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Lecture 2

PSYB01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Scientific Progress, Meteorology, Cognitive Therapy

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Anna Nagy

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Week 02 Lecture Notes
Conclusion of Part 1 and Ethics
What is Science?
o Review and Critique of the Scientific Method
Review from last week: 7 Limitations of Personal Experience...
o Methods we use in day to day world and in some other disciplines subject to numerous
o Can you remember what they are?
Theres more biases out there
Confirmation bias/discounting problem, inferences based on very little data,
influence of expectations, overreliance on intuition, the influence of authority
figures, our beliefs in pleasant truths only, base rates/comparisons often absent
o Thinkpair—share…
Have you come across any examples in your daily life?
Why Science?
o Provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating, and reporting information.
o Science is a standardized methodology for assessing ideas and the validity of info that
we gather
What is Science?
o Use of Systematic Empiricism
o Examination of Solvable problems
o Production of Public Knowledge
Fundamental Characteristics of Scientific Method
o Systematic Empiricism
Knowledge based on systemic observations
Conclusions about the nature of the world based on collection and evaluation
(interpreted and analyzed) of data that is evaluated in a systematic way
We dont change our methodology
Adds element of objectivity
Structure or framework for all research that is current on a question or
problem in the discipline
Scientists attempt to advance or refine the theory and disprove aspects of
Scientists will derive research questions and formulate hypotheses based
on what they expect to find
usually theory driven
Science: Empirically Solvable
o Are questions empirical? have to be testable
IF empirical/testable/solvable (must be falsifiable):
Theory usually derived from theory but not always
Prediction hypothesis based on what we expect to find given the
current evidence or given some sort of contradiction that we think may
arise with a different finding
Test to see if evidence supports hypothesis
Theory Modification according to results from the test with the new
data that has been acquired
o Examples…
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Does God exist? not empirically solvable
What is the meaning of life? not empirically solvable
Do violent video games cause aggression in children? empirically testable
o Kids watch a video of adults violently interacting (physically and verbally) with the
bobo doll
o Kids who watched the video also acted violently towards the bobo doll when they got
the chance to interact with it in the same settings as the adult
Science & Falsifiability
o Criterion of falsifiability
o common sense theory or folk myth often NOT falsifiable has explanation for every
o Example…
o In science, we want to prove ourselves wrong in order to avoid confirmation bias
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Benjamin Rush…cont
o In the late 1700s, he was a physician who faced vary severe yellow
fever epidemic
o Yellow fever is caused by a virus no known cure for it, just let it run
its course
o If the patient moves into 2nd phase of the illness, theyre risk of dying
o Yellow fever is hemorrhagic virus
o Rush was frustrated by the deaths that he saw
o He read that illnesses could be bled out of the body, so he practiced
this by slashing the veins of his patients to cure them
o ) preferred frequent and small, to large bleedings in the beginning of
September, but toward the height and close of the epidemic, I saw no
inconvenience from the loss of a pint and even 20 ounces of blood at a
time. I drew from many persons 70 and 80 ounces in five days, and
from a few a much larger quantity King, , as cited in North,
2000, p. 47 ).
o Never before did ) experience such a sublime joy as ) now felt in
contemplating the success of my remedies. It repaid me for all the
toils and studies of my life King, , as cited in North, 2000, p. 48).
o Didnt consider the possibility that he was wrong
o When he bled patients, he attributed survivals to his treatment and
attributed deaths to the disease
Rush in the end…
o By virtue of his social and professional prominence, his position as
teacher and his facile pen Benjamin Rush had more influence upon
American medicine and was more potent in propagation and long
perpetuation of medical errors than any man of his day. To him, more
than any other man in America, was due the great vogue of vomits,
purging, and especially of bleeding, salivation and blistering, which
blackened the record of medicine and afflicted the sick almost to the
time of the Civil War Ashburn, , as cited in North, , p. .
o Rush was a professor of medicine at UPenn
Didnt allow for falsifiability for his methods to be scrutinized
in an empirical way
Likely contributed to deaths of many patients probably
unintentional, but still had extreme consequences
Science: Publicly Verifiable
o Replication (replicated, criticized, extended)
Replicated either exactly or conceptually
Stanford Study (Ebrahim et al., 2014) replication of data in
clinical trials
Took results of studies that had been replicated, wanted
to see if they could be replicated consistently
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