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Lecture 2


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York University
PSYC 2230
N/ A

RESEARCH METHODS LECTURE 2: JUNE 28TH 2012 TOPIC: EXPLAINING BEHAVIOUR **There will be tutorials just before each exam to go over everything which will take place in Vari Hall A(same as the lecture)** METHODS OF INQUIRY: ➔ Why things happen. TENACITY → when we hear a statement over and over we tend to believe it is actually true. This is because if it was incorrect it would not have lasted for such a long period of time. People who hold this method are resistant to contrary evidence therefore ignoring what goes against their beliefs. Example: advertisers use this → repeating a message so that you eventually believe its true.AUTHORITY → find an answer by looking to an expert. Rely on the acceptance of experts. Problems with this way of knowing: this knowledge is only as good based on how the expert is deemed in that field.Alot relies on the source. Do not provide valid answers to questions about behaviour: 1) because we assume that if they are an expert in one domain we will generalize they are an expert in other domains. Example: a start athlete thinking they know everything about nutrition.Advertisers have us believe they are experts in multiple areas. Example: different “experts” will have different ways to approach rising your child. We tend not to question experts because we do not want to offend them. INTUITION → information is accepted as being true because it just feels right very much like a hunch, instinct, or gut feeling. Example: commonsense → no way of separating accurate from inaccurate information. RATIONAL METHODS → seeking answers through logical reasoning. Example: “Beautiful people are good” Carol is an attractive person therefore she is good. No support for the original assumption that beautiful people are good. SCIENTIFIC METHOD: ➔ Psychologists do not rely on any of the above methods when doing research and talking about behaviour. They use the following methods. Scientific methods is the best approach at eliminating bias and opinion. EMPIRICAL → derived from old Greek meaning “through experience”. The knowledge is based on direct observation and experimentation. OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT → If two people were observing the same thing they would arrive at the same conclusion. This is quite often misunderstood. People feel scientists treat subjects as objects when they are objective. What people observe is what happened. EVIDENCE IS GATHERED SYSTEMATICALLY → information is obtained in a thought out step by step manner. CONFIRMATION OF FINDINGS → the validity of the research.As more information accumulates the validity of the results increase. SELF-CORRECTING → science is characterized by allowing new evidence correct previous results or beliefs. PROGRESSIVE → science is progressive. TENTATIVE → science never claims the whole truth because knowledge can be corrected. ATTITDUES OF SCIENTISTS: ➔ Uncertain, open-minded, skeptical, cautious, and ethical. One should carefully evaluate their research and the research of others as a healthy skeptic. GOALS OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD: ➔ DESCRIPTION → describe the behaviour. Define it. Operationalize it. Do this clearly, provide an accurate description because without it you cannot move forward and find different behaviours or try to explain behaviour because everything would be meaningless. Therefore, hindering the research process. Nomothetic versus Idiographic approach. We rely on large sample sizes, describe our behaviour as the average as a group, never describe an individuals performance, the mean would be typical performance serving as the dominant approach in psychology. Nomothetic → inadequate-- unique individuals cannot be described by the average value therefore the idiographic methods is more accurate—looking at individuals rather then groups in terms of behaviour. PREDICTION → we want to understand or predict behaviour and ask questions like “does an early loss of a parent make a child vulnerable to be depressed later in life?” Professional schools rely on prediction example: look at GPAand tests to see if you will succeed in their program. EXPLAIN/UNDERSTAND → example: relationship between TV violence and aggression. Even if we know they are associated we need to explain this relationship, we need to understand does this relationship occur due to modeling, is it the result of being psychologically desensitized to violence, or does watching TV violence lead many to believe violence is a normal response to conflict? APPLICATION → seeks to use the knowledge to influence some phenomena.Apply it in a social situation, business environment etc. BASIC VERSUSAPPLIED RESEARCH: ➔ Basic → not very much emphasis on application. More concerned with theoretical issues. Test different theories of cognition and emotions for example. Very theoretical. ➔ Applied → conducted for the knowledge that it produces. Conducted to address some practical problem, to find potential solutions. Example: one might wonder what types of psychotherapy are effective in treating depression. Example: program evaluation in terms of reducing drug or alcohol abuse. Conducted in business settings, marketing companies, government etc. ➔ Neither is more superior than the other. Distinction between the two is hard to make clear. LABORATORY VERSUS FIELD RESEARCH: ➔ Laboratory → lab setting, controll
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