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Chapter 2

Psyb01 Chapter 2 Notes

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Nussbaum D

Research Methods in Psychology Chapter 2 - The Foundations of Psychological Research - the scientific method can be applied to the questions of what comes first, the simple act of smiling or the positive emotional feeling - there are two broad research approaches that researchers use: experimental and non-experimental designs - Non-experimental designs ex. If you wanted to examine the relationship of smiling and positive mood, you might have participants watch a comedy film, record the number of times each participants smiled and then have them complete a questionnaire on their mood o BUT you cant conclude that there is a causal relationship between smiling and positive mood - experimental study can be used when researcher wants to test cause and effect o able to exercise control over the variable or variables that are assumed to be the causal agent(s) producing the predicted effect The Goals of Science - Paul Ekman found that most social scientists understood emotional expression in the face to be culturally determined by a set of learned social conventions - Charles Darwin The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals argues that all mammals communicate their emotions through facial expressions o Ekman challenged the idea that rules are learned social and cultural convention - went around the world with photographs of men and women posing various distinctive faces - everywhere he went, people agreed on what the expressions meant o went to both developed countries as well as remote villages in the jungles both had no problem identifying various facial expressions - breakthrough: facial expressions of emotions were not socially learned rather are the universal products of evolution - the research established the human face as an exquisite and efficient organ of emotional communication Description - scientific understanding entails two distinct but related processes description and explanation - a conceptual definition provides the meaning, often rather broad in scope, of an abstract term such as intelligence , anxiety or emotion. o Demarcates a semantic or linguistic meaning of a psychological term, that is, usage in words - ex. Intelligence as a concept may be defined as the general ability that enables an individual to comprehend the world and to deal effectively with its challenges - operational definitions follow from conceptual defn indicates how a concept is coded, measured and quantified - for Ekmans work the Facial Action Coding System provides the operational definition of various facial expressions of emotions o the facial muscle coding system defines specific combos of facial muscle movements that are universally and discretely generated when certain emotions are elicited o facial muscle contractions are predictive of a particular emotion we see that an important aspect of a scientific description and explanation is establishing predictive relationships between two events or occurrences - he was able to idenfy seven discrete emotional expressions that humans in different cultures develop similar capacity to recognize: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and contempt Explanation - includes both prediction as well as establishing cause and effect - Causality requires three types of evidence o Temporal precedence the cause preceded the effect ex. Smoking occurred before lung cancer o Co variation of the cause and effect when the cause is present, the effect occurs, and when the cause is absent, the effect does not occur Ex. People that smoke develop lung cancer and those that dont, do not contract lung cancer o Alternative Explanations nothing other then the causal variable could be responsible for the observed effect: no other plausible explanation for the relationship Ex. In the smoking example, a third variable, such as social class, could explain the relationship of smoking and lung cancer - it is impossible in human studies to control for all extraneous, confounding or third variables that could account for the observed effect Practical Knowledge - studies are categorized as either basic research or applied research - Basic addresses fundamental questions about the nature of abstract psychological processes and ideas such as emotions, intelligence, reasoning and social behaviour - Applied addresses important questions that are thought to be of immediate relevance in solving problems o Ex. What is the most effective teaching method for learning math? - major interest of study in applied research program evaluation - studies the effects on behaviour of large scale policy changes and as well social reforms and innovations occurring in govt, schools, courts, prisons, businesses, health care, housing - both are essential and of equal importance the distinctions often blur and both are viewed as falling along a continuum Sources of Research Ideas Starting with Observation - you have no formal experience in research but you are curious about the human face done by simple observation - ex. Charles Darwin generated theory of evolution by natural selections exclusively on the basis of simple observation - observations act to restrict our attention, but sometimes we might stumble upon an important discovery that may not have been primary interest to us o when we are trying to generate ideas, narrowing the focus of observation may be counterproductive to our creativity and imagination - open mind increases the chances of accidently discovering something fortunate known as the serendipidity effect keep pour minds and hearts open for the unexpected, unlikely and counterintuitive Starting with Theory - Charles Darwin was the first to raise the question of whether physiological changes may lead to, if not very well be the cause of an emotion as opposed to being just the consequence of that emotion - emotions are feelings that come about as a results of changes such as perspiration, rapid heartbeat, muscular tension, and dryness of the mouth o known as the James-Lang Theory
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