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PSYB01H3 (581)
Anna Nagy (283)
Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Studying Behaviour.docx

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Anna Nagy

Chapter 4: Studying Behaviour Variables Variable: any event, situation, behaviour or individual characteristic that varies - all variables represent a general class within which specific instances will vary o instances called levels or values [must have 2 or more values] - there a 4 categories of variables o situational variables, describe characteristics of a situation or environment  ex. Length of words in a book, creditability of a person o response variables: are the responses or behs of individuals [Reaction time] o participant or subject variables: individual differences [gender/intelligence] o mediating variables: psychological processes that mediate the effects of a situational variable on a particular response  bystander effect: # of bystander > diffusion of resp > less helping Operational Definitions of Variables - variables are abstract concepts that must be translated into concrete forms of observation of manipulation - Operational definition: a definition of the variable in terms of the operations or techniques the researcher uses to measure or manipulate it - Necessary so they can be studied empirically - May be several level of abstraction in when studying a variable o Abstract concepts in concrete terms - Once defined understanding of psychological phenomenon depend on technology - Help communicate our ideas to others - There is rarely a single, infallible method for operationally defining a variable - Using several operational defin can help gain complete understanding of variable Relationship between Variables - general way in how diff values of one variable are associated with diff values of another - following are relationships of variable that both have numeric properties Positive Linear Relationship - increases in the value of one variable are accompanied by increases in the values of the second variable [speech rate and attitude change] Negative Linear Relationship - increases in the value of one variable are accompanied by decreases in the values of the other variable [social loafing] Curvilinear Relationship - increases in the value of one variable are accompanied by both increases and decreases in the values of the other variable [direction of relationship changes] - aka nonmonotonic relationship [visual complexity and ratings of preference] No Relationship - graph is simply a straight line [crowding and task performance] - variables vary independently - relationships are general, doesn’t that everyone high on one variable will be high on the other [individual deviations are likely] - correlation coefficient: a numerical index of the strength of relationship between variables Relationships and Reduction of uncertainty - relationships btwn variables reduces uncertainty about the world by increasing our understanding of the variables we are examining - uncertainty – there is randomness in events [science – random variability/error variance] - research attempts to reduce random variability - relationship between variable is rarely perfect Nonexperimental versus Experimental Methods - Noneperimental Method: relationships are studies by making observations or measures of the variables of interest [asking, observing, recording physiological responses] - relationship is established when 2 variables vary together - Experimental Method: direct manipulations and control of variables. Manipulates 1 variable of interest and observes the response Nonexperimental Method - both variables are measured , allows to observe covariation - aka correlational method rd - cause and effect are issues: 1. Directionality of cause/effect 2. 3 variable problem Direction of Cause and Effect o which variable causes the other o third-variable problem more serious The Third-variable problem o possible that there is no causal relationship btwn 2 variables o another variable may cause both o 3 variable is extraneous to the 2variables being studied o results of these studies are ambiguous and should be viewed w/ skepticism o confounding variable: not controlled in research, differ on both other varia Experimental Method - one variable is manipulated and the other is then measured [reduces ambiguity] - one variable occurs 1 so o
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