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PSYB01 - Lecture 1.docx

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Connie Boudens

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PSYB01 1 Lecture 1 Why Learn Research? • Become a better consumer of research – to be able to make sense of the research and ask appropriate questions in order figure out if the research is valid, how it may affect it your life, how to use the results of the research o Psychology study says violent games make kids riskier drivers o A longitudinal study where kids who play or have access to violent video games were monitored – looked at their driving record o Looked at the driving habit of 1000s of kids over a 4 year period via phone interviews – interview them before they can actually drive and also check to see if they have been pulled over for traffic violations and accidents  these researchers found a significant correlation between violent video games (such as grand theft auto) and reckless driving o As a consumer of research you should look for more information to see if this applies to you or others around you: were they looking at people similar to you? What games were they looking at? o What problems are there with the research that enable you to say that it doesn’t apply to you or your life  can only make this conclusion if you know how research in psychology works and what the short-comings are o Questions to ask: • What kind of phone interviews were used? Ie. Did they have the cell phone numbers of the kids (most kids these days have cell phones), or were they only calling those with landlines?  people with only landlines are different compared to those who don’t have landlines – for example most young people have cellphones so they don’t have landlines • Is there something particular about the people used in this study compared to those who were not included in the study • They interviewed participants directly but how can we be assured they are telling the truth – maybe those who play video games are more likely to tell you when they get into an accident because they did its’ ‘badass’ or maybe those who don’t play violent video games are more embarrassed to tell others about accidents and traffic tickets they receive • This information in the study may not have been independently verified – so the relationship we see might not even be real – for example the relationship may just be one of those who tell the truth and those that don’t and the types of video games they play = those who lie play non-violent video games + those who don’t lie play violent games o Easier to figure out what exact questions to ask about studies if you have training in research methods o Does Facebook make you fat? o Study was carried out by a masters student – he/she does not have a lot of research under their belt ( therefore should look at the research much closer) PSYB01 2 Lecture 1 o They found that the amount of time spent on social networking sites was negatively correlated with level of physical activity in the previous week and less likely to take part in team sports o Problems: • they didn’t actually look at weight or weight gain, they only look at activities and time spent on Facebook over a very limited period of time • this study actually doesn’t show you that Facebook causes you to become fatter - all it shows is that the more time people spent on Facebook the less physical activity they engaged in o Watch tv if you need energy o Article states that if people are feeling down or are low in energy watching re-runs of their favourite show fuels up their mental resources o Always look at the original research study  who does it apply it to? Under what circumstances? Which age group? Is it specific to a geographical area? • Often used in work settings o Employees are often asked to do a survey of their fellow employees + job satisfaction – in order to do this must be able to design a good survey o Advertising + marketing relies on a lot of research o Employers may ask you to look things up - you need to be able to go through research and find relevant information • Used in making policy decisions o Policy decisions such as how are funds going to be distributed, which programs should be funded by the government, who should be included in particular programs o Policy decisions includes allocations of funds at different level of governments o These decisions are often made based on empirical research o For example, should they start full day kindergarden – to come to these decisions empirical research is used The Scientific Approach • Science is cumulative – especially in psychology; research builds on previous research ( nothing really starts from scratch; unless somebody finds out something totally by ac
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