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Psychology
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Psychology 2800E
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Patrick Brown

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Chapter 1: Psychology and Science Ways of KnowingAbout Behavior Non-Empirical Methods  Authority: • We sometimes believe things because a respected person told us its true • Ie religion, government, parents • Sources of authority can often conflict with each other • Sometimes we blindly believe authority, other times we question it Logic: • Based on deductive or inductive reasoning • Logic is useful however has limitations • Astatement can be logically valid and still not be true • Logic is extremely important to science but cannot be used as a substitute to observation Empirical Methods Intuition: • Away of knowing based on spontaneous, instinctive processes rather than on logic or reasoning • Common sense is a kind of intuition because of its dependence on informal methods • Common sense has some limitations • Standards of common sense differ from time to time and from place to place according to attitudes and experiences of the culture • Another limitation is that the only criterion common sense recognizes for judging the truth of a belief or practice is whether it works • Following a practice simply because it works does not permit any basis for predicting when the practice will work and when it will not • Common sense cannot predict new knowledge- it is pragmatic not theoretical • Science knowledge often contradicts common sense knowledge • Sometimes scientific results can be counterintuitive- something that goes against common sense • However, we should not completely disregard common sense, science ultimately rests on common sense  Science: • Will be defined in the next section! What Is Science? Characteristics of Science Science in Empirical: • Science is based on observation • The scientific attitude is to rely on experience more than authority, common sense, or logic • Not all empirical ways of knowing are scientific (ie intuition)  Science is Objective: • Objective observations are those made in such a way that any person having normal perception and being in the same place at the same time would arrive at the same observation • Other scientists can repeat procedures if they observe the same things • Careful records and clear accurate reports are a crucial part of science • The opposite of objective is subjective- observations that a person makes that another person is not required to accept as true (ie “I taste salt”) • The need for objective observations explains the importance that scientists place on proper research methods • Science deals with phenomena that are available to anyone • Objectivity is what makes science the universal means of achieving understanding  Science is Self-Correcting: • New evidence is constantly being discovered that contradicts previous knowledge • Science is characterized by the willingness to let new evidence correct previous beliefs  Science is Progressive: • Science moves forward, adding more and more information to what is already known • Science over the years shows remarkable progress in the amount and quality of knowledge they contain Science is Tentative: • Because science is tentative, the opportunity to be self-correcting is also available • Never claims to have the whole truth on anything at any time Science is Parsimonious: • Parsimony means using the simplest possible explanation • Agood scientist will always prefer a more simple explanation compared to a complicated one • This concept is often called “Occam’s razor” Science is concerned with Theory: • Technology has the goal of making something work, science has the task of understanding why it works • Using the technique of flooding to help someone overcome a phobia is not science, understanding why that works is the science behind it • Sometimes technology can be ahead of science- we can invent something that works but only understand why it worked years later The Relation Between Science and Non-Science • Scientists are human and subject to the frailties of humankind • They begin their inquiry on the basis of actual beliefs they hold, but the difference is they are willing to change those beliefs based on objectively obtained empirical evidence derived from their method of inquiry • Authority has a reduced role in science- someone with minimal requirements can present a paper or argument that is accepted, and can even be sometimes accepted above that of a much more senior scientist Working Assumptions of Science The Reality of the World • One of science’s fundamental assumptions is that the world exists outside our perception of it • The doctrine of realism is the notion that objects of scientific stud in the world exist apart from them being perceived by us • Scientist do avoid one type of realism- common-sense realism • This is the notion that things are just the way they seem (coal is black because it looks black), scientists however have proven that coal can be perceived as grey • Layperson’s world contains people who are lazy, hardworking, good, or evil • Scientist’s world contains people who are influenced by stimuli, cognitions, and emotions Rationality • Aview that the world is understandable by way of logical thinking • Reasoning is the basis for solving problems Regularity • Abelief that phenomena exist in recurring patterns that conform with universal laws • This says that the laws of science are the same today as they were yesterday • Science assumes nothing falls outside the laws of nature Discoverability • It is possible to find out how the world works without with out having a higher being or book reveal it to us • Science treats the world as a puzzle but not as a mystery Causality • The idea that every event has a cause is a basic tenet of science • The belief that all events are caused is called determinism • We do not have to decide whether people’s behavior is determined, or if there is free will, or if both can be true at the same time- scientists only use the concept of causality as a working assumption • However, not all relationships between events have a cause and effect nature • In order to say an event has cause-effect nature, it needs 3 things: Temporal precedence (the cause has to come before the event) Co-variation of cause and effect (when the cause is present, the effect happens- but it doesn’t need to be always, could be most of the time) Elimination of alternative explanations (no possible explanation for the effect except the cause) The Goals of Science The Discovery of Regularities Description: • First step is to describe the phenomena and define it • The importance of description illustrates the close relationship between psychology and biological sciences • Much descriptive work remains to be done, especially in the area of personality (type theorists, trait theorists, social learning), also in the area of perception (many different odor classification schemes have been proposed) • Description of phenomena is crucially important to a science because it defines the subject matter for which laws are sought and theories are developed  Discovering Laws: • As the describing of behavior progresses, various regularities appear among behavior events- these form laws of behavior • Alaw is a statement that certain events are regularly associated with each other • It is not necessary for the relation to be perfect for there to be a law- laws can be probabilistic • Laws do not have to state cause-effect relationships, any regular relationship is a law The Search for Causes: • Scientists search for the causes of the events that we observe • In order to search for causes, some key questions need to be asked: What do all the cases have in common? How do the cases differ from some similar cases? Does the magnitude of the effect vary with the magnitude of some other event? Some Things to Keep in Mind: • We often overlook the real cause- Broca only thought to do an autopsy because he was a doctor but someone else might not have come up with it • Some events are just coincidences • Sometimes the real cause is another event that is correlated with the suspected cause • Causes cannot happen after their effects- temporal precedence is important! The Development of Theories • The ultimate goal of science is the development of a theory to explain the lawful relationships that exist in a particular field  What Is a Theory? • Broadly speaking, a theory is a statement or set of statements about the relationships among variables • Asingle relationship between variables is a law • Atheory is a statement or set of statements about relationships among variables that includes at least one concept that is not directly observed but is necessary to explain the relationships • Atheoretical concept is not seen or measured directly but it is inferred from behaviour  Theories Must Be Falsifiable: • Agood theory must be capable of being tested in an unambiguous way • It must make a definite prediction that can be proven right or wrong • Atheory must also be capable of being proven wrong- this property of being capable of disproof is called falsifiability • The theories that survive the testing process can tentatively be accepted as true by a process of elimination • We can never prove a theory true for certain, but we gain more confidence in the theory the most tests it survives The Role of Theories • Theories play three crucial roles in the development of a science: 1) Organizing Knowledge and Explaining Laws: • Theories organize knowledge and explain laws • Theories pull ideas together in a unified framework • Individual facts are explained by being shown to be an instance of general law and in turn the law is explained by its relation to the theory • The more specific and precise the explanation, the better the theory is • Good theories have great explanatory precision 2) Predicting New Laws: • The second role of theories is to predict new laws • Agood theory not only explains many different laws that were previously unrelated, but also suggests places to look for new laws 3) Guiding Research: • Theories also serve to guide research • Most researchers work within a certain theoretical framework • Agood theory suggests new experiments and helps researchers choose alternative ways of performing them Hypotheses in Science • Ahypothesis is a statement that is assumed to be true for the purpose of testing its validity • The statement must be one that is either true or false • Aspecific hypothesis reads like this: if we make certain observations under particular conditions, and a given theory is correct, then we should find the following results • Ascientific hypothesis must be capable of empirical testing and, as a result, empirical confirmation or disconfirmation Defining Theoretical Concepts • How do we build theories? • How do we go about inferring the existence of the theoretical entities? • To answer these questions we must recall that science deals with empirical objective knowledge • Operationism, states that scientific concepts must be public in the same way that scientific data are public • Atheoretical concept must be tied to observable operations that any person can observe or perform • If there is no way of defining the concept according to observable operations, the concept is barred from science • Operationism has a further, more specific meaning: scientific concepts are defined according to the operations by which they are measured • Operational definition is a statement of the precise meaning of a procedure or concept within an experiment • An operational definition of a concept is sometimes misused and misunderstood in psychology • One misuse is taking a trivial definition of a concept and attempting to build a theory on it (ie twiddling a button on one’s clothing is a sign of anxiety- but this would not be a good measure of anxiety) • Another misuse is considering every measure of a concept as independent of every other measure • Using different ways of honing in on a concept via different operational definitions is called converging operations • Scientists now agree that some of the meaning of a theoretical concept may be defined by its relationship to a larger theory of which it is a part The Nature of Scientific Progress Paradigms: • Aparadigm is a set of laws, theories, methods, a applications that form a scientific research tradition, it is a pervasive way of thinking about a branch of science that includes all the assumptions and theories that are accepted as true by a group of scientists • The course of science consists of phases of normal science, each dominated by a simple paradigm, alternating with revolutions that install new paradigms that last as long as each paradigm is reasonably successful in accounting for empirical data • It is not possible to choose between different paradigms on the basis of data alone • The reason is that what counts as data depends on the methods, theories, and assumptions of the particular paradigm Chapter 2: Developing a Research Question Choice of a Problem • Ideas for research can come from textbooks, scholarly journals, lectures, everyday observation, or instructors/ advisors • Topics should be narrowed down to a manageable size • Need to ask a question that you can answer with the resources you have at hand The Literature Review • Before you can design a study that will contribute to psychological knowledge, you need to have a good idea of what is already known • Need to review literature on the subject • It is useful to know some techniques for cutting the literature down to a manageable size • To find sources, you can start with a reference from a textbook you have studied, library catalogues, books on the topic, textbooks, or review articles Using the Internet • Every web page has an address known as a URL (uniform resource locator) • The internet is not a library- • All the information in a library was put there by a person other than the author who made a decision to do so • Also, books and journals selected by librarians have editors and are peer reviewed, meaning other professionals in the field felt that work was worthy of publication • The internet has none of these filters- anybody can put information on the net, and they do • To see if what you are looking at is valid, consider the source • If the website is sponsored by a university, professional society, reputable private organization, or government agency Guidelines for Evaluating Information from the Internet: • Authorship- author of well known authority, author’s work cited by known- authority, or information validate the author’s credentials • The Publishing Body- site should be linked to a respected organization • Point of View- be aware if the information is biased, especially probable if information is provided by political organizations or advocacy groups • Connection to the Literature- should be references to other works in the field, appropriate theories discussed, controversies acknowledged • Verifiability- should be information that would allow you to verify methodology • Currency- is the information time relevant • Knowing how the search engine determines order of hits Government and Organizational Web Sites: • Certain organizations have highly useful websites that will help you find information on your topic • US government’s web site • Canadian government’s web site • Canadian Institute of Health Research • American PsychologicalAssociation • Association for Psychological Science • Canadian PsychologicalAssociation Search Engines: • Ie Google, tools that permit you to search the Web using keywords, proper names, and phrases • Search engines sell space to advertisers, so listing may be biased • Meta-engines combine the output of several other search engines • Google Scholar contains academic literature Proprietary Web Sites: • Proprietary is privately owned and accessible only be permission, usually for a fee • Most Universities subscribe to a number of proprietary sites and provide their students, faculty, and staff with free access to them as a benefit PsycINFO: • Database sponsored byAPAthat provides citations and abstracts of the world’s literature in psychology and related fields • PsycARTICLES contains only full-text articles, while PsycINFO contains many more citations, including references for dissertations and technical reports • PsycINFO permits searching by author, title, keyword, or phrase • Useful because it allows you list all of the references sited by a particular article, as well as list of other articles that have used that one as a reference Web of Science: • Another very powerful database that covers a wider range of scholarly journals than PsycINFO Psychology Databases: • Number of organizations are beginning to make large data sets available on the internet • Some of these include actual data of experiments conducted by various investigators • Ie HenryA. Murray Research Center, or functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data Center Locating ImportantArticles Inter-Library Loan: • If you find a reference to a book or journal that your library does not have, your librarian can generally obtain a copy within a few days After you locate the ImportantArticles • Pay particular attention to the introduction to the articles • What are the major unsolved problems? • At this point, don’t worry about the details of the methods and results • Read the abstract and conclusion to learn the basic results • After the initial review, you can begin to focus on the methods of these key experiments The Research Question • You must narrow down the larger research problem to a specific testable question • The rest of the experimental process is an empirical test of your hypothesis, it is essential that your hypothesis be as specific as possible The Proposal • The proposal is often called a prospectus • Instructor may ask you to prepare a proposal before you proceed with you research project • Has the advantage of getting the researcher to think through the issues before proceeding • The introduction section of research proposal should explain your reasons for wanting to preform the experiment • The method section explains the way in which you want to test your hypothesis • The results section indicates the expected results and the ways in which you intend to analyze and display them graphically • The discussion section of the proposal is short and indicates the significance of your expected results Chapter 3: Ethics in Research TheAPAEthics Code • APAhas developed an extensive document known as the “Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct” • Covers all the professional activities of psychologists, including teaching and therapeutic sessions, and research • APAethics code represents the consensus of the psychology profession about what is considered acceptable practice • Federal government require institutions that receive federal funds to establish an institutional review board (IRB) to approve all research on human participants • IRB committees must have minimum 5 members, 1 who is not a scientist, and 1 not affiliated with the institution • The studies must present as little risk to subjects as possible and have scientific merit • Research that represents minimal risk can receive an expedited review from the IRB, more quick than a full review • 3 of the categories that fall under expedited are: 5- data for non-research purposes, 6- collection of data for research purposes, 7- employing surveys and other low- risk research activities APAGuidelines on Responsibility and Protection from Harm Boundaries of Competence A. Psychologists provide services with populations in areas only within their boundaries of competence based on their education, training, experience, etc. B. Where an understanding of factors associated with age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc., is essential, psychologists have training to ensure competence of their services, or make appropriate referrals C. Take relevant education and training to provide service or teach D. When appropriate mental health services aren’t available, psychologists with the most closely related prior training may provide such services E. Those working in areas where recognized standards for prepatory training do not yet exist, the psychologist should take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work F. When assuming forensic roles, psychologists should be familiar with judicial rules governing their roles Maintaining Competence: Psychologists undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence Commentary on Responsibility: • Conflict between the commitment of psychologists to expanding knowledge of behaviour and the benefit research may have for societyAND the cost of the research to participants • Investigator has the greatest responsibility to see that ethical principles are followed • Investigators should discuss their work with colleges to seek advice about ethics Commentary on Protection from Harm: • Impossible to avoid risk of harm completely • Unethical to induce unnecessary amount of stress on participants- ie in a room that appears to be on fire • Researcher must judge how stressful the situation is likely to be in comparison with activities of everyday life • Must consider special participants such as heart disease, schizophrenics, epileptics • Informed consent can help with this concern APAGuidelines on Informed Consent: Informed Consent A. Must obtain informed consent of individuals using language that is understandable, except when conducting such activity without consent is mandated by law or governmental regulation B. For people legally incapable of giving informed consent, researcher still must provide explanation, seek assent, consider participant’s best interest, obtain permission from legally authorized person C. When psychological services are court ordered, must inform the individual of the nature of the services and any limits of confidentiality D. Appropriately document written or oral consent, permission, and assent Institution Approval Must provide accurate information about research proposals and obtain approval prior to conducting the research. Must conduct research in accordance with the approved research protocol. Informed Consent to Research A. Psychologists must provide participants with information about: purpose of research, expected duration, procedures, their right to decline to participate or withdraw, consequences of withdrawing, factors that may influence their willingness to participate, any research benefits, limits of confidentiality, incentives for participation, and whom to contact for questions B. For intervention research with experimental treatments participants must be told: experimental nature of treatment, services that will be available to control groups, the means by which assignment to control or treatment groups occur, available treatment alternatives if an individual does not wish to participate, compensation of monetary costs of participating Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research Must obtain informed consent to record voices or use images unless: research consists solely of naturalistic observations made in public places, it is not anticipated that the recording will be used in a manner that will cause harm, the research design includes deception, and consent for using the recorded material is obtained during debriefing Client/Patient, Student, and Subordinate Research Participants A. Must take steps to protect the participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation B. When research participation is a course requirement or an opportunity for extra credit, the prospective participant is given the choice of equitable alternative activities Dispensing with Informed Consent May only dispense with informed consent where research would no be assumed to create distress or harm and involves the study of normal educational practices, curricula, or classroom management methods conducted in educational settings, with anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic observations, archival research where participants are not in danger of criminal or civil liability, or the study of factors related to job effectiveness where participant’s job is not at stake Commentary on Informed Consent: • To ensure the participant is taking part voluntarily and is aware of what is about to happen • Must be given all information necessary • If legally incapable of giving informed consent, situation still must be explained to them, get informed consent from legally authorized person, and get their assent (willingness to participate in study) • Informed consent should be documented in writing • Medical researchers also have informed consent where patients are informed what is being done to them and for what reasons-APAdiffers because in psychological research only need information on aspects of research that might influence their decision to participate APAGuidelines on Coercion Offering Inducements for Research Participation A. Must avoid offering excessive or inappropriate financial or other inducements for research when they are likely to coerce participation B. When offering professional services as an inducement for research participation, psychologists clarify the nature of the services as well as the r
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