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PSYC 2360 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Social Desirability Bias, Nuremberg, Internal Consistency

Course Code
PSYC 2360
Naseem Al- Aidroos
Study Guide

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Reasearch Methods- mid 1 9/27/2012 10:14:00 AM
How do we know what we know?
4 ways to learn about the world:
o 1) intuition
o 2) logic
o 3) authority
o 4) observation
Types of research:
Behavioural research
o Research designed to study the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of
humans and animals.
Psychological research
o Research designed to study the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of
humans and animals
o Systematic empirical investigations designed to study the thoughts,
feelings, and behaviours of humans and animals
Empirical - based on observation
Systematic - logically consistent
Challenges to behavioural research
The intuition problem:
o Accepting explanations without testing them thoroughly, may lead
people to think they know things they do not really know, and accepting
as „truth,‟ while there are other more possible/likely answers.
Hindsight bias The tendency to think we could have predicted
something we probably could not have predicted.
The common sense problem:
o psychology must differentiate between contradicting „common sense‟.
Ex. ”Absence makes the heart grow fonder” vs. “Out of site out of
o any body of alleged knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that
claims to be scientific but does not follow the scientific method.
Ex. phrenology > area of the brain responsible for certain
behaviours. Larger the area, you will show more of that behaviour.
Doesn‟t hold up under proper method.

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o Identifying pseudoscience:
Vague exaggerated claims
promise the impossible
if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
Ex. avoid risky tests
Over-reliance on confirmation
Ex. personal experience
Goals of behavioural research:
Basic research
o Answers fundamental questions about psychology.
o “pure knowledge” (knowledge for the sake of knowledge)
Applied research
o Investigates issues that have implications for everyday life and provides
solutions to everyday problems
o “applying pure knowledge”
ex. program evalution research conducted to study the
effectiveness of methods designed to make positive changes.
o how can peer group influence drinking behaviour APPLIED
o Can video games increase aggression among children? APPLIED
o Can the luminance of a distractor impact how attention is allocated during
visual search? BASIC
Basic vs Applied
o Both are important! Progress in science is dependent on a synergy
between basic and applied research.
Much applied research is guided by the theories of basic research.
Findings obtained in field settings often require modification of
existing theories and spur more basic research
Research Designs:
Specific method used to collect, analyze, and interpret data.
3 types:
o 1) Descriptive research
designed to answer questions about the current state of affairs
ex. surveys, interviews, naturalistic observation.
"way of getting a snap-shot of the world as it is at one time"

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PRO: can capture complexity of everyday behvaiour
CON: only tells us about one thing at one time/
o Provides static pictures.
Qualitative observing and describing events as they occur &
keeps the data in their original form.
recording ALL data you see, in original form.
room for personal bias.
Quantitative Uses more formal measures of behaviour which are
designed to be subjected to statistical analysis.
focus on numbers of behaviour, not focused on everything.
can accumulate knowledge over time & easily comparable.
constrains what you observe, and puts limitations on data.
o 2) Correlational research
measurement of 2+ relevant variables and an assessment of the
relationship between/among them.
Measures MORE than 1 thing. (2 variables, or 1 over time)
PRO: allows for predictions!
CON: can‟t prove causation
Any attribute that can assume different values among
different people or across different times or places
Number of hours spent studying is correlated with...
increases in grades.
decreases in number of social connections.
Increases in high school GPA are correlated with..
subsequent university GPA.
patterns of relationships:
linear association between the variables on the
scatterplot can be easily approximated with a straight line.
Positive & negative
Pearson Correlation Coefficient: (r)
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