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2 - Studying Behaviour Scientifically.docx

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Psychology 1000

Chapter 2 Studying Behaviour Scientificall y Methods of Research Descriptive Research: Recording Events  Descriptive Research: how humans and other animals behave in natural settings  Freudian Theory – things you can’t test  Behaviour Theory – can be measured (testable hypothesis) “better” than freud theory Case Studies  In-depth analysis of individuals, group, event  Data gathered through observations, interviews, psychological tests, physiological recordings etc. Advantages Limitations  Study it closely  Poor cause-effect relations  Challenge the validity of a theory/  Other factors may be the cause (e.g. time) scientific belief  May not be general (need to perform multiple studies)  Measurement bias (observer’s point of view) The Neuroscience of the Human Brain at Work  Behavioural data proves and imaging techniques identified independent neural pathways for o mental operations o emotional regulation o language perception and production o visual perception (object recognition processed by ventral stream) o action (processed by dorsal stream) Naturalistic Observation  Researcher observes behaviour without influencing behaviour e.g. schoolyard bullying  Does not permit clear conclusions o Many things influence behaviour (e.g. observer bias)  Habituation: researchers delay their data collection once participants forget about the observer Survey Research  Population: all the individuals needed to draw a conclusion  Sample: subset of individuals from the population  Representative Sample: reflect important characteristics of population o random sampling (equal probability of being chosen to participate) o random sampling through internet is problematic (lie)  survey data cannot draw conclusion about cause and effect o participants lie o bias – social desirability, interviewer, inaccurate perceptions o unrepresentative samples Correlational Research  Correlation: does variable x and y relate?  bidirectionality problem: does x cause y or vice versa?  Are there any other possible factors influencing x and y?  correlation does not establish causation (not manipulating independent variable)  correlation only measure variables The Correlation Coefficient  statistic that indicates the direction and strength of the relation between 2 variables  positive and negative correlation (+1.00 to -1.00) where closer to ±1.00 makes a perfect correlation 1 Experiments: Examining Cause and Effect  researcher manipulates one or more variables o create two different conditions to which participants are exposed  researcher measures whether this manipulation influences other variables  researcher attempts to control extraneous factors that might influence the outcome of the experiment  if the groups respond differently, then caused by manipulated variable Experimental and Control Groups  Experimental Group: receives treatment or an active level of the independent variable  Control Group: not exposed to treatment or receives a zero-level of the independent variable o Provide a standard of behaviour to which the experimental group can be compared  The independent variable must have at least two levels  Manipulating one or more variables to determine the effect on some behaviour Two Basic Ways to Design an Experiment  Between groups (between subjects) design – random assignment of groups  Repeated measures (within subjects) design – exposed to all conditions of an independent variable  Counterbalancing: order of conditions is varied so that no condition has an overall advantage Manipulating Two Independent Variables  How one independent variable influences different variables  Independent  manipulated  Dependent  measured  Control: we want to say: Independent causes dependent  Without proper control, the experiment is confounded  A psychologist is testing the effectiveness of a weight loss program. One group receives a diet and counselling program. A second group receives the diet, but not the counselling program. Subjects are weighted weekly for 6 months. What is the independent variable? o Counselling program o Dependent variable: weight  Determine the “truth” o Do your results support the hypothesis? o Are there any REAL differences  statistics  Communicate the results o Publish a report in journal o Present a verbal description of results at a convention o Discuss several related experiments in book chapter Summary  Psychologists are interested in explaining the causes of behaviour  To examine causal relations, they use the scientific method  Form hypotheses  Manipulate independent variables  Measure dependent variables  All extra variables should be controlled  If not, experiment is confounded and experimenter makes a mistake in causal explanation 2 Threats to the Validity of Research Intro  Validity: how well an experimental procedure actually tests what it is designed to test  Internal Validity: degree to which an experiment supports clear causal conclusions  Demand Characteristics o Cues in experiment convey hypothesis to participants o They “help” experimenter  Pseudoscientific misinformation: information that sounds scientific Cofounding of Variables  2 variables are intertwined in a way that we cannot determine which one has influenced a dependent variable  Prevents from drawing conclusions  To eliminate problem is to keep the cofounding variable constant Placebo Effects  Placebo: a substance that has no pharmacological effect  Treatment group – receives the actual drug being investigated  Placebo control group – pills with inactive ingredients  Placebo effect: their expectations cause change and not the treatment itself had any benefit  This decreases internal validity Experimenter Expectancy Effects  Unintentional ways researchers influence participants to respond in a way that agrees with their hypothesis  Double-Blind Procedure: participant, experimenter kept blind; min. placebo, experimenter expectancy effects Replicating and Generalizing the Findings  External Validity: results of a study can be generalized to other populations, settings, conditions o Meta-Analysis: combine results of diff studies of same topic to test the significance of the findings o Cross-Cultural Replication: examining whether findings generalize across different cultures  Researches that fail  new discoveries or the original experiment is flawed Ethical Principles in Human and Animal Research Ethical Standards in Human Research  Canadian institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council develop a “tri-council policy” of ethical conduct for research with humans o Universities need to have ethics review board of ethical issues in every research if they want funding  Canadian Code of Ethics for Psy”ethics”; psychologists must: o Protect privacy, confidentiality and promote the welfare of participants o Not carry out any studies unless the probable benefit is proportionately greater than the risk o Unpressured informed consent (explain procedure, oral/ written consent, assurance of withdrawal)  If deceived participants, they must be debriefed (told true purpose of study)  Extra careful about privacy and validity on internet research Ethical Standards in Animal Research  90% of animals used are rodents and birds  Animals cannot feel pain, stress, privation unless no alternative procedure is available & research is justified  Most psychologists believe that animal research is necessary for scientific progress in psychology 3 Sept 18 More Study Tips  Active listening important o Attend to speaker… anticipate  Read ahead  Write speaker’s comments in your own words  Attend to “clues”  Ask questions Scientific Method  Festinger (1957) – cognitive dissonance  Identify Problem o Hypothesis: tentative statement about a relation between 2 or more events o Theory:  collection of hypotheses  an organizing system 
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