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Chapter 2

PSY100 Chapter 2 Summary

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

Chapter 2 - Scientific approach assumes that events are governed by some lawful order - Psychologists assume that behaviour is governed by discernible laws or principles - Important goals of psychologists and scientists: o Measurement and description: must develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and precisely o Understanding and prediction: to understand an event, must explain the reasons for the occurrence of the events  Hypothesis: a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables  Variables: any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study o Application and control: apply research findings to practical problems - Theory: a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations; permit psychologists to make the leap from the description of behaviour to the understanding of behaviour o Suggest new lines of inquiry o Must be testable, but most theories are too complex to be tested all at once o So theory construction is a gradual, iterative process that is always subject to revision - Steps in a scientific investigation: (systematic) o Formulate a testable hypothesis: hypotheses expressed as predictions that spell out how changes in one variable will be related to changes in another variable; variables must be clearly defined  Operational definition: describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable o Select the research method and design the study: figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical test, must select the most appropriate and practical strategy, then make detailed plans for executing the study  Participants/subjects: the persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a study o Collect the data: commonly used techniques include direct observation, questionnaires, interviews, psychological tests, physiological recordings and examination of archival records  Data collection techniques: procedures for making empirical observations and measurements o Analyze the Data and Draw conclusions: observations converted into numbers and statistics o Report the Findings: scientific progress can only be achieved if the findings are shared with the public and other researchers, publishing also helps to weed out erroneous findings  Journal: periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry - The scientific approach offers two advantages of clarity and precision o Scientific approach requires that people specify exactly what they are talking about when they formulate hypothesis o Relative intolerance of error o In general, common sense and casual observation often tolerate contradictory generalizations - Research methods: consist of various approaches to the observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies; they are general strategies for conducting studies Experimental Research - Experiment: a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result; detect cause and effect relationships - The purpose of an experiment is to find out whether changes in one variable cause changes in another variable - Independent variable (X): condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable; experimenter controls or manipulates this variable - Dependent variable (Y): variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable, usually a measurement of some aspect of the participants’ behaviour - Experimental group: consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable - Control group: consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group - It is crucial that the experimental and control groups in a study be alike, except for the different treatment that they receive in regard to the independent variable - If the two groups are alike in all respects except for the variation created by the manipulation of the independent variable, any differences between the two groups on the dependent variable must be due to the manipulation of the independent variable - Extraneous variables: any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study - Confounding of variables: occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects - Random assignment: all subject have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study - Sometimes it is advantageous to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group with an experimental condition and a control condition - It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment with possible joint effects on the dependent variable - Interaction: the effect of one variable depends on the effects of another - It is also possible to use more than one dependent variable in a single study - Subliminal perception: involves the registration of sensory input without conscious awareness - Experimental research permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables, the precise control allows researchers to draw conclusions about causation - Experiments are often artificial so may not be applicable to reality - Experimental method cannot be used to explore some research questions - In some cases, manipulations of variations are difficult or impossible due to
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