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Psych 101 1-14-13 Notes.docx

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PSY 101
Robert Short

Psych 101 1-14-13 Notes: How Psychologists Practice Science  Descriptive methods: o Involve attempts to measure or record behaviors, thoughts, or feelings in their natural state o Ex) Observation o Psychologists (and other fields) use five major types  Naturalistic Observation- involves observing behavior as it unfolds in its natural setting  Ex) Experiment on mating rituals  Advantages: o Behaviors are spontaneous o Doesn’t rely on people’s ability to report on their own experiences  Disadvantages o Researchers may interfere while engaging behavior o Some interesting behaviors are very rare o Observer bias- Researchers may selectively attend in certain events and ignore others. o Time consuming.  Case Studies- involve intensive examination of a single person or group  Ex) Mass suicides or study of Charles Manson  Advantages: o Rich source of hypotheses o Allows studies of rare behaviors  Disadvantages: o Observe bias  Ex) Ted Bundy, judging a book by its cover o Difficult to generalize finding from a single case o Impossible to reconstruct causes from complexity of past events  Archives- public records of social behaviors  Advantages: o Easy access to large amounts of pre-recorded data  Disadvantages: o Many interesting social behaviors are never recorded  Surveys- involves asking people questions about their beliefs and behaviors  Advantages: o Allows study of difficult to observe behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. o Great for socially unacceptable topics  Disadvantages: o People who respond may not be representative o Ex) 1936 Political Poll o Subjects may be biased or untruthful in response  Psychological Tests- involve attempts to assess an individual’s abilities,
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