Textbook Notes (363,178)
Canada (158,245)
Psychology (1,390)
PSYC 215 (296)
John Lydon (79)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Methods of Social Psychology.doc

8 Pages
Unlock Document

McGill University
PSYC 215
John Lydon

Chapter Two Methods of Social Psychology • Cohen & Nisbett, 1997 ◦ experiment assessing how cooperative Northern and Southern potential retail employers were with a questionable applicant ▪ applicant is false ▪ writes a letter explaining a that he mistakenly killed a man in defense of his honor • very up front and honest about the situation ◦ retailers from the South complied with the applicants requests much more often than did those from the North ▪ notes from the Southern employers were much warmer than those form the Northern employers Why Do Social Psychologists Do Research (and why should you want to read about it? • Bradfield & Wells, 2005; Fischhoff, Gonzalez, Lerner, & Small, 2005; Guilbault, Bryant, Brockway & Posavac, 2004 ◦ hindsight bias – people's tendency to be overconfident about whether they could have predicted a given outcome How Do Social Psychologists Test Ideas? • hypotheses – predictions about what will happen under particular circumstances ◦ often test broader theories about behavior ◦ tested by studies • theory – a body of related propositions intended to describe some aspect of the world ◦ in the history of science, many theories have led to a greater understanding of natural phenomena or to important real-life consequences • theories are more general than hypotheses, which are more general than findings from the studies that test them Observational Research • looking at a phenomenon in some reasonably systematic way with a view to understanding what is going on and coming up with hypotheses about why things are happening as they are ◦ participant observation – involves observing some phenomenon at close range ◦ S.B. Heath, 1970s ▪ studied preparation for schooling by middle-class and working-class families in a N. Carolina town ▪ lived with the families, observing and taking part in their daily activities • middle-class families ◦ read to their children a great deal ◦ include children in dinner table conversations ◦ used printed word to guide their behavior (recipes, games, rules) ◦ taught them how to categorize objects ◦ taught them how to answer “why” questions ◦ taught them how to evaluate and make judgements about things • working-class families ◦ didn't do nearly as much preparation ◦ their children were well prepared for the early grades of school, but lack of preparation showed up in later years, when they faced more complex tasks involving categorization and evaluation ◦ Barker & Wright, 1954 ▪ followed children around as they delivered the morning paper, played kick the can, did their homework and went to church suppers ▪ study revealed a great deal about the way young people interact with their environments (opportunities as well as constraints) and the factors that molded their characters • social psychologists often observe social situations in a semi-formal way, taking notes, interviewing participants, they typically design additional research to verify the impressions they get from participant observation Archival Research • researchers look at evidence found in archives of various kinds ◦ record books ◦ police reports ◦ sports stats ◦ newspaper articles ◦ databases containing ethnographic (anthropological) descriptions of people in different cultures • Nisbett, 1993 ◦ studied FBI reports of homicide ◦ found homicides were more common in the South than in the North ▪ reports contained circumstances of crime • murder committed in the context of a felony vs • murder committed as crimes of passion ▪ in the South, the most common kinds of homicide involves some type of insult ◦ the observation that insult-related homicides are more common in the US South led Cohen and Nisbett to begin a research program to study whether Southerners really do respond more aggressively to insults, or whether the higher rate of insult-related homicides was due to factors such as hotter temperatures or lenient justice systems Surveys • involves simply asking people questions • can be conducted using interviews or written questionnaires ◦ population – group you want to know about ◦ random sample – taken at random from the population ▪ every person in the population has an equal chance of being in the sample ◦ convenience sample – taken from some available subgroup in the population ▪ not random ▪ may be biased in some way • information based on biased samples is sometimes worse than no information at all • you should ignore claims from polls as factual evidence ◦ the people that take the time to respond to those polls are likely to be different from those who choose not to respond and are therefore unlikely to represent the population as a whole • the number of people needed to get a reasonably accurate count on some question is essentially independent of the size of the population in question • Nisbett & Cohen, 1996 ◦ Southern attitudes may be more accepting of violence ▪ few regional differences came to the surface when a national survey was analyzed • Southerners are no more likely to agree with the “eye for an eye” rule ◦ were more likely to agree that when a person insults you, you should turn the other cheek and forgive him • Southerners were more likely to approve of violence as a reaction to threats to home and family • more likely to approve of violence in socializing children ◦ spanking is a reasonable way to handle a child's misdeeds ◦ they would encourage a child to beat up someone that was bullying him ◦ South is more of a “culture of honor” ▪ U.S. North was settled by farmers from England, Holland and Germany ▪ U.S. South was settled by herding peoples from the edges of Britain: Scottish, Irish, and Scotch-Irish (Ulster) • herding peoples tend to be tough guys because they can lose their livelihoods in an instant Correlational Research • correlational research – research that does not involve random assignment to different situations, or conditions, and that psychologists conduct just to see whether there is a relationship between the variables • experimental research – in social psych, research that randomly assigns people to different conditions, or situations, and that enables researchers to make strong inferences about how these different conditions affect people's behavior • reverse causation – when variable 1 is assumed to cause variable 2, yet the opposite direction of causation may be the case • third variable – when variable 1 does not cause variable 2 and variable 2 does not cause variable 1, rather some other variable exerts a causal interpretation of a relationship difficult • TIME magazine, 2004 ◦ love and sex are good for physical and mental health ▪ quoted stats that showed married people as being happier overall than unmarried people • happier people may be more appealing to other people, and are more likely to be married because of that reason • happiness may cause marriage instead of marriage causing happiness • good physical and mental health leads to a greater likelihood of marriage as well as a greater likelihood of being happy • correlational research cannot prove a causal relationship ◦ investigator has no control over the level of a participant's score on a given variable ◦ in effect, the participant has “chosen” the level of all variables – those that are measured and those that are not ◦ self-selection – a problem that arises when the participant, rather than the investigator, selects his or her level on each variable, bringing with this value unknown other properties that make causal interpretation of a relationship difficult • investigators can only look at the degree of relationship between two or more variables ◦ strength of relationship can range from 0 (no relationship exists) to 1 (covariation is perfect) ▪ (+1) – higher level on one variable means higher level on the other variable ▪ (-1) – higher level on one variable means lower level on the other variable ▪ (0.2) – slight relationship ▪ (0.4) – moderately strong relationship ▪ (0.6 or higher) – very strong relationship ◦ scatterplots ▪ scatter & slope – how closely related the two variables are • obvious scatter and relatively shallow slope = relatively weak relationship • weak scatter and relatively steep slope = relatively strong relationship The Value of Correlational Findings • are helpful in alerting researchers to possibilities for valid causal hypotheses • best option when an experiment would be difficult or unethical • disadvantages ◦ direction of causality ◦ inefficient at recognizing whether or not a third variable is driving the association between the two variables of interest • longitudinal study – a study conducted over a long period of time with the same population, which is periodically assessed regarding a particular behavior Experimental Research • the best way to be sure about causality • independent variable – variable that is manipulated; hypothesized to be the cause of a particular outcome • dependent variable – variable that is measured; hypothesized to be the outcome of a particular causal process ◦ can be measured in many ways ▪ verbal reports (statements about the degree of anger or anxiety) ▪ behaviors (helping or not; getting an inoculation or not) ▪ physiological measures (heart rate or stress levels such as cortisol level) ▪ neural measures (increased activity in the amygdala) • one great power of experiments is their ability to expose participants to different levels of the independent variable ◦ random assignment – assigning participants in experimental research to different groups randomly, such that they are as likely to be assigned to one condition as to another ▪ rules out the possibility of self-selection biases in samples • control condition – a condition comparable to the experimental condition in every way except that it lacks the one ingredient hypothesized to produce the expected effect on the dependent variable • Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle & Schwarz, 1996 ◦ study on whether or not Southerners react more aggressively to insult ◦ U. Michigan undergraduates, some Southerners, some Northerners ▪ all of them were told they were participating in a study on the effects of time constraints on judgements of various kinds ▪ after filling out a questionnaire, they were asked to take it down a long, narrow hallway lined with filing cabinets and leave it on a table at the end of the hall • for some participants, a student stood at the end of the hall with a file drawer pulled out ◦ for the participant to pass by,
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 215

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.