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chapt 4

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Psychology 2030A/B
David Vollick

Chapter 4: research methods Science and abnormal behaviour: - Nature of science: o Way of knowing the world unlike normal everyday ways of knowing (we want facts!!) o Science values empiricism, objectivity (it’s not a subjective thins when we say that depression is associated with a decrease of dopamine) and replicability (we want a bunch of different sources) o Science demands rigorous standards of proof o Science is a means for testing hypotheses and theoretical claims (I think autism is due to a, b and c… I should test that!) - Questions driving a science of psychopathology: o What problems cause distress or impair functioning? o Why do people behave in unusual ways? (Why somebody grabs a gun, goes to a school and kills children?... because if we knew maybe we can prevent it!) o How can we help people behave in more adaptive ways? Basic components of research: - Starts with a hypothesis or “educated guess” formulated so that they are testable. - Research design o A method to test hypotheses (e.g. in certain case we could use fMRI!) o Independent variable: cause or influences behaviour, we manipulate it!! o Dependant variable: the behaviour influenced by the independent variable, the one we are actually measuring. o Null hypothesis: rejected if there is a significant relationship between groups. A has no effect on B. Considerations in research design - Balancing internal versus external validity: o Internal validity: confidence that effects are due to the IV (how confident am I that any changes in the DV is cause by the DV). o External validity: extent to which the findings are generalizable (how confident am I that I can take the results of my study and generalized it to the population). - Ways to increase internal validity by minimizing confounds variable (e.g. I am testing a new drugs. We know that some people metabolized in a better way than other, lot faster. And maybe I have this kind of people in my group. I have to minimize this kind of confounded variable). o So we use control groups (they receive a placebo for example), random assignment! o Use analogue models (for example pain) Statistical methods and clinical meaningfulness - Statistical methods: o Protect against biases in evaluating data - Statistical versus clinical significance: o Statistical significance: the results are beyond chance o Clinical significance: the results are clinically meaningful - Balancing statistical versus clinical significance o Evaluate effect size o Evaluate social validity - Generalizability and the patient uniformity myth: o All the patients are not the same! In the tested group, maybe someone are better and lead the group. Studying individual cases: case study method - Nature of the case study: o Extensive observation and detailed description of a client or disorder - Limitations of the case study: o Internal validity is typically weak  Lacks scientific rigor and suitable controls  Often entails numerous confounds Research by correlation - The nature of correlation: o Statistical relation between two or more variables o No independent variable is manipulated o Does not imply causation - Nature of correlation & strength of association: o Negative (when A increases B decreases) versus positive correlation (simply means when A increases B increases as well). o Range from -1.0 to 0 to +1.0 - Epidemiological research: an example of correlational method o Study incidence (number of new cases in a certain period of time), prevalence (total number of case in a given time) and course of disorders o Examples include AIDS, PTSD Figure hypothetical correlations between age and sleep problems. (No correlation a bunch of dots like a breakfast dog) Research by experiment - Nature of experimental research (attention it’s a research design!! Not a case study) o Manipulation of independent variable(s) o Observe effect on depend
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