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Research Methods-premidterm notes

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Roger Buehler

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 o Advantages of Correlational Research:  Can study a wide range of variables from the real world  Food for studying variables that cannot be manipulated o Disadvantages of Correlational Research:  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  Advantages:  Less cost because we need less participants  Increased statistical sensitivity o Each participant serves as their own control  Disadvantages:  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)  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  Answers to existential questions 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  beliefs about the world  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  Transferral to broader culture  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 what’s 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  1) Derogation: belittling those who believe differently  2) Assimilation: attempting to convince others we are correct  3) Accommodation: incorporating parts of the alternative, while rejecting others  4) Annihilation: eliminating others who believe differently o TMT Research 1  Mortality Salience (in ones mind) Hypothesis  If a psychological structure provides us with protection from the knowledge of death, reminding people of death should increase their need for this structure  Mortality Salience is basically being reminding of death or thinking about death o TMT Research 2  Anxiety Buffer Hypothesis  If a psychological structure serves an anxiety buffering function, then strengthening this structure should reduce or eliminate anxiety in response to subsequent theories o TMT Research 3  Death-Thought Accessibility Hypothesis  If a psychological structure provides protection from thoughts of death, then threatening or damaging this structure should increase death-though accessibility  Self esteem assists in helping keep thoughts of death away  TMT Summary o Animal instincts coupled with knowledge of death creates potential for major anxiety which must be managed on a regular basis o Anxiety is managed by investment is a cultural worldview and self-esteem  Motivated to defend these structures to keep death-anxiety under wraps The Self- Lecture 4  How do we gain self-knowledge? o Introspection: looking within  Drawbacks to introspection:  Unawareness: we don’t always have introspective access to why we do the things we do or feel the way we feel  Self-deception: sometimes we may be biased towards seeing ourselves a certain way, or NOT seeing ourselves a certain way  Nisbett and Wilson o Did experiment where 2 groups of people watch a movie. Group 1 had white noise in the background, group 2 didn’t. results show they liked the movie equally. But, group 1 said they would of liked the movie more if there was no noise o Did another experiment whthe they looked at 5 pairs of socks and people had to rate which pair they liked the bestthPeople said the 5 pair and explained why but in reality all socks were the same. Real reason they chose 5 pair was because of the recency effect. Therefore, people don’t always know why they choose things  Recency effect: it was because it was the last pair they looked at and therefore it was the freshest in their mind.  Duel-processing model of the mind o Automatic system  Unconscious  Quick  Requires little energy o Controlled system  Conscious  Slower  Requires a lot of energy  Gaining self-knowledge through others: “if other people seem to like me, I must be likeable.”  The looking class self o We come to know ourselves by observing how others react to us o Reflected appraisals  How good are we at gauging other people’s perceptions of us? – Shrauger and Schoenenman o Self-appraisals: what we think of ourselves o Reflected appraisals: what we think others think of us o Other’s actual appraisals: what others actually think  Strong correlation between self-appraisals and reflected appraisals  Weak/no correlation between self-evaluations and other’s actual appraisals  Biased Information Processing o Factors impacting the degree to which we accept vs. reject social feedback:  Discrepancy: highly discrepant feedback in largely dismissed o Favorableness  Tend to incorporate positive more than negative feedback  Self-verification theory o People prefer feedback that confirms their view of themselves  Biased toward interpreting ambiguous information in way that is self-verifying  More likely to attend to self-verifying information  More likely to accept self-verifying information o These biases will create discrepancy between self-appraisals and actual appraisals  Self-enhancement theory (self-serving bias) o People prefer feedback that reflects favourably upon them  Need to maintain high self-esteem *recall TMT  Biased toward interpreting, attending to, and accepting positive information about self  Will engage in several self-esteem maintenance strategies  Self-esteem o A person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth o positive=high self esteem / negative=low o trait self-esteem  a dispositional characteristic  enduring/stable  ex: when u rate yourself 1-strongly disagree and 3-strongly agree o state self-esteem  a situational characteristic  momentary, fluctuating  when you rate how you feel at the moment  ie; 1= bad, 8=good  The Better-than-Average Effect o Everyone is better than average. Even if you have low self-esteem  Social Comparisons o A valuable source of self-knowledge, but still subject to our self-serving bias o Upward social comparisons:  Comparing self to superior others  Unlikely especially when self-esteem is threatened o Downward social comparisons  Coming self to inferior others  Increase self-esteem by comparison  BIRGing and CORFing o Basking In Reflected Glory  Associating self with others who are successful o Cutting Off Reflected Failure  Distancing self from others who fail  Protecting self-esteem against threat o Dismissing personal failure  Took test on which correct answer were ambiguous  Half told “passed”, half told “failed”  Those who passed reported test to be highly valid and important and those who failed reported test to be highly invalided and not important  Self-handicapping o Pre-emptively seeing up an excuse for an upcoming potential failure o Ie; getting drunk the night before an exam o Great for self-esteem, lousy for success o Self handicapping stems for uncertainty regarding competence  Summing up: o Were not always the best at knowing what influences us or how other people perceive us  Generally unaware of the reasons for our actions  Biased toward the feedback we get from others  Often more concerned with confirming what we already believe (self-verification) and protecting our self-esteem (self-enhancement) Attribution and Social Cognition-Lecture 5 & 6  Knowing other people o Social perception  Attempt to understand other people o Important to understand why people do what they do  Help us navigate the world o How do we get to know other people??  Observing their behaviour  Heider’s Attribution Theory o Motivated to manage our social environment  Understand the behaviour of others  Observe, analyze, and attempt to explain  Explanations called attributions o Locus attribution  Internal locus: cause comes from within (personal traits)  External locus: cause comes from outside (situational) o Stability attribution  Stable: cause is constant  Unstable: caus
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