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PSYB01H3 (581)
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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Scientific Understand of Behaviour.docx

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Anna Nagy

Chapter 1: Scientific Understanding of Behaviour Use of Research Methods - a background in research methods will help read reports critically, evaluate the methods employed and decide whether the conclusions are reasonable - knowledge of research methods and the ability to evaluate research reports are useful in many fields (doctors, business, education, public policy and judicial decisions) - Social Science Brief – Brown vs Board of Education (Supreme court banned segregation in US) - Use of research important in developing and assessing the effectiveness of programs designed to achieve certain goals The Scientific Method The Limitations of Intuition and Authority Example: Intuition - Couples w/ issues conceiving adopt and soon after become pregnant  causes common belief that adoption increases likelihood of pregnancy  this is a example of the use of intuition and anecdotal evidence to draw general conclusions about the world around us o when relying on intuition you accept unquestioningly what your own personal judgment or single story about one person’s experience tells you about the world o intuitive form take many forms:  finding a explanation for your behavior or that of others  explaining intriguing events that you observe o problem w/ this intuition: there are numerous cognitive and motivational biases that affect our perceptions and so we may draw erroneous conclusions about cause and effect o these beliefs occurs because of a cognitive bias, illusory correlation that occurs when we focus on two events that stand out and occur together o occur if we are highly motivated to believe in a casual relationship Authority o Aristotle, Rhetoric – “persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech in so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and readily than others.” o We are more likely to be persuaded by a speaker who seems prestigious, trustworthy, and respectable than by one who lacks such qualities o Problem: scientific approach rejects the notion that one can accept on faith the statements of any authority Skepticism, Science and the Empirical Approach o Scientific skepticism means that ideas must be evaluated on the basis of careful logic and results from scientific investigations o The fundamental characteristic of the scientific method is empiricism, knowledge is based on observations. Data are collected that form the basis of conclusions avout the nature of the world o Evolved theory of Science  Make observations that are accurately reported to other scientists/public  Search for observations so verification of ideas is possible  Open exchange and competition of ideas  Peer review, review by peers/scientists who have expertise to carefully evaluate the research and recommend whether the research should be published, ensure only the best research is published o Good scientific ideas a testable o Falsifiability: can be falsified by data Integrating Intuition, Skepticism and Authority o Advantage of scientific approach: its provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating, and reporting information o Example: opinions on whether exposure to television violence increases aggreesion are opinions until scientific evidence on the issue is gathered o Someone claiming to be a scientist: credentials, institution, funding source o Be aware of ‘pseudoscientists’ who use scientific terms to substantiate their claims  Hypothesis generally are not testable  Scientific tests reported, methodology is no
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