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PSYB01H3 (581)
Nussbaum D (52)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - The Foundations of Psychological Research

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Nussbaum D

Chapter 2The Foundations of Psychological ResearchFacial Expressions of EmotionThe Goal of SciencePaul Ekman is a renowned psychologist who devoted his career to study facial expression of emotions N the 1960s Ekman found that most social scientists understood emotional expression in the face to be culturally determined by a set of learned social conventions Darwins 1872 book The EXPRESSION OF Emotions in Man and Animals argued that all mammals communicate their emotions through facial expressionIn2002 New Yorker piece Malcolm Galdwell described how undaunted and inspired Ekman set out to discover the rules governing how we express emotions in our faces He challenged the idea that such rules are learned social or cultural conventions He went to Japan Brazil and Argentina carrying photos of men and women w easily identifiable expressions Then he went to the Papua New Guinea tribe to see if they would recognize those emotionsNO PROBLEMDescription The principle objective of research is to provide a scientific understanding of the topic of investigation We need to describe the phenomenon that we intend to studyResearchers describe and define terms conceptually and operationally Aconceptual definition provides the meaning of an abstract term ie intelligence anxiety emotionOperational definitions follow form conceptual definitions An operational definition indicates how a concept is coded measure and quantified No single operational definition is among several possible objective and measureable indicators of a concept y In the Ekman work the Facial Action Coding System provides the operational definition of carious facial expressions of emotions The coding system defines specific combinations of facial muscle movements that are universally and discretely generated when certain emotions are elicited It is transparent so that a researcher can learn the patterns of facial muscle movements and design studies to replicate as well to extend findings about human emotional expression y PICTUREExplanation Explanation can include both prediction as well as establishing cause and effecty The first kind of evidence is that of temporal precedence establishes that the cause precedes the effect ie 1 step toward demonstrating smoking causes lung cancer is data demonstrating temporal precedence smoking cigarettes occurred first and lung cancer followedwhen a the cause is y The second type of evidence needed to establish causality is covariation of cause and effectpresent the effect occurs and when the cause is absent the effect does not occur y Third causality requires the elimination of alternative explanationsa researcher must show that nothing other than a casual variable could be responsible for the observed effect there is no other plausible explanation for the relationshipy The 3 prongs of causality are difficult standards to meet in human psychological researchThe problem is that it is impossible in human studies to control for all extraneous confoundingthird variables that could account for the observed effectPractical Knowledge Studies are often categorized as eitherbasic research or applied research y Basic research addresses fundamental questions about the nature of abstract psychological processes and ideas such as emotion intelligence reasoning and social behaviour y Applied research addresses important questions that are thought to be of immediate relevance in solving practical problemswhich studies the effects on y A major area of interest and study in applied research is called program evaluationbehaviour of largescale policy changes and social reforms and innovations occurring in government schools courts prisons businesses health care housing etc y Both researchs are essential and of equal importance w scientific progress depending on the combined efforts and fruits of basic and applied research Basic research often has exceptionally important applications that are impossible to predict
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