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David Nussbaum

Chapter 1: Uncommon Sense – Scientific Method and Human Reasoning Doing Better But Feeling Worse Psychology – broadly defined as the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour  Focus on questions about feelings of well-being Schwartz: Maximization scale: graduates with better jobs = grumpy maximizers, worse = happy satisfiers The Scientific Method Scientific Method – formal way of knowing that is exclusively reliant upon objective, empirical investigation  Rules, procedures, and techniques form a unified conceptual framework Empiricism – school of philosophy in which knowledge is gained through experience, observation, and experiment  Empirical – information gained objectively from observation or experimentation  Data – empirical evidence against which it is tested: measured and evaluated statistically Empirical Data different from Anecdotal Evidence – impressions/opinions of one person  not qualitative Scientific Method minimizes Bias – unfair practices that wrongly discriminate against others What is a Scientific Question? Is-Ought –  Is – can be answered by facts or empirical data; independent of social, cultural, political, and religious preference (Scientific Research)  Ought – call upon cultural values and ethical considerations; cannot be answered solely on the basis of scientific evidence (NOT Scientific Research BUT it can be used to support Ought) Theory – coherent set of propositions that are used as principles to describe, understand, and explain psychological or behavioural phenomena.  Use scientific method to asses a theory  Influences all aspects of a study From Theory to Testable Hypothesis Testable Hypothesis – framed as a statement, often in the form of a prediction that is made prior to the actual collection of data  = Priori – exists before experimentation or observation  LESS prone to error or bias  Post Hoc – hypotheses formed after data are collected and analyzed  MORE error and bias Evaluating Evidence and Theory Variable – characteristic that can take on different values or can vary across participants  Eg. Age, gender, education, attitude  Schwartz variables: maximizer/satisfier, satisfaction and salary  Variables have a range of values that are measured objectively  only then can it be scientifically investigated Systematic Observation and Data Collection Charles Darwin: his findings of natural selection and evolution were based on observation Population – an entire collection of people, animals, plants of things all of which can be referred to as units from which we may collect information Sample – a group of units selected from the population  Sample size notation = n A researcher:  Maximizes Generalizability – the extent to which findings that are derived from a sample can be applied to a wider population o Careful when applying sample to different setting or population  Minimize Sample Bias – some members of population are less likely than others to be included in the study Evaluating Evidence and Theory Statistics are computed on the sample, which provides estimates of the population. All statistics are based on Probability – the likelihood that a given event will occur – and it is also used for evaluation. Schwartz: quantitative measures for the three variables, between which the chance relationship is evaluated and conclusions are made based on these assumptions Reliability and Validity Two important standards: o Reliability – consistency in Replication – repeated with the same results o Validity – extent to which study provides true measure of what’s meant to investigate  Third variable problem?  Confounds or Confounding Variables – unwanted sources of influence that can be viewed as viable alternative explanations for the result of a study  Control variable – rule out confounds by measuring an unwanted source of influence that could invalidate the conclusions of a study  rule out the effect o Schwartz: Personality test to rule out perfectionism of maximizers. The Scientific Method: Observation & Thinking  Formulate a Question  Develop a Hypothesis  Conduct a Study  Accept/Reject Hypothesis  Interpret Hypothesis with Caution Methods and Tools of Psychological Research True Experiments Experiment – a controlled investigation in which one or more variables are manipulated Independent Variable – researchers systematically manipulate, change or select Dependent Variable – observed effect, result or outcome that is measured in response to a systematic change in the independent variable True experiment is restricted to those independent variables, such as a placebo and an experimental drug, that CAN BE RANDOMLY ASSIGNED.  Random Assignment – ensures that research participants are similar prior to the manipulation of the independent variable  differences in dependent variable is due to the manipulation NOT confounds Quasiexperiments Quasiexperiment – quasi – as if; examine effects of an independent variable that cannot be directly manipulated or randomly assigned on dependent variable  Eg. Gender, race, age, SES, locale, diagnosis, personality traits Selects participants who have a particular characteristic or those who have been exposed to specific events (Eg. War, trauma) or those who might live in certain settings or situations (Eg. neighbourhood, geographic region). Control as many variables as possible for no confounds or if not possible they have special statistical techniques to remove the effects of confounds. Descriptive Research Correlation – a statistic that is computed by a specific formula; this provides an index of how closely related two variables are.  Statistic aka Correlation Coefficient r can range from .00 to + 1.00 and .00 to -1.00 o .00 or close to .00 = NO relationship o +1.00 or -1.00 or close to either = Strong relationship  + = Positive linear relationship  - = Negative linear relationship Descriptive Research – focus on distribution of variables, quantitative association of variables  Advantage: Correlational research allows quantitative comparison for variables that cannot be directly manipulated.  Disadvantage: Correlation can only look at relations among variables at one point in time. Cannot determine Causality – whether one causes the other or vise versa Naturalistic Observation Naturalistic Observation – type of descriptive research used to collect behavioural data in natural environments as opposed to laboratory or other controlled settings  Eg. Animal and child-parent behaviour  NOT subjective; it is a systematic study of well-defined, measureable observations that can be repeated by others. D
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