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PSYB01 Psychological Research Lab - Lecture 1.docx

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Anna Nagy

PSYB01 Psychological Research Lab Lecture 1 Research Methods – The Scientific Approach Studying Psychology -Psychology is the explicit study of how people think, feel and behave -Many themes and studies contained within the discipline. ->Different disciplines studied using different scientific methods. *E.g., Developmental psychology -Childhood development ->Attachment theory ->Nutrition mothers needed for fetuses’ growth How does Psychology Different From Philosophy, the Humanities? -All of these disciplines concerned with fundamental issues of human experience -Use of Scientific Method ->Systematic research ->Measurable data ->Analysis, concepts ->Interested in population (collecting data from control groups and/or society) ->Turn subjective ideas to objective issues by connecting data and turning them into concepts. ->Take philosophical issues into scientifically applicable issue ->systematically measuring issues by taking away emotions & etc. -Other methods subject to serious limitations -Philosophy and humanities relies on experience and authority in the construction of our beliefs Course Objectives -Illustrate the limitations of non-scientific approach (and scientific approach) -Teach scientific method as it applies to psychology -Teach how to write a research paper (research proposal/review) -Critical Thinking Learning Objectives -Limitations of non-scientific approaches -Limitations of scientific method -Why we use scientific method -General Principles of the approach Why Use the Scientific Method in Psychology ->Methods we use in day to day world and in some other disciplines subject to numerous limitations ->Tend to rely on personal experience, intuition, and opinions of authority figures Seven Limitations of Personal Experience 1. Confirmation Bias and Discounting Problem: -Tend to seek out information that is consistent with our expectations and discount information that is inconsistent ->The way a question is worded may also influence outcome (Loftus, 2003) -Eye-witness testimony ->Tend to associate traits subjectively on your own personal experiences *E.g., Person with bad reputation -Others looks for the mistakes that the person do but ignores the good things one did ->Confirming personally on the person’s bad reputations but ignore or refute the traits that are different from the bad rumours of the person ->Leads to serious problems such as racism, oppression of a specific group(E.g., Jews during World War II) -Should not only look for evidences for something we think is true ->Should always question & challenge what you think before giving judgement 2. Inferences based may be based on very little or no data: -Behaviour is not absolute (based on probability and a multiplicity of factors) ->Extraverted or social people may be shy in certain circumstances ->Shy or introverted people may be outgoing in some circumstances ->Limited information thus can lead to incorrect assessments *E.g., A police always act grumpy and mean, so you personally assume other polices are like that too ->Cannot assume the whole population of polices are ill-tempered based on only a limited number of polices *E.g., Old way of raising dogs ->Work of animal behaviourists such as Stanley Coren enhancing field -Disproved a lot of the old ways or myths people used to have on raising dogs. *E.g., Hitting a dogs with newspaper will get them discipline (Disproved by the researches on dog’s cognition because dogs has about 30 second short-term memory, so if they did something bad and you punish them after a minute or more, they will not remember anything
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