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2 methods in psychology.docx

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Steve Joordens

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2 methods in psychology - Methods of psychology are meant to answer 2 basic questions- what do people do and why do they do it - Answer first by observing and measuring, second by looking for relationships between the things they measure Empiricism: how to know stuff - Dogmatism to describe the tendency for people to cling to their assumptions - Empiricism: the belief that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation The scientific method - Empiricism is the essential element - Scientific method: a set of principles about the appropriate relationship between ideas and evidence - Suggests that when we have an idea about the world- about how bats navigate, or where the moon came from, or why people can’t forget traumatic events- we should gather empirical evidence relevant to that idea and then modify the idea to fit with the evidence - Theory: a hypothetical explanation of a natural phenomenon (ideas about why things work the way they do) - The rule of parsimony (when developing a theory they start with the simplest ones) - William Ockham (plurality should only be posited when necessary) - Ockham wasn’t arguing that nature is simple or that complex theories are wrong, suggesting that it makes sense to start with the simplest theory possible and then make the theory more complicated only if we must - Hypothesis: a falsifiable prediction made by a theory (should statement) - Best way to learn the truth about the world is to develop theories, derive hypotheses from them, test them by gathering evidence, then use the evidence to modify the theories The art of looking - In 1877, eadweard Muybridge invented a technique for taking photographs in rapid succession, and his photos showed when horses gallop, all four feet leave the ground - There are a lot of things the eyes sees incorrectly or can’t see - Empirical method: a set of rules and techniques for observation - Complexity, variability, reactivity (p.42) - Methods of observation all them to describe what people do, methods of explanation allow them to determine why people do it Observation: discovering what people do - To observe means to use one’s senses to learn about properties of an event Measurement - Define the property we wish to measure and they find a way to detect it Defining and detecting - Operational definition: a description of a property in concrete, measurable terms - Operational definition of a second is the duration of 9192631770 cycles of microwave light absorbed or emitted by the hyperfine transition of cesium-133 atoms in their ground state undisturbed by external fields - Measure: a device that can detect the condition to which an operational definition refers (cesium clock) - Electromyograph(EMG): a device that measures muscle contractions under the surface of a person’s skin Validity, reliability, and power - Validity: the extent to which a measurement and a property are conceptually related - Reliability: the tendency for a measure to produce the same measurement whenever it is used to measure the same thing - Power: the ability of a measure to detect the concrete conditions specified in the operational definition Demand characteristics - Demand characteristics: those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they thing they should - Called this because they seem to demand or require that people say and do things that they normally might not - One way that psychologists avoid the problem of demand characteristics is by observing people without their knowledge - Naturalistic observation: a technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environments - Some of the things psychologists want to observe simply do not occur - Some of the things that psychologists want to observe can only be gathered from direct interaction with a person - Behaviours are also unlikely to be influenced by demand characteristics when people don’t know that the demand and the behaviour are related - Keep the people who are being observed from knowing the true purpose of the observation - Filler items, pointless measure that are designed to mislead you about the true purpose of the observation Observation bias - Expectations can influence observations - Expectations can influence reality - Double blind: an observation whose true purpose is hidden from both the observer and the person being observed Descriptions - Graphic representations and descriptive statistics Graphic representations - Vision is our most sophisticated sense, and human beings typically find it easier to understand things when they are represented visually than numerically or verbally - Frequency distribution: a graphical representation of measurements arranged by the number of times each measurement was made - Bell curve - Normal distribution: a mathematically defined frequency distribution in which most measurements are concentrated around the middle Descriptive statistics - A frequency distribution measures every measurement and thus provides a full and complete picture of those measurements - Brief summary statements that capture the essential information from a frequency distribution - Those that describe the central tendency of a frequency distribution and those that describe the variability in a frequency distribution - Descriptions of central tendency are statements about the value of the measurements that tend to lie near the center or midpoint of the frequency distribution - Mode: the value of the most frequently observed measurement - Median: the value that is in the middle - Mean: the average value of all the measurements - Normal distribution, mean, media, mode are the same value - Positively skewed, mode and median are much lower than the mean - Range: the value of the largest measurement in a frequency distribution minus the value of the smallest measurement - Standard deviation: a statistic that describes the average difference between the measurements in a frequency distribution and the mean of that distribution Explanation: discovering why people do what they do - Ultimate goal of scientific goal is typically the discovery of cause relationships between propert
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