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Chapter 5

PSYB32H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Statistical Significance, Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorder

Course Code
Mark Schmuckler

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Chapter 5
There is less than total agreement about how ab beh ought to be studied and what are the
facts of the field
Science is the pursuit of systematized knowledge through observation
Comes from latin term “to know” refers to both a method and to a goal
Its always imp for scientific observations and explanations to be testable and reliable
Testability and Replicability
A scientific approach requires 1st that propositions and ideas be states in a clear and
precise way
Must be testable in the public arena
If the event cannot be reproduced scientists become wary of the legitimacy of the original
The role of theory
A theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena
A primary goal of science is to advance theories to account for data often by proposing
cause –effect relationships
A theory permits the generation of hypotheses ---expectations about what should occur
if a theory is true ---to be testes in research
Theories are constructions put together by scientists. Ex: repression is a theoretical
A theoretical concept such as acquired fear is useful in accounting for the fact that some
earlier experiences can have an effect on our current beh
Several advantages can be gained by using theoretical terms: ex: we may want to bridge
temporal gaps with theoretical concepts or theoretical concepts can also summarize
already observed relationships EX: PG 134
Earlier school of thought called operationism proposed that each concept take as its
meaning a single observable and measurable operation. This way each theoretical concept
would be nothing more than one particular measurable event
Theoretical concepts are better defined by sets of operations than by a single operation
All empirical research entails the collection of observable data
Sometimes research remains at a purely descriptive level but often researcher observe
several events and try to determine how they are associated or related
Ex: eating disorder much more common in women than men.
We want more than a description of relationships we want to understand the causes
The case study
Study ppl one at a time and record detailed info about them
J.Brett Barkley is an ex
Prepare a case study by collecting historical and biographical info on a single indiv often
including experiences in therapy
The role of the clinicians paradigm in determining the kinds of info actually collected and
reported in a case study. Ex: case studies of psychoanalytically oriented clinicians contain

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more info about the clients early childhood and conflicts with parents than do reports
made by beh practitioner
Case studies from practising clinicians may lack the degree of control and objectivity of
research using other methods . the case study has been used to:
1) provide a detailed description of a rare or unusual phenomenon and of important often
novel methods or procedures of interviewing, diagnosis and treatment
2) disconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular theoretical proposition
3) generate hypotheses that can be tested through controlled research
Providing Detailed description
famous case history of multiple personally in 1954 –patient Eva White who assumed at
various times tree very distinct personalities. Her real name was chris Sizemore and she
was called “the three faces of Eve” case. Claimed to have 21 separate personalities
the case of Eve White, Eve black and Jane and eventually Evelyn –one of only few
detailed accounts of a rare phenomenon multiple personality now known as
dissocociative identity disorder
trichotillomania one of the DSM-IV-TR impulse control disorders. The irresistible urge
to pull out ones hair is an understudies chronic condition that affects mainly adolescent
girls and women
focus interviews on 7 women who had this condition. Analyzed using a procedure called
the constant comparative method which consists of unitizing, categorizing and
identifying themes.
Casati identified 10 major themes in the subjective experiences of the women with
compulsive hair pulling. Six themes related to the negative emotions the women
experiences (Embarrassment/shame, isolation, fear and guilt, anger/frustration,
humiliation/pain and body image)
Three of the themes related to the issue of control (lack of control, self disclosure and
lack of info from the medical community) and the last theme related to triggers or
precipitants of the compulsive hair pulling.
Why is this study informative? Cuz in the past treatments have focused primarily on
symptom reduction with limited effectiveness. This study identified themes in the
subjective experiences of these ppl and demonstrated the impact of their concerns on
emotional, social and psychological well being
The case study as evidence
Case histories are especially useful when hey negate an assumed universal relationships
or law
Case study fares less well as evidence in support of a particular theory or proposition.
Case studies do not provide the means for ruling out alternative hypotheses
Generating hypotheses
Through exposure to the life histories of a great number of patients, clinicians gain
experience in understanding and interpreting them
Eventually they may notice similarities of circumstances and outcomes and formulation
important hypotheses that could not have been uncovered in a more controlled
Kanner; noticed that some kids showed same symptoms such as failure to develop
language and extreme isolation from other ppl. He proposed a new diagnosis –infantile
autism—which was confirmed and is now in DSM
Some case studies are so unique its impossible to generalize to other indiv including
other ppl with the same disorder.

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Canadian ex is a case of preferential bestiality (zoophilia) reported. A 54 yr old white
male was serving a 5 yr prison sentence for cruelty to animals – a cruelty that had been
exhibited in sexual activity with horses
Case study is excellent way of examining the beh of a single indiv in great detail and
generating hypotheses that can later be evaluated by controlled research
Useful in clinical settings where focus is on one person. A case study may however not
reveal principles characteristic of ppl in general and is unable to provide satisfactory
evidence concerning cause effect relationships
Epidemiological research
Epidemiology is the study of the frequency and distribution of a disordered in a
Data re gathered about the rates of a disorder and its possible correlates in a large samples
or population
Epediologioical research focuses on determining three features of a disorder:
1) prevalence- the proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point or
period fo time
2) incidence- the # of new cases of the disorder that occur in some period of time usually
a year
3) risk factors- conditions or variables that if present increase the likelihood of
developing the disorder
knowing this stuff is imp for planning health care facilities, services, etc
depression is twice as common in women than men. Thus gender is a risk factor and this
knowledge led to a theory of depression that suggests its due to a style of coping with
stress that is more common in women than men
The correlational method
correlational method - establishes whether there is a relationship between or among two
or more variables
it is often employed in epidemiological research
in correlatioanl research the variables being studied are measured as they exits in nature
this feature distinguishes the method from experimental research in which variables are
actually manipulated and controlled by the researcher
ex: national study of Canadian preschoolers showed that behaviour problems were higher
among kids from less affluent neighbourhoods
Measuring correlation
1st thing in determining a correlation is to obtain parts of observations of the variables in
question. Ex: height and weight
Then the strength of the relationship between the two sets of observations can be
calculated to determine the correlation coefficient denoted by the symbol r. the statistic
may take any value between –1.00 and +1.00 and it measures both the magnitude and the
direction of a relationship
The higher the absolute value of r, the larger or stronger the relationship between the two
An r of either +1.00 or –1.00 indicates the highest possible or perfect relationship
whereas an r of 0.00 indicates that the variables are unrelated
If the sign of r is positive the two variables are said to be positively related –as the values
for variable x increase those for variable y also tend to increase. Ex: correlation between
height and weight is +.88 this would indicate a very strong positive relationships as
height increased so does weight
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