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Chapter 2

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 2 Psy a01 LECTURE 2.1 Dogmatism- tendency for people to cling to their assumptions Theories & Hypotheses: The scientific method: a set of principles about appropriate relationship between ideas and evidence Theory- a hypothetical explanation of a natural phenomenon - Data is seen, so a theory is made to explain why this is so - The best theory is when you can test it, and it has a potential notion can it could be wrong. That there is something that could falsify the theory - When evidence is consistent with a theory it increases our confidence in it, but it never makes us completely certain. Hypothesis: predictions that can be tested in a way that might prove them to be incorrect (i.e., falsifiable!) - Muybrudge said, “we have to do more than just look if we want to know the truth about the world Empiricism- belief that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation - Empiricism is the right approach - it requires the empirical method: set of rules and techniques for observation Terminology - The term “variable” is used to refer to anything that can take on multiple “values” - “Eye Color”, for example, can have the values of “green”, “blue”, “brown”, etc … it is a categorical variable (or is it?) - “Height” is another variable, it is a continuous variable because its values lie on a continuum (or do they?) - In actuality, whether a variable is categorical or continuous often depends on how it is measured.  Variable: anything that can take on a multiple value  Example: eye color, because it can have a value of more than one color. Blue, green, brown  Categorical vs. Continuous: eye color is categorical. People fall into a category; they have a specific color of eye.  Height is continuum, the values follow a continuum. Go from low number-high number. This distinction is important is because analysis is different for each.  Color could also be continuous. Different shades of color. 3 things that make people difficult to study: 1. Complexity - Human brain is extremely complicated - Difficult to understand how millions of neurons in the brain give rise to thoughts, feelings and actions 2. Variability - no two individuals are the same 3. Reactivity - people act a different way when they are being observed - when they know they are being studied, they don’t always behave as they usually would Scientists have designed methods to meet these challenges: 1) Methods of explanation 2) Method of observation Measurement - requirement: - define the property we wish to measure - Then find a way to detect it Defining and Detecting Operational definition: a description of a property in concrete, measurable terms Measure: a device that can detect the condition to which an operational definition refers electromyograph: a device that measures muscle contractions under the surface of a person’s skin Validity: the extent to which a measurement and a property are conceptually related Power: the ability of a measure to detect the concrete conditions specified in the operational definition Demand characteristics: those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they think they should  one way to avoid demand characteristics is to measure behaviors that are unable or unlikely to control, such as facial expressions, blood pressure, reaction times Naturalistic observation: a technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environments techniques used to avoid influence of expectation on observation - double blind: an observation whose true purpose is hidden from both the observer and the person being observed - frequency distribution: a graphical representation of measurements arranged by the number of times each measurement was made - normal distribution: a mathematically defined frequency distribution in which more measurements are concentrated around the middle - mode: the value of the most frequently observed measurement - mean: the average value of all the measurements o the mean is dangerous to use when there are extreme values median: the value that is in the middle Measures of Variability - MAD (Mean Absolute Deviation) of each data point from the mean of numbers. - It is the standard deviation without squaring it. - Basically it tells you how spread out from the mean your group of numbers is. - Variance- the average squared deviation of each data point from the mean - Measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out Correlation Studies - Quite often naturalistic studies lead to correlation studies … that is, often through observation one thinks they see links … relationships … between different variables. - Eye gaze and social rank in chimpanzees - Perceived attractiveness related to height? Third variable - The fact that two variables are correlated only because each is causally related to a third variable - Two variables are correlated only bec
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