Psychology Chapter 2 Lecture Notes
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 001
Professor
Susan Snycerski
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter 2 1. Acquiring knowledge about the world a. Tradition or tenacity: I believe it is true because it has always been true. b. Intuition: I believe it is true because I feel it is true. c. Authority: I believe it is true because an "expert" says it is true. d. Reasoning: I believe it is true because it is logically derived. e. Empiricism: I believe it is true because I experienced it. f. Science: a way of acquiring knowledge through the continual interaction of empiricism and reasoning 2. What is Science? a. Physical b. Biology c. Social d. Cumulative e. Process more than a product f. Attitude i. Question authority ii. Open skepticism iii. Intellectual honesty 3. Pseudoscience a. "False science" that pretends to be scientific but fails to follow conventional scientific practices b. Often to use ideas, movements, or products 4. Characteristics of Pseudoscience a. Associates itself with true science i. Uses scientific sounding phrases and terms ii. May rely on "experts" with scientific "credentials" b. Relies heavily on ancedotal evidence, intuition, authority c. Sidesteps disproof i. May make claims that are not testable or refutable ii. Makes ad hoc additions to the claim in face of disconfirming evidence iii. Uses vague language and concepts iv. Explains away disconfirming data d. Reduces complex events to overly simplistic concepts 5. Critical Thinkers a. Ask questions: don't believe everything you hear or read b. Objectively define problems: avoid vague and imprecise language c. Examine the available evidence: are there relevant data available? What do the data tell us? d. Assess assumptions and biases: are there hidden or implicit viewpoints or prejudices? Consider the sources of the claims e. Avoid emotional reasoning: avoid inflammatory or mood changing language f. Separate facts from opinion: decide what is supported by the evidence and what is merely based on feelings g. Avoid oversimplifying: the world is complex h. Consider alternative explanations: there are often many ways of explaining the same event i. Tolerate uncertainty: we don't know everything, sometimes there may be no good answer j. Maintain an air of skepticism but be open minded (not cynical) 6. The Critical Thinking Process a. Ask questions b. Define the problem clearly c. Examine the available evidence d. Analyze assumptions and biases e. Avoid emotional reasoning f. Do not oversimplify g. Consider other interpretations h. Tolerate uncertainty 7. Scientific Method a. Observation b. Prediction c. Testing d. Interpretation e. Communication 8. Objectives of Psychology a. To describe - provide a snapshot of current behavior b. To explain - provide casual explanations for observed behavior c. To predict - make educated guesses about the likelihood of future behavior d. To control - change behavior (for the better) 9. Theory a. a formal statement of how concepts are related b. Properties of a good theory: i. Productive: generate data, hypotheses, applications ii. Falsifiable: can be demonstrated to be incorrect or in need of modification iii. Parsimonious: use as few assumptions as possible iv. General: cover a wide range of phenomena v. Successful/Useful: allow us to change the world, help us solve practical or theoretical problems, better explain events than other theories 10. Concepts a. abstract categories that are represented by our variables 11. Hypothesis a. prediction of how concepts are related that is often deduced from a theory 12. Approaches to Research a. Descriptive vs. explanatory research i. Descriptive: answers what and how questions ii. Explanatory: answers why questions b. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research i. Quantitative: measures differences in amount of behavior, numerical measurements ii. Qualitative: describes differences in kind of quality of behavior. Information from narratives, interview, transcripts, records c. Basic vs. applied research i. Basic: identify fundamental behavioral laws and principles, no immediate benefits, solves theoretical or methodological problems ii. Applied: immediate goal of solving practical or social problems 13. Variables a. Variable - a factor that varies in amount and kind b. Independent variable - values are free to vary independently of any other variable in the situation c. Dependent variable - values are the result of changes in one or more independent variables 14. Experimental Method a. Challenge to Objectivity i. Alternative explanations to research ii. The more alternative explanations for a given result, the less confidence there is for an initial hypothesis b. Expectancy Effects i. Results that occur when a researcher or observer subtly communicates to the participants the kind of behavior he or she expects, therefore, creating the expected reaction/outcome ii. Must be careful when training research assistants, awareness of potential expectancy effects an important consideration c. Placebo Effect i. Occurs when the experimental participants change their behavior in the absence of any kind of experimental manipulation 15. Experimental Method: The Remedy a. Control Procedures i. Consistent procedures for giving instructions, responses, and holding all other variables constant except those being systematically varied ii. With chemical independent variables, the vehicle is given alone as a control condition b. Observer Bias i. Distortion of evidence because of the personal motives and expectations of the viewer c. Public Verifiability i. All data and methods must be eventually open to others for review and scientific inspection ii. Researchers must have the opportunity to inspect, criticize, replicate, confirm and/or disprove the data and all methods used d. Observer Bias: The Remedy i. Standardization 1. set of uniform procedures for treating each participant ii. Operational definition 1. defined in terms of the specific operation or procedure used to determine its presence 16. Types of research topics a. based on unexamined relations b. based on practical considerations c. based on disagreements d. based on theoretical predictions 17. Functional Relationships a. the relationship between changes in an independent variable and changes in a dependent variable is known as a functional relationship b. Scientists are interested in discovering the functional relationship between environmental events and behavior c. Functional relationships can be thought of as cause-and-effect relationships, with changes in the independent variable being the causes and changes in the dependent variable as being the effect 18. Research Methods in Psychology 19. Principles of Research Design a. Variable b. Population c. Samples d. Social desirability bias 20. Descriptive Studies a. Descriptive designs i. study designs in which the researcher defines a problem and variable of interest but makes no prediction and does not control or manipulate anything b. Case study c. naturalistic observation d. interview and survey i. representative sample 21. Correlational Studies a. Correlational Designs i. Studies that measure two or more variables and their relationship to one another, not designed to show causation b. Experimental Studies i. Independent variable ii. dependent variable iii. Confounding variable iv. Random assignment v. Experimental group vi. Control
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