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Monash University

Psychological Discovery 1 KEY TERMS Hypothesis. Prediction regarding the outcome of a study involving the potential relationship between at least two variables. Variable. Event/behaviour that as at least two values. Theory. Organised system of assumptions and principles that attempts to explain certain phenomena and how they’re related. Skeptic. Someone who questions validity, authenticity and truth of something purporting to be factual. Basic research. Study of psychological issues to seek knowledge for its own sake e.g. capacity of ST memory. Applied Study of psychological issues that have practical significance and research. potential solutions e.g. how stress affects immunity. Falsifiability. Scientific theory must be stated in such a way that it is possible to refute/disconfirm it. Pseudoscience. Claims that appear to be scientific but that actually violate the criteria of science. Testable All variables, events and individuals are real and can be defined hypothesis. and observed. Refutable Can be demonstrated to be false – possible for the outcome to be hypothesis. different from the prediction. Sources of knowledge  Superstition: o Acquiring knowledge based on subjective feelings, interpreting random events as non-random, or believing in magical events. o E.g. bad things happen in threes. o Not empirical/logical.  Intuition: o Knowledge gained without being consciously aware of its source. o E.g. gut feelings. o Not empirical/logical.  Authority: o Gained from those viewed as authority figures. o E.g. parents. o Not empirical/logical; authority figure may not be an expert.  Tenacity: o Repeated ideas that are stubbornly clung to despite evidence to the contrary. o E.g. repeating a slogan. o Not empirical/logical.  Rationalism: o Through logical reasoning. o E.g. syllogisms. o Logical but not empirical.  Empiricism: o Through objective observations of organisms and events in the real world. o E.g. seeing something to believe it. o Empirical but not necessarily logical/systematic.  Science: o Through empirical methods and logical reasoning. o E.g. hypotheses. o The only acceptable way for researchers to gain knowledge. Criteria that help define science  Systematic empiricism – making observations in a systematic manner to test a hypothesis and refute/develop a theory. o Aids in refuting/developing a theory in order to test hypotheses.  Publicly verifiable knowledge – presenting research to the public so that it can be observed, replicated, criticised and tested. o Aids in determining the accuracy of a theory.  Empirically solvable problems – questions that are potentially answerable by means of currently available research techniques. o Aids in determining whether a theory can be potentially tested using empirical techniques and whether it is falsifiable. Goals of science  Description – carefully observing behaviour in order to describe it.  Prediction – identifying the factors that indicate when an event/events will occur.  Explanation – identifying the causes that determine when and why a behaviour occurs. Descriptive methods  Observational – making observations of human/animal behaviours.  Naturalistic – ob
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