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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 – End of Research Methods, beginning of Genetics, Epigenesis, and Plasticity

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March 7 2011 Genetics, Epigenesis, and Plasticity Problem the developmental researchers often face Independent variable is often a characteristic of the individual we are studying o Ie, height you cant just chop peoples feet off to alter their height o Affect of intelligence on academic success how do you alter peoples intelligence? For these reasons, we often have to rely on quasi-experiments o We let nature do part of the work for us take groups that different naturally on independent variable, ie, people with high IQ and people with low IQ reliable correlation with academic success o But, self regulation is a better predictor o can't definitively establish correlation BUT can make plausibility argument a lot of developmental psych research relies on these quasi- experiments a lot of development occurs over a long period of time, therefore putting strains on measurement and experimentation o ex. Attrition affect start with a group of 100 grade 1s by grade 5, youve lost half of them theyve moved, gotten sick, etc. by grade 12, youre down to 25% - does your study still apply? Are you still doing the same study? Do your results still generalize? Hard to keep people People also change a lot over long periods of time, introducing experimental confounds One of the solutions to this is a longitudinal study o Two ways you can do this o Correlational Consistency of behaviour across a set of measures Experimental, aka, intervention study introduce some manipulation of IV at one point in development and track affect on DV through different points in development Confounding made worse by this Attrition problem subject pool goes down Repeated testing alters behaviour your very attempt to test them over a long period of time gives them lots of opportunity to figure out what youre trying to do and thwart your experiment Repeating an IQ experiment every 5-6 months gives people time to read up on IQ test in between Theoretical obsolescence o Starting a longitudinal study based on a theory that was hot in the 1980s by the time youre done, no one cares about your theory any more anything older than 10-15 years is rendered useless, obsolete Longitudinal studies are very expensive o Lab space, funding, access to grad students, measuring equipment Cross-sectional study synchronically vs. diachronically study different children of different ages all at once o Avoids many of the above problems, but hard to establish ideas of stability cant tell how stable a characteristic is over a long period of time o Problem with cross-section: Cohort affect problem with studying lots of people of different ages at the same time is that there can be events that affect all of them, regardless of which age group they belong to Shared environmental/cultural/historical factors Studying grade 4, 6, 10, and 12 during the Great Depression theyre all experiencing great amounts of anxiety this trait might not be developmental Different problems come with different kinds of studies Cross sequential design o Two cross-sectional studies at two different time periods controls for the cohort effect and attrition Study 3 groups of people 1 2
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