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Chapter 2

PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Dependent And Independent Variables, Naturalistic Observation, Scientific Method


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA01H3
Professor
Illes
Chapter
2

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of an individual’s behaviour during the course of clinical treatment or
diagnosis.
- most likely does not remain in the background. Is ethically constrained
to engage in activities designed to benefit the patient. Cannot manipulate
treatments for observations.
- in some cases, psychologists do interfere with a situation in a natural or
clinical setting. E.g. survey study: a study of people’s responses to
standardized questions.
DESIGNING AN EXPERIMENT
- variables: anything vary in value (differ in amount). E.g. happiness,
Temperature…etc
- manipulate: setting the values of an independent variable in an
experiment to see whether the value of another variable is affected.
- experimental group: a group of participants in an experiment, the
members of which are exposed to a particular value of the independent
variable which as been manipulated by the researcher.
- control group: comparison group used in an experiment, the members of
which are exposed to the naturally occurring or zero value of the
independent variable.
- independent variable: variable that’s manipulated in an experiment as a
means of determining cause-and-effect relations.
- dependent variable: variable that is measured in an experiment.
- nominal fallacy: the false belief that one has explained the causes of a
phenomenon by identifying and naming it. E.g. believing that 1 has
explained lazy behaviour by attributing it to “laziness”
Operational Definitions
- operational definition: the definition of a variable in terms of the
operations the researcher performs to measure or manipulate it.
- validity: the degree to which the operational definition of a variable
accurately reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate
Control of Independent Variables
- When conducting an experiment, the researcher must manipulate only the
independent variable.
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- confounding of variables: inadvertent simultaneous manipulation of
more than 1 variable. The results of an experiment involving confounded
variables permit no valid conclusions about cause and effect.
- counterbalancing: a systematic variation of conditions in an experiment
such as the order of presentation of stimuli, so that different participants
encounter them in different orders; prevents confounding of independent
variables with time-dependent processes such as habituation.
PERFORMING AN EXPERIMENT
- decide how to best conduct it (what participants, what instructions…etc)
Reliability of Measurements
- reliability: the repeatability of a measurement; the likelihood that if the
measurement was made again it would yield the same value.
- interrater reliability: the degree to which 2 or more independent
observers agree in their ratings of another organisms behaviour. (higher =
better)
Selecting the Participants
- random assignment: procedure in which each participant has an equally
likely chance of being assigned to any of the conditions or groups of an
experiment.
- researcher must continue to attend to the possibility of confounded
variables even after the experiment is under way.
Expectancy Effects
- observation can change that which you observe
- if research participants figure out the researcher’s hypothesis, they will
sometimes behave as if the hypothesis is true (even if its not).
- single blind experiments:
- placebo: an inert substance that cannot be distinguished in
appearance from a real medication; used as a control substance in a single-
blind or double blind experiment.
- single blind study: an experiment in which the researcher but
not the participant knows the value of the independent variable.
- double blind experiments:
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