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Chapter 2

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Steve Joordens

June 8, 2012 [PSYA01 CHAPTER 2 THE WAYS AND MEANS OF PSYCHOLOGY] The scientific method in psychology Scientific method set of rules that governs the collection and analysis of data gained through observational studies or experiments - Researches must follow - Based on logic and common sense 3 major types of scientific research: 1) Naturalistic observation observation of the behavior of people or other animals in their natural environments + clinical observations observations of the behavior of people/animal who are undergoing diagnosis or treatment - least formal, less constraints , foundation of biological and social science e.g. theory of natural selection organisms = raw material for observation 2) Correlational studies - examination of relations between two or more measurements of behavior or other characteristics of people or other animals - Measurements can be e.g. environmental events, individuals physical and social characteristics etc. 3) Experiment study in which the researcher changes the value of an independent variable and observes whether this manipulation affects the value of dependent variable. - only experiments can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among variables example: SIRD sterogram - observational evidence: identifies the phenomenon + indicate sth about its magnitude - correlational evidence: arises when observe relations between observations e.g. when 2D pic was given faster to see 3D pic - experiment : provide evidence about causal role (psychological processes that affect behavior) gives general accounts of phenomena e.g. give SOME students 2D pic, if they find 3D faster systematic evidence about the causal role of visual hints 5 steps summarizing rules of scientific method apply to experiments: 1) Identify problem + state hypothesis - Identify variables + describe relations among them - E.g. expectation of an image facilitates its detection in a SIRD stereogram 2) Design an experiment - Manipulation of independent var. and observe dependent var. - E.g. to test relation between expectation and detection of an image produce an expectation (independent) see whether it changes a persons ability to detect the image (dependent) - Independent car. Must be controlled 3) Perform the experiment - Train people who will perform the research - Recruit volunteers whose behaviors observed - Random assigning volunteers to experimental/control group 4) Evaluate the hypothesis by examining data - Special mathematical procedures often needed - Determine whether observed effect is statistically significant 5) Communicate the results - Tell your findings send to journal editors Identifying the problem: getting an idea for research Great science from cumulative work of many researchers May need financial support review potential scientific value needed for getting fund Psychological research in Canada supported by: 1) Natural sciences and engineering research council 2) Social sciences and humanities research council 1 | P a g e June 8, 2012 [PSYA01 CHAPTER 2 THE WAYS AND MEANS OF PSYCHOLOGY] 3) The Canadian institute of health research Competitive thus need good ideas to be successful Hypothesis Starting point is an idea, general statement / suggestion Hypothesis - statement usually designed to be tested by an experiment, that tentatively expresses a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more events Theories Theory - a set of statements designed to explain a set of phenomenal more encompassing than a hypothesis Describes and explains relations among variables new prediction Good theories generates testable hypotheses (they are not abstract/general) E.g. freud theorized: conflicts b/w mental structures such as the id and the superego were significant determinants of personality and behavior cant be observed no way to test the idea bad Naturalistic and clinical observations as sources of hypotheses and theories To understand behavior we need to know something about behavior We perform naturalistic observations through our lives All sciences began with naturalistic observations e.g. observation + classification of landscape Important feature of naturalistic observation not to interfere with people/animal e.g. children behavior best way: observe take notes classify behaviors effect of behavior possible hypothesis for experiment/correlational studies Clinical observations with treatment + observe patterns of behavior - Report as case studies detailed description of an individual behavior during the course of clinical treatment or diagnosis - form basis of hypothesis for cause of behavior - Clinician does not remain in the background but bound to some rules: cannot interfere with the treatment Sometimes, psychologists do interfere with in a natural/clinical setting - E.g. may ask questions at places they regard as naturalistic settings - One common procedure survey study all people get same questions this designed to elicit a special kind of behavior - Questions are specific allow formal measurement of relations that underlies correlational studies Clinician may manipulate the treatment sometimes too may report as case study but this make it an experiment note observational study Designing an experiment Variables Variable things that can vary in value e.g. temperature, happiness - Independent var. we manipulate and dependent var. we measure Manipulate setting the values of an independent var. in an experiment to see whether the value of another variable is affected e.g. SIRD exp. value of expectation variable set as visual expectation present and other visual expectation absent Groups are volunteer are assigned randomly into: 1) Experimental group members are exposed to a particular value of the independent variable e.g. SIRD exp. dif. expectations of image given 2) Controlled group members are exposed to the naturally occurring / zero value of the independent var. e.g. SIRD exp. no expectation given 2 | P a g eJune 8, 2012 [PSYA01 CHAPTER 2 THE WAYS AND MEANS OF PSYCHOLOGY] Variables in hypothesis is expressed in general terms are categories of behavior e.g. hitting, kicking, throwing at a person (behaviors) are classified as interpersonal aggression (category) We must avoid committing nominal fallacy - false belief that one has explained the causes of a phenomenon by identifying and naming it e.g. a man shout at peoples work while its acceptable and someone said wow hes really angry today! this only describe the behavior but not explaining the event behind thats causing his behavior these events cause both behavior and feelings Some events are causal some are not psychologists determine which event causes the behavior e.g. you left a train b/c you heard the announcement not b/c some flipped a newspaper although these events may have happened before you stood up Operational definitions We need to decide what particular variables we will manipulate and measure e.g. both expectation and ability to detect must be translated into SPECIFIC OPERATIONS Operational definition definition of a variable in terms of the operations the research performs to measure or manipulate it E.g. setting sit in front of projection screen; 20 dif. presentations; asked to press button when see object; before presentation heard verbal priming stimulus naming the hidden object independent var. explain what experimental group and control group receive. How long? ..etc Dependent var.- how to measure , what is measured? Investigators must provide procedures used to manipulate +measure variables e.g. complete definition of dependent var. detect
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