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Chapter 1

☆ Nussbaum - PSYB01 - Chapter 1 - Comprehensive

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB01H3
Professor
David Nussbaum
Semester
Fall

Description
CHAPTER  1  –  PSYB01  –  UNCOMMON  SENSE  –  Scien▯fic  Method  and  Human  Reasoning PSYCHOLOGY:  scien▯fic  study  of  people,  the  mind,  the  behaviour -­‐  Focuses  on  how  we  feel,  think,  behave  believe  and  interact Summary  of  Schwartz  (2004)  study -­‐  Maximizers  careful  search  for  best  job  paid  off  (paid  20%  more  on  average),  but  unexpectedly,  they   derived  less  sa▯sfac▯on  from  the  choices  than  the  sa▯sfiers   -­‐  Perhaps  par▯ally  because  their  extensive  job  searchers  made  them  feel  more  vigilant  of  other   op▯ons  an  caused  them  to  second-­‐guess  à  feelings  of  regret  à  ask  themselves  “What  if..?”   SCIENTIFIC  METHOD:  Rules  of  research  that  reflect  procedures  and  techniques  for  conduc▯ng   psychological  research;  together  they  form  a  unified  conceptual  framework:  formal  way  of  thinking   about  X  (problem/no▯on/ques▯on) -­‐  Lays  the  founda▯on  of  how  informa▯on  is  collected/measured/examined/evaluated -­‐  Origin  may  be  traced  to  EMPIRICISM:  knowledge  is  gained  through  experience,  observa▯on  and   experiment;  i.e.  informa▯on  is  gathered  objec▯vely  from  observa▯on  or  experimenta▯on   -­‐  Informa▯on  =  DATA:  this  is  empirical  because  it  can  be  measured  and  assessed  sta▯s▯cally;   make  up  the  empirical  evidence  against  which  all  scien▯fic  knowledge  is  tested -­‐  Empirical  evidence  differs  from  anecdotal  evidence:    opinions  of  one  person,  typically  not  translated   into  quan▯fiable  form     -­‐  E.g.  used  by  inves▯ga▯ve  journalism BIAS:  indicates  unfair  prac▯ces  that  wrongly  discriminate  against  others -­‐  Scien▯fic  method  is  important  to  research  because  it  minimizes  bias  by  providing  rules  by  which   observa▯ons  are  collected  and  results  are  evaluated -­‐  Reflects  a  subtle  process  that  comes  in  many  different  versions,  all  of  which  can  destroy  the  research   study   -­‐  Scien▯fic  method  exists  mainly  as  a  countervailing  force  to  biases  that  operate  at  virtually  all  steps  in   the  research  process  and  that  can  distort  and  negate  a  study   What  Is  a  Scien▯fic  Ques▯on? -­‐  2  main  types  of  ques▯ons (1)  “is”  ques▯ons:  answerable  by  facts,  or  empirical  data,  and  these  answers  are  independent  of  socal/ cultural/poli▯cal/religious  preference -­‐  Exclusive  domain  of  scien▯fic  research;  best  addressed  through  scien▯fic  research (2) “ought”  ques▯ons:  call  upon  cultural  values  and  ethics;  cannot  be  answered  only  using  scien▯fic   evidence -­‐ Are  influenced  by  beliefs -­‐ Science  helps  to  contribute  to  debate  addressed  by  these  ques▯ons,  but  it  itself  cannot  provide  any   direct,  definite  answers  to  them   -­‐ Instead,  leave  to  philosopher,  theologian  and  cons▯tu▯onal  scholars -­‐ Scien▯fic  method:  aims  to  answer  scien▯fic  ques▯ons,  and  scien▯fic  ques▯ons  and  answers  are   commonly  framed  by  referencing  to  a  par▯cular  theory -­‐  THEORY:  Set  of  proposi▯ons  that  are  used  as  principles  to  describe,  understand  and  explain   psychological/behavioural  phenomena   -­‐ O▯en  answer  address  ques▯ons  of  “how”   -­‐ O▯en  influences  all  aspects  of  the  study  (from  the  beginning  inspira▯on  to  the  final   interpreta▯on  of  the  results)   From  Theory  to  Testable  Hypothesis TESTABLE  HYPOTHESIS:  Statement  (o▯-­‐predic▯on)  made  before  collec▯ng  data  =>  a  priori  =>  exists   before  experimenta▯on/observa▯on -­‐ A  priori  hypotheses  make  up  a  key  feature  of  the  scien▯fic  method:  by  formula▯ng  them  prior  to   collec▯ng  and  analyzing  data,  are  less  likely  to  fall  to  error  and  bias  by  twis▯ng  the  theory  &  numbers -­‐ Opposite:  POST  HOC  =>  hypothesis  formed  a▯er  collec▯ng  and  analyzing  data   -­‐ Pose  serious  problems  to  scien▯fic  method -­‐ Increase  probability  of  error  &  bias -­‐ More  likely  to  wrongly  accept  as  true   -­‐ Held  in  disfavour  and  require  sta▯s▯cal  adjustments  that  raise  the  threshold  for  what  would  be   expected  as  significant  or  genuine  finding   Variables  and  Measurement VARIABLE:  any  characteris▯c  that  can  take  on  different  values  or  can  vary  across  subjects -­‐  Scien▯fic  method  requires  that  you  objec▯vely  measure  the  iden▯fied  variables -­‐ If  cannot  be  measured,  then  cannot  be  inves▯gated  scien▯fically Systema▯c  Observa▯on  &  Data  Collec▯on -­‐ O▯  in  research,  observa▯ons  are  collected  systema▯cally  and  quan▯fied  by  sampling  a  popula▯on;   POPULATION:  en▯re  collec▯on  of  units  from  which  informa▯on  can  be  retrieved -­‐ SAMPLE:  group  of  units  selected  from  popula▯on -­‐ Generally  selected  over  study  from  popula▯on  because  la▯er  o▯en  too  large  to  study   completely   -­‐ How  researcher  selects  this  cri▯cally  important  for  the  scien▯fic  method -­‐ Trying  to  maximize  GENERALIZABILITY:  extent  to  which  findings  from  sample  applicable  to   wider  popula▯on -­‐ “Cherry-­‐picking”  can  result  in  SAMPLE  BIAS:  some  members  of  the  popula▯on  are  less  likely   than  others  to  be  in  study   -­‐ Can  generalize  the  sample  results  to  popula▯on  from  which  sample  selected,  but  be  cau▯ous  in   generalizing  to  another  se▯ng/popula▯on Evalua▯ng  Evidence  and  Theory -­‐ Scien▯fic  method  requires  collec▯on  of  observa▯ons,  which  are  categorized  or  quan▯fied   systema▯cally;  numeric  values  either  assigned  or  computed  and  this  is  what  makes  up  empirical   evidence -­‐ Scien▯fic  method  uses  stats  to  test  rela▯onships  between  and  among  objec▯ve,  quan▯fiable  measures   derived  from  experimenta▯on/observa▯on -­‐ Sta▯s▯cs  are  computed  on  sample;  sample  sta▯s▯cs  assumed  to  provide  es▯mates  of  popula▯on -­‐ All  sta▯s▯cs  are  based  on  logic  of  PROBABILITY,  and  all  use  the  same  criterion  for  evalua▯on;  that  is:   what  is  the  probability  that  the  obtained  results  are  due  to  chance? -­‐ Sta▯s▯cal  evidence  provides  a  means  to  evaluate  or  test  a  theory Reliability  and  Validity -­‐ All  sound  research  studies  depend  upon  scien▯fic  method -­‐ Different  branches  of  psychology  o▯en  pose  and  answer  research  scien▯fic  ques▯ons  differently -­‐ Inves▯gate  ques▯ons  from  a  hypothe▯cal  research  “toolbox”  -­‐  various  methods  and  techniques  with   their  advantages  &  disadvantages -­‐ 2  Important  standards  to  judge  scien▯fic  quality  of  these  methods  and  techniques  and  results   produced  by  them -­‐ (1)  RELIABILITY:  consistency;  reliable  study  produces  data  that  can  be  REPLICATED  (=repeated   with  same  results) -­‐ (2)  VALIDITY:  extent  to  which  a  study  provides  a  true  measure  of  what  it  meant  to   inves▯gate;  even  more  important  than  reliability;  reliable  study  may  not  necessarily  be  valid   -­‐ How  a  study  sample  is  selected  from  the  popula▯on  and  its  representa▯veness  can   influence  validity -­‐ All  types  address  “How  true  are  our  conclusions?” -­‐ To  evaluate,  look  for  CONFOUNDS/CONFOUNDING  VARIABLES  [confounding  factors]:   unwanted  sources  of  influence  that  can  be  seen  as  viable  alterna▯ve  explana▯ons  for   result  of  study -­‐ Can  affect  DV  and/or  IV -­‐ In  many  studies,  CONTROL  VARIABLE  used  to  measure  an  unwanted  source  of  influence  that  could   invalidate  the  study’s  conclusions   -­‐ Aim:  rule  out  effect  of  control  variable  on  study’s  results   METHODS  AND  TOOLS  OF  PSYCHOLOGICAL  RESEARCH -­‐  Judged  by  extent  to  which  they  can  reliably  and  validly  address  the  research  ques▯on  posed  by  study   1. True  experiments EXPERIMENT:  controlled  inves▯ga▯on  where  one/more  variables  maniulated;  variables  differe  to  extent   that  they  can  be  controlled/manipulated -­‐ INDEPENDENT  VARIABLE  (IV):  variable  manipulated  in  experiment  [manipulated[ -­‐ DEPENDENT  VARIABLE  (DV):  observed  effect/result/outcome  that  is  measured  in  response  to   systema▯c  change  in  independent  variable    [measured  effect[ -­‐ True  =>  IV  has  RANDOM  ASSIGNMENT  -­‐  helps  to  ensure  subjects  are  similar  before  being  manipulated   by  IV   -­‐ If  this  holds,  then  any  subsequent  differences  in  DV  can  be  a▯ributed  to  manipula▯on  of  IV   instead  of  confounds   2. Quasiexperiments QUASIEXPERIMENT:  invesitga▯ons  that  strive  to  examine  effects  of  IV  that  can’t  be  direclty  manipulated   or  randomly  assigned  on  DV -­‐ Try  to  control  for  as  many  variables  as  possible  so  that  inteprreta▯on  of  rela▯onship  betweeen  IV  and   DV  not  confounded  by  unwanted  influences -­‐ Reality:  seldom  possible  =>  use  special  sta▯s▯cal  techniques  to  remove  effects  of  poten▯al  confounds 3. Descrip▯ve  research  (e.g.1  correla▯onal  research,  e.g.2.  Naturalis▯c  observa▯on) -­‐ Examines  rela▯onship  between  two  or  more  variables;  looking  at  way  one  set  of  measurements  goes   up  or  down  rela▯ve  to  another  set  of  measurement -­‐ E.g.  Correla▯on:  sta▯s▯c  that  is  computed  by  a  specific  formula  that  provides  index  of  how   closely  related  two  variables  are;  posi▯ve,  nega▯ve -­‐ Chief  advantage:  permits  quan▯ta▯ve  comparison  of  variables  that  cannot  be   directly  manipulated -­‐ Limita▯on:  can  only  look  at  rela▯onships  among  variables  at  only  point  in  ▯me -­‐ Most  important  limita▯on:  cannot  determine  causality;  only  can  indicate  whether  2   sets  of  measurements  tend  to  vary  together   4. Naturalis▯c  observa▯on -­‐ Type  of  descrip▯ve  research  used  to  collect  behavioural  data  in  natural  environments -­‐ Systema▯c  study  of  well-­‐defined,  measurable  observa▯ons  that  can  be  replicable  by  others -­‐ Important  limita▯on:  lack  of  control  of  limitless  variables  that  could  be  influencing  hte  behaviour  in   the  natural  environment -­‐ Careful  observa▯on  is  o▯en  important  in  research  process,  because  it  can  help  researcher  come  up   with  scienific  ques▯on  and  hypothesis 5. Survey  Design -­‐ SURVEY:  set  of  ques▯ons  asking  respondents  about  X;  self-­‐report  measure -­‐ Provides  rela▯vely  inexpensive  way  to  collect  lots  of  data  quickly  and  come  up  with  and  test   hypothesis -­‐ Limita▯on:  How  accurate  of  a  report  people  are  capable  of  giving.   6. Performance-­‐Based  Measures -­‐ cons▯tute  well-­‐known  psychometric  approach  for  inves▯ga▯ng  variables  (e.g.  Intelligence) -­‐ Test  performance  scored  and  compared  to  sta▯s▯cal  aver
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