PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Internal Validity, Stroop Effect, Dependent And Independent Variables

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9 Aug 2016
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PSY 100 Week 2
Psychology is an Empirical Science
How Do We Find Things Out? Four ways of knowing about the world:
- Intuition
- Logic: reasoning
- Authority: doctors, scientists, someone you trust
- Observation: determine whether something is true or not, collect data
What is science?
- Not defined by what it studied but how it is studied
Four Canons of Science
1. Determinism: the universe is orderly – all events have meaningful,
systematic causes.
- Theories: statements about the casual relation between two or more
variables.
- Variables: a characteristic or condition that changes or has different values
for different individuals
2. Empiricism: The best way of figuring out these orderly principles is by
collecting data or making observations
3. Parsimony: Researchers should explain their observations in the simplest
possible way. When facing two competing theories that do an equally good
job of explaining a set of empirical observations, we should prefer the
simpler of the two. Also known as Occam’s razor
4. Testability: Scientific theories should be testable (confirmable or
disconfirmable) using currently available research techniques.
- Falsifiability: it must be possible, in principle, to make an observation that
would show the hypothesis/theory to be false.
- Operational definitions: definitions of theoretical constructs that are stated
in term of concrete, observable procedures. Sometimes variables are well
defined and easily measurable, others are not well defined and cannot be
directly observed.
- Constructs: internal attributes or characteristics that cannot be directly
observed but are useful for describing and explaining behavior
Scientific Method:
Theory – Explanation based on observations
Hypothesis – Prediction based on theory
Research – Tests the hypothesis, yields data
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Supports the theory or fails to support theory – refine with new hypothesis and
research or discard or revise and test revised theory
Hypothesize, Operationalize, Measure, Evaluate, Replicate/revise/report (HOMER)
Types/Categories of Research
Level of control the researchers have.
- Descriptive: Involves observing and classifying behavior. In psychology,
descriptive/observational studies are often the first step in a line of research,
or done as part of a larger research project
- Observational (Masters & Johnson): Direct observation of sexual activities.
Initial participants were prostitutes, later used community samples.
Described the four-stage model of sexual arousal. Dispelled many
misconceptions regarding female sexuality. Huge influence, though not
without criticism
Descriptive Research
- Naturalistic observation: passive observer. Observers do not change or alter
ongoing behavior.
- Participant observation: active observation. The researcher is actively
involved in the situation
- Laboratory observation: systematic observations are made within a
laboratory setting, rather than in the real world
Potential Threats:
- Observer bias - how the hypothesis might affect the observation
- Reactivity - Experimenter expectancy effects/The Hawthorne Effect behaving
in a particular way when being watched. Ex: workers behaving in front of
customers/boss. People changing their behavior if they know they are being
watched/observed
Surveys & Interviews
- Interviewed thousands of men and women for his books, sexual behaviors of
people about to get married. Findings were shocking at the time (1940-50s)
women having premarital sex
- First to suggest that sexual orientation was a continuum (disapproved of
using terms that implied a dichotomy. Ex: homosexual, heterosexual)
- The Kinsey Scale: 0 (exclusively heterosexual) 6 (exclusively homosexual);
used to describe a sexual history of behavior during a certain period of time.
Sexual Strategies Theory
- Buss, 1989 - “Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary
hypothesis tested in 37 cultures.” Survey included biographical data, age
preferences for marriage/number of children, ratings of 18 characteristics on
how important or desirable it would be choosing a mate
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