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Midterm

PSYC 100 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Empiricism, Scientific Method, Observational Learning


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 100
Professor
Jordan Poppenk
Study Guide
Midterm

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Psychology:
The scientific study of behaviour and thought process in humans.
Psychologists either carry out or read and apply research about behaviour and mental
process.
WEEK 1: Introduction and History
Goals:
Outline the philosophical roots of psychology (schools of thought & scientific method)
Define empiricism and rationalism
Explain structuralism and functionalism in relation to empiricism
Describe how psychology fits with other sciences
Summarize how psychology is relevant to many different professions
Outline the philosophical roots of psychology
Roots (schools of thought)
Structuralism (elements): knowledge through reduction into elements
Functionalism (need): knowledge through understanding utility
Empiricism (observation): knowledge through sensory information
Rationalism (reason): knowledge through reason and logic
AND
The Scientific Method
Way of learning about the world through collecting observations, developing theories to
explain them, and using the theories to make predictions.
Define empiricism and rationalism:
Empiricism: knowledge through sensory observation
OBSERVATION
The philosophical view that we obtain all knowledge through observable facts and
experiences
Revolves around what we can observe and measure, using scientific approach
Behaviour is measurable, mind is NOT
Inconsistency in introspection led to behaviorism
Behaviour studied as physical processes, mind is ignored (not observable by
senses)
I.e. do people and animals associate predictive stimuli with food? - would ask this
question and perform this experiment
Belief that people can describe the world through rules generated by observation,
quantification, and parsimony
Approach applied to questions about perception, thinking and behaviour
Rationalism: Knowledge through reason and logic
REASON
General statements (universals) cannot be a result of finite observations (you have to
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extrapolate)
There are mental processes that give rise to behaviours
How we generate hypothesis we can then empirically test
Explain structuralism and functionalism in relation to empiricism
BOTH USE EMPIRICAL APPROACHES
Structuralism: knowledge through reducation into elements
ELEMENTS
Used
Reaction time (the fact that it takes time to process information)
Introspection (talking about experiences) - this was used less
Opposite = Gestalt psychology
Focus on mental process
Functionalism: knowledge through understanding utility
NEED
Founding father=William James (1842-1910) - researched purpose of conscious
behaviour
Examine behaviours, traits, and perceptions (what are they for?)
Why do we have these behaviours?”
Used
Experimentation
“Naturalisticintrospection (reporting thoughts and experiences)
Describe how psychology fits with other sciences:
“Science” stems from 2 fundamental beliefs of empiricism and determinism
Is a social and natural science (combination)
Is a science
Make updatable theories that inform testable hypotheses
Psychology blurs into neuroscience, biology, sociology, economics, engineering,
computer science, linguistics, politics and education, as well as philosophy, physiology,
and other disciplines.
Summarize how psychology is relevant to many different professions:
Psychology touches every topic and industry. Understanding behaviour is a great importance to
every field. It can be divided into:
Medicine
Clinical (this is the treatment of mental disorders)
Developmental
Educational
Biological
Social
Cognitive
Industrial-organizational
Comparative
Applied psychologists can work in advertising, communications, business and human
resources, and governmental and community service organizations.
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WEEK 2: Research Methods and Statistics
Explain the five principal steps of the scientific method
Describe the principles (validity, reliability, generalizability) of good experimental
design
Distinguish between independent and dependent variables.
Explain the difference between an experiment and a correlational study.
Identify the utility, advantages, and disadvantages of correlational studies.
Describe the proper procedures for the selection of participants for an experiment and their
assignment to conditions.
Demonstrate an understanding of the following concepts: descriptive and inferential
statistics, central tendency, variability, statistical significance
Apply knowledge of psychological research, critical thinking, and research design to
critically evaluate psychological claims in the popular media.
Identify ethical issues involved in psychological research and participants’ rights.
Explain the five principal steps of the scientific method
1. Formulate a hypothesis
2. Design a study
a. Decide the type of study
i. Experiment
ii. Correlation
iii. Descriptive research
b. Eliminated effects of confounds (accidental manipulation of more than 1 variable)
3. Collect the data
4. Analyze the data and obtain the results
5. Draw conclusions from the results, use to formulate new hypothesis, show findings
Describe the principles (validity, reliability, generalizability) of good experimental design
Good experimental design must be verifiable.
Verifiability: fact or experience can be replicated (I.e. Someone else should be able to
perform the same experiment)
1. Validity: is it measuring what it claims to measure?
a. The degree to which the instrument/procedure actually measures what it claims
to measure
i. Ecological validity: results of a lab study can be applied to/repeated in the
natural environment
2. Reliability: do we get stable answers across observations and time?
a. When a result can be re-achieved using the same process to get it
i. Test-retest reliability: whether scores are consistent across test sessions
ii. Alternate-forms reliability: examines whether different forms of test
produce the same results
iii. Inter-rater reliability: more than 1 rater agree on measurement
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