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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes

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York University
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Readings—Chapter 2 Goals of Scientific Enterprise 1. Measurement & description: develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly 2. Understanding & prediction: scientists believe they can understand events when they can explain why the event occurred Hypothesis: a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables 3. Application & control: scientists hope the information they gather is relevant, resulting in more control over the problem Theory: a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations Steps in a Scientific Investigation 1. Formulate testable hypotheses: variables must clearly be defined; operational definition: describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure/control the variable. 2. Select the research method & design the study: figure out how to put the hypotheses to an empirical test. Methods include experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation etc. Researcher must weight pros & cons of each method in a given situation. Figure out who/how many participants are needed. 3. Collect the data: can be done through direct observation (watch & record behaviour), questionnaire (series of written questions), interview (face-to-face dialogue), psychological test (used to assess mental abilities/personality traits), physiological recording (instrument used to monitor/record blood pressure, heart rate etc), examination of records (analyzes institutional records such as medical, educational etc). 4. Analyze the data & draw conclusion: usually converted into numbers; statistics 5. Report the findings: write up a summary of the study/findings in a journal. Journal: a periodical that publishes technical & scholarly material. Advantages of the Scientific Approach Clarity & precision Intolerance of error Study: Can Fear Increase Sexual Attraction? www.notesolution.com Hypotheses: an attractive female would be seen as more attractive by males who encounter her while they experience strong emotion (fear) than by males not experiencing a strong emotion Participants: males between ages 18-35 who cross either of two bridges in Vancouver. The “control” bridge was low, solid & unlikely to arouse fear or anxiety. The “experimental” bridge was high & swayed, likely to arouse fear or anxiety. Materials: participants completed the TAT (they’re asked to respond to stimuli which may reveal their needs, feelings & personality traits). Design: two independent variables; participants were approached after crossing either of the bridges (first independent variable) by either a male or female (second independent variable) Procedure: after crossing the bridge, the males were met by a male or female. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire, included was a measure of sexual imagery taken from the TAT. Participants were offered the male or females number in case they wanted to contact them later about the study. If participants called more after crossing the high bridge, they were more attracted to the female, mislabelling their fear as sexual attraction. The dependent variable was the degree of sexual imagery participants’ responses to the TAT & the number who crossed each bridge who called the male or female. Results: prediction was correct; those who crossed the high bridge & were met by a female showed more sexual arousal in their TAT scores than those who crossed the low bridge. A higher number of males took the females number & called if they had crossed the high bridge over the low one. If they were met by a male, they were less likely to call. Independent & Dependent Variables Experiment: a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions & observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result We want to find out how variable “x” affects “y” Independent variable: a condition that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable. It is “free” to be varied by the experimenter Dependent variable: the variable that’s thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable. It’s usually a measurement of the participants’ behaviour. It “depends” on manipulations Experimental & Control Groups Experimental group: consists of subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable www.notesolution.com Control group: consists of similar subjects who don’t receive the special treatments given to the experimental group Both groups have to be alike on dimensions relevant to the dependant variable Extraneous Variables Extraneous variables: variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study Confounding of variables: occurs when two variables are linked together, making it difficult to sort out their specific effects Variations in Designing Experiments It’s sometimes beneficial to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group (studying the effects of loud music on typing performancegroup typing, with loud music (experimental condition), & while music isn’t playing (control condition)) It’s possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment (high or low crossing bridge, & male or female at the end) It’s possible to use more than one dependant variable in a single study (using a questionnaire & TAT) Advantages of Experimental Research Precise control over variables Ability to draw conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships Disadvantages of Experimental Research Experiments are often artificial; because experiments require great control over proceedings, researches must construct simple situations to test Ethical concerns & practical realities preclude experiments on many important questions. Ie. You want to know whether being brought up in an urban as opposed to rural area affects one’s values. An experiment would require you to assign similar families to live in rural or urban areas which is impossible to do Naturalistic Observation Robert V. Levine & Ara Norenzayan wanted to study the pace of life around the world Naturalistic observation: a researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the subjects (happens naturally) www.notesolution.com They observed the average walking speed in downtown locations, accuracy of public clocks, & the speed with which postal clerks completed a simple request Conducted experiment in countries of Western Europe (Switzerland, Ireland, Germany) & Japan Also conducted analyzes based on factors including climate, economic vitality, or population size Found that the pace of life is faster in colder climates & economically productive countries Slowest pace in Mexico & Indonesia Good method because it is not artificial, bad be
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