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Chapter 5

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 5: Research Methods in the Study of Abnormal Behaviour SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS 5 steps of the scientific method that apply to experiments: 1. Identify problem and formulate cause-and-effect relations among variables 2. Design experiment 3. Perform experiment 4. Evaluate hypothesis by examining data from the study 5. Communicate the results Ex: Suppose you want to test a classical-conditioning theory of phobias begin by developing a scientific hypothesis based on the theory if classical-conditioning theory is valid, people with phobias should be more likely than those in the general population to have had traumatic experiences with the situations they fear such as flying by collecting data on the frequency of traumatic experiences with phobic stimuli and comparing info with people without the phobias, you could determine whether your hypothesis was confirmed Theories are constructions put together by scientists. In formulating a theory, scientists must make use of theoretical concepts: unobservable states/ processes that are inferred from observable data repression and anxiety are theoretical concepts better defined by sets of operations (tension, physiological changes, and hand trembling) than by a single operation when people are taking an exam, expecting a momentary electric shock, or are arguing with a companion, they all have sweaty palms, trembling hands, and a fast heartbeat. They say they feel tense, we could also say that all the situations have made these individuals anxious and that anxiety (theoretical concept) has caused the reported tension THE RESEARCH METHODS OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Epidemiology: study of the frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population. In research, data are gathered about the rates of a disorder and its possible correlates in a large sample or population Epidemiological research focuses on determining 3 features of a disorder: Prevalence- proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point or period of time Incidence- # of new cases of the disorder that occur in some period, usually a year Risk factors- conditions or variables that, if present, increase the likelihood of developing the disorder (severe physical or sexual abuse as a child, history or parental mental disorder, failure to graduate from high school) Correlational method: establishes whether there is a relationship btwn or among 2 or more variables Directionality problem: doesn’t allow determination of cause-effect relationships, which is cause and which is the effect? Could be the other way around Third-variable problem: correlation may have been produced by a third, unforeseen factor Statistical significance: likelihood that the results of an investigation are d
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