January 25 , 2011
PSY100- Lecture 3
Science: Just the facts?
- Replication, convergence, multiple methods and the peer review process
- For the majority of science, the key issue though is how to measure “reality”
in the first place
- How do you measure an attitude? Or intelligence? Or prejudice? Or wisdom?
How do you know if that’s what you’ve measured?
But how do you measure something?
- Scientific thinking occurs across two levels
- The conceptual and the operational
o Conceptual : the theoretical level; what you think is happening in
o Operational : the experimental, measurement level; what instrument
- Always one step away from reality. We can deal more with observation.
- Self-esteem : some general feeling of self
- The process of taking one’s “pure” theoretical construct, and figuring out how
to represent it through some sort of measurement device.
o Ex. Operationalize “exposure to violent media” – strength of cause
o Ex. Operationalize “violent media”
o Ex. Operationalization is itself sliiiide
Conclusions Re: Methodology
- It is very easy to make simple methodological errors, leading to erroneous
conclusions (ex. CASA study)
- Whenever you hear about research findings, take a close look at the
operationalization of variables and think about whether ther are any
problems with validity, consider 3rrd variable explanations for the findings,
and look for possible confounds in experimental designs
(prior to the neuron, (genetics) do not have to read – the brain) check site for what
not to read
Remember the mind-body problem? How have psychologists resolved this?
- Well in a way they haven’t, but for the most part the seat of thesoul is
thought to be a bunch of goo in your head comprised of NEURONS (and other
types of cells, but neurons get all the glory)
Neurons – Consciousness as an Emergent Property
One ant is no ant. A million ants is a viable community of organisms that exhibits coordinated, “self-
One neuron is no neuron.
100 billion neurons is you.
- Interneurons vastly outnumber Motor and Sensory Neurons (several million of
each compared to ~100 billion interneurons)
- Interneurons facilitate within-CNS transmission of information Structure of a Neuron
- Dendrites = receive information from other neurons and transmit towards the
- Cell body = keeps the neuron alive and determines whether it will fire
- Axon = extending fiber that conducts impulses away from the cell body.
- Myelin Sheath = fatty insulation that might surround the neuron’s axon
- Terminal Buttons/Axon Terminals = receive the action potential from the
axon and are involved in transmitting that information on to other neurons
through the release of neurotransmitters
- Myelin prevents signals in adjacent cells from interfering with each other,