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Chapter 2

Psychology Chapter 2.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

Psychology Chapter 2:  Psychologists and other scientists share 3 sets of interrelated goals: o Measurement and description  Commitment to observation requires that an investigator figure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study  The first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behavior clearly and properly o Understanding and prediction  Scientists believe that they have understood an event when they can fully explain the reason behind the occurrence of the event  To evaluate their understanding scientists make and test predictions called hypotheses  Hypothesis  is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables  Variables  any measureable conditions , events, characteristics or behaviors that are controlled or observed in a study o Application and control  Psychology attempts to apply research findings to practical problems in schools, businesses, factories and mental hospitals  Theory o system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations o a scientific theory must be testable o in a typical study investigators test one or two specific hypotheses derived from a theory o confidence in the theory grows when the hypothesis is supported by findings  Steps in a Scientific Investigation o Formulate a testable hypothesis  Translating a theory or intuitive idea into a testable hypothesis (prediction)  To be tested a hypothesis must be formulated precisely and the variables under study must be clearly defined which is done with the of operational definitions  Operational definitions  describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable, what is meant by each variable o Select research method and design the study  How to put the hypothesis into an empirical test  Research method chosen depends highly on the nature of the question  You may do an experiment, case study, survey, naturalistic observation, etc.  Ponder through pros and cons of each method before choosing  After choosing a method you must make detailed plans on executing the study  Participants/subjects  persons or animals whose behavior is systemically observed o Collect the data  Data collection technique  procedures for making empirical observations and measurements  Direct observation  observers are trained to watch and observe behavior  Questionnaire subjects are administered a series of written questions designed to obtain information on specific aspects of behavior  Interview a face to face dialogue is conducted to obtain information about specific aspects of a subjects behavior  Psychologist test  subjects are administered a standardized measure to obtain information about specific aspects of the subjects behavior  Physiological recording  an instrument used to monitor and record a specific physiological process in a subject, EX: measuring BP, heart rate, brain activity  Examination of archival records  researcher analyzes existing institutional records such as census, economic, medical, educational, business, legal records o Analyze the data and draw conclusions  Observations made in a study are usually converted into numbers which constitute the raw data of the study  Use of statistics to analyze data and to decide whether or not their hypothesis has been supported o Report the findings  Writing up a concise summary of the study and its findings to share with one another and the general public  Typically, researcher prepare a written report which is delivered at a scientific meeting and submitted to a journal for publication  Journal  periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry  Publishing allows other experts to evaluate and critique new research findings  Critical evaluation may lead to discovery of flaws, if severe then the results may be disregarded or discarded  Advantages of the Scientific Method o Clarity and precision  The scientific approach requires people to specify exactly what they are talking about when formulating a hypothesis o Relative intolerance of error  The scientific method tends to yield more accurate and dependable information than casual analyses  Research methods  consists of various approached to the observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies  Experiment o 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 o procedure that allows researchers to detect cause-and-effect relationships  Independent and Dependent Variables o Whether change in variable X causes any change in variable Y o Independent variable  is a condition or an event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable o The variable that the experimenter controls or manipulates o Hypothesized to have an effect on the dependent variable X for which the experiment is conducted o Free to be varied o Dependent variable  is the variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable o Is usually a measurement of some aspect of the participants behavior o Thought to be dependent on the manipulations of the independent variable o Variables are said to be confound when they vary together so that the researcher cannot isolate the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable  Experimental and Control Groups o Experimental group  consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable. o Control group  consists of similar subject who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group o Experimental and control groups are alike except for their treatment in regard to the independent variable o Instead experimenters focus ensuring that the experimental and control groups are alike on a limited number of variables that could have a bearing on the results of the study o These variables are called extraneous/secondary/nuisance variables  Any variables other than the dependent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study EX  personality o Confounding of variables  occurs when two variables are linked together in way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects  When an extraneous variable if confounded with an independent variable a researcher cannot tell which is having an effect on the dependent variable o Random assignment   Occurs when all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study  Subjects are usually assigned to an experimental and control group randomly  Variations in Design Experiments o The effects of the independent variable are evaluated by exposing the single groups to two different conditions – an experimental condition and a control condition o Example: testing typing skills while listening to music [changi
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