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01:830:377 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Major Depressive Disorder, Tobacco Smoking, Mortality Rate


Department
Psychology
Course Code
01:830:377
Professor
K.Brynildsen
Study Guide
Final

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01:830:377

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1/22/16
Research Methods
Health psychologists make discoveries through the scientific method
o Operational definition: statement about the procedures the researcher used to
measure a variable
ie stress: you know what it is, but you don’t know how to measure it
without an operational definition
could operationally define it by heart rate, cortisone levels, stress
inventory (self-report), etc
ie optimism
use an established inventory
o Steps in the research process-the Scientific Method
Specify the hypothesis-a testable prediction
The incidents of colds will be higher during final exam period than
during the beginning of the semester
Form an operational definition
Final exam period is a period of high stress, and beginning of
semester is low stress
Observing colds through nasally voices, coughs, change in
behavior, asking, etc
Collect data
Surveys-asking people or giving a physical survey
Analyze data
Quantify (count) and compare people who have colds in the
beginning vs the end of the semester
Form a theory
People have more colds during the end of the semester rather than
in the beginning because:
o High levels of stress compromise the immune system
o Cold weather, general allergies
o Lack of sleep due to studying
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o Correlation vs causation
Correlation: an association between 2 variables
Does not indicate causation
If you don’t do an experiment, you don’t know the cause
Interpreting correlations
Measure of the strength of the association between two variables
(ranges from -1 to +1)
o Never a perfect correlation unless you correlate a variable
with itself, can’t get a perfect -1 or +1
.1 is considered small, .3 is medium, and .5 is large
o Positive correlation: variables change in the same direction
o Negative correlation: variables change in opposite
directions
Causation: we can only speak about causation if an experiment has been
conducted
Comparison between a treatment (experimental) group and a
control (comparison) group
Experimental design (a randomized clinical trial)
o Manipulation of the independent variable
o Random assignment
o Experimental control
o Moderating factors
Moderator: difference between groups in which the
relation between the IV and DV is different for
different groups
You can determine the moderator by asking:
‘does it depend?’
Not always measured
Problems with experiments
o Problem with generalization
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