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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Answers to Questions @ End of Each Subtopic

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

The ScientificApproach to Behaviour 1) What are the goals of the scientific enterprise? Measurement and Description The first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and precisely (ex. Developing some means to measure emotions) Understanding and Prediction -scientists believe that they understand events when they can explain the reasons for the occurrence of events - make and tests predictions called hypotheses -> a hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables -> variables are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study Application and Control - once people understand a phenomenon, they can often exert more control - Example: a psychologist might use what he or she knows about the roots and nature of violence in relationships to design a treatment program with the objective of lowering the probability of such violence in the future - to build toward a a better understanding of behaviour, they construct theories -> a theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations - by integrating apparently unrelated facts and principles into a coherent whole, theories permit psychologists to make the leap from the description of behaviour to the understanding of behaviour - a scientific theory must be testable -> the cornerstone of science is its commitment to putting ideas to an empirical test - in a typical study, investigators test one or two specific hypotheses derived from a theory -> if their findings support the hypotheses, confidence in the theory that the hypotheses were derived from grows -> if their findings fail to support the hypotheses, confidence in the theory diminishes - theory construction is a gradual, iterative process that is always subject to revision 2) What are the key steps required by a scientific investigation? Step 1: Formulate a Testable Hypotheses - translate a theory or an intuitive idea into a testable hypothesis - hypotheses are expressed as predictions - to be testable, scientific hypotheses must be formulated precisely, and the variables under study must be clearly defined - researchers achieve these clear formulations by providing operational definitions of the relevant variables -> an operational definition describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable -> establish precisely what is meant by each variable in the context of a study Step 2: Select the Research Method and Design the Study - figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical study - the research method chosen depends to a large degree on the nature of the question under study -> the various methods – experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observations, etc. - the researcher has to ponder the pros and cons of each method, then selects the strategy that appears to be the most appropriate and practical - participants, or subjects, are the persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a study Step 3: Collect the Data - researchers use a variety of data collection techniques, which are procedures for making empirical observations and measurements -> direct observation -> questionnaire -> interview -> psychological test -> physiological recording -> examination of archival records Step 4:Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusion - observations made in a study are usually converted into numbers, which constitute the raw data of the study - researchers use statistics to analyze their data and to decide whether their hypotheses have been supported Step 5: Report the Findings - the publication of research results is a fundamental aspect of the scientific enterprise - scientific progress can be achieved only if researchers share their findings with one another and with the general public - write a concise summary of the study and its findings -> researchers prepare a report that is delivered at a scientific meeting and submitted to a journal for publication -> a journal is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry - process of publishing scientific studies allows other experts to evaluate and critique new research findings -> if flaws are serious, the results may be discounted or discarded - this evaluation process is a major strength of the scientific approach b/c it gradually weeds out erroneous findings 3) What are the principal advantages of the scientific approach? The principle advantages are: Clarity and precision - commonsense notions about behaviour tend to be vague and ambitious -> the scientific approach requires that people specify exactly what they are talking about when they formulate hypotheses - this clarity and precision enhances communication about important ideas Relative intolerance of error - scientists are trained to be skeptical -> they subject their ideas to empirical tests - scrutinize one another's findings with a critical idea - demand objective data and thorough documentation before they accept ideas - when the findings of 2 studies conflict, the scientist tries to figure out why, usually by conducting additional research - yields more accurate and dependable information than casual analyses and armchair speculation do Looking for Causes: Experimental Research 1) What is the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable? An independent variable is a condition or even that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable (the experimenter controls or manipulates this) -> it is free to be varied by the experimenter Adependent variable is a variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable (a measurement of some aspect of the participants' behaviour) -> depends on the manipulations of the independent variable 2) What is the purpose of experimental and control groups? The experimental group consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable The control group consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group The purpose is for the researchers to isolate the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable 3) What are extraneous variables and confounded variables? Extraneous variables are any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study Aconfounding of variables occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects 4) How can experiments vary in format? - It is sometimes advantageous to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group -> exposing this single group to 2 different conditions – an experimental condition and a control condition -> ensures that the participants in the experimental and control conditions would be alike on any extraneous variables involving their personal characteristics ** called within-subjects design because comparisons are made within the same group of participants** -> when 2 or more independent groups of subjects are exposed to a manipulation of an independent variable, the experiment is said to use a between-subjects design because comparisons are made between 2 different groups of participants - It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment - researchers often manipulate 2 or 3 independent variables to examine their joint effects on the dependent variable -> main advantage: it permits the experimenter to see whether 2 variables interacting -> an interaction means that the effect of one variable depends on the effect of another - It is possible to use more than one dependent variable in a single study -> use this method to get a more complete picture of how experimental manipulations affect subjects' behaviour 5) How did Dutton andAron use the experimental method to evaluate the role of arousal in emotional experience? 6) What are the strengths and weaknesses of experimental research? Con: the experiments are often artificial - because experiments require great control over proceedings, researchers must often construct simple, contrived situations to test their hypotheses experimentally - when experiments are highly artificial, doubts arise about the applicability of find
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