# PS295 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Belief Perseverance, Attitude Change, Cognitive Dissonance

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28 Jan 2013
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Research Methods Lecture 2
Ideas come from a theory
Theory: an organized set of principles that explain and predict observed events
Hypotheses: a testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur
Hypothesis are what gets tested, not theories
Hypothesis Testing:
o Correlational approach:
Look at overall, natural occurring relationship among variables
o Experimental approach:
Where variables are manipulated
Used to determine causation
Correlations:
o Statistic of relationship: the degree to which scores of X are associated with scores of Y
o Correlations can be positive or negative
Positive: as X increases, Y increases
Negative: as X increases, Y decreases (negative correlations move in opposite directions)
o Correlations can also be strong or weak
Range from-1 to +1
o Most popular correlation method is Surveying the Population
Will have to take a sample of population that is representative of characteristics that are found in the
population
A random sample maximizes the likelihood that it will be representative
The more representative our sample is, the higher the generalizability
Third variable problem
Something that influences that two variables
Can study a wide range of variables from the real world
Food for studying variables that cannot be manipulated
Correlation DOES NOT imply causation
Unknown directionality
Third variable problem
Experimentation (experimental research)
o Most often used
o Used to assess CAUSAL hypothesis
Ie; attempts to establish causal relationships among variables
o Manipulates specific variables while holding everything else constant
o Independent Variable: variable being manipulated
o Dependent variable: variable that is being measured to see if the manipulation has an effect
o Operational definition: description of an abstract concept in terms of how it will be measured
Ie; operational definition of heat could be temperature
o Between Subjects Design:
Different participants are put into different groups
Comparison is made between the groups
o Within Subjects Design:
Same participants are put into two or more groups
Comparison is made with participant on the different groups
NO random assignment because everyone in sample ends up in both groups
Less cost because we need less participants
Increased statistical sensitivity
o Each participant serves as their own control
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Carry-over effects
o Being in one condition and then another they could become suspicious, become tired,
become to “use to” the task, etc
o Can be overcome through counterbalancing
Having participants do condition A then B, then have some do B then A
Problem through counterbalancing is that its basically just a between-subjects
design again
Moderation (interaction)
o The effect of heat on aggression is moderated by gender
Ie; men’s aggression could increase with heat, but women’s aggression may not be effected
o Looking at 2 independent variables and 1 dependent
Mediation
o The effect of independent on dependent occurs through another variable
Ie; heat may only cause aggression because people get annoyed. Therefore the annoyance is necessary
and there is no DIRECT effect of heat on aggression
o Looking at 2 dependent variables
Cover Story
o False situation created by the experimenter in order to bring out the natural behaviour of the participants
o Point of cover story is to reduce demand characteristics
Cues in the experiment that tell the participant what behaviour is expected
o Can provide alternative explanation for any results
Confounding Variables
o A variable other than the independent variable that systematically differs between groups
Ie; time of day
o A good experiment will reduce or eliminate any possible confounding variables
Realism
o Laboratory experiments do not try to replicate real life
o Seek to isolate individual cause-effect relationships
o Mundane Realism: when an experiment resembles real life
o Experimental Realism: when an experiment absorbs and involves participants
Other Ways to Evaluate Theories (besides research methods):
o A good theory should be:
Simple: heuristic value; mental shortcut for explaining things; the simpler the best one
Comprehensive: how much of the phenomenon can the theory account for
Generative: how much additional research does a theory generate
Terror Management Theory - Lecture 3
What is it that makes us human?
o Ernest Becker
Took a multidisciplinary approach
Thought we had to look at the BIG picture
Influences by anthropology philosophy, psychology
Becker asked: How are humans the same as other animals?
Self-preservation instinct
Becker asked: How are humans different from other animals?
We have highly advances cognitive abilities such as “I was here last Tuesday, but I’m here
this Tuesday, and I’ll be here again next Tuesday”
o Temporal thought (eg; last, this, next)
o Symbolic thought (eg; Tuesday)
o Self-reflective thought (eg; I)
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Consequences of our Cognition
o Freedom from reactivity
Greater possibility of responses to stimuli
o Knowledge of existence
Greater awareness of self and world
o Knowledge of inevitable death
We also know it can come at any moment
Creates potential for serious anxiety
According to Becker, we do not panic because we learn how to manage our fear by using the same
skills we used in the first place
A Symbolic Solution - Becker **look in textbook and on slides
o Culture
A shared symbolic conception of reality that imbues the world with meaning, order, and
permanence
Provides protection against death anxiety and the idea that life is meaningless
o How did we get here?
Big bang; creation by God
o What are we suppose to do while we are here?
Value prescriptions outlining good and bad behaviour; “right” way to live life
o What will happen after death?
Literal of symbolic death-transcendence
Recap of Becker’s theory
o Instinct for self preservation + knowledge of morality = paralyzing terror deal with fear by investing in
culture
Terror Management Theory (TMT)
o Researchers took Becker’s theory and created this
o Dual-Component Cultural Anxiety-Buffer
1) Cultural Worldview
must have faith in beliefs an values
makes what we do meaningful
2) Self-esteem
the subjective belief that one is living according to the standards of the cultural worldview
a sense of personal significance
o Development of Anxiety-Buffer
Infantilization
Children are weak and helpless
Association between doing what we are told and security (self esteem)
o Worldview beliefs come from parents
We have an individualized version of a broader cultural worldview
o Different but the same
o Implication of TMT
Beliefs are culturally relative: specific to your culture - what’s true and whats appropriate in one
culture is different from what’s true and appropriate in another culture
Beliefs about the world and self are fragile constructions that require social validation
Must feel our worldview is absolutely correct
o Threat of Alternative worldviews
Different worldviews imply possible falsehood
4 ways to deal with alternative worldviews
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