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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - Sept. 13.doc

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LECTURE 2 - RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 • introspection was not considered to be necessary • Psychologists decided that they did not need to ask people to describe things that could not be ob- served • they decided to focus on just those things that they could actually directly observe; directly measure • they only focused on people’s overt behaviours - what they could see • a lot of them believed that the mental processes did not really happen. They were just verbal labels giv- en to things that didn’t really exist or were unimportant • Watson was a radical environmentalist ‣ the whole nature vs. nurture debate (another topic from Chapter 1): - Behaviourists slanted solely on the the nurture side of things ‣ they believed that environment was everything; it made you who you are and completely influ- enced your behaviour ‣ to Watson genes were nothing, it was was all your environment that made you who you are • Skinner (another name that will be coming up often) believed that these mental states did not exist • they were just mental labels that we gave these bodily processes ‣ he is known for token economies i.e. reward behaviour ‣ you get some sort of token for good behaviour and that encourages people to do well ‣ often used in prisons or institutions • Trouble for behaviours (video): ‣ chimpanzees using water as a tool to extract food from a narrow tube they cannot reach into ‣ the problem from behaviourists is that they were learning w/out a reward/punishment system ‣ they were learning through insight: all of a sudden they knew the solution to the problem and they went and solved the problem ‣ for Behaviourists this meant that maybe they should be paying attention to what was going on; that per- haps it meant something that needed to be studied ‣ The Cognitive Revolution took place around the 1970s ‣ the whole idea was that mental function was really important for understanding behaviour ‣ one could not understand behaviour by focusing solely on the environment - focus on the internal realm was needed as well ‣ it had an impact on all the schools and areas of psychology • psychology then vs. now • it has legitimately established itself • has come a long way in the past hundred years • it has exploded exponentially • Four ways of knowing about the world • observation is the heart of any scientific method What is science? • science isn’t defined by what is being studied it’s defined by how it’s being studied • the method that you’re using to investigate whatever topic it is you’re investigating Four cannons of science / fundamental principle / science does not really exist without these things: 1. Determinism: • the idea that the universe isn’t random • that things can be predicted • there are orderly systematic causes • without it theories don’t make any sense • theories do not work when things are happening at random • we need things to be systematic and orderly in order for any theory to serve its purpose - theories: statement about the causal relation between two or more variables - variable: something that varies; that can differ from organism to organism 2. Empiricism: the best way to figure this out is by observations • we all know that the best way for us to know something is for us to go and see it first hand • to get it “from the horse’s mouth” 3. Parsimony: aka “Occam’s razor” • if we have two competing theories the one that we should chose is the one that is simplest; the one that makes the fewest assumptions 4. testability: in order to be a scientific theory it has to be able to be testable, confirmable, and support- able - falsifiability: it must be possible(in principle, even if it hasn’t been done) to disprove a theory. - An unfalsifiable is something no one can ever prove is false - operational definitions: we need to be able to measure these variable constructs ‣ it means we must figure out a way to measure something that would otherwise we would not be able to do ‣ a lot of times (especially in psychology) we are dealing with things that cannot be mea- sured ‣ e.g. hunger - we cannot just look at a person and figure out that s/he is hungry so in or- der to do that we may use time. Time is measurable/ concrete so you can operationally define hunger as the amount of time it has been since you last ate something. • a lot of the things that psychologists are interested in are these internal constructs that can’t be mea- sured • constructs are any internal characteristics that cannot be directly observed e.g. imagination, anxiety, ex- troversion - internal attributes that can’t be measured but are still very important to explain behaviour example of intoxication: we need measure someone’s level of intoxication • there are different ways we can do that: ‣ physiological measure: we might design to operationally define someone’s intoxication level as their blood/alcohol content (that is a legal definition) ‣ behavioural measure: we can measure it by having people walking in a straight line as an exam- ple ‣ self-reported measure: you can get people to tell you how intoxicated they are; perhaps through a survey, etc. figure from the textbook (flowchart on the Scientific Method) • the whole idea is that you have a theory (based on something you want to prove) • you come up w/a hypothesis for that theory (you make a specific prediction that stems from that theo- ry) • you do some research - you will operationalize your variables and collect your data • you decide which research method you will use to collect your data • then you evaluate what you found i.e. is there a significant difference / correlation between your two variables? • you’re going to utilize statistical techniques to find whether what you found supports your hypothesis or not • Hypothesis - Observations - Measure - Evaluate - Report = HOMER • any single study doesn’t really tell you a whole lot; science is a cyclical process - everything happens in very little baby steps -it happens slowly • there are lots and lots of studies done before a theory is revealed - one single study is just that: one sin- gle study specific example: • theory: that watching violent TV shows leads to aggression • hypothesis: fathers who watch Homer Simpson are more aggressive with their sons (made a more spe- cific hypothesis for my broader theory) • analyze: how am I going to measure that? I can operationalize that variable by counting people who watch Homer 2x/wk vs. those who never watch at all • measure: how are we going to measure aggressi
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