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Chapter 4

Chapt 4 - psyb01.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Nussbaum

Chapt 4 Construct: is specified in a theory in order to describe, explain and predict a wide range or related empirical findings ex. intelligence, personality, memory, anxiety or attention (indirect observable material entities) - can be measured by collecting data (physiological recordings, objective pencil-and- paper tests, etc) - a construct needs to be translated into an operational definition (refer to chapt 2) ex. Construct of anxiety can be operationalized in the form of 3 distinct variables: measures of psychophysiology, observational ratings and self-report - these 3 represent the dependent variables - an operational definition identifies the independent variables that are expected to produce the construct - want experiment to be realistic *recall: ecological validity -> the extent to which a study or experiment approximates the actual real-life phenomenon under investigation. Experimenters aim to design ecologically valid studies* intervening variable: a hypothetical internal state that is used to explain relation between independent and dependent variables - often represent theoretical constructs that link inputs/conditions that researchers use as their independent variables with the outputs used to measure them (dependent variables) i.e Independent variable -> intervening variable -> dependent variable positive psychology: seeks to learn about human thriving, flourishing, optimism, resilience, joy and capabilities - provides a theoretical framework to study attitudes, actions and feelings two theoretical constructs (Social scientist, Corey Keyes): mental health and mental illness - from a positive psychology perspective, theorized that mental health constituted well being or happiness - two components in order to establish mental disorder: 1. presence of particular symptoms of a specific disorder 2. Evidence that symptoms have interfered with aspects of everyday functioning in such areas as school, work, leisure, and interpersonal relationships - Keyes identified 4 diff forms of mental illness 1. Major depressive episode 2. Generalized anxiety disorder 3. Panic disorder 4. Alcohol dependence during the past 12 months measurement: the assignment of numerals to objects or events according to some objective rule types of measurements: self report, interview, GSR (galvanic skin response), observational, etc scale: defining measurements as the process by which numbers are used to designate objects/events according to some objective rule - a variable can have 1-4 scales of measurements: nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio Four levels of measurement 1. Nominal – categorical, including dichotomies, no ranking 2. Ordinal – Ranks on a scale, numerical degrees, distances unequal 3. Interval – Ranks with equal distance, but no true zero point 4. Ratio – Ranks with equal distance, true zero point means absence of the quantity Nominal level of measurement (also called categorical or qualitative level) - identifies variables whose values have no mathematical interpretation; vary in kind/quality but not in amount - nominal variables are referred to attributes instead of “values” - classifies data according to category only ex. Referring to the “states” of the United States. The variable (united states) has 50 attributes (or categories/qualities). We may even indicate specific states by numbers (California represented by 1, Oregon represented by 2) but these numbers don’t tell us anything about the difference between the states except that they are different - the attributes we use must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive - a variable’s attributes or values are mutually exclusive if every case can have only one attribute - a variable’s attributes or values are exhaustive when every case can be classified into one of the categories Dichotomies: variables having only two values -> the values/attributes of a variable such as gender clearly vary in kind and quality, but not in amount, thus the variable is categorical and is measured at nominal level Ordinal level of measurement - numbers are assigned to response choices allow for “greater than” and “less than” distinctions - sometimes is referred to as “ranking scale” Likert scale: ranking from 1-5 ex. Rank ____ and _____ on a scale of 1-5, 1 = none of the time, 2 = a little of the time, 3 = some of the time, 4 = most of the time, 5 = all the time - the different values of a variable measured at ordinal level must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive as well - a limitation of this is that respondents perceive differences of ranking something from 1-5 ex. 1 = none of the time and 2 = a little of the time - does not indicate the magnitude of difference between any 2 points on the ordinal response scale Interval level of measurement - has all the characteristics of nominal and ordinal scales of measurement - like nominal, it gives a name/category for each observation ex. 1 = female, 2 = male - like ordinal scale, responses are numerically ordered or ranked from lowest to highest - in addition, an interval level of measurement uses a scale on which the distances between any 2 points are of known size -> represent fixed measurement units but have no absolute, or fixed, zero point ex. thermometer has 0 degrees but that does not represent the complete absence of temperature - numbers on an interval level can be therefore subtracted or added - values again must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive - standardized measures of intelligence, personality and aptitude use interval level of measurement Ratio level of measurement - represent fixed measuring units and an absolute zero point (zero point meaning absolutely no amount of whatever the variable indicates) - income is measured using ratio level of measurement, as no income equals zero dollars - weight is also measured using ratio level b/c a measuring scale has a genuine zero point - numbers on a ratio level can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided - must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive nonparametric statistics: test hypotheses for variables that use either a nominal or ordinal scale of measurement (qualitative data) ex. chi-square (using a categorical variable, i.e gender) * may be used to ANALYZE interval and ratio data measurements parametric statistics: used with variables that are measured on either an interval or ratio scale (quantitative data) ex. t-test (compare averages of two groups) - parametric stats are preferable b/c it provides a more powerful test of a research hypothesis psychometrics: school of psychology that studies the application of psychological tests as objective measures of the mind and mental processes. hereditarian: an advocate of the theory that individual differences in human beings can be accounted for primarily on the basis of genetics ex. the idea that race-based cognitive inequalities are permanently encoded in genes, and so too are the social inequalities that arise from them (white/black IQ differential reflects outcome bias) - genes along with environmental factors will influence individual differences in IQ, but only culture and environment will determine group differences in IQ
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