Textbook Notes (369,141)
Canada (162,412)
Psychology (9,699)
PSYB01H3 (581)
Anna Nagy (283)

PSYB01 Ch 4

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Anna Nagy

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PSYB01 Ch 4 Studying Behavior Variable any event situation bhvr or individual characteristic that varies examples of variables a psychologist might study include cognitive task performance word length intelligence and spatial density Each of these variables represents a general class within which specific instances will varythese specific instances are called the levels of values of the variable a variable must have 2 levels or valuesFor some variables the values will have true numeric or quantitative properties eg a performance score on a 50 question cognitive testThe values of other variables are not numeric but simply identify diff categories eg gendermale or female Variables can be classified into four general categories1 Situational variables describe characteristics of a situationenvt2 Response variables the responsesbhvrs of individuals 3 Subjectparticipant variables are individual differences these are the characteristics of individuals including intelligence and personality traits4 Mediating variables psychological processes that mediate the effects of a situational variable on a particular response eg Darley found that helping is less likely when there are more bystanders to an emergencya mediating variable is called diffusion of responsibility Operational definition of a variable a definition of the variable in terms of the operations or techniques the researcher uses to measure or manipulate itA variable is an abstract concept that must be translated into concrete forms of observation or manipulation eg aggression Variables must be operationally defined to be studied empirically Researchers must always translate variables into specific operations to manipulate or measure themOperational definitions help us commn our ideas to others if its agreed upon what is exactly meant when a certain term is used in the context of the research Operational definitions also can result in the realization that the variable is too vague to study Theres rarely a single infallible unfailing method for operationally defining a variable The relsh btwn two variables is the general way in which the diff values of one variable are associated w diff values of the other variablethat is do the levels of the two variables vary systematically together Eg does viewing TV violence result in greater aggression When both variables have values along a numeric scale many diff shapes can describe their relsh the four most common relsh found in research are1 Positive linear relsh increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by increases in the values of the second variable eg higher levels of credibility are associated w greater attitude change 2 Negative linear relsh increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by decreases in the values of the other variable eg social loafingincreasing the number of ppl working on a task may actually reduce group productivity3 Curvilinear relsh increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by both increases and decreases in the values of the other variable the direction of the relsh
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