Textbook Notes (363,534)
Canada (158,402)
Psychology (4,731)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2- Research Methods 2480-Huron

10 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Psychology 2410A/B
Christine Tsang

Developmental Chapter 2  In order for a theory to be useful, it must help us predict certain behaviors such as how a child will develop, and why it develops the way that it does Research Methods  How do developmental psychologies conduct research? Some methods are similar to the standard methodology, but they take into consideration time. The scientific method  Scientific method a hypothesis is formed on the basis of a theory where measurable, objective, and repeatable techniques are used to collect, study and analyze data  At the heart of scientific research, we try and replicate other reports  We observe, and based on these observations we then formulate a theory and a hypothesis to test that theory. Once you find measures to test your hypothesis, the results you obtain will either allow you to keep your current theory, and refine or retest it for accuracy, or you will reject the current theory, and formulate a new one.  In order for a theory to be a true theory, it must be falsifiable. Issues to consider in collecting Data Variable relationships  Variable relationships: there is factors that vary and change can result in a causal relationship. However, not all relationships are causal, some are co relational.  Independent variable: the variable that is being manipulated, it is under experimental control  Dependant variable: the variable that is being measured, it is affected by the independent variable Operational definition  Operational definition: defining objects in terms of measurable characteristics. Ex- what's aggression? The number of times one child hits another. This is describing it in terms of objective measurable characteristics. A lot of the phenomena that we deal with in psychology are operational definitions.  It defines the concept in the way we can measure them  Why would an operational definition be problematic? o There are lots of ways of looking at aggression other than hitting people. Using this operational definition, someone who is yelling at another individual is not as aggressive. o To remedy this, you could include multiple characteristics in the operational definition. However you still have to think about how the operational definition will constrain other variables. Sampling  Sample: a group of individuals of manageable size used to represent the larger population  Representativeness the extent to which the individuals in a sample possess the characteristics of the larger population in the sample. o Might need a large sample to achieve a more accurate level of representativeness- if the effect you are examining is small or if the variance of the population is large. o Random assignment is a technique where individuals are randomly assigned to the experimental or control group. This is done to avoid systemic differences between subjects in each group o One solution is using multiple samples, each mad up of various races, genders, and social classes. By selecting multiple samples it can ensure that ones result are in fact more accurate, and they can have greater confidence in their findings o Another approach: the national survey  National survey: Researchers, who are interested in a particular issue, select a very large nationally representative group of people.  Advantage: it shows that the pattern discovered is not confined to the people who shared the characteristics of those studied.  Disadvantage: costly (surveying many people), ]it does not allow them to answer specific questions. Thus, this form of testing is usually paired with a subgroup, using such a large sample, the examiner must be sure that it not only represents age, gender, socioeconomic status, but it must be certain that it c=recognizes the diversity of their population as unless they are trying to target a specific ethnic group, they will lose opportunities to discover important ethnic differences  Generalizability? What kind of generalizations can we make from he results of our sample? Reliability  Reliability is how consistent the results will be if the test was administered repeatedly. It deals with consistency among time and measure. o Test-retest method:  Concerned with measurements being consistent over time. Involves taking measurements of a variable on two separate occasions o Internal consistency  The measurements of a variable should be consistent over items designed to measure a variable, the individual should exhibit the same behavior across a various situations. This involves taking multiple measurement of a variable (via different items) on a single occasion o Inter-rater reliability  Measurements of a variable should be consistent over observers. This can be accomplished by taking multiple measurements of a variable on one occasion by different observers Validity  Validity the degree to which the measures accurately measure the variable under construction. It makes certain that what we want measured is being measured o How do we judge validity? Operationalize the variable; specify the behaviors that are considered aggressive. Methods of data collection  Developmental is different as we have two conflicting goals: o Naturalistic: we want to answer questions about the real world, and want our experiments to reflect the real world  Ecological validity: the degree to which a variable or experiment accurately reflects the events in the real world o Control: we want to draw conclusions about cause and effects by eliminating other effects. We want to draw conclusions. Thus, we have to eliminate variables that impact the results. The more ecologically valid the study is, the less control one has.  Thus we want to be naturalistic while simultaneously having control. Methods of Data Collection Naturalistic Observation  Observation and recording of behaviors in a natural setting Simply observing and recording the behaviors in a natural setting, no manipulation of variables thus no control  Ex- daycare observation- kids in their normal environment, it is very naturalistic in terms of their measures. You get highly ecologically valid results Structured observation  Record behaviors in a situation that is constructed by the experimenter  Ex Ainsworth Strange Situation the experimenter sets up a specific set of scenarios, and the researcher watches each set of scenarios and compares them. It is less ecologically valid. Problems with Observation  Observer bias when a research is knowledgeable about a particular topic, and is thus influenced in their evaluations by that knowledge o They tend to interpret ongoing events as consistent with their hypothesis, the observers beliefs can influence what they see o How can this be overcome? Double blind technique. – Observers are hired who are unaware and ask them to mark down specific behaviors that they are monitoring.  Observer influence: people tend to act differently when they know they are being observed. Methods of Data Collection Self-report  Self report the information an individual provides about him or herself, usually by answering questions asked by the researcher.  Two Basic ways:  Interviews: o Structured- standardized (i.e. researcher will ask specific questions) ex- IQ tests o Clininical method- non structured- in which the questions depends on the response the child gives. Ex- dr. Phil never asks the same question, it depends on the previous response that was given. Freud started this; it was based on a medical type of model.  Questionnaires: standardized questions presented in larger groups. The benefit to this is that they are fast and can be administered to a large group. Problems with self-report:  Accuracy: individuals being interviewed may be embarrassed to answer truthfully. You say things to impress the people around you, and answer in ways that you think will please the interviewer o Interviews are always retrospective- memory is constructive and therefore not always accurate. You may have poor memory recollection of a event that happened  Experimenter bias: especially in the non-structured interview, the researcher may be biased toward a particular hypothesis and formulate questions with that bias and interpret the answers in a biased fashion o You can phrase to the question that will lead the individual being interviewed to respond in a certain way.  When it comes to children:  Children are less attentive, slower to respond, have difficulties understanding questions  A study showed that children are just as truthful as adults, however when parents are present are less truthful  It is beneficial as it provides the researcher with the Childs perspective on their life, that a teacher or parent might not know  Family Members  Disadvantage: memory is not always accurate, and they like to be seen in the best light possible i.e. Study -Robbins compared parent’s retrospective reports with reports that the same parents made regularly over the course of a 3-year long study. He found distortions in parent’s recall of event to agree with then-contemporary experts. Ex parents who were concerned over thumb sucking denied that their child sucked their thumb as often due to a book that disproved thumb sucking  When parents see children as extensions of themselves, they don’t report as honestly (ex- will say child has better grades then they do)  To ensure accuracy of parents reports- might call the parents at the end of day to report the behaviors of child over the past 24 hours, ask parents to carry around a diary, or page parents randomly to record events  Recent research has shown that parents were accurately able to report children’s cognitive functions (reading comp, visual and auditory processing)  Teacher and Peers  In some settings, such as school, parental reports are not beneficial  Researcher will ask peers how much they like to play with the child or ask teachers how attentive, disruptive, dependable a child it Physiological Method  Methods that examine the sympathetic nervous system (fight or light) EEG-electroencephalogram  Brainwaves measured at the scalp change with maturation in amplitude and complexity  It doesn’t hurt when it is on. Nothing is going into the brain, just measuring what is coming out ERP-event related potential ERP  Time-locked ERP which measures stages of processing in the brain-good temporal resolution  It is an eeg that is averaged over several trials, and can eventually get an averaged brainwave response to see the brain activity of particular response  Both rely on electrical activity emanating from the scalp [. You put a cap on someone’s head and record the brainwaves that result from it records millisecond by millisecond, and is not invasive (which is why its so common)  Over time, the bran waves mature, they become cleaner and less noisy. FMRI- functional Magnetic Resonance imaging  Measures blood flow to different regions of he brain depending on the task- good spatial resolution MRIs get a nice visual image as opposed to EEG were you get a wave.  With MRIs you can see where the brain activity is occurring, but it is not millisecond by millisecond  The middle one. You look at parts of the brain that lights up. You look at the electromagnetic field around the head. You can get a second by second change and overlay it on top of the picture of an MRI, i.e. the image on the right. You get a nice spatial representation.  The MRI itself has been very informative, however, there has not been any information developmentally. They don’t do research based mris on baby because it is scary to be in the enclosed spaced. MRI as a technology of developmental use is less common than the EEG because of the limitations of the MRI MEG: magneto encephalogram  MEG: magneto encephalogram: measure changes in the magnetic field around different brain regions  Good spatial and temporal resolution  Combination of the EEG and MRI. You can localize where it is coming from and get a spatial representation of where it is coming from  They are not really used for developing individuals such as children or infants. There is only one MEG machine in Canada, located at the ROT Institution in Toronto Physiological methods problem  Ultimately. These types of studies are correlational. We are assuming that the [art or area that controls a particular area is probably related, but it does not mean it translates into an actual response. Thus, it’s a useful tool for researchers to get started but that’s about it The clinical method/ The Case Study method  Case study method is the study of individual person over times. It is useful for the study of the effects of unique deficits  Darwin one of the first case studies- studies his sons emotional development  Ex- HM. He was a guy who had a bilateral lesion of his hippocampus; parts removed to control his epileptic seizure. Problem-was it left out any
More Less

Related notes for Psychology 2410A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.