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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 – End of Psychological Frameworks, Beginning of Research Methods

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University of Toronto St. George

February 28, 2011 Lecture 6 End of Psychological Frameworks, Beginning of Research Methods Social Learning Theory and the work of Bandura Critical importance of observational learning, vicarious conditioning Learning by watching what other people do o Clever idea you go fight the tiger, Ill stay here and watch how you do Bandura had a triangle of three aspects called reciprocal determinism another self-organizing system model o Person, behaviour, and environment are all reciprocally determining each other We are wired for the existence of mirror neurons Bandura picked up on an important aspect of learning that was ignored by Locke, Skinner, Watson, Rescorla, Hollis, etc they were like Piaget all they talked about was the mind-to-world aspects of learning. Bandura focused on mind-to-mind aspects learning link between cognitive-developmental theory and sociocultural theory social learning theory becomes dissolved into these two Learning is sophisticated and cognitive, its about mind-to-mind connections AND mind-to-world connections Learning is inherently social Research Methods Some of the problems that developmental psychologists face will be the same as those of others scientists Some of them are unique to people that study development For example, struggle of tracking changes across great periods of time you cant just run a bunch of tests on a person over a few days like you can in a chemistry experiment practical challenge Huge political and ethical issues o These issues are found across the board in psychology, but are more common in developmental psychology because were dealing with children o People dont allow you to mess up their development because they only have one shot at it! All this makes gathering empirical evidence difficult, but not impossible Three kinds of empirical investigations no perfect way o Descriptive o Correlational o Experimental Descriptive o Methods are solely observational o Can in involve measurement o No attempt to figure out systematic relationships between variables, or to manipulate or control variables o Why do this? o There isnt a science fairy that comes around to tell you what needs to be investigated you need to FIND things that need to be explained o Find a phenomenon and describe it in a way that provokes people to investigate it further Aptly describing things is actually a very difficult task You have to describe things in a way that doesnt trivialize them, and their need for explanation is clearly revealed, makes them seem perplexing, cant be vague or ambiguous aim to describe something between triviality and obscurity Provide some guidance as to how to begin investigating the phenomenon or formulating a problem Asking vague or confusing things may sound perplexing ie, what time is it on the sun? whats north of the north pole? But this questions are foolish Descriptive science is kind of like poetry requires artful use of language, careful use of terms o After finding a phenomenon to be explain, naturalistic observation takes place Hard to be objective necessary to reduce observer bias as well as observer influence What is bias? When youre observing one thing, youre not observing others you can only be attentive to so many things simultaneously. Your experiment needs to account for this by using observational protocols. Specify, before, the observation, a more precise definition of what is to be observed. We want to investigate childhood aggression in a schoolyard. Heres the problem what does aggression look like? The world doesnt come labelled THIS IS AGRESSION. Whats the difference between hitting, bumping, pushing? It has to be done with angry intent? Well, what does anger look like? Lots of room for biasedinterpretation here. Even setting up a definition of the phenomenon is difficult. Therefore, different people need to observe phenomenon at different times. If there is convergence between experimenters, there is less likelihood that the phenomenon was produced by bias. Ideally, you need to hire people who dont know anything about or care about your theory to work for you as experimenters good luck. In the real world, professor will get his grad students to experiment, but they are obviously influenced by him. Getting true independence of observers in practice is very difficult. Chemists dont have to keep their feelings hidden from the chemicals in experiments, its not as if the chemicals will change their behaviour. Observer influence primates really care about being observed and they modify their behaviour almost immediately when they are observed. One of the things you can do is try to keep yo
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