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Chapter 2

PSYB01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Paul Ekman, Science Journalism, Scientific Literature

Course Code
Nussbaum D

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Chapter 2
Experimental design: used when a researcher wants to test cause and effect; the
researcher is able to exercise control over the variable or variables that are assumed to
be the causal agent(s) producing the predicted effect
Nonexperimental design: the independent variable cannot be directly manipulated and
confounding factors are difficult to control; encompass several types of studies
including: quasiexperimental; correlational; survey; single subject/small-N research.
The Goals of Science
Paul Ekman psychologist who studied the facial expressions of emotion. He found
that most scientists understood emotional expression in the face to be culturally
determined by a set of learned social conventions.
Ekman studied numerous cultures and found that each culture could identify facial
expressions. He found seven major categories of facial expressions of emotions:
Conceptual definition: provides the meaning, often very broad scope, of an abstract
term. A semantic or linguistic meaning of a psychological term.
Example: intelligence; anxiety; emotion.
Operational definition: indicates how a concept is coded, measured, or quantified.
A coding system must be transparent so that multiple people can use it.
Causality requires three types of evidence:
1. Temporal precedence: establishes that the cause precedes the effect.
2. Covariation of the cause and effect: when the cause is present, the effect occurs.
When the cause is not present, the effect does not occur.
3. Alternative explanations: nothing other than a causal variable could be
responsible for the observed effect.

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It is nearly impossible for human studies to control for all confounding/third variables: an
extraneous variable that could also be responsible for an effect.
Practical knowledge
Studies are often categorized as two types of research:
1. Basic research: addresses fundamental questions about the nature of abstract
psychological processes and ideas
a. Emotions, intelligence, reasoning, social behaviour
2. Applied research: addresses important questions that are thought to of
immediate relevance in solving current/practical problems.
a. What media is best to convince children not to do drugs?
Program evaluation: a type of applied research. Studies the effects on behaviour of
large-scale policy changes, social reforms, and innovations occurring in the
government, schools, etc.
Basic and applied research are best viewed as occurring along a continuum. Both are
important and one can often lead to the other.
Sources of Research Ideas
Starting with Observation
Science often starts with basic observations. Then it needs to be broken down into units
that allow for more precise qualification and measurement.
Observations can often work to restrict attention but can lead to important to discoveries
in an area that had not been of interest.
Serendipity effect: accidentally discovering something fortunate
Starting with Theory
We can start with a pre-existing theory and move from that to build other theories.
Example: Do physiological changes lead to emotion or vice versa?
James-Lange Theory: physiological change comes first then emotions
Cannon-Bard theory: emotions come first then bodily changes
Embodiment theory of emotion: proposes a dynamic interplay of specific bodily states
and their associate emotions
The latter is supported by:
When people adopt emotion-specific bodily postures, they report experiencing
the associated emotions
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