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Chapter 2

Psych 1000 - Chapter 2 Notes.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 1000
Professor
Terry Biggs
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 2 Notes The Scientific Study of Behavior – with a brief introduction to statistics - Curiosity, skepticism, and open-mindedness are driving forces behind scientific inquiry - Diffusion – a psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal responsibility for intervening - The Scientific Process 1. Identify a Question of Interest 2. Gather Information and form a hypothesis o A hypothesis is a tentative explanation or prediction of some phenomenon  Takes the form of an “if-then” statement 3. Test hypothesis by conducting research 4. Analyze data, draw tentative conclusions, and report findings 5. Build a body of knowledge (developing a theory) o A theory is a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related  Theories are broader than hypotheses - Approaches to Understanding Behavior o Hindsight Understanding – Relies on explanations after the fact. The drawback is that past events can be explained in many ways o Understanding through prediction, control, and theory-building – Understanding the causes of a given behavior van help us to predict the condition under which that behavior will occur in the future. Theory development is the strongest test of scientific understanding - Characteristics of Good Theories o Incorporate existing facts and observations within a single framework o Are testable. Good theories generate hypotheses which can be tested o Are supported by the findings of new research o Conform the to the law of parsimony (which states that the simplest theory is the one preferred) - A variable is an characteristic or factor that can vary - Operational definition – defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures use to produce or measure it o They translate abstract concepts into something observable and measurable - Methods of measurement o Self Report - may be distorted by social desirability bias which is the tendency to respond in a socially acceptable manner or what they feel the receiver would approve of rather than according to how one truly feels or behaves o Reports by others – it is limited by situational specificity where the source of the report may only have observations applicable to one setting o Physiological – may be limited because physiological responses don’t necessarily explain mental events o Behavioral – may be limited by the unreliability of observers - Measures of Overt Behavior o Reaction time – how rapidly people respond to a stimulus o Unobtrusive measures – record behavior in a way that keeps participants unaware that responses are being measured o Archival measures – gathering information about behavior using records or documents that already exist (may be limited by the fact that observed behavior may be atypical) o Psychological rests – specialized tests used to measure many types of behavior (ex. Personality tests, neuropsychological tests) o Physiological measures – measuring physiological responses to assess what people are experiencing, but this is limited because we don’t always understand what physiological responses mean Statistics - In psychology many different forms of investigation may be employed ranging form collection of descriptive observations through correlation techniques to controlled experimentation - In all cases scaled measurement is necessary to provide a clear picture of human behavior - Scaled Measurement o Scaling - the process of numerically coding the data you collect o 4 major types of scales 1. Categorical/Nominal 2. Ordinal 3. Interval 4. Ratio - Categorical/Ordinal Scales o Employed only when the requirement is to group the data o This type of coding allows only minimal statistical analyses o Ex. Team players numbers/sweaters - Ordinal scales o Will allow data to be compared but only on a basis of relative magnitude o Does not allow addition or subtraction because the data is only ranked o Ex. IQ test scores - Interval scales o Has equal interval (differences) between scores o Allows for addition and subtraction o Not all interval scales allow multiplication or division o This is because the zero point is arbitrary o Ex. Temperature scales – Fahrenheit vs. Celsius - Ratio Scales o Most powerful as they allow addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division o Ex. Distance – 10ft Is 2 times 5 ft o This is the scale which predominates investigation of sensations - The scales are irrelevant if data is not collected scientifically - Methods of Research o Descriptive Research – Recording Findings  All variables measured, examine more natural contexts, but extraneous factors are not controlled  Case Studies – in-depth analysis of an individual, group, or an event in hopes of discovering principles of behavior that are true for people or situations in general. The advantages of case studies are:  Scientists are able to study rare phenomenon more closely  They may challenge the validity of a theory or widely held belief  They can be a vibrant source of new ideas and hypotheses that subsequently may be examined using more controlled research methods  They may be useful if the individual has a discernable physiological abnormality as their performance can be compared to normal performance The limitations of case studies are:  They are a poor method for determining cause and effect relationships (probably the weakest means of investigation)  Case study findings may not generalize to other people or situations  Observers may not be objective in gathering and interpreting the data (measurement/observer bias may occur)  Naturalistic Observations - where the researcher observes behavior as it occurs in a natural setting and attempts to avoid influencing that behavior  If it works it provides a rich description of behavior  It does not permit clear causal conclusions, the occurrence of bias is possible, and the presence of an observer may disrupt behavior  Habituation – when researchers disguise their presence and people and animals adapt to and ignore the presence of the observer as time passes  Survey Research – information about a topic is obtained by administering questionnaires or interviews to many people  Population – all the individuals about who, we are interested in drawing a conclusion  Sample – a subset of individuals drawn from the larger population of interest  Representative sample – one that reflects the important characteristics of the population  Random sampling – every member of the population has an equal probability of being chosen to participate in the survey  Stratified random sampling – dividing the population into subgroups based on such characteristics as gender or ethnic identity where the portion of a group in the population is that same portion in the sample  Drawbacks to surveys include that survey data can’t be used to draw cause and effect conclusions. Surveys rely on participants’’ self-reports which can be distorted by social desirability bias, interviewer bias, peoples’ inaccurate perceptions of their own behavior, and misinterpretation of survey questions, and unrepresentative samples can lead to faulty generalizations about populations o Correlational Research: Measuring Associations Between Events  Correlational research has three components  The researcher measures one variable, x  The researcher measures a second variable, y  The research statistically determines whether x and y are related  Correlation does not imply causation  It could be that the relationship between the two variables actually works the opposite way of what is suggested (two way causality) and so one doesn’t cause the other  The relationship between the variables may be spurious (not genuine)  There could be a third variable, z, that is causing the changes in both x and y (third variable problem)  Correlation coefficient – a statistic that indicates the direction and strength of the relation between two variables  Positive correlation means that higher sc
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