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Lecture 1

PSC 41 Lecture 1: PSC 41 - Lecture 1

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PSC 41
Cross, Victoria

PSC 41 - Research Methods in Psychology How do we know things? - What is real? - What is the truth? - How are you persuaded? o Humans are constantly gathering and organizing information about the world o We generate theories about how the world works o Science refines this nature tendency How to acquire knowledge? - Intuitive knowledge: (ie: falling in love) first two aren’t used in the sciences much o “I feel that it is so” - Authority (ie: speed limit) o “A respected source says that it is so” - Empiricism: learning information through your senses (observing information, recording data, smelling/hearing) o “I’ll believe it when I see it”  Observation  Experience - Rationalism: acquiring knowledge through reasoning, logic o Logical reasoning o Deduction - Scientific knowledge: combination between empiricism and rationalism o It describes relationships between variables o Theory-data cycle  You start with theory of how the way the world works > allows us to generate hypothesis > gather data/information > bring that information back into our theory (so we revise or support theory) Goals of Research in Psychology - Describe behavior (frequency claims) point of this class is to evaluate claims about relationships between variables (interested in looking for patterns between the world) how frequent one claim is (% of depression) o Identify regularly occurring sequences of events o Classify behaviors  Ie: Wonder if sophomores do better than freshmen (that’s a claim we will look into to) - Predict behavior (association claims) o Identify the relationships between variables o Strength of relationship leads to degree of confidence in prediction  Ie: Gender is a strong predictor of height  Association claim: adults who are incarcerated about 56% of those adults suffer with mental health issues  Are you incarcerated? Yes. No. Predictor  Mental health status. Outcome.  If I know your incarceration status, will it give me enough information to predict if you have a mental health issue? - Explain behavior (causal claim) o Understand the cause and effect relationship o Develop theories about why things occur the way they do o Test the theories  Could we reverse that? Perhaps people are incarcerated because mental health status. Scientific knowledge – summary - Scientific knowledge describes relationships between variables o Variables: any characteristic that varies - Because our knowledge is incomplete, we call these relationships ‘claims’ Empiricism - Systematically gather data and answer the question o Reduce subjectivity o Data = evidence  Data will help us address our research hypothesis - You must be open to accept whatever the data tell us o Reduce bias (if it doesn’t agree with your prediction, it’s your prediction has to change) - Must have appropriate control or comparison group (confirmation bias) we tend to look for evidence that supports our understanding o Don’t just look to confirm your hypothesis Research question: 3 envelops, 1 has $1. Choose one, empty so take it out. 2 left. I wonder if the strategy used effects success (the chances of winning the dollar bill?) - Predictor variable: which strategy you pick - Outcome variable: winning the dollar bill o H1: Switching will be more successful o H2: Staying will be more successful o H3: it doesn’t matter; both strategies were equally successful - This is an empirical question o You must be open to accept whatever the data t
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