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Chapter 2

chapter 2 notes- studying behavior scientifically.docx

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Psychology 1000

Sept 15 2012Psych 1000 Chapter 2 Note Studying Behavior ScientificallyScientific Principles in Psychology The scientific method was used by physicists and chemists for several centuries to make great progress in determining the laws of the physical sciences Psychologists took much longer to adopt the scientific method for behavioral science because the subjet matter is not as tangible as that in the physical sciences Scientific Attitudes Murder case Kitty was murdered Many saw what was happening Yet nobody assisted her and by the time anyone called the police she had died Psychologists reasoned that the presence of multiple bystanders produced a diffusion of responsibility a psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal responsibility for intervening Gathering Evidence Steps in the Scientific Process Science involves a continuous interplay between observing and explaining events1 Identify a question of interest 2 Gather information and form hypothesis 3 Test hypothesis by conducting research 4 Analyze data draw tentative conclusions and report findings 5 Build a body of knowledge Theory a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one another ask further questions conduct more research develop and test theoriesTwo Approaches to Understanding BehaviorHindsight afterthefact understanding o The main problem with relying solely on hindsight reasoning is that related past events can e explained in many creative reasonable and sometimes contradictory wayso Despite this problem hindsight reasoning can provide valuable insights and is often the foundation on which further scientific inquiry is builtUnderstanding through prediction control and theory building o If we understand the causes of a given behavior then we should be able to predict the conditions under which that behavior will occur in the future If we control those conditions then we should be able to produce that behavior o Good theoryIt organizes information in a meaningful wayIt is testableThe predictions made by the theory are supported by the findings of new research
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