Textbook Notes (368,562)
Canada (161,962)
Psychology (9,696)
PSYA01H3 (1,206)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Gabriela Ilie

Chapter 2 The scientific method in psychology • Goal  to discover the causes of behavior • Must describe the behaviors and events that are responsible for their occurrence thoroughly and appropriately • Scientific method consists of a set of rules that dictates the collection and analysis of data gained through observational studies or experiments ○ Based on logic and common sense, not arbitrary • 3 major types of scientific research ○ naturalistic observation – obs of ppl or animals in their natural environment ○ clinical observation – the observation of the behaviour of ppl who are undergoing diagnonsis or treatment  least formal and constrained by fewest rules  provide foundations of biological and social sciences ○ correlation studies – obs in nature, but involve more formal measurement, of environmental events of individuals’ physical and social charac, and of their behav  examination of relations btwn 2+ measurements of behav or other charac of ppl/animals ○ experiments – go beyond measurement; make something happen and obs results  only thing that can positively identify the causal relations among events  study where indep variable can be changed and observe whether manipulation affects value of depen variable  only thing tht can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among variables  provide general accounts of phenomena stumbled upon  ex. SIRD stereogram – some ppl take longer than others to identify hidden objects in images  Observational evidence identifies the phenomenon and might indicate something about its magnitude; Correlational evidence arises when you start to observe relations between observations • steps of the scientific method – the form of scientific research that identifies cause-and- effect relations ○ identify the problem and formulate hypothetical cause-and-effect relations among variables ○ design the experiment  indep variable must be controlled so no other variable is responsible for any changes in the depen variable ○ perform the experiment  record observations ○ evaluate the hypothesis by examining the data from the study  results support hypothesis or go against ○ communicate the results • replication – ensures that erroneous results and incorrect conclusions are weeded out; avoids statistical flukes; checks whether previous results were obtained Identifying the problem: getting an idea for research • accumulation of most scientific info occurs as the result of long-term research programs in which findings of individual researchers are part of a larger collective (international) endeavor • require financial support, 3 major ones in Canada are: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (aka Medical Research Council) • hypothesis – tentative statement about a cause-and-effect relation btwn 2+ events tat is to be tested by an experiment ○ means “suggestion” in greek ○ come as a result of accumulated research and scholarship • theory – set of statements that describes and explains known facts, proposes relations among variables, and makes new predictions ○ can be a way of organizing a system of related hypotheses to explain some larger aspect of nature ○ good if generates testable hypotheses • important feature of naturalistic observations is tht the observer remains in the background, trying not to interfere with the subjects being observed • if interference occurs it becomes an experiment • case study – a detailed descrip of an individ’s behaviour during the course of a clinical treatment or diagnosis • clinical psychologist most likely does not remain in the background, cuz the object of therapy is to change patient’s behaviour and to solve problems (but cant interfere wit treatment regime for patient) • survey study – study of ppls responses to standardized questions designing an experiment • variables – anything capable of assuming any of several values (ex: temp, happiness) • manipulate – “to handle”; setting the values of an indep variable in an experiment to see whether the value of another variable is affected • to test hypothesis with an experiment, need 2 groups of volunteers to serve as participants ○ experimental group – members exposed to a particular value of the indep variable, which has been manipulated ○ control group – comparison group; members exposed to naturally occurring or zero value of the indep variable ○ groups are randomly assigned/split up • independent variable – variable that is manipulate to determine cause-and-effect relations • dependent variable – variable that is measured in an experiment • the value of a depen variable depends on the value of an indep variable • nominal fallacy – refers to erroneous belief tht one has explained an event merely by naming it ○ lazy behavior explained by attributing it to “laziness” ○ if feeling anger, these feelings are not causing his behaviour their describing it • task of a psychologist is to determine which of the many events that occurred before a particular behavior caused that behavior to happen • operational definition – definition of a variable in terms of the operations the researcher performs to measure or manipulate it; HOW YOU DEFINE SOMETHING IN THE PREMISE OF YOUR EXPERIMENT; USING YOUR EXPERIMENT TO DEFINE YOUR STUFF ○ used to develop manipulations and measures of a vast array of psychological concepts • validity – the degree to which the operational definition of a variable accurately reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate ○ refers to how appropriate they are for testing the researcher’s hypothesis; ○ how accurately they represent the variables whose values have been manipulated or measured • confound – “to fail to distinguish”; AN UNACCOUNTED FOR VARIABLE THAT COMPROMISES YOUR EXPERIMENT • confounding of variables – inadvertent simultaneous manipulation of more than one variable; results do not give valid conclusion abt cause and effect • habituation – when a stimulus is presented repeatedly • counterbalancing – “to weigh evenly”; systematic variation of conditions in an experiment, such as the order of presentation stimuli, so that different participants encounter them in different orders ○ prevents confounding of indep variable with time-dependent processes such as habituation or fatigue performing an experiment • reliability – repeatability of a measurement; likelihood that if the measurement was made again it would yield the same value • achieving reliability is usually easier than achieving validity • Reliability is mostly a result of care and diligence on the part of researchers in the planning and execution of their studies • Factors that affect reliability ○ inconsistent conditions ○ degree of subjectivity in taking a measurement  objective – follow procedure and obtain same results  subjective – requires judgment and expertise • interrater reliability – degree to which 2+ independent observers agree in their ratings of another organism’s behavior • random assignment – procedure where each participant has an equally likely chance of being assigned to any of the conditions or groups of an experi
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