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Chapter 5

PS280-Chapter 5 Lecture Notes.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PS280
Professor
John Stephens

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1 PS280: Abnormal Psychology Lecture Notes Chapter 5: Research Methods in the Study of Abnormal Behaviour Chapter Outline · Science and Scientific Method 1. Testability and Replicability  Replicability: can we replicate this study and acquire the same results  Need confidence that the study has generalizability  See if you can get the same results with a different style study in a different setting • Therefore assume that the results are valid 2. The Role of Theory  Looking for commonality that links two aspects of a study (IV and DV)  Gives a sense of how you can explain data in a broader context · Research Methods 1. The Case Study 5. Single-Subject Experimental 2. Epidemiological Research Research 3. The Correlational Method 6. Mixed Designs 4. The Experiment 7. Meta-Analysis Science and Scientific Methods · Science: The pursuit of systematized knowledge through observation o Systematize the way you look at information, how you interpret it o Connecting the data in-front of you · Testability and Replicability o A hypothesis must be agreeable to systematic testing that could prove it to be false o Hypothesis: Expectations about what should occur if a theory is true  A lot of clinical work is simply about hypotheses  Ex. a patient comes to your door asking for help, you create a hypotheses about his disorders, want to test that hypotheses to see if it is valid (if not create a new one) · Developing expectations about your client; understand the client · The Role of Theory o Primary goal of science is to advance theories o Theory: a set of propositions meant to explain a class phenomena Research Methods 1. Case Study · The detailed study of one individual, based on a paradigm o Detailed information about the persons personal, social, and occupational life (+ others) · Providing Detailed Descriptions 2 o Collecting historical biographical information; validity of info is sometimes questionable o Often includes details of therapy sessions; much more detail than any other method o Several case studies can be compared/analyzed for common elements through a specific method · The Case Study as Evidence o Particularly useful to counteract a universal theory or law; prove it to be incorrect because of an individual who does not show the same symptoms refined by the law o Do not provide the means to rule out alternative hypotheses; must take into account other factors, therefore cannot assume it was your hypothesis that lead to changes in behaviour · Generating Hypothesis o Exposure to a large number of cases may allow the clinicians to notice similarities of circumstances and outcomes · When generating case studies, must be cautious because you can’t generalize; some cases are so unique it is impossible to generalize them to other with the same disorder o Stepping stone for later hypotheses 2. Epidemiological Research · Epidemiology: study of frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population o Data gathered about rates of a disorder and its possible correlates in a large sample or population o Provides a general picture of a disorder; how many people it affects, it is more common in men or women · Focuses on determining 3 features of a disorder o 1. Prevalence: Proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point or period of time  There are always alternative explanations or hypotheses to explain various disorders  Prevalence relies a lot on memory (reflective memory), not always accurate o 2. Incidence: Number of new cases of the disorder that occur in some period (usually a year)  How many people in a year are diagnosed with a certain disorder o 3. Risk factors: Conditions or variables that, if present, increases the likelihood of developing the disorder  Environment plays a crucial role in risk factors; Ex. living near factories inhaling toxins, sometimes disrupt the body, cause health problems 3. Correlational Method 3 · Measures if there is a relationship between/among 2 or more variables · Variables being measured as they exist in their natural setting Measuring Correlations · 1. Correlation Coefficient (r) o May take any value between +1 to -1 o Measures magnitude and direction of relationship (+ or -) o With a large population, a correlation of 7 (+ or -) is very good o The ↑ the population the ↓ the coefficient (to be significant) o Correlations move in concordance with another variable; as X ↑ Y ↑, and as X ↓ Y ↓ · 2. Statistical Significance o Refers to the likelihood that results of an investigation are due to chance o A statistically significant correlation is one that is NOT due to chance o If probability = 0.5 (5 out of a 100) it is considered significant o Works in concordance with Correlation Coefficient; if CC increases (closer to +1.00 or -1.00) then the study is likely to be significant Applications to Psychopathology · Problems of Causality (CANNOT assume correlation = causation) o A sizeable correlation between two variables only tells us that they are related, don’t know which is the cause and which is the effect (if it even exists) · Critical Drawbacks of Correlational Research o Does not allow determination of cause-effect relationships o Correlation between two variables tells us only that they are related or tend to co-vary with each · Directionality problem o How can we tell which is the cause and which is the effect? o Frequently only make inferences from one direction, don’t see the other variables only see what is right in front of us, that data we collected (often ignore environmental aspects) o Correlation does not imply causation o Prospective, longitudinal design helps resolve the directionality issue  Based on the idea that causes must precede effects o High risk method also overcomes the problem of directionality o High-risk method: individuals with a predisposition (to a certain disorder) are studied  Gives researcher an opportunity to study cause and effect 4  Ex. Studying environmental factors that lead depressed patients to more frequently have their next depressed episode · Third-Variable Problem (e
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