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PSYC 2030
Rebecca Jubis

Chapter 1 Why take this course? – to begin process of learning how to do research in psychology – provides solid foundation for other psychology courses – teaches a process of acquiring knowledge about psychological phenomena that is then applied to all specific content areas represented by other course in psychology – method- the way in which researchers gain their knowledge about phenomena – help develop the kinds of skills employers look for in bachelor level job applicants Ways of knowing Authority – whenever we accept the validity of information from a source that we judge to be expert or influential in some way, we are relying on authority as a source of our knowledge – authorities can be wrong Use of Reason – we sometimes arrive at conclusions by using logic and reason – the value of a logically drawn conclusion depends on the truth of premise, and it takes more than logic to determine whether premises have merit – Pierce labelled the use of reason and a developing consensus among those debating the merits of one belief over another, the priori method for acquiring knowledge – beliefs are deduced from statements about what is thought to be true according to rules of logic – belief develops as result of logical argument, before person has direct experience with phenomena at hand – a priori method was favored by metaphysical philosophers who could reason eloquently to reach some truth, only to be contradicted by other philosophers who reasoned just as eloquently to the opposite truth – the outcome of the priori approach is that the philosophical beiefs go in and out of fashion with no real progress toward the truth Experience – another important way of coming to know things is experiences in the world – this is empiricism- the process of learning things through direct observation or experience and reflection on those experiences – our experiences are necessarily limited and our interpretations of our experiences can be influenced by a number of social psychologists refer to as social cognition biases – belief perseverance- motivated by a desired to be certain about one's knowledge, it is a tendency to hold on doggedly to a belief even in the face of evidence that would convince most people that the belief is false. It is likely that these beliefs form when the individual hears some truth being continuously repeated, in the absence of contrary information – confirmation bias- tendency to search out and pay special attention to information that support's ones beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts a belief – availability heuristic- when we experience unusual or very memorable events and then we overestimate how often such events typically occur The Ways of Knowing and Science – the most reliable way to develop a belief is through methods of science – pierce believed that the chief advantage of science lies in its objectivity, which he considered to be the opposite of subjectivity – for Pierce, to be objective is to avoid completely any human bias or preconception – concerning bias, scientists sometimes hold on to a pet theory or a favored methodology long after others have abandoned it and they seem to be less than willing to entertain new ideas – research psychologists can also be influenced by authority – authorities are usually other scientists and experts are more likely to be reliable than not – scientists are normally guided by the motto engraved on the entrance to the headquarters of british royal society which encourages them to take nobodys word; see it for yourself – Pierce's a priori method is frequently found in science to the extent that scientists argue with eachother trying to reach a rational consensus on some issue, but often failing to do so Science as a Way of Knowing – determinism: events, including psychological ones, have causes – discoverability: by using agreed- upon scientific methods, these causes can be discovered with some degree of confidence ScienceAssumes Determinism – traditional concept of determinism contends that all events have some causes – come philosophers argue for a strict determinism, which holds that the causal structure of the universe enables the prediction of all events with 100% certainty, at least in principles – statistical determinism: events can be predicted but only with a probability greater than chance, research psychologists take this position – it seems to require the belief that we abandon our belief in free will – behaviour follows certain patterns and is clearly predictible – concerning matter of free choice, the positivist philosopher of science Rudolph Carnap argued that free choice is actually meaningless unless determinism is true because choices should be made on some reasonable basis and there can be no basis for choice unless world is lawful – according to carnap, without causal regularity it is not possible to make free choice at all – a choice involves deliberate preference for one course of action over another – when psychologist investigates behaviour and discovers regularities, this does not eliminate or limit human freedom – best psychologists can do is examine scientifically such topics as extent to which behaviour is influenced by strong belief in free will, degree to which some behaviours are more free than others, what the limits might be on our free choices Science Makes Systematic Observations – science also bases its findings on observations, but they are made much more systematically than our everyday observations – scientists systematic observations include using: precise definitions of the phenomena being measured, relaible and valid measuring tools that yield useful and interpretable data, generally accepted research methodologies, a system of logic for drawing conclusions and fitting those conclusions into general theories Science Produces Public Knowledge – for pierce being objective is eliminating such human factors as expectation and bias – the objective scientist was believe to be almost machine-like in the search for truth – today nobody believes that scientists can seperate themselves from their already existing attidutdes and to be objective does not mean to be devoid of such normal human traits – objective observation as term used in science is simply one that can be verified by more than one observer – this usually takes the form of defining terms and research procedures precisely enough so any other person can systematically repeat study, presumably achieving same observable outcome – science produces knowledge that is public knowledge, as results are replicated, public confidence is increased – questions are raised when results cannot be replicated – introspection- precise self report – problem with introspection was that although introspectors underwent rigorous training that attempted to eliminate potential for bias in self observations, method was subjective- cannot verify your introspections and you cannot verify mine Science Produces Data Based Conclusions – researchers are data driven; they expect conclusions about behaviour to be supported by the evidence of objective information gathered through some systematic procedure – researcher try to judge whether data given to support some claim adequate for claim to be made – even find selves thinking about how data might bear problems they encounter in daily living Science Produces Tentative Conclusions – related to data driven attitude that characterizes researchers in the recognition that conclusions drawn from data are always tentative, subject to future revision based on new researcher – science is self correcting enterprise, its conclusions never absolute, yet there is confidence that research will eventually get one closer to the truth – tentative nature of scientific research is feature of scientific thinking that is difficult to understand because people seem to believe that the outcome of well executed scientific research will be the authoritative anf final answer to some question – compared to most people, scientists have a relatively high tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to be patient with the progress of science – in the long run, they have faith that the proficient use of science will lead to increasing confidence about the truth of some phenomena – attribute of science, its tentative nature, makes a large contrast with the nonscientific thinking – beliefs not based in science because they bring so
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