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Chapter 3

Psychology 2320A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Facilitated Communication, Pseudoscience, Living Brain


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2320A/B
Professor
Elizabeth Hayden
Chapter
3

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CHAPTER #3- RESEARCH- 2320
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A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH
-Science requires that a claim be based on theories backed up by data from well-
designed studies
-Skepticism in science for abnormal child psych may occur when:
-Research contradicts former research
-Media portrays oversimplified findings
-Research may lead to different recommendations regarding how children should
be helped
-Many parents may dismiss findings because they have encountered an exception
-It is the accumulation of studies that advances the field
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WHEN SCIENCE IS IGNORED
-Ex. Study with facilitated communication where it was thought that autistic children
could eventually learn how to communicate normally —> this was actually fiction, the
facilitator was actually the one controlling the child
-Still used today even though there is no scientific basis
-Above example is an example of pseudoscience: demonstrations of benefit are based
on anecdotes or testimonials, the child’s baseline abilities and the possibility of
spontaneous improvement are ignored, and related scientific procedures are disavowed
-What distinguishes science from pseudoscience is that scientists play by the rules and
are prepared to admit when they are wrong
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THE RESEARCH PROCESS
-Multistage process involving key decisions at various points
-Begins with hypotheses, then sample is identified, selecting measurement methods, and
developing a research design
-Final stage consists of gathering and analyzing data and interpreting results
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Nature and Distribution of Childhood Disorders
-Epidemiological research: Study of the incidence, prevalence, and co-occurrence of
childhood disorders and competencies in clinic-referred and community samples
-Incidence rates: Extent to which new cases of a disorder appear over a specific period
-Prevalence rates: All cases, whether new or previously existing, observed during a
specified period
-Knowledge about the risk for an individual disorder over the life course helps us
understand the nature of the disorder and help us prevent it
-Case definition is complex as children don’t refer themselves for treatment —>
equating illness with seeking treatment can be misleading
-Prevalence rates also vary depending on whether cases are defined in terms of patterns
of symptoms, impairment in functioning, or both

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-Rate and expression of symptoms and disorders often vary in relation to demographic
and situational factors such as socioeconomic status and physical environment
-Many findings in ethnicity are actually linked to SES
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Correlates, Risks, and Causes
-Correlates: Variables that are associated with no clear of proof that one causes other
-Risk factor: Variable that precedes an outcome of interest
-Increases chance for certain outcome
-Protective factor: Possible variable that precedes an outcome of interest and
decreases the chance that a negative outcome will occur
-Research involves large samples where all functioning is assessed
-Cause: Directly or indirectly influence the occurrence of a behavior or disorder of
interest
-What qualifies a cause may vary according to the variables of interest and how
far back in time a causal chain can be traced
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Moderating and Mediating Variables
-Moderator variables: Influence the direction or strength of the relationship
(independent effect on existing relationship)
-Association depends on or differs as a function of moderating variables such as
age, sex, SES, cultural background, etc.
-Mediator variables: Process, mechanism, or means through which a variable produces
a particular outcome
-What happens at the psychological or neurobiological level to explain how one
variable results from another
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Outcomes
-Many problems decrease or go away but we need to know at approximately what age
-One of the most important parts
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Interventions
-Are some interventions better than others?
-Randomized controlled trials (RCTs): Children with a particular problem are
randomly assigned to different treatment and control conditions —> children who
receive treatment are usually better off
-Treatment efficacy: Whether the treatment can produce changes under well-controlled
conditions
-Treatment effectiveness: Whether the treatment can be shown to work in clinical
practice
-Benefits of treatment are greater in controlled research settings
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METHODS OF STUDYING BEHAVIOR
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