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Chapter 4

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB01H3
Professor
Anna Nagy
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 4 Studying BehaviourVariablesvariable any event situation behaviour or individual characteristic that can take more than 1 value eg prejudice heart rateeach of these variables represents a general class within which there will be at least 2 specific instances called levels or values of the variablemust have 2 or more levels and values will have true numeric or quantitative properties or will identify a different categorythere are 4 categories of variables 1 situational variable describes characteristics of a situation or environment length of words you read in a bookof ppl squeezed into a classroom 2 response variable the responses or behaviours of individuals such as reaction time performance on a cognitive task 3 participant variable describes the characteristics of individuals that they bring w them to a study including sex intelligence etc 4 mediating variablea psychological process that occurs between a situational variable and a particular behavioural response that helps to explain the relationship between them eg mediating variable called diffusion of responsibility Operational definitions of variablesa variable is an abstract concept that must be translated into concrete forms of observation or manipulationoperational definition a definition of the variable in terms of the operations or techniques the researcher uses to measure or manipulate itvariables must be operationally defined to be studied empiricallydifferent researchers may operationally define similar variables in different ways and help us communicate ideas to othersthere may be several levels of abstraction when studying a variable which adds complexity when researchers try to operationally define itconcepts that were once untestable are now able to be operationally defined bc of advances in technology eg brain activation and use of fMRI there is rarely a single infallible method for operationally defining a variable complete understanding of any variable involves studying the variable using a variety of operational definitionsNonexperimental and experimental methods overview2 approaches to study the relationships among variables nonexperimental and experimentalNonexperimental method relationships are studied by observing or otherwise measuring the variables of interest eg asking ppl to describe their behaviour directly observing others behaviour relationship between 2 variables is established when 2 variables vary together
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