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Chapter 4

psyb01 Chapter 4.docx

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David Nussbaum

Chapter 4: Conceptualization and Measurement Developing and Defining Constructs - psychological theories are important as they provide a conceptual framework for studies, specifying meaning of key terms and identifies how variables are measured/operationalized, purpose and rationale of a research - conceptual framework is a network of interlocking relationships linking theoretical ideas to concrete variables and their measurements Theoretical Constructs - abstract concepts are referred to as Constructs (something specified in theories to explain, describe, predict empirical findings) - e.g. intelligence, personality, memory, anxiety - measured by multiple indicators such as physiological recordings, objective pencil-and-paper tests, behaviour rating scales Operational Definitions of Constructs - constructs need to be translated into an operational definition (how to measure dependent variable and how to produce independent variables) - construct of anxiety is operationalized in 3 distinct variables - measure of psychophysiology, observational ratings, and self-report - laboratory study by Bushman and Baumeister investigating conditions that produce interpersonal violence (personal violence is the construct) - experimenters aim to design ecologically valid studies (the extent to which a study/experiment approximates the actual real-life phenomenon under study) - people with high levels of narcissism would respond aggressively to the person they believed insulted them by giving them negative comments on essays written by participants ( independent variable (narcissism) -> intervening variable (perceived threat) -> dependent variable (blasting decibel level/insult from essay) Building Constructs - Corey L.M. Keyes coined the term Positive Psychology (learning about human thriving, flourishing, optimism, joy and capabilities) in his paper “A Complementary Strategy for Improving National Mental Health” - a framework to study attitudes, actions and feelings - Keyes tried to find meaning of two constructs (mental health and mental illness) , defining mental health as an enduring senses of well-being and happiness a person experiences in life and for defining the construct of mental illness e referred to (DSM-III-R) - the DSM defines 2 components must be necessary in order to establish the presence of a diagnosable mental disorder (the presence of a particular symptom/disorder presented in the DSM, and evidence the symptoms interfere with dally life functioning in areas such as work, leisure, school, interpersonal relationships) - Keyes identified 4 forms of mental illness: major depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and alcohol dependence Measurement of Psychological Constructs - Measurement - assignment of numerals to variables according to objective rules that reflect features of a construct that is being studied - e.g. for anxiety, 3 variables: galvanic skin response (GSR) is a psychophysiological variable used to measure the physical aspects of anxiety, scores on a self-report measure of psychological aspects of anxiety such as a MC test, third variable for the construct of anxiety could use as a form of measurement an observation rating scale 1 Advantages of Multiple Methods - Keyes used two kinds of measurement methods: self-report and interview which allowed him to classify participants into 5 groups and concluded that suffering be worse than the presence of a diagnosable mental illness Levels of Management (4 scales): stats used to describe the varaition 1) Nominal Level of Measurement - aka categorical/qualitative level identifies variables whose values have no mathematical interpretation that varies in kind or quality but not in amount - refer to the values of nominal variables as “attributes” instead of values (e.g. “state” referring to the U.S, measurement of gender) -> a nominal scale classifies data according to category only - Co-occurring or Comorboid Conditions - when participants meet criteria for more than one diagnosis at any one time - attributes used to be measured/categorized, cases must be Mutually Exclusive (a variable’s attributes/value are mutually exclusive if every case can have only one attribute) and Exhaustive (a variable’s attributes are exhaustive when every case can be classified into one of the categories) - when a variable’s attributes are mutually exclusive and exhaustive, every case corresponds to one and only attribute - The Special Case of Dichotomies - Dichotomies (variables having only two values), used when variables are quantitative (e.g. gender varies in kind and quality but not the amount in a study stays the same) 2) Ordinal Level of Measurement - >, < distinctions, referred to as a ranking scale (allows ranking such as frequency of occurrence and preferences) - Likert Scale – names after Rensis Likert, used in a study where participants described how they felt in the past 30 days with numbered responses (1=never, 2=little, 3=some, 4=most, 5=all the time) - the coding doesn’t represent equal distance (e.g. all=5 and none=1, you can’t say all the time is 5 times greater than none at all) - other examples using this measurement: grades, SES, military rank - nominal variables in this measurement must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive as each case assigned must be no more than one value 3) Interval Level of Measurement – has characteristics of nominal (it gives a name/category for each observation e.g. 1=male, 2=female) and ordinal (responses are ranked) - has no true zero point (e.g. 0 degrees F doesn’t mean there’s no temperature at all) -> we can’t say the ration of 20F to 10F is the same as 100F to 50F or 80F is twice as hot as 40F - numbers can be added/subtracted, values must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive 4) Ration Level of Measurement – numbers indicating values of the variable represent fixed measuring units and an absolute zero point (no value) - e.g. no income = $0, weight has a zero point, speed in terms of time in track races, Kelvin temp. - numbers can be added/subtracted/multiplied/divided since there is a zero point and values must be mutually exclusive/exhaustive - e.g. 10 is 2 higher than 8 and 2 times greater than 5 Comparisons of Levels of Management - Nominal is the only way to classify categorically - Nonparametric Stats – test hypotheses for variabl
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