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Chapter 2

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 2: Methodology- How Social Psychologist Do Research SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND EMPIRICAL SCIENCE Hindsight bias: where people exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred FORMULATING HYPOTHESES AND THEORIES Theory: an organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena many studies stem from a researcher’s dissatisfaction with existing theories Hypothesis: testable statement or idea about the relationship between 2 or more variables Diffusion of responsibility: assuming that someone else will go and intervene/call the police (the more people that witness an emergency, the less likely it is that a given individual will intervene Research Methods: Observational/archival- what is the nature of the phenomenon? Correlational- what is the relation between variables X and variable Y? Experimental- is variable X a cause of variable Y? THE OBSERVATIONAL METHOD Technique where a researcher observes people & systematically records measurements of their behaviour Operational definition: precise specification of how variables are measured or manipulated (a bigger child is likely to be in a position of power relative to a smaller child in respect to bullying) Ethnography: method by which researchers attempt to understand a group ora culture by observing it from the inside without imposing any preconceived notions they might have Interjudge reliability: level of agreement between 2 or more people who independently observe and code a set of data, by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observation, researchers ensure that the observations are not the subjective impression of 1 individual Archival analysis: researcher examines the accumulated documents, or archives, or a culture (diaries, novels, magazines, newspapers, television shows, music lyrics…) Causal inference: one reasons to the conclusion that something is, or is likely to be, the cause of something else. Ex: from the fact that one hears the sound of piano music, one may infer that someone is (or was) playing a piano. But although this conclusion may be likely, it is not certain, since the sounds could have been produced by an electronic synthesizer CORRELATIONAL METHOD Correlation coefficient: assesses how well you can predict 1 variable based on another (how well you can predict someone’s weight from their height). Can range from -1.00 to +1.00 Correlation does not prove causation. We want to be able to say that A causes B, not just that A is related to, or correlated with B THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD: ANSWERING CAUSAL QUESTIONS Lantane & Darley identified 1 important determinant of whether people help: # of bystanders present the more bystanders there are, the less likely they will help other factors influence helping behaviour (personalities, prior experience with emergencies…) Internal validity: ensuring that nothing other than the independent variable can affect the dependent variable; this is accomplished by controlling all extraneous variables and by randomly assigning people to different experimental conditions External validity: extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people 2 kinds of generalizability are at issue:  The extent to which we can generalize from the situation constructed by an experimenter to real-
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