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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Psychology 1000 Chapter 2 Notes CHAPTER 2 Studying Behaviour Scientifically Scientific Attitudes Curiosity, scepticism and open-mindedness driving forces behind scientific inquiry Scientists must remain open-minded to conclusions that are supported by facts even if those conclusions refute their own beliefs John Darley and Bib Latane analyzed the Kitty Genovese murder which consisted of 38 bystanders that didnt call for help o Presence of multiple bystanders produced a diffusion of responsibility Diffusion of Responsibility: a psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal responsibility for intervening Gathering Evidence: Steps in the Scientific Process Hypothesis: an uncertain explanation or prediction about some phenomenon Steps (example - Kitty Genovese) : 1. Initial Observation/ Question Why did no one help? 2. Form hypothesis - Prediction IF multiple bystanders are present THEN a diffusion of responsibility will decrease each bystanders likelihood of intervening 3. Test Hypothesis (conduct research) Gather evidence Create emergency controlled setting Manipulate perceived number of bystanders Measure helping 4. Analyze Data Draw conclusions Helping decreases as the number of bystanders increase Hypothesis is supported 1 Psychology 1000 Chapter 2 Notes If not, revise and retest 5. Further Research and Theory Building Additional studies support hypothesis Theory of Social Impact is developed based on these and other findings 6. New Hypothesis Derived from Theory Theory tested directly by deriving a new hypothesis and conducting new research Theory: set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one another Two Approaches to Understanding Behaviour 1. Hindsight Understanding Soren Kierkegaard (philosopher): Life is lived forwards but understood backwards Hindsight Understanding: after the fact reasoning Main issue is related past events can be explained in many creative, reasonable and sometimes contradictory ways No sure way to determine which alternative is correct 2. Understanding Through Prediction, Control and Theory Building If we understand the causes of a given behaviour then we should be able to predict the conditions under which the behaviour will occur in the future If we can control those conditions then we should be able to produce the behaviour Theory development is strongest test of scientific understanding since they generate an integrated network of predictions Good theories have these characteristics: o Organizes info in a meaningful way (i.e. incorporation of observations and existing facts) 2Psychology 1000 Chapter 2 Notes o Testable o Predictions supported by findings o Conforms to law of parsimony Law of Parsimony: if 2 theories can explain and predict the same phenomenon equally well, the simpler theory is the preferred one Predictions based on understanding has advantages: o Satisfies curiosity o Increases knowledge o Generates principals that can be applied to new situations that havent been directly experienced Defining and Measuring Variables Variable: any characteristic that can differ o Variables represent non-material concepts: memory
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