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Lecture 3

PSYB01 - Lecture 3.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB01 1 Lecture 3 Basic Issues and Concepts Slide 2: Variables Definition: something that varies something that can take on different values Feature of a person, situation, etc, that can take on one value or more. Examples: number of siblings, level of creativity, colour of food at room temperature Main purpose of research is to simplify the complex by explaining variability look at key variables that can explain the differences in behaviour In psychology try to figure out which variables account for most of the differences in the way that organisms responds to a particular situation Slide 3: Variability in Behaviour Differences in the way people (or other organisms) behave in response to the same stimulus We want to figure out what causes the differences in the way people react to the same stimulus All variability in behaviour can be classified into two types: systematic & random Systematic variability can be explained, random variability cannot be explained Ex: a mouse runs through the classroom What happens? o Some people may jump, scream, be surprised, get very upset, some wont care o Research in psychology tries to look at why people behave in different ways helps us predict behaviour, explain different types of behaviour, and why variability exists o Dont really care about stimulus that have the same effect on people o Variables that may affect how people react to the mouse: gender women are usually conditioned to jump & scream, men socialized to be tough and expected to take care of the mouse situation where you grew up; urban vs. rural rural people may be less affected by it as their used to animals , urban residents may associate it with rats which means plague and infestation & potential for some sort of virus people who have pets vs. those who dont those who have pets may be more tolerate to mice and less scared colour of the mouse might also be a variable for example, black mouse might cause more fear o try to figure out which variables causes differences in how people react to a mouse running across the room find the variables that cause individual differences in the way people react to injections, prepare for surgery, write exams all important questions to ask PSYB01 2 Lecture 3 with these questions try to figure out why some people are different from others on a particular thing in theory you should be able to find everything that causes different behaviour amongst people at this point we dont have the technology to figure out all variables; in the future may be able to use brain imaging technology and research methods related to neurology to find all variables that cause a difference at this point we can figure out some systematic variables ( explained) but will still have some random variables ( unexplained) Slide 4: Variables must have 2 or more values or levels or else it doesnt vary (therefore not a variable) Value: number representing one of many possible states of the variable Example: some possible values of height are 6, or 42 Score: a specific value for a given person for a particular variable Example: my score on the variable of height is 57 Example: my score on the variable eye colour is brown **Slide 5: Independent vs. Dependent Variables Independent variable (IV): manipulated by researcher assumed to be cause (usually assumed to be the cause of behaviour) can be measured (if its not an experiment) & manipulated (experiment) Dependent variable (outcome variable): outcome of experiment assumed to be caused by independent variable only measured, never manipulated - Dependent variable caused by changes in the independent variable - The value of the dependent variables depends on the value/level of the independent variable Slide 6: What is the Independent Variable? What is the Dependent Variable? There will be a difference between the number of boys and the number of girls pushing and shoving in the playground IV gender, DV pushing/shoving There will be a difference between the number of words recalled by participants who have learned them in a noisy room and participants who have learned the same words in a quiet room IV noise level (with 2 possible values quiet, noisy), DV memory (# of words recalled) PSYB01 3 Lecture 3 People who suffer with a serious mental disorder are more likely to take more medication than people who do not suffer with a serious mental disorder. IV severity of mental disorder, DV how much medication an individual takes Students who sit further forward in class will achieve a higher grade in the final examination IV seat chose in lecture , DV grade on final exam Slide 7: Measuring Variables First-step: determining whether variable is categorical or continuous. Categorical ( AKA taxonic, qualitative, nominal): Values are discrete (not overlapping), qualitatively different categories Measured on nominal (in name only) scale Ex categorical: biological sex, type of dwelling, political party affiliation Continuous: Values differ in degree from each other Measured on ordinal, ratio, or interval scale Ex continuous: age, working memory capacity, time it takes to complete puzzle, gender, height, weight Determines how you can analyse data If you only measure two categorical variables such as if men and women differ in terms of how much they support the progressive conservative party, liberal party, and NDP; very little you can say from the numbers In political study do large scale studies about variables that impact voting behaviour in the states they only have two parties democrats & republic these are categorical & only two values therefore can retrieve much information from it With continuous variables there is many more values the variable can take on so you can get more out of your research Example youre trying to figure out the relationship between age and whether people know what a phone book is & its use This can help with advertising what types of products/services should be advertised in the yellow pages based on the people who use them
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