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Chapter 2

PSY100 Chapter 2

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter 2- Research Methodology What is scientific Inquiry? • A way of finding answers to empirical questions- questions that can be answered by observing the world and measuring aspects of it • What happens, predicts when it happens, controls what causes it, explain why it happens • General approach to do this scientific method • Theory: explanation of interconnected ideas that explain what is observed and makes predictions about future events • good theories generate testable hypotheses (ex: Piaget- stages of child development vs. Freud’s dreams) • Hypothesis: a scientific prediction of what should be object if theory correct • Research: involves collection of data, which is objective info that proves if theory/hypothesis is supported • Replication: repeating a study to confirm results • Many significant findings are the result of serendipity- researchers unexpectedly discover something important Ex: Wiesel & Hubel- activity of cat’s nerve cells in brain areas associated w/vision • Showed cats dots, no activity in these cells slide jammed, realized that these nerve cells respond to lines and edges, not dots What are the types of studies in psychological research? • 3 types of studies: descriptive, correlational, experimental • Variable: something that can be measured and that can vary • Operational definitions: identify and quantify variables so they can be measured ex: girls want to have fun after work List different activities on scale, rate ‘fun’ 1- 10 Descriptive studies/Observational Studies • Observing and noting behaviour to analyze it objectively Adv: valuable in early stages of research to see if phenomenon exists Disadvantages: observer bias, observer’s presence can behaviour or participant 1. naturalistic observation: observer remains separated from and makes no attempt to change situation 2. participant observation: researcher is involved in situation Longitudinal studies • Observing and classifying developmental changes that occur in some people over time with intervention or no intervention from observer Ex: measuring IQ of a person from youth adult every 5 years • Provides info about effect of age on the same ppl, but are expensive, take long time Cross sectional study: observing and classifying developmental changes that occur in groups of people at same time ex: take group of yordh IQ, compare w/ group of adults IQ • Faster, cheap, but 3 variable problems may be involved Observer Bias: systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observer’s expectation • Experimenter expectancy effect: actual change in the behaviours of the ppl or animals being observed that is due to observer bias ex: Rosenthal study- rats trained by students who thought their rats were bred to be fast maze learners were faster because they trained them better, fed them more, etc. Correlational studies • Show how variables are naturally related in the real world without any attempt to alter them (used when experimental studies are unfeasible or unethical) • Can’t be used to support causal relationships Ex: depression correlated w/suicide help clinical psychologists assess symptoms of depression to determine suicide risk (can’t make 1 group depressed, and 1 group not) Directionality problem: when researchers find a relationship b/t 2 variables, can’t determine which variable caused changes to the other More stressed ppl↔ sleep less rd 3 variable problem: occurs when you cannot directly manipulate independent variable, therefore can’t be sure that another unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of differences in the dependant variable (ex: smoking causes cancer gene that predisposes you to smoke, and also puts you at a higher risk for cancer) Experimental studies • Examine how variables are related when manipulated by researchers • Adv: can demonstrate causal relationships • Disadv: often takes place in artificial setting, unless assign participants randomly hard to say whether differences derived from pre-existing differences among groups Control group: participants who receive no intervention Experimental group (can have many): participants receive intervention Independent variable: variable being mani
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