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Psychology 101

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Mindi Foster

Psychology: Chapter 1 11/29/2012 12:18:00 PM What is Psychology?  How our physical, mental states and external environment affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviours Psychology vs. Pseudoscience  Psychology o Empirical (observation, experimentation, measurement)  Example: shows 40-60 year olds are happier  Pseudoscience o Promises easy fixes to life’s problems and challenges  Example: Resolving your happiness as an adult by “reliving” the supposed trauma of your birth, become more creative on the job by “reprogramming” your brain o Unsupported Popular Opinion  Example: midlife crisis occurs o Psychobabble  Scientific sounding language  Not scientific based  “empty nest syndrome”  children leave their parents- parents don’t know what to do How to do Psychology with Critical Thinking  Make judgments based on the basis of well supported reasons and evidence, rather than emotion  Ask questions and examine evidence o Look for the source of information  Define your Terms o What do you consider crisis? Complete melt down?  Analyze Assumptions / Biases o Think about assumptions being made in research  Don’t Oversimplify o Interested in hundreds of pieces of data  Avoid Emotional Reasoning o Avoid intense emotional reasoning, focus on facts  Tolerate Uncertainty o There is no right or wrong answer o Evidence for and against  Consider Alternative Interpretations o Is convertible driving dad midlife crisis or disposable income? History of Psychology  Pre Modern o John Locke argued that the mind works by associating ideas arising from experience, o Theory of phrenology  Different brain areas = own personality traits  Traits could be read from bumps on the skull  Example: Thieves for example would have large bumps above the ears  Failed - pseudoscience (no evidence)  Modern o Structuralism  Conscious experience (sensations, images, feelings) - basic elements  Introspection (methodology)  Figure out peoples conscious decisions  Too subjective, everyone is different - varied experiences o Functionalism  Function or purpose of behaviour - environment  Conscious is not statistic but flows and changes  No set methodology/theory o Psychoanalysis  Mind cures - efforts correct ideas that brought negative feelings  Emotional trauma when child - threaten conscious  Criticism  Not falsifiable - cant disprove it Today’s Psychology Type Topics Focus on Depression Biological -Nervous system -Too little serotonin - -Biology affects -Hormones leads to depression behaviour -Genes Learning -Rewards/Punishments -Rewarding a crying -Causes behaviour baby - attention from Behaviorist: learn being sad through environment Socio cognitive: learn -Model behaviour -Depressed parents through observation Cognitive: how higher -Memory, language, -Depression attributable level thinking affects decision making style (negative events behaviour are your fault) - depression -Depressive thought patterns Sociocultural (Social -Culture, gender, -How discrimination Psych) religion, team, family affects depression -How groups or the environment affect behaviour Psychodynamic -Trauma or desires -Child abuse - -Unconscious motives depression affect behaviour -Hating of mother - depression What Psychologists Do  Professional Activities o Teaching + research o Providing health or mental health services  Research o Seeking knowledge for own sake work in basic psychology, doing “pure” research o Experimental Psychologists  Laboratory studies - learning, motivation, emotion, sensation and perception, physiology and cognition o Educational Psychologists  Learning + ways to improve educational system o Developmental Psychologists  Study how people change and grow over time (physically, mentally, socially) o Industrial/Organizational Psychologists  Behaviour in the workplace  Group decision making, employee moral, work motivation, productivity, job stress, personnel selection, marketing strategies, equipment design o Psychometric Psychologists  Design and evaluate tests of mental abilities, aptitudes, interests, and personalities  Practice o Improve ---> physical + mental health o Counseling psychologist  Generally help people deal with problems of every day life  Anxiety, family conflicts, low job motivation o School psychologists  Work with parents, teachers and students to enhance students performance and resolve emotional difficulties o Clinical Psychologist  PhD in psychology  Diagnose, treat, and study mental or emotional problems  Trained to do psychotherapy o Psychotherapist  Anyone who does any kind of psychotherapy o Psychoanalyst  Person who practices one particular form of therapy o Psychiatrist  Received their MD: medical doctor and then specialize in psychiatry  Learn who to diagnose and treat mental disorders  Industry Psychology in the Community  Consult with companies to improve worker satisfaction in productivity  Establish programs to improve o Worker satisfaction and productivity o Race relations and reduce ethnic tensions  Advice commissions on how pollution and noise affect mental health  Rehabilitation training for people who are physically and mentally disabled  Assist the police in emergencies involving hostages or disturbed persons  Educate judges and juries about eyewitness testimony  Conduct public opinioned surveys  Run suicide prevention hotlines  Advice zoos on the care and training of animals  Help coaches improve the athletic performance of their teams Doing Psychological Research 11/29/2012 12:18:00 PM Example:  Hunch: domestication of animals is good for humanity  Derive testable hypothesis o Specify relationships between events or variable (measurable trait or behaviour) o Example: pet owners are healthier than non pet owners (2 variables)  Predictions with operational definitions (extremely specific) o A way of defining your variables that specifies the action/operation used to measure that variable o Health  How happy are you on a 1 to 10 scale o Pet owner  A four year old dog in our residence  Neutered males and females  How it affects our happiness Establishing the Facts  Representative sample o Represents the larger population  Descriptive methods o Describe and predict behaviour - don’t choose one explanation over the other Types of Descriptive Studies  Case Studies o Detailed description of one person - observation or formal psychological testing o Information - childhood, dreams, fantasies, experiences and relationships o Information is often missing or hard to interpret o Example  Look at one family or one person before or after living with a dog and measure their happiness  Observational o Researcher - observes, measures, and records behaviour o Naturalistic observation  Act in normal social environments  At home, playgrounds or streets, in school rooms, in offices o Laboratory observation  Determine the number of people who will be observed  Presence of researchers and special equipment  behave differently than they would in their usual surroundings o Watch and record behaviour without interfering o Example  Questionnaires  Tests o Assessment instruments  Procedures for measuring and evaluating personality traits, emotions, aptitudes, interests, abilities and values o Objective  Measures beliefs, feelings or behaviours of which an individual is aware  Asking people about things they are aware of  “how happy/sad are you” o Projective  Unconscious feelings or motives  Asses things that people are less aware of (less automatic) When creating a test make sure… Standardization  Uniform test taking and scoring procedures o Give the same test and instructions to each participant o Scoring is done by referring to norms or established standards of performance o Provides us with established standards of performance  Example: BDI: 0-63, after testing thousands of people they concluded a norm score…not depressed (14-19) Reliability  Must produce the same results from one time and place to the next  Test – retest o Giving the test twice to the same group of people and comparing the two sets of scores statistically o If the test is reliable then the scores will be similar o Drawback: people tend to do better the second time they take a test, after they have become familiar with it o Make the test in different forms  Alternate Form o 2 versions of the same test o Expect the same result  Provide constant scores o Testing IQ Validity  Measures the concept we think it does  Content validity o Does the content reflect the trait or behaviour you’re measuring  Criterion validity o Does the test predict behaviours related to the trait or behaviour you’re measuring Survey  Questionnaires and interviews - ask directly about experiences  Sampling problems are often an issue o Many tests put together  Mass testing  Example: PREP o Biases  Volunteer  Are you getting the results  They reflect everyone’s behaviour, or something about the volunteer’s behaviour  Self report data  People want to appear in a positive light  Example: sexual surveys  Response Bias  How we phrase the question will affect the answer Correlational Studies  What is a correlation? o A measure of how strongly and in what direction two variables are related o Direction  Positive correlation  Scores are increasing together  Scores are decreasing together  Example: studying, the more hours you study the higher you’re grades are, the less you study, the lower marks you’re grades are  Example: familiarity: the more failure you are, the more you will like it  Negative correlation  Inverse relationship scores move in the opposite direction  Example: the more you miss class, the lower you’re grades are  The more you smoke, the less healthy you are  The less you floss, the higher you’re tooth decay  The more passionate we are, the less committed we are: the less passionate we are, the more committed we are (relationships)  Strength o Coefficient of correlation (r) o Ranges from -1 to +1 o -1: perfect negative correlation o +1: perfect positive correlation Advantages/Disadvantages of Correlational Studies  Breadth of knowledge (advantage) o Lots of information from running one survey o Complex relationships  Illusory Correlations (disadvantage) o Apparent association o Not empirically supported o Example: superstitions  Lack of Causation o R (the number of appliances, is positively related to birth control use) o There may be a correlation but they are not directly related o Appliances - education - birth control use o Because of a 3 rdvariable, may explain the R causation can not be implied Experimental Studies: When we test causation  An experiment allows the researcher to control and manipulate the situation being studied 1. Manipulate something (independent variable) 2. Try to control for other variables (dependent variable)  Control group and random assignment If equal - manipulated caused the outcome  Hypothesis (pet owners experience less stress)  Independent Variable o what the experimenter varies/manipulates/causes to happen o Pet owner - giving a pet  Dependent Variable o What is measured as a function (outcome) of the IV (stress)  Experimental Condition (independent variable) o The presence of the IV o Giving the pet  Control condition (independent variable) o Absence of the IV o Don’t give a pet - pet rock o A good control condition is similar to the experience condition in every aspect OTHER than IV Random Assignment  Participants have equal change of being assigned to either experimental or control condition  Why does it increase control? o Creates an equal playing field o Then all the other variables that could affect out DV get randomized across groups or conditions o The conditions equal with the exception of our IV Non Random Assignment  Does Studying lead to good grades?  Studying: independent variable  Grades: dependent variable  Studying did not necessarily cause grade difference o We did not control for IQ Advantage / Disadvantages of Experiments  Cause/ Effect  Experimenter effects (unintended changes in participant behaviour due to experimenter expectations) o Example: told teachers certain students were late bloomers; despite all having the same level of IQ  Disadvantage: solution - double blind study  External validity o Disadvantage: doesn’t apply to the real world - take experiment into field Method Advantages Disadvantages Case Study -good source of -vital information may hypothesis be missing, making the -provides in depth case hard to interpret information on -the person’s memories individuals may be selective or -unusual cases can shed inaccurate light on situations or -the individual may not problems that are be representative or unethical or impractical typical to study in other ways Naturalistic Observation -allows description of -allows researcher little behaviour as it occurs in or no control of the the natural environment situation -often useful in the first-observations may be stage of a research biased program -does not allow firm conclusions about cause and effect Laboratory Observation -allows more control -allows researcher only than naturalistic limited control of the observation situation -allows use of -observations may be sophisticated equipment biased -does not allow firm conclusions about cause and effect -behaviour may differ from behaviour in the natural environment Test -yields information on -difficult to construct personality traits, tests that are reliable emotional states, and valid aptitudes, and abilities Survey -provides a large -if sample is amount of information nonrepresentative or on large numbers of biased, it may be people impossible to generalize from the results -responses may be inaccurate Correlational Study -shows whether two or -usually does not permit more variables are identification of cause related and effect -allows general predictions Experiment -allows researcher to -situation is artificial, control the situation and results may not -permits researcher to generalize well to the identify cause and effect real world and to distinguish -sometimes difficult to placebo effects from avoid experimenter treatment effects effects Methods of Sampling  Researchers must worry about how one language translates into another  What seems like a cultural difference may really be a difference in education, crowding or some other non cultural factor Stereotyping  Describe average differences across societies, they may be tempted to oversimplify their findings Reification  To reify - regard an intangible process, such as a feeling, as if it were a literal object  “I have a lot of anger buried in me” o Treating anger as if it were a thing that sits inside them like a kidney  Cluster of mental and physical reactions that come and go Evaluating Data with Statistics  1. Describe them  2. Assess how reliable and meaningful they are  3. Figure out how to explain them o Visually view the frequency distribution  Distribution of scores / how many times each score was indicated o Histogram (Bar Graph)  Y axis: number of people  X axis: what facility they are in  Each bar represents the number of people who report a score/category o Frequency Polygon (Line Graph)  Same as histogram but tip is a dot instead of a bar o Numerically  Measures of Central Tendency  What is the sample like on average  Mean (average)  Median (score that falls in the middle of the distribution)  Mode (most frequently occurring score in distribution)  Measures of Variability o How far apart the scores are spread form the mean o Range: max score – min score o Standard Deviation (the average difference between the mean and the scores) Why is Standard Deviation so Important?  Not everyone scores the average  Some score above average or below average  Despite, two samples with the same mean, performance is clearly different Comparing Your Score to Others  Percentile o The percentage of people who score at or below a row score o Raw: 45/60 - 90 percentile  90% of those who took the test score at or less than 45/60  Z Score o How far a given raw score is from the mean, using standard deviation o Raw score: 45/60 - z = 2  You scored 2 standard deviation’s above the mean  Normal Curve vs. Skewed  Curve a) Negatively skewed b) Positively skewed Inferential Statistics  Used to interpret data/draw conclusions - test hypothesis o Is data real or error?  Why do we need this if the numbers “look” different? o Sample (subset) vs. Population (complete set) o There will be error comparing the sample to the population  How do we do this? o Test the “null hypothesis” o The assumption that there is no relationship between variables, or, no differences between groups o Example: r=0 between number of hours studying and grade o Example: mean = 85% (a’s) and 64% (c’s)  Null hypothesis says they are equal  Goal o To “reject the null hypothesis” o Significance tests (to what extent did our result occur by chance) Rejecting the null hypothesis  By testing “significance” of our data  High probability the result is due to change o P> .05 o More than 5 times in 100 our result is due to chance o Random error, mistake o Too big error - non significant data  Low probability the result is due to change o P
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