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PSYB01 Ch. 1-3.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Nussbaum

PSYB01- Midterm Notes Chapter 1  Psychology- broadly defined as the scientific study of people, the mind, and behavior o Focuses attention on virtually endless questions about how we feel o Feelings of well-being: motivate much of our activity, influence how we view the world, what we remember, how we behave with others  “Doing Better But Feeling Worse” Schwartz and colleagues o how happy recent college graduates are with job choices they made o 13 statements= indicate from 1 (disagree completely) to 7 (agree completely)  highest score of 75 considered above 52 (scale’s midpoint of 4 * 13) to be maximizers, and lower than midpoint to be satisficers o maximizers (score above 52)= perform an exhaustive check of all available choices to make sure you pick the best o satisficer (score 52 or below)= you set standards for yourself, and will choose the first option that meets that standard o STUDY categorized 548 grad students as maximizers/satificers in the fall of senior year followed them over a year of the job search o RESULT maximizers found jobs that paid 20% more on average than satisficers’ jobs BUT were LESS satisfied with the outcome of their job search  UNEXPECTED FINDING= Maximizers= more pessimistic, stressed, tired, worried, overwhelmed, and depressed felt worse even though they had done better (reason= considering so many choices led to unrealistic expectations that increased the likelihood of feelings of regret, disappointment, dissatisfaction + sadness more likely to fantasize about jobs they hadn’t applied for + wish they had pursued even more jobs than they did in part because their extensive job searches made them more aware of other options and casued them to second-guess, leading to feelings of regret and “What ifs”  Maximizers derived less satisfaction from their choices than satisficers “doing better but feeling worse” study  Choice has a paradoxical effect on satisfaction= more choices, less satisfaction  The Scientific Method o Cornerstone of research= foundation for how information is collected, measured, examined and evaluated o The veritable rules of the game of research= reflect procedures and techniques for conducting and evaluating psychological research= form unified conceptual framework= formal way of thinking about a problem, idea or question o Origins  Traced to school of philosophy known as empiricism= knowledge is gained through experience, observation and experiment empirical= used to denote info gained objectively from observation/experiment  Data= empirical info because can be measure and evaluated statistically  constitutes empirical evidence against which all scientific knowledge is tested  Anecdotal evidence= opposite of empirical evidence, refers to impressions, opinions of just one person, that are not usually translated into quantifiable form can be used in investigative journalism  Legal framework (legal reasoning/jurisprudence) emphasizes customs, precedence and morality using techniques of cross- examination, persuasion + rhetoric very different in both substance and procedures from the scientific method o Scientific method crucial to research because it minimizes BIAS by providing rules by which observations are collected and results are evaluated  Bias= indicates unfair practices that wrongly discriminate against others- within scientific method framework= subtle process that comes in many different forms that can be fatal to a research study  Scientific method (raison d’etre/reason of being)= exists largely as a countervailing force to biases that operate at virtually all steps in the research process  Simplified Scientific Method: Observing and thinking formulate a question develop a hypothesis conduct a study accept or reject hypothesis if reject hypothesis, interpret with caution and develop hypothesis again o Scientific Question  Questions of religion and faith= beyond science  “is-ought” philosophical distinction “is” questions can be answered by facts/empirical data= answers are independent of social, cultural, political, religious preference= best addressed by scientific research “ought” questions= call upon cultural values + ethical considerations= cannot be answered solely on the basis of scientific evidence= EX. Does God exist? Should capital punishment be overturned? Should same sex marriages be legalized? = address values inherent in laws and customs and are influenced by beliefs that can reflect ideology, politics, constitutional law etc. = science can help debate but can’t provide direct + definitive answers= left to philosophers, theologians and constitutional scholars  Scientific questions are commonly framed in reference to a particular theory (coherent set of propositions that are used as principles to describe, understand and explain psychological or behavioral phenomena) often address “how” questions= Shwartz how maximizing relates to feelings of well being  ideas for a study often spring from psychological theories  scientific method can then be used to assess the quality of any psychological theory  in psychology, theory often influences all aspects of a study source of inspiration, and the theories influence will continue through the final interpretation of the results Ex. Schwartz and colleagues theory of the paradoxical effect of choice on satisfaction and happiness influences how they interpreted their findings o Theory to Hypothesis  Theory generates testable hypotheses which are evaluate empirically with the scientific method  Testable hypotheses= framed as a statement, often in the form of a prediction that is made prior to collection of data= a priori exists before experimentation or observation  A priori hypotheses= key feature of scientific method by formulating the hypotheses before data collection + analysis= scientist is less likely to be prone to error + bias and less likely to bend the theory to fit the numbers  Post hoc hypotheses=direct contradistinction of a priori, formulated after data is collected and analyzed increase likelihood of error + bias the more you look, the more likely you’ll find something= the more hypotheses you test post hoc, the more likely that one of these will by chance be wrongly accepted as true so are often held in disfavor AND require statistical adjustments that essentially raise the threshold for what would be accepted as a genuine/significant finding o Variables and Measurements  Reasearcher identifies key variables to investigate scientifically, often based on theory  Variable= any characteristic that can take on different values or can vary across participants (Ex. Age, gender, weight, height, education, attitude, income etc.)  Shwartz et. al focus on 3 key variables= maximizer/satisficer, satisfaction and salary  Scientific method requires objective measurement of identifiable and specifiable variables Shwartz used objective measurement to categorize subjects as either satisficers/maximizers (13 statements) if something in psych cannot be measured= cannot be investigated scientifically o Systematic Obervation and Data Collection  Simple observation= often the starting point of science, can provide source of both ideas and evidence  Darwin generated theory of evolution by natural selection exclusively on basis of simple observation later book= Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals= observation that all mammals regularly display emotion in their faces  Often in research, observations are collected systematically and quantified by sampling a population  Population any entire collection of people, animals, plants, things, all of which can be referred to as units from which we collect info (too large to studysample)  Sample group of units selected from a larger group known as the pop samples size (n) = Shwartz (n=548) research partcipants  Generalizability extent to which findings that are derived from a sample can be applied to wider population researchers try to maximize this when selecting a sample because KEY SOURCE OF POTENTIAL BIAS can originate from how a sample is selected  Ex. Case studies can be seriously flawed by selecting only those cases that fit preconceived ideas “cherry picking” = only picking cases that support your view and ignoring those that oppose your view leads to sample bias  Sample bias= some members of the population are less likely than others to be included in the study exclusion of certain members/subgroups of a population = misleading results  So representative samples of a pop can provide data that can be generalized to the population they were pulled from CANNOT be generalized to another setting or population though o Evaluating Evidence and Theory  Collection of observations (responses to questions, test scores, ratings) observations are categorized/quantified systematically + numeric values are either assigned or compute number values= empirical evidence  Ex. Shwartz + colleagues computed a maximization score (from low of 13 to high of 91, with higher scores meaning higher maximization) for each grad student research participant later interviewed participants and used an objective rating scale to assess job satisfaction + recorder yearly salary objective and quantitative measures of maximization, job satisfaction and yearly salary  Scientific method uses statistics to test relationships between and among objective, quantifiable measures that are derived from either experimentation or observation  Statistics= computed on sample, assumed to provide estimates of the population, based on the logic of probability, all use the same criterion for evaluation  Stats asks and answers the question—“In light of the data, what is the probability that the obtained results are due to chance?” if statistical analysis of the data show that the obtained results are highly unlikely due to chance, then the predicted relationship btwn two variables is considered to be highly likely (Ex. High maximization + salary with low satisfaction)  If statistical analyses of data shows that the obtained results are likely due to chance= no empirical evidence in support o of the relationship  Statistical evidence= provides means to evaluate/test a theory o Reliability and Validity  Hypothetical toolbox= variety of methods and techniques, each with its own advantages + disadvantages  2 important standards are used to judge scientific quality of these methods + techniques as well as the results they produce  reliability= consistency, not all data are created equal a reliable study is one that can be replicated (repeated with the same results)  validity= extent to which a study provides a true measure of what it is meant to be investigating= more important that reliability reliable studies may not necessarily be valid maximizer/satisficer study can be replicated with same results but how do we know that other factors are not related, for example if there was a distinction that varied between college major, financial need etc.  different types of validity all address the same question= “How true are our conclusions?”  in evaluating validity, look for confounds/counfounding variables= unwanted sources of influence that can be viewed as viable alternative explanations for the result of a study  control variable= measure an unwanted source of influence that could invalidate the conclusions of a study aim to be able to rule out the effect of a control variable on the results of a study (Ex. Shwartz study could have used a personality test to measure perfectionism as a control variable allowed researchers to show that perfectionism personality trait had no effect on their findings which would rule out this confounding variable and strengthen the validity of the conclusion)  Methods and Tools of Psychological Research ** the degree to which variables can be manipulated is an important feature in deciding on a research approach o True Experiments * random assignment of participants to groups and manipulation of one or more independent variables ** only way to test and infer causality  often uses deductive research  Experiment= controlled investigation in which one/more variables are manipulated  Variables will differ in the degree to which they can be controlled/manipulated  Researcher designs an experiment in which a particular aspect of the study is systematically altered or manipulated (independent variable) and the effects of the manipulation of the independent variable are examined and measured by the dependent variable  True experiments= independent variables (ex. Placebo + experimental durg) are randomly assigned  Random assignment= helps to ensure that research participants are similar prior to the manipulation of the independent variable any subsequent differences in the dependent variable are attributed to manipulation of the IV rather than to confounding factors  IV= maniupulate, DV= measured effect, CV= confounding factors **the following are non-experimental designs/methods (often use method of inductive research): o Quasiexperiments *experiments in which random assignment is not possible to groups  Aim to examine the effects of independent variable that cannot be directly manipulated or randomly assigned on a DV  Ex. Gender, race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES) = IV’s that cannot be directly manipulated  Experimenter either selects participants who have a particular characteristic/studies participants who have been exposed to specified events (Ex. War/ trauma) or might live in certain settings/situations (Ex. Neighborhood/geographic regions)  Ideally try to control for as many variable as possible so that the interpretation of the relationship btwn IV and DV is not confounded by unwanted influences seldom possible, so special statistical techniques may be used to remove effects of potential confounds o Descriptive Research *Studies that focus on the distribution of variables, the quantitative association of variables; causation cannot be established  Correlation= statistic that is computed by a specific formula that provides an index of how closely related two variables are statistic= correlation coefficient (r) can range from 0.00 to +1.00 or 0.00 to -1.00 the closer the correlation btwn 2 variables is to 1 (+/- ), the stronger the relationship btwn the two  the sign tells whether the correlation is positive or negative:  Validity of IQ= positive correlation of IQ with grades, and negative correlation of IQ with accident rates Ex. Higher IQ associated with healthy functioning as indicated by fewer accidents  Descriptive research thus entails looking at the way one set of measurements goes up or down in tandem with another set chief advantage= allows for the quantitative comparison of variables that cannot be manipulated directly  Limitations= correlations can only look at relations among variables at one point in time + can only indicate whether two sets of measurements tend to vary together but CANNOT DETERMINE CAUSALITY (whether one variable causes another) o Naturalistic Observation  Type of descriptive research used to collect behavioral data in natural environments as apposed to laboratory/other controlled settings  Provides means to study animal behavior in its natural habitat/ investigate children with caregivers  Not simply a collection of subjective impression but rather the systematic study of well-defined, measurable observations that can be repeated by others  Often important in process of research as it can help the researcher pose a scientific question + formulate a hypothesis  Disadvantage= lack of control of the countless variables that could influence behavior in the nautral environment o Survey Design *research in which information is obtained form a sample of individuals through their responses to specific questions  Survey= typically comprised of a set of questions asking respondents about their activities, opinions, attitudes or preferences  Using self report measures (ex. Maximization-satisficer scale) provides relatively inexpensive way to collect a lot of data quickly and to formulate and test a hypothesis  Limitation= limited by what people are capable of reporting accurately o Performance-Based Measures *studies of data collected from standardized tests  Performance-based measuers best example= standardized test  Constitue a well known psychometric approach for investigating variables such as intelligence, personality traits, and aptitude test performance is scored + compared to a statistical average derived from a normative/standardized sample taken from a wider population  WAIS/IV provides a measure of a variety of cognitive abilities (vocab, arithmetic, spatial reasoning) summarized as IQ  Advantage of psychometric approach= rests largely on the extensive reliability and validity studies that are performed in the development and construction of an instrument such as WAIS-IV  Disadvantage= criticized for being culturally biased in their construction and selection of test items and tasks + extent to which the normative/standardization sample for a psychometric test is truly representative of diversity of general pop/ appropriate benchmark for an individual test taker of ethnic/racial minority o Small-N and Single-Subject Designs *systematic investigation of one or a few cases  Single-Subject Designs= used to test effectiveness of a particular intervention on one person/small set of very similar cases to monitor client progress (AKA single-case/ small-N design)  Between 1 + 9 research participants are the target of an interventions  Useful for research on interventions in behavior analysis and clinical practice  clinicians in their practice must make assessments, establish goals and outcomes for an intervention + evaluate client progress in terms of the desired outcomes  clinicians using a single- subject design asses a client (or a few clients) using a SYSTEMATIC MEASUREMENT PROCEDURE they monitor client progress by making repeated measurements in terms of the desired outcomes + evaluate efficacy of the intervention  Advantage= clinicians can improve ability to monitor the effectiveness + also contribute to a body of research on treatment  Disadvantage= uncertainty about whether the findings from one case or a few cases are applicable to others o Qualitative Research *qualitative methods, such as participant observation/intensive interviewing and focus groups= used to study and understand phenomena in terms of the meanings people attach to them  Study of questions for which numerical/empirical answers may not provide most complete answers (questions of values/meanings people attach to human behavior/beliefs) Ex. Why people from Western cultures tend to value independence/individualism in contrast to the high value people of Eastern cultures give to interdependence and collectivism?  Qualitative methods= participant observation, intensive interviewing, focus groups  often used to answer “how + why?” questions  techniques go beyond numbers in order to study/understand phenomena in terms of the meanings people attach to them preserve + capture complexities and diversities of human behavior  often complemented with quantitative approaches  well suited for exploring research questions as well as for helping to define preliminary questions  Culture and Psychological Science  Culture= largel societal context in which we think about psychological problems/ask questions/design studies/interpret results rich intricate melding of shared meanings, communal practices + rituals, and collective discourses and beliefs about human life that prevails in a given group/society  Common patterns of beliefs, symbols, feelings and customs are acquired and transmitted socially (mechanism is unclear)  *memes= genetic DNA of culture postulated to act as units through which group ways of life spread from one mind to another according to this school of though, culture is generated by information-processing mechanisms situated in human minds and sculpted by evolution  Cultural Research  Understanding and appreciating culture are vital to psychology because culture generates profound psychological differences amon people + such diversity enriches human life  How does research take cultural influences into account?  Problem= studies often sample people from a single culture, posing a significant limitation= generalizability when a researcher uses a culturally homogenous sample= results cannot be generalized to a wider population of ppl  Cultural psychology= studies how culture shapes our thinking and how our thinking shapes culture  related but distinct= cross- cultural social psychology p=imary objective is to investigate the universality of psychological processes across different cultures as opposed to studying how local cultural practices might shape psychological processes  Ex. Cross-cultural researcher might examine whether certain personality traits (such as introversion and extraversion) are universal across a variety of cultures, a cultural psychologist might be interested in how particular cultures shape how personality traits are expressed and displayed  Science vs. Pseudoscience  epistemology w=y of knowing that is exclusively reliant upon objective, empirical investigation scientific method represents an epistemology techniques must be transparent so that methods, procedures and data analyses of any study can be easily reproduced  transparency allows for other researches to see if the same study can be repeated with the same finding can increase reliability peer review= process by which other independent reviewers (meaning no relationship with the researcher whose work is under review) evaluate the scientific merit of the work  science= builds knowledge through replication of studies and findings  reliable and valid knowledge= knowledge that has a high probability of being true because it has been systematically acquired and empirically tested produced and evaluated by the scientific method  knowledge not gained through scientific method intuation/impression/gut reaction/experience can be convinced that its true and vaild but not based on empirical evidence generated by the scientific method  Problem= methods of establishing evidence and the body of knowledge generated from these techniques (authoritarian/expert advice or testimonial/anecdotal evidence based on subjective experiences) are claimed to represent a legitimate scientific field of study (Ex. Astrology uses horoscopes to predict personality/behavior, out-of-body experiences, handwriting analysis, alien-abduction reports= type of pseudoscience)  Recognizing Pseudoscience  Pseudoscience= pseudoscientific beliefs are dubious but fascinating claims that are touted as “scientifically proven” and bolstered by fervent, public testimonials of believers who have experienced firs hand/claimed to witness the phenomena  Todays pseudoscience, could be yesterdays science  Phrenology= now defunct field of study that was once considered science in the 19 century, major unified belief of phrenology held that bumps/fissures of the skull determined the character/personality of a person various psychological attributes including personality traits + intellectual faculties + moral characters could all be determined advances in neurology resulted in phrenology’s classification as neuroscience  Warning Signs of Pseudoscience 1. Ad hoc hypotheses, escape hatches, loopholes 2. Absence of self-correction, intellectual stagnation 3. Emphasis on confirmation rather that refutation 4. Place burden of proof on skeptics, not proponents of claim 5. Reliance on anecdotal/testimonial evidence 6. Evasion of scrutiny afforded by peer review 7. Absence of connectivity, failure to build on existing scientific knowledge 8. Use of impressive sounding jargon whose purpose it to lend claims a façade of scientific responsibility 9. Absence of boundary conditions, failure to specify the settings under which the claims do not hold  Why Pseudoscience  Why are we so susceptible to pseudoscience? o Humans commonly reason with unseen and persistent biases pseudoscience preys on these biases which can only be combated by the scientific method scientific method provides a tool box to prevent researchers from confirming their own biases  Cognitive Illusions (Nobel Prize Kahneman) o body of empirical evidence underlying this program of research comes from a rather simple design in which cognitive psychologist devised a vast array of confusing questions that most people answer incorrectly because of their poor grasp of logic and probability theory correct answers are so counterintuitive that they elicit strong emotions of disbelief compared to those produced by familiar optical illusions o Cognitive illusions= occur when our thinking deceives us, and these occur because of curious blind spots/mental tunnels in our minds o human mind= probability blind naturally endowed to favor subjective impressions/personal anecdotes over cold,hard statistics o heuristic biases fo= the subjective over objective act as mental shortcuts that can distort logical reasoning occur regularly, naturally and automatically (marrying a partner, picking a stock, diagnosing a disease) when faced with making decisions for which available information is incomplete/overly complex, we rely on simplifying heuristics/efficient rules of thumb  Confirmatory Bias o Confirmatory bias= natural tendency of the mind to actively seek out and assign more weight to any kind of evidence that favours existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand o Primary source of errors in human reasoning o Researchers have argues that our natural and universal tendency for confirmatory bias is major reason why pseudoscience has persisted and flourished over time o Ex. Researcher restricts attention to a favoured hypothesis (explanation of a phenemoena/ prediction of a theoretical relationship) OR preferential treatment of that which sup
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