Chapter Two: Methods Psychological Research
What Makes Psychology Scientific?
Uses scientific method- can be used to study an aspect of the natural world. Humans are a
part of this world therefore psychology is a science.
Adheres to several key values/standards:
Objectivity (avoid confirmation bias)
Reliance on evidence
Willingness to make risky predictions
Principle of falsifiability (we should be happy when our theories are falsified). -->
Comes from Carl Popper.
Goals of Psychology
Dispositional; situational variables
Predict- forecasting behaviour accurately
Control/ influence- prevention/intervention
Basic Assumption: events are governed by some lawful order- "Determinism".
Much of psych assumes determinism since to be scientific (finding cause and effect)
means identifying determining causes.
-Determinism conflicts with our subjective experience of choice.
A compromise position first proposed by William James.
Behaviour is seen as determined to an extent, but in the absence of compulsion, people
have a degree of choice and freedom.
Non-experimental methods describes behaviour but do not let us identify the causes or
reason for the behaviour. Non-experimental does not mean not scientific; common
misuse of the term "experiment".
-Experiments not always appropriate or ethical. Case Study method- study of particularly unique or extreme cases (Genie) used when
large number of subjects are not available.
-Often used in clinical research (ex. Freud's case study approach).
-Drawbacks include a sample size (limit to generalizability) and susceptibility to
Naturalistic Observation- researcher observe naturally occurring behaviour (includes
ecological validity and observer bias).
Laboratory Observation- Reactivity (subjects might change behaviour because they're
being observed). Hand washing study--> Women in night clubs less likely to wash hands
when they thought they were alone in the room.
Endeavours to find relationships/associations between two behaviours, situations, events,
Takes advantage of the fact that some events appear to be related to each other.
Such relationships are called correlations (co-related).
Given a correlation between two variables, it's possible to predict one variable from info
about one or more other variables.
Stronger the corre