Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Anthropomorphism
September 27, 2011
Psychology Lecture 2
Methods in Psychology:
1. Descriptive Methods which include:
- Field (naturalistic) observation
- Clinical methods
Clinical methods which include:
-Interviews and Rating scales
-Subjective and Objective tests
-Longitudinal (case) study
2. Experimental Method
Field (naturalistic) observation – Watching a person in their natural environment.
Must be systematic because situations are different for all people as well the
observer is unaware of if the situation is common or foreign to the observed. Must
look for the reasons for the behaviour, not just the behaviour itself. Cannot be just
observed in this situation because all observations will only be based on that
instance. In addition they do not have to be restricted to people. The disadvantages
are anthropomorphism (in the study of animals) and despite the amount of
systematic observation we have done we can only describe the behaviour we
cannot explain it.
*Systematic means observing people in as many situations as possible and as many
times as possible. If you observe many people in one situation you only know about
what effect that particular situation has on people.
*Anthropomorphism means applying human qualities to non-human things.
Surveys – is a questionnaire. For a survey to do its job well certain four conditions
must be met.
1. Surveyors must fully understand the purpose of the survey and be skilful in its
2. Methods of analyzing the survey must be foolproof.
3. When one conducts a survey one is surveying a sample of an overall population
of people and this sample must properly represent the whole population.
4. The survey question must be prepared so it covers the topic uniformly and must
not generate unhelpful answers (you don’t want undiscriminating answers and you
don’t want bias answers).
The largest group of psychologists are clinical psychologists (on tests).
Clinical Methods – work with people to solve problems by looking at past
(Past) Interviews and rating scales – interviews are a conversation with a definite
purpose. When an interview is conducted what is looked at is what is said as well as
how it is said or what is not said. They look at the past. They also often will talk with
people who know the individual well. Rating scales are scales that are used to rate
someone on certain dimensions. For a rating scale to be useful it must also meet
certain criteria. The rater must be familiar with the use of the scale. Rater must
know the ratie for at least three months. Ideally must be familiar with the ratie in a
variety of roles and situations. If there are multiple ratings then the interpreter must
be aware of special role relationships between the rater and the ratie (boss to
employee vs. co-worker to co-worker).
(Present) Tests- the best source of present state
Subjective, self-report tests, they talk about themselves, only works if people speak
freely and truthfully. However lie scales are imbedded in the tests to observe the
level of truth.
Objective tests – Situation where you don’t know what the test is trying to figure
out. This is done so the person taking the test cannot tailor their answers to benefit
The advantages of tests in that they are mostly paper and pencil tests is that they
can yield a lot of information about people quickly without requiring disruption of
daily routine or complex apparatus.
(Future) Longitudinal (case) study – deals with predictions of the future behaviour.
Involves tracking the behaviour of an individual(s) over time (longitudinal).