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Chapter 2

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Psychology 2550A/B
David Vollick

September 11, 2013 Chapter 2: Data, Methods, and Tools Why a Science of Personality? • To predict future behavior • To find out how individuals understand themselves • To understand the causes of behavior The Range of Personality – Relevant Measures • Psychologists obtain information about people from many sources, through a wide range of strategies • To be truly scientific, a population must be testable Interviews • Oldest method for studying personality, and most favored by psychodynamic and phenomenological clinicians • Can be expensive and time consuming – quick self-repots are often preferred • Have become more easily scored and coded Tests and Self-Reports • A test is any standardized measure of behavior, including verbal behavior • Self- Reports are tests that include statements people make about themselves • Some tests involve performances measure Objective Measures • Questions and responses are clearly defined – e.g., MMPI-II Projective Measures • Client presented with ambiguous stimuli/questions that have no right or wrong answer • For example, “Tell me what to see”, while showing an inkblot –Rorschach • Psychodynamic – motivational use these Naturalistic Observations and Behavior Sampling • Observe behavior as it naturally occurs o Advantages:  Real world behaviors  Good external validity – can expand to more general environments o Disadvantages  Loss of control – extraneous variables  Observer biases  Poor internal validity – how confident am I that what is happening is a result of my manipulation (control the variable) Illustrative Methods for Remote Behavioral Sampling Daily Life Experiences (chart in textbook) Physiological Functioning and Brain Imaging • Brain imaging • Some practical methods to assess emotional reactions physiologically include o Polygraph o Electrocardiogram (EKG) – hooked up to heart to measure heart rate o Plethysmograph – blood pressure cloth wrapped around penis (used for sex studies) o Galvanic skin response or GSR – see if your palms sweat = emotional response o Electroencephalograph (EEG) – have subject remember something and watch brain activity, can be hooked up to see different parts of the brain o Positron emission tomography (PET) – see which parts of the brain are active o Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – looking at the function of the brain Conceptual and Methodological Tools Constructs and Operational Definitions • Constructs are concepts that refer to classes (categories) of behavior, personality characteristics, emotions, and psychological concepts – try and find an objective measure of these constructs • Operationalization translates these constructs into something observable and measurable Operationalizing a Construct: An Example: Defining the Construct of Aggression • Aggression is an intentional, motivated behavior not an emotion, with the intent being to hurt another • The target of aggression is a living being and must not want to receive the behavior • Defining the Construct of Aggression o Aggression:  Archival records  Reports of aggressive behavior from interviews and questionnaires  Administration
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