PSYB01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Investigative Journalism, Scientific Method, Psychological Science
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Research Methods in Psychology- Investigating Human Behavior
Chapter 1- Uncommon Sense-Scientific Method and Human Reasoning
DOING BETTER BUT FEELING WORSE
•Psychology: broadly defined as the scientific study of people, the mind and behavior-
focuses attention on virtually endless questions about how we feel, think, behave, believe
•Schwartz and colleagues set out to look at how happy recent college graduates are with the job
choices they made.
◦They gave the “Maximization Scale”- this set of 13 statements-to thousands of people and
found the highest score was 75.
•Sheena Iyengrr, Rachael Wells, and Barry Schwartz investigated the question “Who do you
predict is more likely to be satisfied with their choices and who do you believe will make the
◦They catergorized 548 graduating students in the fall of their senior year and then followed
them during the next year as they searched for jobs
◦when interviewed again the following summer, maximizers felt had found jobs that paid
20% more on average than the satisficer's jobs, but maximizers were less satisfied with the
outcome of their job search and were more pessimistic, stressed, tired, worried,
overwhelmed, and depressed.
▪This was because, so many choices led to unrealistic expectations that increased the
likelihood of feelings of regret, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and sadness.
◦Researchers reported that maximizers were more likely to fantasize about jobs they hadn't
applied for and to wish they had pursued even more jobs than they did.
The Scientific Method
•Scientific Method: A formal way of knowing that is exclusively reliant upon objective,
•Empiricism: A school of philosophy that holds that knowledge is gained through
experience, observation, and experiment
•the term empirical is used to denote information gained objectively from observation or
•Data: Information that is gained objectively from observation or experimentation that can
be measured and evaluated statistically.
▪Data constitute empirical evidence against which all scientific knowledge is tested
•Empirical evidence differs from anecdotal evidence, which refers to impression-opinions of just
one person, usually that are not translated into a quantifiable form
•Investigative journalism may use such anecdotal evidence
•Methodology used in legal reasoning and jurisprudence emphasizes customs, precedence, and
morality using techniques of cross-examination, persuasion and rhetoric.
•The scientific method is crucial because it minimizes bias by providing the rules by which
observations are collected and results are evaluated.
•Bias: An often subtle process that comes in many different forms, all of which can be fatal
to a research study and for which the scientific method serves as a countervailing force.
◦Bias is a familiar term that often indicates unfair practices that wrongly discriminate
•The scientific method exists largely as a countervailing force to biases that operate at virtually
all steps in the research process and that can distort and negate a study.
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