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PSYB01H3 (581)
Chapter 14

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 14: Generalizing Results  Issues of generalizing results to other population; problem with college students as participants.  Issues of generalizing result to other cultures and ethnic groups.  Problem of generalizing to other experimenters and possible solutions.  Importance of replications, distinguishing between exact replications and conceptual replications.  Narrative literature reviews and meta-analyses. Recall: Internal validity—ability to infer a causal relationship exist between the variables. External validity—extent to which findings may be generalized. Generalizing to other populations of research participants Rarely are participants randomly selected from the general population, usually they are selected because they are available: college students! So can we really generalize the results beyond that group? College students (and rats)  High % (70%) of studies published used college student as participant.  Potential problem is that such studies use a highly restricted population.  College students: young, late adolescence—sense of self-identity still developing, social and political attitudes in flux, high need for peer approval, unstable peer relationships. Intelligent.  Research shows those students groups are more homogeneous than non-student samples.  Rats are hardy, cheap, easy to rear, well adapted to lab, just like first year students and sophomores, easy to obtain on a campus and readily available. Volunteers  External validity of findings may also be limited, volunteers tend to be: more highly educated, higher socioeconomic status, and more in need of approval, more social.  Different kinds of people volunteer for different kinds of experiments (based on the Title). Internet research  Asking people on internet to volunteer for a survey: but the internet use is still more common in a particular demographic: urban/suburban area, college educated, younger, higher income. Gender considerations  Sometimes one sex is used because convenient, or the procedures seem better suited to a gender.  Gender bias: confounding gender with age or job status, selecting response measures that are gender-stereotyped.  *Include both & recognize ways that they might differentially interpret variable manipulations. Locale  Location that participants are recruited from: found even personality traits like extraversion and openness can vary across geographic areas. Generalization as a statistical interaction  Think of the problem of generalization as an interaction in a factorial design: -An interaction occurs when a relationship between variables exists under 1 condition but not another; when nature of relationship is different in one condition than in another.  Ex: study used only males, perhaps an interaction between gender and independent variable. Perhaps can’t generalize the result to females. Ex: study on aggression and crowding in both sexes. -Graph C+D shows interaction between gender and crowding. In defense of college students (and rats)  Criticism of study using only college students should be backed with good reasons that a relationship would not be found with other types of subject.  1. Student bodies are increasingly diverse and representative of society as a whole.  2. Replication provides safeguard against limited external validity of a single study. (applying to other populations such as children, aging adults, other countries).  *Internet samples are often used as a complement based on college student samples.  Rats: we can applies findings to humans: bio bases of memory, food preferences, sexual behavior, choice behavior, drug addictions. Cultural Considerations Cross culture generalization, critic—Psychology is built on study of WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) people. -Ex: theories of self concept: in western society – self means people are independent, self-enhancement comes from individual achievements. In other cultures: self is a collective concept, self-esteem derived from relationships with others. Japanese engage in self-criticism which is seen as relationship-maintaining. -Many are different and low generalization, ex: self. Same is: waist-hip ratio! Generalized across culture. Generalizing to other experimenters  Experimenters are another source of external validity problems: often just one experimenter.  Main goal is to ensure that any influence they has on subjects is constant throughout experiment.  Im
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