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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 + Readings.docx

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Wagner Denton

Lecture 2: Research Methods in Psychology How do we find things out? • Intuition • Logic • Authority • Observation What is science? Not what you study but how you study it Four Canons of Science 1) Determinism • Orderly universe, systematic • Theories: causal relation between two or more variables • Variables: characteristics that changes or has different values for different individuals How one variable affects another variable Ability to make causal statements between 2 or more variables 2) Empiricism Best way to figuring out orderly principles is by • Collecting data • Making observations Ex. Straight from horse’s mouth for the number of teeth 3) Parsimony – “ Occam’s razor” • Explain observations in simples way • 2 competing theories that equally well explain a set of empirical observations, prefer simpler of the two! • Least assumptions 4) Testability • Testable scientific theories • Using available research techniques Falsifiability – must be possible to make an observation to shows the hypothesis/theory to be false Operational definitions – theoretical constructs stated in terms of concrete, observable procedures o Sometimes well-defined and easily measured Ex. Height, temperature, weight o Or not well-defined and can’t be directly observed Constructs: internal attributes that can’t be directly observed but useful for describing and explaining behaviour Ex. Anxiety, emotional exp, intelligence (IQ VS GPA) Example Intoxication: either physiological measure, behavioural measure or self-reported measure Identify and quantify variables so they can be measured Ex. Girls want to have fun ▯ concrete definition - Scale of 1-10 - Or rate different activities (after-work behaviour) Types of Research 1) Descriptive Studies • Observing, classifying behaviour • Often first step in line of research or done as part of a larger research project • Done in real world, not much control – what you see is what you get Ex. Masters & Johnson - Direct observation sexual activities (1957-80s) - Described 4 stage model of sexual arousal - Dismissed many misconceptions regarding female sex Naturalistic observation – passive observation Observers don’t alter ongoing behaviour Ex. Watching kids play at a park, don’t know they are being watched Participant observation – active observation Researcher actively involved in situation Ex. Anthro living in new country Laboratory observation – systematic observations Made within a lab setting Ex. Bringing people in different forms of observations Longitudinal studies – measuring developmental changes in same people over time Cross sectional studies – comparing different groups and to inferences of both Surveys and Interviews Ex. Kinsey • Interviewed thousands of men/women for books, “shocking” findings at the time • 1 to suggest that sexual orientations was a continuum • “Kinsey scale” – 0 heterosexual and 6 homosexual o “A seven point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist” Ex. Buss 1989 – Sex differences in human mate preferences, evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures • Survey had biographical data, age preference for marriage/children, ratings of 18 characteristics for how important in choosing mates (0-3) • Rank 13 characteristics on desirability • Over 10, 000 respondents from 33 countries on 6 different continents Ex. Sex cures migraines • Questionnaire to 800 migraine patients (264 replies) • About sex during headache attack and impact on headache intensity • 1/3 respondents had sex during an attack • 60% sex improved it, 33% worsening • This descriptive research can be helpful in forming hypotheses and to design more controlled research Sexual Strategies Theory • Evolutionary theory • Rank importance of qualities in relationship partners differently • Gender specific adaptive problems o Reproduction more intensive commitment for women so more cautious about sex o Importance of attractiveness vs. status Key findings: age of spouse, good looks, ambition and industriousness Potential Threats 1) Observer bias o Want to see particular thing to cater to hypothesis 2) Reactivity o Experimenter expectancy effects because of observer bias o Hawthorne effect 3) Problems with self-report o People asked to provide info about themselves o Self-report bias: socially desirable responding “better than average effect” People tend to report that they’re better than average in everything o Ambiguity - What is the context? o Impact of culture, societal views Ex. Hooking up – then vs. now People are more likely to freely acknowledge it 2) Correlational Research • How variables are related, natural relationships • Difference is in level of control • Without manipulating variables • Make claims about associations between variables but n
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