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Chapter 2

PSYCH356 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Positron Emission Tomography, Electrodermal Activity, Gerald Patterson

Course Code
Richard Eibach

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Chapter #2: Data, Methods, and Tools
A science begins by creating a language to describe a phenomena in a way
that allows a single common understanding to emerge, in order to avoid
multiple alternative accounts that vary with each observer
The goal is not just to find a common understanding, but to be able to use it
to make accurate predictions and to test if they really are accurate,
remaining ready to disconfirm and modify them if they are unsupported
To convert personality speculations about people into ideas that can be
studied scientifically, researchers must be able to put them into
terms using good measures
Central goal of personality psychology is to figure out how these diverse
aspects about an individual relate to each other and help us to understand
what is going on in the individual as a whole
Interview(oldest method): a verbal exchange between the participant and
the examiner, favoured particularly by workers at the Psychodynamic
Motivational Level and those at the Phenomenological level
Interviews usefulness as an assessment tool depends on many considerations
including how the interview is guided and structured, and how the
interviewee’s responses are recorded, coded and interpreted
They also tend to be expensive and time consuming to conduct, as well as to
code or score, because it is not easy to have all interviews with different
people conducted the same standard way so that they can be compared
easily. Therefore many researchers use various standardized tests, often in
the form of ratings and self-reports
Test: any standardized measure of behavior, including verbal behavior
Self-reports: any statements people make about themselves
Self-reports offer quick ways of getting info the person is willing and able
to reveal
Some tests involve performance measures. Researchers interested in seeing
how personality measures in childhood predict academic performance in later
life might use measures like the SAT as an outcome assessment OR the
anxiety test= repeat long strings of numbers under difficult, stressful
conditions is measured, etc

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Projective tests: were developed more than 60 years ago and continue to be
popular clinical use. With these methods, assessors present the person with
ambiguous stimuli and ask them ambiguous questions that have no right or
wrongs answers. Measures like these are of theoretical importance to much
of the work at the Psychodynamic- Motivational Level
Naturalistic Observation(comes from students of animal behavior, who
unobtrusively observe the moment-by-moment lives of such animals as
chimpanzees in their natural environment) and Behaviour Sampling:
investigator often prefers to observe behavior as it naturally occurs,
without any scientific interference
Study: Gerald Patterson and coworkers @ the Oregon Social Learning Center
developed a behavioural coding system having 29 categories with very specific
-Every interaction of the child with another family member was coded, so that
it was possible to study the entire sequence of interactions
-Data indicated that in distressed families, the problem children’s aversive
behaviours continued in “Chains” over longer periods of time, with an escalating
pattern of hostile interchanges with family members
-When parents in the problem families reacted with punishment, it tended to
prolong the escalation of aggression as the child reacted with defiance or
resumed aversive behaviours shortly afterward
- These behaviours translated into poor social skills, noncompliance at school,
poor school achievement, rejection by peers, and in many cases, antisocial
beahavior as an adolescent
Direct observation of behavior samples also may be used to assess the
relative efficacy of various treatment procedures
Observation is a commonplace method in everyday life; through
observation we form impressions and learn about events and people
However, observation as a scientific tool is distinctive in that it is
conducted as precisely, objectively, and systematically as possible
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