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Chapter 1

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PSYC 2030
Lisa Fiksenbaum

Chapter One Why take this course: a. solid foundation for other psychology courses - Methods course vs. other psychology course = Process and methods: method courses teach a process of acquiring knowledge about psychological phenomena that is then applied to all the specific content areas represented by other courses in the psychology curriculum. b. Become a more informed and critical consumer of information c. Learning necessary skills for postgrad and future research d. Introduces you to a particular type of thinking – scientific thinking Ways of knowing: Authority  AUTHORITY: Validity of information form a source that we judge to be expert of influential some way Use of Reason  The value of a logically drawn conclusion depends on the truth of the premises, and it takes more than logic to determine whether the premises have merit  PRIORI METHOD: a belief develops as the result of a logical argument, before a person has direct experience with it Experience  EMPIRICISM: the process of learning through experience or direct observation and reflection on those experiences  “social cognition bias” o BELIEF PERSERVERANCE: “social cognition bias” – motivated by a desire to be certain about one’s knowledge – it is a tendency to hold on doggedly to a belief, even in the face of evidence that would convince most people that the belief is false o CONFIRMATION BIAS: a tendency to search out and pay special attention to information that supports one’s beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts a belief o AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC: when we experience unusual or very memorable events and then overestimate how often such events typically occur – i.e airplane crashes glorified by the media – or crime shows and amount of crime Science as a Way of Knowing  DETERMINISM: events, including psychological ones, have causes,  DISCOVERABILITY: by using agreed upon scientific methods, these causes can be discovered, with some degree of confidence Science Assumes Determinism  Human behaviour  determined (have causes)  STATISTICAL DETERMINISM: events can be predicted, but only with a greater probability greater than chance  Free will & behaviour  psychologist can examine scientifically such topics as: (a) extent to which behaviour is influences by strong belief in free will (b) the degree to which some behaviours are more “free” than others (c) what the limits might be on our “free choices” Science Makes Systematic Observations  Scientist’s systematic observations include using o (a) precise definitions of phenomena being measured o (b) reliable and valid measuring tools that yield useful and interpretable data o (c) generally accepted research methodologies o (d) a system of logic for drawing conclusions and fitting those conclusions into general theories. Science Produced Public Knowledge  Producing knowledge that can be publicly be verified  Objectivity  Peirce  eliminating such human factors as expectations and bias o HOWEVER – today  objective does not mean to be devoid of such normal human traits  Today – objectivity - Can be verified by more than one observer  John b. Watson  if psychology was to be truly scientific it needed to measure something observable: Introspection vs. Behaviorism Science Produces Data-based Conclusions  DATA-DRIVEN: research psychologist expect conclusions about behaviour to be supported by the evidence of objective information gathered through some systematic procedure Science Produces Tentative Conclusions  Conclusions drawn from data are always tentative, subject
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