science is a tool by which we can systematically evaluate and
explain data we collect
Why use science as a method in psychology to understand how people think, feel, and behave?
Many themes and studies contained within the discipline—it varies vastly
The photograph shows a slice of a rat’s brain—the hippocampus
Endogenous estrogen injected into its brain and see how it affects the rat
How the cells divided in the brain, and whether the hormone made a difference
Epi-genetics suggests that the nature-nurture theory is dead—actually, many of the genes that we have
can be turned on or off depending on environmental factors
We can look at laws in psychology
We can look at personality, physiology
The field is vast
How does Psychology Differ from Philosophy, the Humanities?
The difference is in the method used to study
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