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PSYB01H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Internal Validity, Discriminant, Direct Manipulation Interface

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Anna Nagy
Study Guide

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Psychological Research Lab
Chapter 1
Midterm Notes
Chapter 1 — Scientific Understanding of Behaviour
-scientific research provides us with a means of addressing questions and providing answers
-ways in which knowledge of research methods can be useful in understanding the world around us
-characteristics of the scientific approach to the study of behaviour
-general types of research questions that concern behavioural scientists
-understanding research methods helps you become an informed consumer
-newspapers, general-interest magazines and other media continually report research results
-you should read these reports and critically evaluate the methods employed, and decide whether the
conclusions are reasonable
-understanding research methods can give you a competitive edge in a variety of career paths
-many occupations require the use of research findings
-reading relevant literature and applying it in their professional lives
-knowledge of research methods and the ability to evaluate research reports are useful in many careers
-understanding research methods helps you participate in public policy debates
-legislators and political leaders propose legislation based on research findings
-research may also influence judicial decisions
-ex. psychological evidence accepted as evidence in a court case in which the U.S Supreme Court
banned school segregation in the United States
-the evidence claimed that segregating students by race was harming students and should be banned
-in Canada, psychologists frequently offer expert testimony and consultation in legal cases
-understanding research methods helps you evaluate the efficacy of programs in which you may choose
to participate or that you may implement in your community (ex. parenting programs)
-many people rely on intuition and authority as ways of knowing
-intuition - unquestioning acceptance of what your personal judgement or a single story about one
person’s experience tells you about the world
-it often involves finding an explanation for our behaviours or for the behaviours of others
-intuition is used to explain intriguing events that you observe
-many cognitive and motivational biases affect our perceptions and so we are likely to draw erroneous
conclusions about cause and effect
-illusionary correlation - that occurs when we focus on two events that stand out and occur together
-ex. when we stop looking for a mate and don’t find someone — we don’t notice this non-event
-ex. when we stop looking for a mate and find someone — we notice this event
-illusionary correlations are also likely to occur when we are highly motivated to believe in the casual
-we are more likely to be persuaded by a speaker who seems prestigious, trustworthy, and respectable
than by one who lacks such qualities
-authority - an alternative to the scientific method of acquiring knowledge, accepting anything learned
from supposed authority figures (ex. news media, government officials, religious figures, books)
-they believe that the statements of such authorities must be true
-advertisers use endorsements by authorities to sell products
Skepticism, Science, and the Empirical Approach
-scientists recognize that their ideas are likely to be wrong
-scientists are very skeptical

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Psychological Research Lab
Chapter 1
Midterm Notes
-scientific skepticism - the concept that ideas must be evaluated on the basis of careful logic and results
from scientific investigations
-the fundamental characteristic of the scientific method is empiricism - use of objective observations to
answer a question about the nature of behaviour
-after developing a hypothesis, a scientist collects data to evaluate whether the hypothesis reflects the
nature of the world
-the four key characteristics of scientific inquiry are: !
- first: scientists make systematic observations that are accurately reported to other scientists !
and the public; others can replicate - to repeat a research study to determine whether the !
results can be duplicated !
- second: scientists search for observations that will help them make accurate discoveries, !
develop theories, argue that existing data support their theories, revise their theories if needed !
- third: science flourishes when there is an open system for the exchange and competition of !
ideas, research can be conducted to test any idea that is advanced, researchers are only !
interested in falsifiable ideas, falsifiable - capable of being shown to be false when tested !
using scientific methods, if an idea is falsifiable then it can be either supported or refuted !
using empirical data!
- fourth: peer review - the process of judging the scientific merit of research through review !
by peers of the researchers — other scientists with the expertise to evaluate the research, it !
must be reviewed by other scientists who have the expertise to carefully evaluate the research
Integrating Scientific Skepticism, Intuition and Authority
-scientific approach provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating and reporting
-it is an open system that allows ideas to be refuted or supported by others
-scientists rely on intuition and assertions for ideas for research
-there is nothing wrong with accepting the assertions of authority as long as we do not accept them
-scientists often become authorities when they express their ideas
-credentials — we are likely to pay attention to someone with an established reputation in the field
-we are also influenced by the reputation of the institution represented by the person
-we should also examine the researchers funding source
-pseudoscience - using scientific terms to substantiate claims without using scientific data (ex.
marketers and astrologers)
-we are all increasingly susceptible to false reports of scientific findings circulated via the internet
-we should be highly skeptical when scientific assertions are made that are supported by only vague or
improbable evidence
-goals of scientific research - within psychology and the behavioural sciences are four general goals of
scientific research: to describe behaviour, determine the causes of behaviour, to understand or explain
behaviour, to predict behaviour
Description of Behaviour
-first goal of scientific research in psychology is to describe events, which involves careful observation
and measurement
-descriptive research can provide a foundation for future work
Prediction of Behaviour
-predict future behaviour
-after observing, it becomes possible to make predictions and to anticipate events
-the ability to predict often helps us make better decisions

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Psychological Research Lab
Chapter 1
Midterm Notes
Determining the Causes of Behaviour
-determine the causes of behaviour
-to know how to change behaviour; we need to know the causes of behaviour
-experiments help us identify cause and effect relationships
Criteria for Causal Claims
-three types of evidence used to identify the cause of a behaviour
-to conclude causation, three things must occur:!
- covariation of cause and effect - observing that a change in one variable is accompanied by a !
change in a second variable, when the cause is present; the effect occurs, when the cause is not !
present; the effect does not occur !
- temporal precedent - the cause precedes the effect in a time sequence !
- alternative explanation - a potential alternative cause of an observed relationship between !
variables, nothing other than a causal variable could be responsible for the observed effect
Explanation of Behaviour
-explain why the events and behaviour occur
-why does it occur?
-further research is necessary to shed light on possible explanations of the causal relationship
-additional research like this is carried out by testing theories that are developed to explain particular
-new research findings almost always pose new questions that must be addressed by further research;
explanations of behaviour often must be discarded or revised as new evidence is gathered
-both basic and applied research are important, and neither should be considered superior to the other
Basic Research
-basic research - attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behaviour
-studies are often designed to address theoretical issues concerning phenomena such as cognition,
emotion, motivation, learning etc
-scientists make their work public, they write it into the form of a journal article and submit it to a
scientific journal for peer review
-research is written in standard American Psychological Association style
Applied Research
-applied research - is conducted to address practical problems and potential solutions, specific and
immediate applications of the research
-applied issues and solutions to problems — the results of the studies can actually be used
-basic and applied research can more accurately be viewed as a continuum
-a major area of applied research is program evaluation
-program evaluation - research designed to evaluate programs that are designed to produce certain
changes or outcomes in a target population
-evaluates the social reforms and innovations that occur in government, education, the criminal justice
system, industry — determine whether it is having its intended effect
-applied research is conducted in settings such as large business firms, marketing research companies,
government agencies etc
-much applied research is guided by the theories and findings of basic research investigators
-the findings obtained in applied settings often require modification of existing theories and spur more
basic research
-research with no apparent practical value ultimately can be very useful
-no one can predict the eventual impact of basic research; therefore; support of basic research is
necessary both to advance science and to benefit society
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