PSYCHOLOGY AS A SOCIAL SCIENCE
SEPTEMBER 3, 2013
Rauscher, Shaw +Ky (’93)
o Published an article that says by exposing their subjects to Mozart music, they could raise their
scores on the verbal part of an IQ test (compared to the control group who hasn’t been exposed
to Mozart music) Mozart effect
Glen Schellenberg (2001)
o Showed that you can give this effect by reading pretty much anything to the baby
o Governor of Georgia; every newborn baby in the state of Georgia was given a Mozart CD
o Notion of an individual that resists the technological advance; Luddite- afraid of the modern
Punchline: The original study was not done on children and in fact, it has never been proved that there is a Mozart
effect on children.
o 1 exam: 40 multiple choice questions (20-25 purely from textbook, 10 purely from lecture, 5-10
from both textbook and lecture), 1 essay question (20 points of the exam)
o Final: 50 multiple choice questions
NOVEMBER 5, 2013
Prologue (The Mind-body problem)
o To understand human cognition, we made models. For example, think of the model Professor
Moore drew on the blackboard. Information is received from the environment through the retna, goes through several boxes, and eventually reaches the mind. Incidental learning is when
information received by the retna skips the boxes in between and go straight to the mind.
o Cognition Revolution in the 60’s:
Chonsky- to acquire knowledge, we need to hear it from the environment; process
transformation in grammar
o Neuroscience Revolution
For the first time in the serious way, we were able to answer question by actually
looking at the brain. Before, we could only perform experiments.
Second Problem: Reductionist Argument
o The reduced process in which you identify something could eventually be explained by the things
that happen in your brain? (i.e. love)
Third Problem: Are we born knowing things?
o Yes nativist; Pre-existing knowledge
o No empirical; blank slate
Fourth Problem: Structure vs. Function
o When we study Psychology, we study how we think, how we feel, and how we behave.
o Structuralist: Analyze the behavior and study its structures; ask the question “What’s causing this
o Functionalist: Asks the question “What function is this behavior serving you?”
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013
Nature of our measurements is a critical element in our experiments
o Direct measurements are measured using our five senses (e.g. using a ruler, thermometer, etc.)
o In Psychology, we use indirect measurements the most and it is done by directly measuring first
and then interpreting the results. (e.g. self-confidence can be measured by determining the score
of a survey; intelligence can be measured through an IQ test).
o There is a big debate on how things should be measured in Psychology. In addition, there are
problems with indirect measurements because there is confusion about what the real variable is
at hand in the experiment
90% of Toyota cars purchased in the last twelve years is still on the road strongly
suggests durability of Toyota cars. But what if 90% of Toyota cars have been sold in the
past year? The ad could even say that 90% of Toyota cars purchased since the Middle
Ages is still on the road.
Happiness can be measured by recording the number of smiles. We’re not interested in
smiles but it’s a way to indirectly measure happiness. But then, another point is, does
smiling always mean happiness?
We don’t do experimental manipulation. We observe things in a natural way they are. The bigger the correlation number, the more related things are and the more the correlation number
predicts the other. (0 is no correlation, 0.99 is the highest correlation) How much one correlation number
helps to predict something tells you how much one will predict another.
Positive and negative correlation numbers have to do with what directions things are going. Positive
correlation number means both things are increasing or decreasing together. Negative correlation
number means one thing is increasing while the other thing is decreasing or vice versa.
o The correlation between how much TV and their GPA’s is -0.2. The more TV students watch, the
lower their GPA’s.
o Scatterplots can tell you if it’s a positive or negative correlation.
Establishing correlation does not mean there is a cause and effect relationship between two things. It
does imply that one thing caused another.
o There could be a third factor effect. There could be something else that is an actual causation in
o Suppose there’s a child abuser. He was abused when he was a child by his parents. Why would
he abuse his own children? We could think that it might have been because his abusive parents
were the only models in his life and that’s all he learned about child development. We could also
think that he felt that he lost a sense of control during his childhood and he needs to regain it by
abusing his own children. BUT, what if it has nothing to do with his abusive childhood? Instead,
what if the real reason was that he inherited a gene from his parents that make him an abusive
parent? Be careful to not fall into the trap of assuming causation from a correlation between
SEP 12, 2013
Experiment: Pretend there are ten thousand 2nd graders. Independent variable is the amount of Protein
consumed (Protein or No Protein; levels). Dependent variable is the test score of the second grader. One
group is given protein and another isn’t given protein. The one who did receive protein diet has achieved
higher test scores. Making sure that there is only one difference between the two experimental groups
is crucial. But some differences can seem totally irrelevant or actually be irrelevant. It’s about making
your best argument. There are tests and formulas to determine how many differences there are.
o t-test (number N, size of effect, and variability)
Bigger the N, bigger the size of effect, and smaller the variability in numbers mean it’s
probably not due to chance what Statistics is all about; logical
o Analysis variance
Nature or nuture
o Example: height & intellect
How nature and nurture determines your height and intellect depends on the size of
your genetic range.
You share about 50% of your gene with your siblings and with your parents. With fraternal (dizygotic)
twins, they are no more genetically related to each other than other pair of siblings. Identical (monozygotic; MZ) twins have the exactly same genes. This is why identical twins make a really good
subject of study and control in psychological experiments between DZ and MZ twins.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
Genetic contribution can be determined by comparing the correlation numbers of DZ twin and MZ twin.
Larger the correlation number in MZ twin than DZ twin in for example, eye color, the more genetic
contribution there is for the eye color.’
Correlation # for DZ Correlation # for MZ
Eye color .28 .99
Smoking .68 .91
Schizophrenia .13 .80
Crime .28 .68
Presence of a genetic contribution does NOT mean that there is a specific gene for a certain thing (i.e. no
smoking gene). Instead, there might be potential genes that mediate the tendency to do something.
Exercise: Three pots are labeled Rich, Medium, and Poor Soil. Three genetically different seeds (tall,
medium, short) are planted in each of the three pots. What set of height values will convince you that
what kind of soils the seeds were planted in were irrelevant in how tall the plants become?
o If only the genetics of the seeds matter, the tallest plants must be taller than the medium in all
three pots and the all three types of plants must be similar height in all three pots. (tall plants in
pot 1,2,3 are similar to each other, medium plants in pot 1,2,3 are similar to each other, etc.)
intro-pot variability (within pots)
o If only soil makes the difference in height of the plants, all plants in the rich pot must be taller
than all plants in the medium pot, all plants in the medium pot must be taller than all the plants
in the poor pot. And all three plants in a single pot must be the same height. inter-pot
variability (between pots)
o If both the genetics of the seeds and the soil quality make the difference in height of the plants,
the rich pot must have the tallest plants among all three pots, the medium pot must be the
medium plants among all three pots, the poor pot must be the smallest plants among all three
pots (e.g. the tall plant in rich pot must be taller than the tall plant in medium pot.) Both inter-
pot variability and intro-pot variability are present and equal. o If both matter but seeds have more influence on the height of the plants, both inter-pot
variability and intro-pot variability are present but intro-pot variability is bigger because the
seeds have more influence. The differences in height between pots are not as great as the
differences in height between the three plants in one pot.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Finishing notes from last lecture
o All things being equal, lots of spread (high variance) between the differences in independent
variable (range) will give more of a chance to proving something in the study. (Let’s say in a
certain study, we are trying to figure out the effect of how many hours one sleeps on one’s test
scores. Instead of having the independent variable have really little spread (low variance) (10
hours, 10 hours 30 sec., 10 hours 1 min…etc.), the study would be so much more effective if we
make the independent variable to have lots of spread between the differences in the variable (10
hours, 5 hours, 2 hours…etc.).
Why do we want to study Child Development?
o The best way to study an adult form of human beings, which is what we’re most interested in, is
by studying a less mature form
o Parents are interested in how to best raise their kids.
o Plasticity of early neural development
o Faster, more interesting changes in development of younger kids
o Nature vs. Nurture
E.g. ability to perceive depth
o What is a ‘stage’?
Stagelike development has a graph that looks like a staircase (e.g. butterfly)
Non-stagelike development has a graph of a smooth curve (e.g. 10 minute jogger)
Rule of thumb: It is the nature of change that determines what kind of development it is.
Qualitative change is associated with stagelike development and quantitative change is
associated with non-stagelike development.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
Norwegian geese experiment o They have evolved over time for behavioral mechanisms to follow their mother
o What actually evolved was to follow the first moving organism, whatever that is (imprinting gene)
o Humans have an extended learning period from parents and society; that’s why there are not as
much demand on evolving genes that pertain to knowledge as the Norwegian geese do
Notion of the ‘critical period’
o It’s a life experience that alters you to behave a certain way for the rest of your life but it only
happens at a specific range of time in your life
o Bob White bird
The gene to sing a bob white song is inherited.
The song, however, is geographically varying acquired during the critical period
o Do humans have a critical period?
Softer term to use for humans is ‘sensitive period’
There is a time when the brain appears to be more open to molding and
Environmental stimuli will have more impact on the person during this period
than other times
Relative stimuli vs. absolute stimuli
The same stimuli can affect a person very differently; it’s relative (e.g. low self-
esteem person vs. high self-esteem person)
o Cross-sectional method
Study cross-sections of different people (e.g. 5 year old and 7 year old)
o Longitudinal method
Study one person (e.g. observe a person at young age and in adulthood later)
One pair of genes is the only pair that is different from each other. It is a pair of X and Y chromosomes and
it determines your gender. X chromosome is larger, which means it carries more information about other
traits than the Y chromosome. Girls, who have a pair of XX chromosomes, carry more genetic information
o Lead to Sex-linked characteristics (e.g. color blindness, which is a recessive trait, is much more
common in boys than in girls)
o Color blindness
Genes that code for color blindness are carried by the X chromosome
Very rare to be found in the entire biomass (suppose the chance to be colorblind is 1/10)
If we don’t have any information on the parents,
For a girl (XX chromosomes), the four possibilities are NN, NB, BN, and BB (N
for color normal, B for color blind). Her chance of being color blind is
(1/10)(1/10) is 1/100. We multiplied (1/10) by (1/10) because we need both BB.
For a boy (XY chromosomes), the possibilities are only NN and BN since color
blindness is only carried by the X chromosome. His chance of being colorblind is
1/10 because he’ll be blind when it’s BN.
o Organisms start specializing into its various systems (nervous system, digestive system, etc.) o The process of differentiation into different cells is highly sophisticated, highly delicate
(controlled by hormones in humans) very high vulnerability that leads to birth defects
o While physical growth continues, the differentiation process slows down after the Embryonic
period low vulnerability
What passes through the placenta and reach the baby?
o There is no neural connection between mom and the baby (e.g. baby doesn’t know that mom is
listening to Shakespeare)
o Hormones that secrete certain things can pass through the placenta (e.g. if mom is startled by
something, it can startle the baby too)
o Food, nutrients, and waste pass through the placenta
o Alcohol, nicotine, and drugs can pass through the placenta
o Certain microorganisms such as bacteria can pass through the placenta
NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Many data show a positive correlation (relation) between mother’s stress and anxiety during pregnancy
and developmental problems of the baby after pregnancy. There are different explanations for this.
o Environmental stress
o Maybe there is something wrong with the baby
o The first three involves a third factor. A direct causal variable would be that the mother is
stressed out and her anxiety continues even after the baby is born.
How do we conduct an experiment for a study like this?
o Thomson in 1957
Used rats to answer the question, does maternal stress during pregnancy affect the
Trained pregnant rats using a red light and electric current floor; rats learn to scurry to
the back (wooden floor) when the red light comes on
Experimental group is blocked from getting to the wooden floor and control group is
allowed to escape to the wooden floor assumption that the experimental group will
feel stressed and anxious when the red light comes on
Later observed the baby rats’ development. The findings are that the baby rats of the
control group were normal, exploring all the corners of the cage, etc. The baby rats of
the control group were evidently more timid and even shuddering.
What could be the reason for this?
Thomson took the baby rats from the stressed biological mother and gave them to
the non-stressed mother and took the baby rats from the non-stressed biological
mother and gave them to the stressed mother.
Biological Mother Stressed Non-stressed
*The result shows that the biological mother’s stress/non-stress during pregnancy, not
the rearing mother’s stress/non-stress, determines whether the baby rat will be normal
Whether or not we should use rats in experiments as model for human issues depend on our logical call. Rats have
70% genetic similarities with humans.
Three phenomenons about birth
Rate of caesarian section has steadily increased with time and it’s about 25% currently. There has been a
study saying that babies born through caesarian section demonstrate slightly lower performance than
babies born through normal delivery.
o We try to come up with reasons why caesarian section causes children to have low performance
and why normal delivery causes children to perform better.
o We tend to connect correlation data with causation. Big mistake!
OCT. 3. 2013
o Child psychologist
o Visual cliff experiment: They put the baby on a plank of wood; one side looks like it’s deep below
the plank and other side looks like it’s shallow below the plank. The mother stood on each side
and beckoned the baby to come to her.
o Trying to test if the baby has the ability to perceive depth o The results are that the baby went to the mother when she was standing on the side that looks
o What may be some problems with this study?
The babies in the experiment aren’t newborn babies because newborns can’t crawl. The
older babies could have had enough time to develop ability to perceive depth.
o Why is Wildebeest a bad subject of a depth-perception study?
We need to see if the characteristics of a subject help us answer the question of our
study and also see if the subject is similar to humans so that we could draw conclusions
about us from the study.
o In the experiment, they trained a baby to respond to a certain cube.
o The baby was trained to suck a bottle until the 2-in cube.
o Test A: It was the same 2-in cube with further distance so that it looks like a smaller size in the
o Test B: It is a smaller cube but the Bower put it closer to the baby so that the cube looks like the
same size as the original cube in the retna. (Closer objects look bigger in the retna even though in
reality, it’s smaller than it really is).
o Trying to test whether the baby can show size-constancy? If yes, then we can conclude that the
baby has depth-perception.
o Results: The baby was more likely to suck to A then B.
o Conclusion: The baby shows size-constancy and therefore has depth-perception.
Haith, Burman, Moore
o Study asking how and how often the baby sees a person’s face
o The babies are either 5, 7, or 9 weeks old.
o Can determine exactly where in the human face the baby looks at through using infrared rays
o The babies in the experiment saw people’s face in three different conditions: still, move, and
combination of moving and talk
% of time on e/es Nose Mouth edge
22 30 8 5 57
87 55 7 4 33
89 49 12 6 32
Moving & talk
5 weeks old babies focused on a person’s face 22% of the time. Same for strangers and mothers. Same for
male and female.
As babies get older, there seems to be less focus on the edge of the face and more focus on the eyes.
(high new interest in the eyes)
Why have the eyes become a focus of the babies?
o As they get older, the babies have learned that eyes are an important source of information.
o For example, people’s mood and imminent behavior show in their eyes.
The data on the second table shows that,
o When a person is talking, baby shifted their focus from the mouth to the eyes even though the
mouth is moving.
o They must believe that the eyes can tell them information about what they are hearing. First Lecture after Exam 1
OCTOBER 15, 2013
Exam handed back
Add 7 points to your circled grade
TWO ARGUMENTS ABOUT INTELLIGENCE
Argument One: There are different levels and types of intelligence
Argument Two: There is only one underlying correlation (general intelligence; G) that serves as a basis for
intelligence in different subjects
This notion of intelligence is very similar to the learning style approach and it has to do with the issue that
people learn differently (visual learner, manipulative learner, etc.)
VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
Validity to a test refers to whether the test measures what it claims to measure. Does it actually measure?
o Example: Measurement of height +50 = IQ not valid!
Reliability refers to whether the measurements are the same, regardless to who measures it and when it’s
measured. Something can be reliable but not necessarily valid.
To understand IQ within its cultural context, we’ll ask ‘why is it so influential in US?’
To make a distinction between IQ Test as a predictor of college performance and a measure of
To demystify IQ testing
OCTOBER 17, 2013
ALFRED BINET & THE BINET’S TEST
French government wanted to extend free education to the citizens but not to everyone
The government turned to the French psychologist Alfred to devise a test that could determine who will
show good academic performance
He measured many different kinds of items of people (e.g. circumference of someone’s head) and their
grades at schools to find correlation
Finally came up with the Binet’s test but receives very little attention in France until decades later another
psychologist in America brings it up again. From the Binet’s test, he derives the Stanford Binet Test, which
becomes one of the most commonly used and most influential IQ test in America. What was done with the Stanford Binet Test?
o Immigrants had to take the Stanford Binet Test (which is in English—obviously, the English
speaking countries did better). The test decided who was allowed in the country and who wasn’t.
o Recruits had to take the Army Alpha Beta Test (which was modeled after the SBT). The test
decided who was sent to do menial work or who was sent to do professional work and
consequently have better chance in upward social mobility.
Understanding IQ in the cultural context
o Why was the SBT so influential in America (and not in France)?
Our culture is consumed with measurement of individual differences.
American Drive: We had to find out how we could compete against each other with our
individual differences, to find out who is best and who is worst. If you think about it, we
have competition, contests, and pageants for virtually everything.
Hotdog eating contest, hot pepper eating contest, circle-drawing contest, biggest loser,
catfish catching contest, national stellar yelling contest, national canine freezebee
o IQ (Intelligent Quotient)= (mental age/ chronological age) *100
o Chronological age is your actual age. We don’t know for sure what our mental age is.
o Give bunch of 10 year olds a test to determine how many raw points an average ten year old get.
o Suppose that an average 10 year old gets 134 points on the test. If a random ten year old does
score 134 points, his mental age is 10 (and the chronological age is obviously 10). If you plug the
MA and CA in, you get (10/10)*100= 100. THIS SUGGESTS THAT 100 IS AN AVERAGE IQ for a ten
o If, on the other hand, a ten year old score 173 points, which turns out to be what an average 12
year old gets, then according to the equation his IQ would be (12/10)*100= 120 HIGHER THAN
o The average IQ is said to be 100 ONLY BECAUSE we put the number 100 in the equation. It could
be any number we want (e.g. 3.1432345324, 1000, 34, 5, etc.) or we don’t even have to any
number (which means the average IQ would just be 1).
o The “Moore Hop”
“How ‘bout…a 100?”
Indicates that the average IQ is 100 plainly because of arbitrariness—it’s a made-up
o One can gain points in an IQ test by answering questions correctly, choosing the better answers,
or answering fast. Nobody gets the highest possible raw points, whatever that may be.
o For any unit of standard deviation you get less than a medium, you get 15 points less. This means
800 in an SAT test is not the perfect score but the highest possible score. It is simply the number
of raw points you got relative to everybody else---it’s a percentile.
o Whether it’s IQ’s or SAT’s, they really have no mathematical basis at all. They are just codes for
what percentile you are and what standard deviation you are above the mean applies. OCTOBER 24, 2013
Difference between prediction and measuring IQ’s
o Collegeboard even tried to change the test name from Scholastic Aptitude Test to just SAT. This is
because the aim of their test was to predict how well students would do in college.
o David Wechsler: defined “intelligence” as what his test measures.
o Why do we still use the SAT’s when they don’t measure intelligence?
Because….it does predict college performance pretty accurately. The question is, WHY
does it predict so well?
If we were to take 100 seniors and divide into two groups: One group with SAT scores
lower than 550 and another group with average SAT scores of 700-750. It is a fact that
the second group will do better in college.
o To emphasize difference between measuring ability and predicting, consider this example: men
and women are given the same test but for males, the test administrator adds 5 points to their
scores and for females, the test administrator deducts 5 points from their scores. How would the
test administrator justify this? There is statistics that men make higher income than women. This
is because Women are being discriminated. To make his test better at predicting income and
more close to the reality, test administrator adds or deducts 5 points. He makes the test
discriminating against women, because women are discriminated in earning income.
Tracking (splitting student group into better performance and lower performance? E.g. Pre-AP and regular)
Everyone is in the same page when receiving lecture
Kids who are put in the lower performance group may improve later but they’re pretty
much stuck in the low performance track
Resentment both ways: lower performance group feels like they are given fewer
opportunities to achieve and treated differently. Better performance group feels like
they are given harder, more difficult tasks but are credited the same as lower
OCTOBER 29, 2013 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
o Balance Theory: when people interact with other people, there is a balance between what the
different groups of people think and view. We discover inconsistency between the world’s view
and the view of the people we interact with and we feel a tension within us. We then feel the
need to resolve this tension social psychological phenomenon
Example: trying to adjust oneself to fit the BC identity
o Looked at Heider’s theory and modified it
o There is also imbalance between one’s views of the world and one’s behavior
o What do people do to resolve this imbalance? Festinger experiment:
He brought people into the lab to make them do different tasks.
He had them rate afterwards how enjoyable or boring the task was.
He told them to motivate the next group to think that the task was interesting