Psychology: the scientific study of people, the mind, and behaviour.
Psychology focuses on virtually endless questions about how we feel, think, behave, believe, and
For the study below, the term maximizer means a person who, in a job search, looks to maximize
their pay. Satisficers set standards for themselves and will choose the first option that meets that
Barry Schwartz gave the Maximation Scale-13 statements
In a study, researchers looked at the question; who do you predict is more likely to be satisfied
with their choices and who do you believe will make the best choice? Researchers investigated
this question by categorizing 548 graduating students in the fall of their senior year and then
followed them during the next year as they searched for jobs. When interviewed again the
following summer, maximizers had found jobs that paid 20% more on average than the satisficers
jobs, but maximizers were less satisfied with the outcome of their job search and were more
pessimistic, stressed, tired, worried, overwhelmed, and depressed. Maximizers felt worse even
though they had done better than satisficers, the researcher reasoned, because considering so many
choices led to unrealistic expectations that increased the likelihood of feelings of regret,
disappointment, dissatisfaction, and sadness. In fact, the researchers reported that maximizers were
more likely to fantasize about jobs they hadnt applied for and to wish they had pursued even more
jobs than they did.
Scientific method: the veritable rules of the game of research. These rules reflect procedures and
techniques for conducting and evaluating psychological research.
Together, these rules, procedures, and techniques form a unified conceptual frameworka formal
way of thinking about a problem, idea, or question.
Just as any game will have a set of rules, procedures, and techniques to govern play, so too does
the scientific method lay out a foundation for how information is collected, measured, examined,
and evaluated. In this sense, then, the scientific method serves as a playbook or toolbox for
The origins of the scientific method can be traced to the school of philosophy known as
empiricism, which holds that knowledge is gained through experience, observation, and
In science, the term empirical is used to denote information gained objectively from observation or
experimentation. This information, referred to as data, is described as empirical because it can be
measured and evaluated statistically.
Empirical evidence differs from anecdotal evidence, which refers to impressionsopinions of just
one person, usually, that are not translated into a quantifiable form. Investigative journalism mayuse such anecdotal evidence, but a legal framework is very different, in both substance and
procedures, from the scientific method.
The scientific method exists largely as a countervailing force to biases that operate at virtually all
steps in the research process and that can distort/negate a study.
The scientific method is crucial to research because it minimizes bias by providing the rules by
which observations are collected and results are evaluated. Bias indicates unfair practices that
wrongly discriminate against others.
What is a scientific question? Philosophers often distinguish 2 types of questions: those that they
call is questions from those that they call ought questions. This philosophical distinction
(known as is-ought) may help us understand what is meant by a scientific or researchable
question. Is questions can be answered by facts or empirical data, and these answers are
independent of social, cultural, political, and religious preference. These so-called is questions
are the exclusive domain of scientific research. These are questions that can be best addressed
through scientific research.
On the other hand are the ought questions, that call upon cultural values and ethical
considerations, but cannot be answered solely on the basis of scientific evidence. Does God exist?
Should capital punishment be overturned? Should same-sex marriage be legalized? Ought
questions address the values inherent in laws and customs and are influenced by beliefs that can
reflect ideology, politics, and interpretations or rights. These questions we will leave to
philosophers, theologians, and constitutional scholars.
Scientific questions and their answers are commonly fr