PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Victim Blaming, Operational Definition, Psy

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Published on 15 Jul 2012
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Chapter 2 The Scientific Method
Theories and Hypotheses
Theory: an explanation of why an event or outcome occurs; it identifies the underlying
causes of an event or phenomenon
- in psy, theories typically focus on psychological processes to explain events
- it is a scientist’s explanation of why an event or outcome occurs
Hypothesis: a specific predication about what should occur if a theory is valid; it provides
the means by which a theory can be tested
- predications , where as theories are explanations
- hypotheses are derived from a theory and therefore provide a means for testing the
Just world theory
- Melvin Lerner
- Suggested that humans need to believe that the world is a fair and “just” place
- Lerner proposed that we are all motivated to believe that ppl usually receive what
they deserve ie hard work = rewards vs laziness = shit
- Lerner argued that if we did not believe that the world is just, then we would fear
that our own efforts would be in vain ie threatening and anxiety provoking
Hypothesis WRT to Just world theory
- we blame victims to protect the just world theory
- victims must have been lazy or dishonest for them to arrive at their negative
circumstances, by reinforcing the belief that hard work = rewards and lazyness =
shit, we protect our own efforts and the belief that it will bring rewards ie they
deserved that
- Lerner’s hypothesis seems consistent with ppl’s devaluation of victims
Operational Definition: a specific, observable response that is used to measure a concept
ex my attitude toward religion is a 7 (favourable)
- the concept is attitude toward religion, the operational definition is scores from 0 to
10 on a scale
two types of measure are most common in social psychology ie self-report measures and
behavioural measures.
Self report measures: asking ppl directly
- so long as a concept is something that ppl are able and willing to report
- the question asked should be clear in order to receive a honest response
- hit vs smashed into each other, hit = lower speed, smashed = higher speed ie
wording of question matters
With self reports, beware of socially desirable responding
Socially desirable responding: a form of responding that involves giving answers that
portray the respondent in a positive light ie no I don’t masturbate
- researchers can avoid this by don’t phrase items in ways that makes some responses
better sounding than others ie “do you think changing our immigration laws will
improve Canada?” vs “do you like Mexicans?
The next time of measure is another common measure in social psy
Behavioural measures: because ppl may be unable or unwilling to report tings accurately,
social psy measure concepts by observing behaviours ex: instead of asking do you recycle,
watch ppl and see if they do or not
- behavioural measures are onobtrusive measures
- advantage – ppl will not give socially desirable response because it is unobtrusive
- disadvantage – time consuming, difficult for some concepts ie how do I observe
your emotional response to religion
self report is mpore common than behavioural measures because of the ease
Unobtrusive measures: assessments that are taken without the realization of participants
thereby minimizing socially desirable responding
Psychometrics: a sub discipline within psychology that is devoted to understanding and
refining methods for psychological measurement
- this sub discipline tells us to focus on 2 properties of measure that rep accuracy:
reliability and validity
Reliability: the extent to which a measure is free of random fluctuations, both over time
and across judges
Validity: the extent to which a measure really assess what it is supposed to assess-whether
scores on the measure actually reflect the assumed underlying concept
- a validated theory is useful bc if we understand why something occurs we can encourage
it if it is beneficial vs discourage it if it is detrimental
There are 2 broad categories of research: correlational research and experimental research
Correlational research: studies in which investors measure or more concepts and see
whether the concepts are associated with one another
- co-relate
- 3 kinds of corelational research and differ by how researchers obtain data: asking
questions, using historical info, watching behaviour
- When 2 measures are correlated, it means that scores on the measure are
systemically related e as socres on one measure change, scores on ther other
measure also change in a consistent fashion
- + correlation vs – correlation
- Correlation does not mean causation