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Chapter 2

Social Psychology - Chapter 2.docx

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PSYC 241
Roderick C L Lindsay

Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 The Research Process: Involves coming up with ieas, refining them, testing them and interpreting meaning of results obtained Asking Questions Begins with a question “Why do bicyclists race faster in the presence of other bicyclists?” – first question Searching the Literature: After an idea has been thought of, it is important to see what research has already been done on this topic Use databases, textbooks, etc. Treeing  going from one article to another article  tracks down valuable information Googling  searching databases online Hypotheses and Theories: Hypothesis: explicit, testable prediction based about the conditions under which an event will occur – must be tested empirically theory: organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena three criteria: simplicity, comprehensiveness and Generativity lead to further understanding, more research etc. social psychologists rely on “mini-theories” that address limited and specific aspects of the way ppl behave, make explicit predictions about behaviour etc. eg. bound to certain situations good social psychological theories inspire more research; stimulate systematic studies to test various aspects many disagreements for some parts of social psyc  because it is a young science Basic and Applied Research: Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 Basic research: seeks to increase our understanding of human behaviour; designed to test a specific hypothesis from a specific theory Applied research: make use of social psychology’s theories or methods to enlarge our understanding of naturally occurring events and to contribute to the solution of social problems Kurt Lewin - pioneer in both Refining Ideas: Defining and Measuring Social Psychological Variables: Must decide on how to define and measure variables to test hypotheses Conceptual Variables and Operational Definitions: From the Abstract to the Specific Conceptual variables: variables in abstract, general form ie. Prejudice, conformity, attention, love, vioelcen operational definition: specific way a conceptual variable is manipulated or measured conceptual variable must be transformed into variables that can be manipulated/measured ie. Conformity  number of times a participant indicated agreement with obviously wrong judgments manipulation and measurement of variables are evaluated in terms of construct validity: refers to extent to which the manipulations in an experiment really manipulate the conceptual variables they were designed to manipulate, and the measures used in a study (experimental or otherwise) really measure the conceptual variables they were designed to measure ie. Studying effects of alcohol on aggression conceptual variable: whether or not participants are intoxicated, aggression measured through: accessing blood alcohol concentration, ability to perform motor tasks etc. Measuring Variables: Using Self-reports, Observations and Technology: Self reports: participants disclose their thoughts, feelings, desire and actions Either individual questions, sets of questions that measure a single conceptual variable Gives access to individuals beliefs and perceptions Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 Not always accurate Bogus pipeline  participants who are led to believe that their responses will be verified by an infallible lie detector report facts about themselves more accurately and endorse socially unacceptable opinions more frequently than those who are not told about such a device also affected by the MANNER in which questions are asked (wording, context etc.) also inaccurate because they ask participants to report on thoughts and behaviours from the past; ways to minimize problem: interval contingent self reports: respondents report experiences at regular intervals (eg. once a day) signal contingent self reports: respondents report as soon as possible after being signaled to do so (usually by means of a beep event contingent self reports: respondents report on a designated set of events ASAP after event has occured memories are prone to error Ie. Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale  measures overall self-esteem Asked to what extent do they believe in such statements like, “I feel like I have a good number of qualities” etc. Narrative studies: collect lengthy responses on a general topic; analyzed with coding scheme Observations: Observing ppl’s actions Interrated reliability: refers to level of agreement among multiple observers of the same behaviour; different observes must agree on the data to be trusted Adv: avoids faulty recollections, distorted interpretations of our behaviours Observations can still be subject to bias Technology: Equipment used to measure physiological responses (ie. Change in heart rate, levels of hormones, sexual arousal) Computers used to record speed of response to stimuli Eye-tracking technology to measure how long ppl look at stimuli Brain imaging technologies take/combine images of the brain using PET and fMRI to see which part of the brain activates when person is thinking, making decisions, etc. Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 Testing Ideas: Research Designs: Emphasis on objective, systematic and quantifiable approaches to test research hypothese and theories Most popular: experimentation  tests cause-effect relationships Correlational  looks for associations between variables without establishing cause and effect Meta-analysis: integrates research findings of many different studies Descriptive Research: Goal: to describe ppl and their thoughts, feelings and behaviours Observational Studies: Can learn about ppl by observing them via hidden cameras, microphones or through their permission Archival Studies: Involves examining existing records of past events and behaviours (ie. Newspaper articles, medical records, diaries etc.) Advantage: researchers are observing behaviours second-hand  so they don’t influence behaviour by presence Great for examining cultural and historical trends Limitation: available records not always complete or sufficiently detailed; collected in nonsystematic manner Surveys: Surveys involve asking ppl questions about their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours Conducted in person, by mail, via internet Can be used to address social psychological questions that involve variables that are imposible/unethical to observe directly or manipulate Surveys can be strongly affected by wording, and context Selection process of survey takers is important: Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 Population must be determined first, and then a subset (sample) of individuals Sample must be representative of the population using random sampling (method of selection in which everyone in the population has an equal chance of being selected for the sample) Correlational Research: Looking for Associations Conducted using observational, archival or survey methods to measure the relationship between different variables Correlational researchers usually don’t manipulate the variables they study; simply measure tem Correlation Coefficient: Measure the strength and direction of the relationship between variables Ranges from +1 to -1 Positive = as one increases, other increases Negative = opposite directions Some involves a variable that does not vary in quantity (ie. Race, gender, political affliation etc.) Cannot use typical correlation coefficient but can STILL infer relationships Advantages and Disadvantages of Correlational Research: Advantages: Studies associations of naturally occurring variables that cannot be manipulated/induced Examines phenomena that may be difficult/unethical to create fo research Offers freedom in where variables are measured Disadvantage: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION Social Psychology ­ Chapter 2 Experiments: Looking for Cause and Effect Experiment: to examine cause and effect relationships Researcher has control over experimental procedures (manipulating variables, etc.) – attempts to ensure differences obtained are produced only by that manipulation and not affected by other events in the experiment Participants in study are randomly assigned to different manipulations (called conditions) Random assignment: participants are not assigned to a condition based on personal or behavioural characteristics “on average, participants randomly
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