Lecture 2 – Scientific Inquiry and Research Methods
Aristotle asked questions to understand the relationship between body and psyche. He
observed and made guesses.
Wilhelm Wundt added two key elements to make psychology a science: a) carefully
measured observations; b) experiments.
Titchener had people report sensations and reaction to stimuli. He tried to use introspective
reports to build a view of the mind’s structure (structuralism).
William James had set up a psychology laboratory and wrote the principles of psychology.
He wanted to know what purpose human thoughts, feelings and behavior serve. Developed
Hindsight bias: the tendency to see past events as being predictable.
The single case: basing psychology of one specific person or event.
Overconfidence: excessive confidence in one’s own answers to questions. For example: for
certain types of questions, answer that people rate as 99% certain turn out to be wrong 40%
of the time.
Hypotheses: testable predictions derived from observations and/or implied by a theory. A
question that can be found true or false.
Operational definition: definition of how variable is conceptualized and shows how it was
measure. E.g how can we measure statistics anxiety?
Theory: an explanation using integrated set of principles that organizes observations and
predicts behaviors or events. Results are not proof.
Case Study: observing and gathering information to compile and in-depth study of one
Naturalistic observation: recording behaviour in the environment without control or
Survey: a method of gathering information about many people’s thoughts or behaviours
through self-report rather than observation.
Lecture 3 – Scientific Inquiry and Research Methods Part 2
Correlation coefficient: a measure of association between two variables that varies in
direction (positive vs. negative) and in strength. Positive direction means both variables
increase together. Negative direction means as one goes up, the other goes down. The
strength refers to how close the dots are to form a straight line.
A perfect positive correlation: points form a straight line and has a correlation coefficient of
A perfect negative correlation: the points form a straight line and has a correlation coefficient
of -1. Range: the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution.
Standard deviation: a calculation of the average distance of scores from the mean.
Nonbiased sampling: making sure the sample is a good representation of the population.
Consistency: checking that the data is not too widely varied to show a clear pattern.
Many data points: ensuring that no generalizations were made from just a few cases.
Lectures 4 and 5 – Behavioural Neuroscience
Dendrites: receive information from other neurons.
Cell body: contains the nucleus and decides the activation.
Axon: conducts nerve impulses.
Myelin: covers some neurons and facilitates neural impulses.
Terminal button: communicate with next neuron.