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Chapter 1

PSYB01 - Chapter 1

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB01H3
Professor
Janelle Leboutillier
Semester
Summer

Description
Scientific Understanding of Behavior Learning Objectives 1. Explain the reasons for understanding research methods. 2. Describe the scientific approach to learning about behavior and contrast it with pseudoscientific research. 3. Define and give examples of the four goals of scientific research: description, prediction, determination of cause, and explanation of behavior. 4. Discuss the three elements for inferring causation: temporal order, covariation of cause and effect, and elimination of alternative explanations. 5. Define and describe basic and applied research. Uses of Research Methods ● research ○ decisions made in various occupations are based on research findings ■ mental health professionals ● treatment decisions ■ business professionals ● marketing strategies ■ educators ● teaching strategies ○ impact on public policy decisions and judicial decisions ○ important for developing/assessing program effectiveness ■ programs with specific goals (e.g. reduction of stress) The Scientific Approach ● intuition/authority often chosen over the scientific method ○ (methods of knowing) The Limitations of Intuition and Authority Intuition ○ reliance on intuition involves a lack of questioning before accepting info ■ info from personal judgement or another person’s experience ○ issue with intuition ■ various cognitive/motivational biases affect perceptions ● often leads to wrong conclusions about cause/effect ○ illusory correlation (cognitive bias) ■ occurs when we focus on two events that stand out and occur together ■ likely to occur when motivated to believe in the causal relationship ● highly natural action that is not scientific Authority ○ scientific approach ■ rejects the idea that one can accept authority figures’ statements on faith Skepticism, Science, and the Empirical Approach ○ scientific approach ■ recognizes that intuition/authority can be sources of ideas about behaviour ○ scientists are skeptical about what they see/hear ■ do not blindly accept others’ (and their own) intuitions ● understand that their ideas may be wrong ■ do not blindly believe others’ statements, authority figure or not ○ scientific skepticism ■ ideas must be evaluated on the basis of careful logic/results from scientific investigation ○ empiricism ■ fundamental characteristic of the scientific method ■ idea that knowledge is based on observations ● scientific method utilizes rules for collecting/evaluating data ○ characteristics of scientific inquiry ■ data play a central role ● basis of observations, theories, collection methods ■ scientists are not alone ● accurate reports of observations to others/public ● others replicate findings in separate experiments ■ science is adversarial ● good scientific ideas are testable ○ falsifiability (confirmable through observation/experiments) ● falsified ideas advance science ○ results lead to the development of new/better ideas ■ scientific evidence is peer reviewed ● peer reviews ○ scientists with sufficient expertise evaluate the research prior to the publication of a study in a scientific journal ● free market of ideas ○ good ideas are supported by research ○ scientists build upon others’ research Integrating Intuition, Skepticism, and Authority ○ scientific approach ■ provides objective set of rules for gathering/evaluating/reporting info ■ open system allowing for ideas to be refuted/supported ○ unobtainable scientific evidence (e.g. religious beliefs)
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