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Chapter 2 OCT EXAM.doc

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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 2- Studying behaviour Scientifically SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY 1. Identify a question of interest 2. Gathering information and creating a hypothesis 3. Testing the hypothesis through experiments, research, etc. · Define independent/dependant variables. (Independent changes dependant variables, independent is manipulated) 4. Analyzing the data, drawing tentative conclusions and report findings 5. Build a body of knowledge (create theories, create new hypotheses, etc.)  Behaviourtheory: “ if you punish someone for doing something, they wont do it again” TWO APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING BEHAVIOUR 1. Hindsight (after the fact reasoning) · Most scientists choose to ignore hindsight and stick with the step-by-step approach. · The problem with hindsight is that multiple reasons could be used (in hindsight) to explain a possible outcome of any event. · There is also no way of determining:  a) if any alternate outcomes are possible, and  b) which one is correct 2. The step-by-step approach 1 · Scientists prefer using the step-by-step approach because:  They can control certain variables that may cause an unexpected outcome  They can predict what will happen, given they understand the cause of a certain behaviour. · Theory development is the strongest test due to:  It organizes all necessary information in a meaningful way  It is testable  Predictions made by the theory are supported by new findings from research  It conforms to thelaw of parsimony: the simplest theory is usually the most correct one DEFINING AND MEASURING VARIABLES • VARIABLE: characteristic or factor that can vary (sex, height, age, income) o Many variables cannot be observed directly (intelligence, stress, happiness, self esteem) o Since scientists cannot directly observe certain variables, scientists must use operational definitions to define a variable; translating abstract variables into something that can be observable and measurable o All external variables must be controlled, or else the experiment is confounded. • Dueto the fact that psychologistsstudycomplexand varied processes,theyusea variety of methodsto measuresuchvariables: o Self-reports: asking the individual to report on their own knowledge, beliefs, feelings, experiences or behaviour (interviews, questionnaires)  Self-reports may be altered due to social desirability bias, the desire to conform to social norm, instead of answering what the individual would; how she is truly feeling or behaving, etc.  To counter this, questionnaires may be administered to people who know the individual OVERT BEHAVIOUR (directly observable behaviour) o Observers use a coding system to record different categories of behaviour --> consistent observations and reliable o EX: code parents behaviour as “praises child” o Unobtrusive measures: People may act differently when they know they are directly being observed  Researchers disguise their presence so that participants are unaware that they are there 2 o Archival measures: Researchers may also use research that already exists (archivalmeasures) to conduct their experiments • Psychologists create tests to measure many variables, e.g. an IQ test. As well, psychologists measure physiological effects as well, such as perspiration, heart rate, as well as brain function. PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS • Personality tests--> assess personality traits = specialized self reports • Intelligence tests--> ask people to assemble or solve certain problems • Neuropsychological tests--> diagnose normal and abnormal brain functioning--> measure how well people perform mental and physical tasks PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASURES • Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, hormonal secretions, brain functioning • Problem: we don’t always know what they mean • EX: Increased heart rate & brain activity = ????? METHODS OF RESEARCH · Descriptive research: Identifies how a person behaves in its natural settings o Provides information about the diversity of behaviour and could bring out cause- effect relations that could be used later in research 1) Case studies: in-depth analyses of things o Data can be gathered from: observation, interviews, psychological tests, task performance, etc o ADVANTAGES: 1)Able to study rare phenomena 2) Challenge validity of a theory/belief 3)Vibrant source of new ideas  Important insight on brain functioning, child development, mental disorders, cultural influences  In-depth study of one individual (e.g. Luria’s ‘S’ TheMind of aMnemonist, Breuer’s ‘Anna O’) o DISADVANTAGES: 1)Poor method for determining cause-effect relations 2)Findings may not work for other people/situations 3)Observers may not be objective in gathering the data 3 NATURALISTIC OBSERVATION (observational study) · Researcher observes behaviour in a natural setting....attempts to avoid influencing that behaviour o However, natural observation does not permit clear casual conclusions o Sometimes, the researcher gets involved (Festinger’s WhenProphesyFails) o Habituation: when people adapt to/ignore the presence of an observer SURVEY RESEARCH · A survey is given, asking questions to individuals, usually given to a large sample population at once. · Two concepts in survey research: o Population is the group of individuals that a researcher is interested in studying o A sample is a small group of individuals chosen from a population o Representative sample: reflects the important characteristics of the population o Random sampling is used to ensure that the research being conducted is truly random; where every member of a population has the same odds of being chosen  Stratified random sampling: the division of a population into a smaller group based on common characteristics...if 45% is male then 45% of the spaces in the sample would be allocated to men and 55% to women--> then random sampling is used o Strongest advantage: findings closely portray the population as a whole o Disadvantages: 1) cannot be used to conduct cause-effect conclusions 2) Surveys can be distorted (manipulated, lie) 3) Unrepresentative samples can lead to faulty generalizations CORRELATION RESEARCH · Correlation research: determines if a has any relationship to b(measuresvariablesnot manipulates) o 3 Components: 1. Variable (X)= watching TV 2. Variable (Y)= grades 3. Are X and Y related? o The researcher first chooses two variables he wishes to observe and measures both of them. Then, through statistics, they determine whether the t
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