PSYC 2230 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Nomothetic, Scientific Method, Operational Definition
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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. A lot 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.
➔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.
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