Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
McMaster (10,000)
PSYCH (1,000)
Chapter 1

PSYCH 1X03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Scientific Method, Operational Definition, Scatter Plot

Course Code
Dr. Joe Kim

This preview shows pages 1-2. to view the full 7 pages of the document.
Chapter 2: Research Methods in Psychology
Why We Need the Scientific Method (pg 33)
Jaytee and Pam have a special bond
Jaytee (the dog) has an uncanny sense of knowing when Pam is about to arrive home,
even at unusual times
Called “The Psychic Pet Phenomena”
Jaytee is not really psychic maybe he can smell Pam’s scent from a distance, hear the
sound of the car as it approaches, pick up on her parent’s anticipation, and maybe it is
just coincidence
Psychic dog went under experiments with researchers and controlled characteristics
were changed (like the characteristic sound of the car) and it was discovered that Jaytee
was not psychic
Operational Definition: describes the actions or operations that will be made to
objectively measure or control a variable (basically someway for something to be
objectively measured)
Operational definitions are essential and ALWAYS open to argument
Psychology includes a wide variety of perspectives
Level of Analysis: different perspectives that emphasize different aspects of a research
Common methods of analysis in psych are: learning, cognition, social, development,
evolution, and neuroscience.
The level of analysis that a particular researcher uses influences the types of questions
are asked and answered (usually they branch into other fields, so ideas are incorporated
from other perspectives to take a multi-level approach)
Paradigms: a set of assumptions and ideas about what kind of research questions can
be asked and how they can be answered
Applying multiple methods to a question is very useful because of new insights hat
these additional perspectives contribute to answering this question
The scientific method is a formal way of asking/answering questions about human
behaviour to get the most accurate, objective info possible and sidestep the inaccuracy
of common sense beliefs and assumptions
Anecdotal Evidence: evidence gathered from others or self-experience (is insufficient to
draw scientific conclusions)

Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Experiment: scientific tool used to measure the effect of one variable on another
Independent Variable: variable manipulated by the scientist
Dependent Variable: Variable being observed by the scientist
Participant Bias: when a participant’s actions in an experiment influence the results
outside of the manipulators of the experimenter
Blinding: when participants do not know whether they belong to the experimental or
control group, or which treatment they are receiving
Experimenter Bias: actions made by the experimenter, intentionally or not, to promote
the result they hope to achieve
Using a common set of rules when designing studies so that scientists are able to trust
each other’s work and build on the findings obtained by others
Newton helped establish the four basic principles of the scientific method used today
1. Parsimony
2. Natural Order
3. Generalizability
4. Conservatism
Parsimony is applied to competing explanations that do an equally good job at
accounting for the known facts (think of it as a penalty shoot out, one team wins
because they do better at accounting for known facts…usually obvious)
Scientists will usually use the explanation that is simpler (has a fewer number of
Natural order is when the same reaction for a particular behaviour is applied to the
same underlying mechanisms of humans world wide (e.g., smiling is a reflection of
happiness) BASICALLY apply the same effects to the same causes
Generalizability is similar to natural order because the same causes that produce effects
in a lab need to be consistent with everyday life and produce these effects in real life
situations where the scientist has no control
Conservatism is when scientists are conservative in a sense that they stick to and
support their current explanation UNTIL new facts arise that forces them to find a
different explanation (like driving the same car until it is no longer operable and then
getting the newest car available, instead of buying a new car each time a new model is
released regardless of current car ability)
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version