PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Ecological Niche, Intellectual Disability, Phenylketonuria

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Published on 19 Jun 2012
Chapter two-The Ways and Means of Psychology
scientific method: consists of a set of rules that dictate the general procedure a
scientist must follow in his research
three major types of scientific research
first type is naturalistic observation and clinical observation—observation of people or
animals in their natural environment or while they are undergoing treatment or
diagnosis for a psychological condition
these methods are the least formal and constrained by fewest rules
naturalistic observations provide foundations of the biological and social science
Charles Darwin’s journey lead to theory of evolution
Second type is correlational studies
It is observations but involves more formal measurement of environmental events, of
individuals physical and social characteristics and their behaviour
3rd one is experiments-only experiments can positively identify the casual relations
among events
5 rules to scientific method that apply to experiments
oIdentify the problem and formulate hypothetical cause and effect relations
among variables. Involves identifying variables and describing the relations
among them in general
oDesign the experiment. Experiments involve the manipulation of independent
variables and the observation of dependent variables. The independent
variable must be controlled so that only it is responsible for any changes in the
dependent variable
oPerform the experiment. Recruit volunteers whose behaviour will be observed,
and randomly assign each of these volunteers to an experimental group or
control group
oEvaluate the hypothesis by examining the data from the study. Often involves
special mathematical procedures used to determine whether an observed
effect is statiscally significant
oCommunicate the results. Usually write an article
Hypothesis: a tentative statement about a cause and effect relation between two or
more events
In Greek it means suggestion
Theory: is a set of statements that describes and explains known facts, proposes
relations among variables, and makes new predictions
A good theory generates a testable hypothesis
Naturalistic and Clinical Observations as Sources of Hypotheses and Theories
We perform naturalistic observations everyday
Naturalists are ppl who observe animals in their natural habitat, naturalistic
observations are what naturalists see and record
Clinical observations are diff. Cuz clinical psychologists observe important patterns of
Report the results of their observations in detailed description known as case
They do not remain in the background
Some causes do interfere in natural or clinical settings
Survey study: a study of people’s response to standard questions
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The observations are descriptions of the classes of responses to these questions
Clinical psychologist, may manipulate the treatment given to patient to produce more
beneficial response
Designing an Experiment
Variables: things that can vary in value
Manipulation: setting the values of an independent variable in an experiment to see
whether the value of another variable is affected
Control group: a comparison group used in an experiment the members of the
group are exposed to the naturally occurring or zero value of the independent
Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated in an experiment as a
means of determining cause-and-effect relations
Dependent variable: the variable that is measured in an experiment
Nominal fallacy: the false belief that one has explained the causes of a
phenomenon by indentifying and naming it, for example believe that one has
explained lazy behaviour by attributing it to laziness
operational behaviour: independent variables and dependent variables are defined
in terms of the operations a researcher performs to set their values or to measure
validity: the degree to which the operations definition of a variable accurately
reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate
Confounding of variables: inadvertent simultaneous manipulation of more than
one 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 or fatigue
reliability: the repeatability of a measurement: the likelihood that if the
measurements was made again it would yield the same vale
interrater reliability: the degree to which two or more independent observers
agree in their ratings of another organism’s behaviour
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
placebo: an inert substance that cannot be distinguished in appearance forma real
medication; used as the control substance in a single-blind or double-blind
single blind study: an experiment in which the researcher but not the participant
knows the value of teh independent variable
double blind study-an experiment in which neither the participant nor the
researcher knows the value of the independent variable
correlational study: the examination of relations between two or more
measurements of behaviour or other characteristics of people or other animals
matching: a systematic selection of participants in groups in an experiment or (more
often) a correlational study to ensure that the mean values of important participant
variables of the groups are similar
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