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PSYC 1001 Chapter Notes -Central Tendency, Psychological Testing, Statistical Significance

Course Code
PSYC 1001
Jennifer Pettalia

of 3
Chapter 2 – The Research Enterprise
Pg 44-69
Goals of Science
Measurement & description
oFigure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study
Understanding & prediction
oWhens scientists make and test predictions they believe they can understand
and can explain the reason for the occurrence
oHypothesis – a tentative statement about the relationship between two or
more variables.
oVariables – any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviors
that are controlled or observed in a study.
Application & control
oTheory – a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observation.
oScientists hope to find info that will have practical value to every day life,
often to exert more control over it.
An Example – Milgram’s Obedience Study. (Milgram,S. (1963)
-social psychologist, wanted to understand whether humans would obey authorities.
-told that the machine produces electrical shock, participants is to give electrical
shock if you got the answer wrong. Asked participant to apply shock if answer was
incorrect but there was no other person.
-shock increased over time
these participants continued to push the button and went up to the the highest shock
More inclined to do something when they are asked by an authoritative person.
5 Steps to a Scientific Investigation
1. Formulate a testable hypothesis
Independent Variable: a condition or event that an experiment varies in order
to see its impact on another variable.
oThe object/concept of interested
Dependent Variable: the variable that is thought to be affected by
manipulation of the independent variable
oThe object/concept that is measured
Research Question: How far will humans go when an authority figure orders
them to hurt another human being?
Participants/Subjects: persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically
observed in a study
Extraneous Variables: any variables other than the independent variables that
seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study
Confounding Variables: occurs when two variables are linked together in a
way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects
Stanford Prisoner Experiment
2. Select the research method and design the study
Figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical test
Experimental: structured, controlled type of research, taking in control of all
variable. Controlling & manipulating variable. Do not like to use the word
Correlational: measuring 2 things. 2 dependent variables. Not manipulating
anything, you can never say ‘x’ causes ‘y’
Descriptive: observe and describe in different scenarios
Naturalistic Observation: careful observation of behaviour without
intervening directly with the research subjects or participants
3. Collect the data
Table 2.1
Direct observation
Psychological test
Physiological test
Examination of
Archival records
4. Analyze the data and draw conclusions
Observations are usually converted into numbers
Uses statistics to analyze their data
oDescriptive Statistics: used to organize and summarize data Central
Mean: the arithmetic average of the scores in a distribution
Median: the score that falls exactly in the centre of a
distribution of scores
Mode: the most frequent score in a distribution
oVariability: how much the scores in a data set vary from each other
and from the mean
oCorrelation Coefficient : a numerical index of the degree of
relationship between two variables
Direction: positive vs. negative
Strength: -1.00 - +1.00
oStandard Deviation: high deviation means that the data is all over the
-low deviation means that the data is uniform and the data
given resembles each other in a way
oFrequency Distribution : an orderly arrangement of scores indicating
the frequency of each score or a group of scores
Negatively skewed: most scores pile up at the high end of the
Positively skewed: scores pile up at the low end of the scale
Inferential Statistics: used to interpret data and draw conclusions
oStatistical significance: said to exist when the probability that the
observed findings are due to chance is very low
oinferring, making generalizations, and big conclusions
5. Report the findings
Write a summary / journal to share with the general public