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Anna Nagy

Chapter 1: Scientific Understanding of Behavior METHODS OF ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE a) intuition - love arrives just when one is not looking for it – stopping the hunt reduces a major source of stress and the stress reduction in turn increases a persons confidence in social interactions - this e.g. illustrates the use of intuition and anecdotal evidence to draw general conclusions - when you rely on intuition you accept what your personal judgment or a single story about ones experience tells u about the world - intuitive approach takes several forms:  find explanation for our behaviors or for the behaviors of others - problem with intuition is that cognitive and motivational biases affect our perceptions and so we draw erroneous conclusions about cause and effect  we believe these conclusions because of illusory correlation that occurs when we focus on 2 events that stand out and occur together, these correlations are likely to occur when we are highly motivated to believe in causal relationship b) authority - ppl are too ready to accept anything learned from news media, books, government officials, religious figures as they believe the statements of such authorities must be true c) skepticism, science and the empirical approach - scientific skepticism means that ideas must be evaluated on the basis of careful logic and results from scientific investigations - scientists gain knowledge using the scientific method called empiricism – knowledge is based on structured, systematic observations - they start by developing a hypothesis and they collect data to evaluate whether that hypothesis accurately reflects the nature of the world - 4 key characteristics guide the process of scientific inquiry: 1) scientists make systematic observations, others replicate the methods used to see if they get the same results (not just a false positive/random fluke/detect alternative explanations: confounding variables) 2) scientists develop theories and search for data that support it, conduct research to evaluate propositions and revise their theories 3) science flourishes when there is a open system for the exchange and competition of ideas so that ppl can evaluate each others reports – only interested in falsifiable ideas: it can be supported or refuted using empirical data  e.g. belief I’m gods increases ppls willingness to help others vs. does a god exist 4) peer review of research prevents inaccurate research from being published d) integrating scientific skepticism, intuition and authority - intuition and authority: ideas for research - advantage of scientific approach is that it provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating and reporting info - pseudoscience uses scientific terms to substantiate claims without using scientific data GOALS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGY 1. to describe behavior 2. to predict behavior 3. to determine the causes of behavior 4. to understand or explain behavior i. description of behavior - describe events using careful observation and measurement ii. prediction of behavior - predict future behavior to see if two events are systematically related to one another allowing us to make better decisions iii. determining the causes of behavior - research shows that a childs aggressive behavior may be predicted by knowing how much violence the child views of tv - unless we know that exposure to tv is a cause of behavior we cannot assert that aggressive behavior can be reduce by limiting scenes of violence on tv - in order to change behavior we need to know the causes of behavior using experiments to determine cause and effect relationships  criteria for causal claims 1. covariation of cause and effect: cause is present, effect occurs – cause is not present, effect does not occur  children who do not watch tv violence do not behave aggressively and vice versa 2. temporal precedence: there is a temporal order of events in which the cause precedes the effect  viewing a particularly violent tv show occurred first and acts of aggression followed 3. elimination of alternative explanations: nothing other than a causal variable could be responsible for the observed – there should be no other plausible alternative explanation for the relationship  aggression could be caused by lack of parental supervision iv. explanation of behavior - explain why the events and behavior occurred using experiments and mediation analyses - e.g. television violence and aggression: imitation, desensitization, normal - description, prediction, determination of cause and explanation are all closely intertwined - determining cause and explaining behavior are related b/c it is difficult to know the true cause or all causes of any behavior BASIC AND APPLIED RESEARCH i. basic research: 4 goals of scientific research in psych capture much of the focus of basic research - which attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behavior - studies are often designed to address theoretical issues concerning phenomenon such as cognition, emotion, motivation, learning, psychobiology, personality development, social behavior - topics include: roots of bilingualism in newborns, negative consequences of revealing personal failure for low self esteem individuals, animate motion captures visual attention ii. applied research: conducted to address practical problems and potential solutions  potential for specific, immediate applications of the research which contrasts with the variety of applications possible from basic research - topics include: violence and sex impair memory for television ads, social anxiety disorder and social fears in the Canadian military: prevalence, comorbidity, impairment, treatment-seeking, setting, elaborating and reflection on personal goals improves academic performance - all studies are grounded in applied issues and solutions to problems differ in how quickly and easily results of the study can actually be used - goals setting intervention is applied as the data will be valuable for ppl who are designing assistance for academically at-risk students - recall of advertisements is applied because it tells us how television programming can affect the impact of advertisements - program evaluation is a major area of applied research and a growing career opportunity  evaluates the social reforms and innovations that occur in government, education, the criminal justice system, industry, health care and mental health institutions  social programs are experiments designed to achieve certain outcomes - conducted in settings such as large business firms, marketing research companies, government agencies and public polling organizations and it usually not published - much applied research is guided by basic research e.g. applied research on expert testimony in jury trials is guided by basic research in perception and cognition - recently ppl have demanded that research be directly relevant to specific social issues, problem with this attitude toward research is that we can ever predict the ultimate applications of basic research Chapter 2: Where to Start HYPTHESES AND PREDICTIONS - hypothesis is a statement about something that may be true - it is a tentative idea about how 2 or more variables relate to each other that is waiting for evidence to support or refute it - data is than gathered/evaluates in terms of whether the evidence is consistent or inconsistent with the hypothesis - e.g. do female undergraduates eat diff amounts of food when sitting in mixed sex groups vs. female only groups? a) 3 variables: sex, group composition and calories consumption b) after hypothesis is formulated researcher will design a study to test the hypothesis c) general hypothesis turns into a specific prediction concerning outcome of this particular experiment d) if results are consistent with the prediction the hypothesis is supported not proven - important characteristic of all scientific hypotheses is falsifiability meaning that data can shoes that a hypothesis is false if in fact it is false - unfalsifiable: ppl have an invisible aura that changes colors depending on the persons health or illness  cannot be falsified using objective data and is scientifically meaningless hypothesis SOURCES OF IDEAS i. questioning common assumptions - made to explain the world e.g. do extremely strict parenting practices produce the most productive children - testing widely held assumptions are valuable b/c such notions don’t always turn out to be correct, more complicated ii. observation of the world around us - observations of personal and social events can provide many ideas for research - have you ever had the experience of setting aside a certain amount of time to complete a project only to find that it takes much longer than you had anticipated it would  inspiring research how any why ppl underestimate task completion times  many steps we underestimate the time it will take - university student worked as waitress now studies tipping behavior - serendipity: the most interesting discoveries are the result of accident or sheer luck e.g. classical conditioning 1 set out to study digestive system of dogs iii. practical problems - which have immediate applications - e.g. bicycle riders to determine mot desirable route for city bike - social and health issues: obesity and eating disorders - impact of graphic warning labels on cigarette packages iv. theories - consists of a system of logical ideas proposed to explain a particular phenomenon and its relationship to other phenomenon - e.g. human behavior including learning, memory and personality - theories serve 2 important function: 1. organize and explain a variety of specific facts or description of behavior  theories are needed to provide a framework that relates them to each other in meaningful ways, framework makes the world more comprehensible by providing a few abstract concepts around which we can organize and explain a variety of behaviors  eg. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution explained a variety of facts concerning the characteristics of animal species 2. theories generate new knowledge by focusing our thinking so that we notice new aspects of behavior guiding our observations of the world  theories are more general and abstract than hypotheses which are more general than predictions - scientific theory is grounded in and helps to explain actual data from prior research and specifies numerous hypotheses that are consistent with the theory - as a theory becomes well established it enables us to explain a great deal of observable facts - however research may reveal weakness in theory when a hypothesis generated by theory is not supported … theory is modifies to account for new data - if multiple theories are = successful at explaining the same phenomenon the scientific principle of parsimony dictates that the least complex theory is most desirable (easiest to falsify) - evolutionary theory is still helping generate hypotheses about the diff strategies males and females have for reproduction v. past research - researchers can use the body of past literature on a topic to continually refine and expand our knowledge - researchers may lead to an attempt to apply the findings in a diff setting, different participants (age group), diff methodology to replicate results - e.g. of a study designed to address methodological flaws: facilitate communication allowing autistic children to communicate with others by pressing keys on keyboard  in 1 condition both the facilitator and autistic child are shown a pic and child was asked to indicate what was shown in the pic by typing response with facilitator  in another condition only child is shown the pic  in the last condition the child and facilitator are shown diff pic but facilitator was unaware of this * picture was correctly identified only when both saw the same picture ANATOMY OF AN EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ARTICLE Develop hypothesis  designed 1 study  support for hypothesis  write up project in report format  submit in professional journal  when report is submitted for publication consideration the journals editor solicits reviews from other scientists in the same field and decides whether the report is to be accepted for publication (peer review)  those that are accepted are published a year later in print, some provide online access shortly after a paper is accepted (primary sources)  secondary sources review and discuss previously published research reports  research articles that are reporting the results of studies usually have 5 major sections: 1. abstract summarizes the entire report 2. introduction explains the problem under investigation and the specific hypotheses being tested 3. a method section describes in detail the exact procedures used in the study 4. a results section presents the specific findings 5. discussion section concludes the article in which the research may speculate on the broader implications of the results, propose alternative explanations for the results, discuss reasons that a particular hypothesis may not have been supported by the data and or make suggestions for further research on the problem 6. references lists all the sources that were cited through article APA i. abstract: 120 in length, hypothesis, procedure, broad pattern of results little info from discussion ii. introduction: problem, past research/theories, specific expectations, formal hypotheses  introduces research project by building a logical case that justifies why this study and the expected results make an important contribution to understanding behavior iii. method: info about exactly how the study was conducted, info to replicate or repeat 1 section: overview of design 2 section: characteristics of participants/subjects/respondents(survey) and informants(help understand dynamics of particular cultural/organizational settings/who report on personality characteristics of other ppl) rd 3 section: procedure used 4 sections: equipment, testing material iv. results: presents the findings 1 : description in narrative form, avoid meaning of results/avoid bias, meaning reserved for dndcussion 2 : described in statistical language reflecting the analyses conducted to test hypothesis 3 : material depicted in tables and graphs v. discussion - review the research from various perspectives - if research supports hypothesis and give reasons and why one explanation is superior - if research does not support hypothesis give reasons - compare research to past results FINDING EXISTING RESEARCH - helps clarify idea and design study, helping to better understand behavior i. the nature of journals - specialize in 1 or 2 areas of human or animal behavior ii. conducting a PsychINFO search - journal publication from the 1800s to the present - will obtain list of abstracts that are related to your particular topic of interest - use thesaurus of psychological index terms lists standard terms used to index abstracts e.g. procrastination  motivation - digital object identifier helps full text sources of the article iii. web of science allows you to search through citation info such as the name of the author or article title, includes disciplines such as bio, chem, biomedicine and pharmacology as well as social and behavioral sciences such as psych, socio, criminal justice  can use cited reference search st  1 pick article on topic than search for recent articles that cited the key article iv. review articles not all articles follow 5 section format, articles that review and summarize the research in a particular area are helpful too - literature review use narrative techniques or a meta analysis (statistical techniques) - will have abstract, into, discussion and ref but section btw intro and discussion will vary v. broader internet searches (1)improve quality of search by learning the diff ways each search engine finds/stores info (2) advanced search rules: how to make searches more narrow/how to find exact phrases (3)ways to critically evaluate the quality of info u find  - does not allow you to narrow your search - full text is unavailable  *Wikipedia - not credible good starting points vii. evaluating web info (1) site associated with major educational institute or research organization (2) info provided on ppl who are responsible for site, check credentials, contact info (3) info current (4) links lead to legitimate organizations, credible ref for factual info Chapter 3: Ethical Research WERE MILGRAM’S OBEDIENCE EXPERIMENTS ETHICAL - Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments to study the phenomenon of obedience to an authority figure - Participant met scientist dressed in lab coat and another participant (Mr. Wallace) who was a confederate (accomplice) - Both participants drew slips of paper to determine who would be the teacher and who would be the learner  rigged Mr. Wallace was always the learner - Every time Mr. Wallace made a mistake identifying which word went together the teacher would deliver a shock that increased with each mistake  didn’t actually receive shock - Mr. Wallace asked to stop but scientist encouraged participant to continue 65% - Results help understand obedience in real-life situations/resist authority ETHICAL RESEARCH IN CANADA 1. The Tri-Council and Its Policy Statements (guidelines NOT rules) - researchers adhere to the Tri-council policy statement: ethical conduct for research involving humans - tri council is a common way to refer to the 3 federally funded research granting agencies: CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC - the tri-council policy statement TCPS was the first standard Canadian ethics code to guide all research involving humans - 2012 TCPS was revised and all institutions and receive funding from Tri-council must have research ethics board 2. Historical, Legal, and International Context - the Nuremberg code i. developed in world war 2 ii. because of human experimentation iii. emphasized the importance of informed consent iv. paved the way for updated codes of ethics  medical research, countries and professional scientific societies - TCPS also reminds researchers that you must follow the laws of the jurisdiction e.g. Canadian charter of rights and freedoms, privacy of info 3. Core Principles Guiding Research with Human Participants - respects the dignity and inherent worth of all human beings I. respect for persons: must respect and protect autonomy of participant, enabling ppl to choose participation freely II. concern for welfare: minimize risks, maximizing benefits of research, participants are allowed to choose whether the risk/benefit is acceptable to them III. justice: treat ppl fairly/equitably, distributing the benefits and burdens of participating in research, this involves recruitment methods offer participation to ppl from diverse range of social groups only excluding groups if scientifically justifiable DESIGNING RESEARCH TO UPHOLD THE CORE PRINCIPLES 1. promotes concern for welfare by minimizing risks and maximizing benefits - concern for welfare is the need for research to maximize benefits and minimize any harmful effects of participation - the risk benefit analysis is the calculation of potential risks and benefits that are likely to result - risks include psychological/physical harm, loss of confidentiality - its important to also look at the cost of not conducting the study if the proposed procedure is the only way to collect valuable data  failing to study ppl’s experiences of traumatic events can lead to misguided treatments - benefits of research include: direct benefits to participant (new skill, knowledge, treatment), material benefits, less tangible benefits - returning to Milgram’s research do you think that participants faced long term effects from the stress of the experiment (think they were cruel, inhumane) a) risk of physical harm - experiments such as administering alcohol to investigate effects of intoxication on decision making causes harm to participants - risks in these experiments require care be taken to make them ethically acceptable and the benefits must outweigh risks b) risk of stress - give participant few minutes to prepare speech and tell them to deliver in front of evaluative audience - this e.g. is used to see physiological responses to stress among ppl with chronic major depressive disorder - usually there is a debriefing session following the study designed to address potential problems that may arise during the research c) risk of losing privacy and confidentiality - researchers must take care to protect the privacy of individuals, according to TCPS this includes the right to control info about oneself - by keeping all paper data locked in a secure place and encrypting electronic data - this is important wen studying sexual behavior, divorce, family violence, drug abuse - many cases responses are completely anonymous and there is no way to connect any persons identity with the data e.g. questionnaires - some research there is a real need to identify individual participants for instance if the participant are studied on multiple occasions - researchers who conduct studies online must develop safe guards such as encryption to protect participants data from interception by unauthorized parties - privacy issue concerns concealed observation of behavior, in some studies researchers make observations of behaviors in public places (use roleplaying to determine if ethical)  by gathering evidence about participants perceptions of a potential experiment 2. promote respect for persons through informed consent - participants are treated as autonomous by being capable of making deliberate decisions bout whether to participate in research - through informed consent: potential participants in a research project should be provided with all information that might influence their decision about whether to participate a) informed consent form - will cover purpose of the experiment - procedures that will be used (time involved) - risks/benefits to the participant and in general - any compensation - how confidentiality will be protected - assurance of voluntary participation and permission to withdraw - contact info for questions about the research and about the ethics of the research - should not be written in first person  research doesn’t have to tell what is being studied but include all info that could affect participants choice to participate b) autonomy issues  lack of autonomy - special populations such as minors, patients in psychiatric hospitals or adults with cognitive impairment require special precautions - for instance a minor would need consent from a parent as well as their own agreement which is called assent  coercion - any procedure that limits an individuals freedom to consent - teacher pressuring students to take survey to pass course - some times benefits are so great they become coercive e.g. low income is offered 100 to participate and feels pressure out of financial need c) information issues: withholding information and deception - too much info could invalidate the results of the study - e.g. researchers may withhold info about the hypothesis of the study or the particular condition an individual is participating in - sometimes research procedures do not need informed consent for e.g. if you choose to observe the number of same sex and mixed sex study groups in your library - deception occurs when there is active misrepresentation of info illustrated in Milgram’s experiment are 2 forms of deception: 1. purpose of the study obedience not memory and learning - informed consent procedures increase perceptions of control in stress experiments affecting conclusions drawn from the research - informed consent may also bias the sample: if participants had prior knowledge that they would be asked to give severe shocks to another person some might have declined to be in the experiment - limiting our ability to generalize the results only to those who agreed to participate 2. participants become part of a series of events staged for the purpose of the study - confederate of the experimenter played the part of another participant in the study - this created a reality for the participant in which obedience to authority could be observed - procedures in which observers conceal their purpose, presence or identity are also deceptive  e.g. when Humphreys studied the behavior of male homosexuals who frequent public rest rooms, he obtained the address of the men, disguised himself and visited their homes to interview them d. is deception a widespread problem in psychological research - use of deception has decreased in social psychology studies since the 1980s however in 2000 substantial amount of major journals use deceptive research - deception has become increasingly common in academic marketing research - deception is now more likely to involve providing a false purpose or cover story about the study - 4 reasons for a decrease in type of deception shown in Milgram’s study: 1. researchers have become interested in cognitive variables using methods similar to those used by researchers in memory/cognitive psychology 2. general level of awareness of ethical issues has led researchers to conduct studies in other ways 3. ethics committees/university/colleges now review proposed research more carefully so elaborate deception is likely to be approved on when the research is important/no alternative procedures available 4. elaborate set-ups are very difficult to achieve successfully sometimes b/c participants suspicions can undermine the value of deception in the first place, this effect depends on the variables: some psychological measures have shown no difference btw ppl who were suspicious about deception and people who were not (impractical) e. importance of debriefing - debriefing occurs after the completion of the study - opportunity for the researcher to deal with issues of withholding info, deception and potential harmful effects of participation, educate participants about the nature and purposes of the research f. alternatives to deception - the Windsor Deception Checklist helps researchers and REB members decide whether he specific way in which they are considering using deception raises ethical concerns enough to reconsider its use - alternatives include role playing, simulation studies, honest experiments g. role-playing - one role playing procedure would include an experimenter describing a situation to a participant and than asking them how they would respond to the situation - other times they are asked to predict how other participants would behave - a problem with role playing is that simply reading a description of a situation does not involve the participants very deeply, they are not part of a real situation - also the experimenter gives a full description of the situation, the experimenters hypothesis may become transparent to the participant, so they will behave in a way that is consistent with the hypothesis  features of the experiment that may inform participants about the hypothesis are called demand characteristics - most serious defect is that no matter what results are obtained, critics can always claim that the results would have been diff if the participants had been in a real situation b/c ppl aren’t always able to accurately predict their own behavior or the behavior of others h. simulation studies - simulation is another type of role playing used to examine conflict between competing individuals e.g. driving behavior using driving simulators - they can create high degrees of involvement among participants and can effectively mimic many elements of a real life experience - ethical problems still arise this is shown in the Stanford prison experiment: participants knew they were not really prisoners or guards, they became so involved in their roles that the experiment produced levels of stress that were higher than in almost any other experiment i. honest experiments - research designed that doesn’t try to misinform or hide information from participants - speed dating studies are a useful way of studying romantic attraction - because everyone meets with everyone else, the situation allows for a systematic examination of many factors that might be related to date selection - another method would be to recruit ppl who are seeking out info or services that they need - another strategy involves situations in which a naturally occurring event presents an opportunity for research 3. promotes justice by involving people equitable in research - principles of justice addresses issues of fairness in receiving the benefits of research as well as bearing the burdens of accepting risks decisions to include or exclude certain people from a research study must be justified on scientific grounds  age, ethnicity, gender or other criteria are used to select participants, there must be scientific rationale - benefits of research must also be equitably shared across groups MONITORING ETHICAL STANDARD AT EACH INSTITUTION - each institution that receives any funding from an of the tri-council agencies must have
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