Chapter Two.docx

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Psychology 1000
Biggs- Universityof Western Ontario

Chapter Two: Statistical Methods Scientific Attitudes:  Curiosity, skepticism and open-mindedness are driving forces behind scientific inquiry  Scientists need to be open-minded  Ex. In the case of Kitty Genovese, some would assume that what occurred can be blamed on bystander apathy, moral decay or dehumanization, but the findings showed what’s called diffusion of responsibility- a psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal responsibility for intervening Gathering Evidence: Steps in the Scientific Process:  There is a continuous interplay between observing and explaining events 1. Initial Observation/Question - Curiosity sparks this, observing something noteworthy 2. Form a Hypothesis - A tentative explanation or prediction about some phenomenon - Gather clues, logically analyze them - Make it testable- in the form of an “if- then” statement 3. Test Hypothesis (conduct research) - Gather evidence, experiment 4. Analyze Data - Collect and draw tentative conclusions 5. Further Research and Theory Building - Building theories with additional evidence - Theory- a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one another 6. New Hypothesis Derived from Theory - Conducting additional research, gathering new evidence - If the research supports the hypothesis, our confidence rises - If not, we modify of disregard it Approaches to Understanding Behaviour: 1. Hindsight Understanding  “Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.”- Soren Kierkgard  Using related, past events to explain  Problem: no way to determine accuracy 2. Understanding through Prediction, Control and Theory Building  Creates an integrated network of predictions  A good theory: a) Incorporates existing facts/observations b) Is testable c) Predictions made are supported by research d) Conforms to the law of parsimony: if two theories can explain and predict the same phenomena equally well, the simpler theory is the preferred one.  Does not mean that the prediction requires understanding Defining and Measuring Variables:  Variable- any characteristic that can differ (ex. Gender), being non-material (memory, personality, intelligence, etc.)  Operational definition- variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce of measure it, letting other scientists know what we mean by certain terms. Self-Report Measures:  Ask people to report on their own knowledge, beliefs, feelings, experiences or behaviour  Accuracy depends on peoples’ ability and willingness to be honest  Social desirability bias- tendency of participants to give an answer that gives a good impression.  Bias can be minimized by wording questions differently (social desirability not relevant)  Can be influenced by behaviour (ex. Sexual child abuse cases)  Allegations need to be “drawn out”- repetitive, suggestive Reports by Others:  Parents, spouses and teachers who know a person, and can provide information on them Physiological Measures:  Measuring what’s happening “inside” a person  Heart rate blood pressure, hormonal secretions, biochemical processes  We don’t always understand what they mean Behavioural Observations:  Overt (directly visible) behaviours in either real life or laboratory settings  Scientists need to develop coding systems with specific categories to measure diverse behaviours (ex. Facial expressions)  If two observers disagree in their coding, the data is unreliable  Archival measures- already existing records or documents  People/animals can act differently when they know they’re being observed- unobtrusive measures- record behaviour in a way that keeps participants unaware that they are being observed Methods of Research:  Research method depends on the problem being studied, the investigator’s objective and ethical principals 1. Descriptive Methods- recording observations or surveys 2. Correlational Methods- measuring association between 2 or more events 3. Experimental Methods- manipulations to establish cause and effect  Case study- in-depth analysis of an individual, group or event  Through observation, interviews, tests, etc.  Archival data can be used for cases from the past  Pro’s - Vibrant source of new ideas - When a new phenomenon occurs, it can be studied extensively - Challenge validity of a widely held belief - Illustrate effective intervention programs (baseline, treatment, follow up)  Con’s - Poor for cause-effect relations - Generalization= risky - Lack of objectivity Naturalistic Observation:  Researcher observes behaviour as it occurs in a natural setting  Used for animal behaviour (ex. Jane Goodall)  Can take a long time Survey Research:  Information about a topic is obtained by administering questionnaires or interviews to many about their attitudes/opinions and behaviour  Population- all the individuals about whom we are interested in drawing a conclusion  Sample- a subset of individuals drawn from the larger population of interest  Representative sample- reflects important characteristics of the population
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