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Chapter 2

PSY BEH 11A Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Central Tendency, Cognitive Development, Standard Deviation


Department
Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
PSY BEH 11A
Professor
Donald Hoffman
Chapter
2

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CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODS
2.1 HOW IS THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD USED IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH?
- Data๎€: measurable outcomes of research studies
SCIENCE HAS 4 PRIMARY GOALS
- 4 goals
- 1. Description
- 2. Prediction
- 3. Control
- 4. Explanation
- Describe what phenomenon is, predict when it will occur, control what
causes it to occur, explain why it occurs
CRITICAL THINKING MEANS QUESTIONING AND EVALUATING INFORMATION
- Critical thinking: ๎€ability๎€: skill
- First step: question info
- Ask for definition of each part of the claim
- 2nd step: evaluation of information
- To answer questions, need to go to source of claim
- Think where claim come from. Thin about evidence offered by source to
support claim
- Well-supported evidence: research reports based on empirical data published in
peer-reviewed journals
- โ€œPeer reviewโ€: process by which other scientists with similar expertise
evaluate & critique research reports before publication`
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD AIDS CRITICAL THINKING
- Determining whether claim is supported by evidence
- Research๎€: careful collection of data
- Follows ๎€scientific method๎€: procedure begins with observation of a
phenomenon & and question of why that phenomenon occurred
- Interaction among research, theories, hypotheses
- Theory๎€: explanation/ model of how phenomenon works
- Used to explain prior observations & make
predictions about future events
- Hypothesis๎€: specific, testable prediction, narrower than
theory it is based on
- Features of good theories
- Should be falsifiable
- Can test hypotheses generated by theory to prove itโ€™s incorrect
- Testable hypotheses
- Tend toward simplicity

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- Occamโ€™s Razor (law of parsimony)๎€: when 2 competing
theories exist to explain same phenomenon, simpler of 2
theories is generally preferred
- Piaget: infant & child development. Cognitive development in stages
- Freud: dreams represent fulfillment of unconscious wish
- Theory not good bc generated few testable hypotheses regarding actual
function of dreams
- Test hypotheses: scientific method. 6 steps series
- 1. ๎€Form a hypothesis
- Testable research predictions โ†’ hypotheses
- 2. ๎€Conduct a literature review
- Review of scientific literature related to theory
- Can guide direction of research
- 3. ๎€Design a study
- Deciding which research method want to be used to test hypothesis
- 4. ๎€Conduct the study
- Recruit participants & measure their responses โ† collecting/
gathering data
- 5. ๎€Analyze the data
- Two main ways
- 1. Describe the data
- 2. Want to know what conclusions you can draw from your
data. Results are meaningful or they happened by chance
- 6. ๎€Report results
- Findings to public to benefit society, support scientific culture,
permit other scientists to build on their work
- Brief reports: talks and poster sessions
- Should be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal
- Replication๎€: repeating study & getting the same (similar) results
- When results from 2< studies are same, confidence increases findings
- Researchers not affiliated: replicate โ†’ powerful support bc rule out
possibility that some feature of original setting may have
contributed to findings
- Cyclical process
- To understand which theory is best, design ๎€critical studies๎€: directly contrast
theories to see which theory better explains data
UNEXPECTED FINDINGS CAN BE VALUABLE
- Many findings are results of ๎€serendipity๎€: unexpectedly finding things that are
valuable/ agreeable

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- Accidentals can be important
- Study: finding if certain cells in visual portion of brain would
respond when cats looked at dots, projector jammed, found out itโ€™s
lines & edges
2.2 WHAT TYPES OF STUDIES ARE USED IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH?
- Three main types of research methods: descriptive, correlational, experimental
- Vary bc control over different variables in study
- Variable๎€: something in the world that can vary & researchers can manipulate,
measure, or both
- Independent variable๎€: variable that gets manipulated/ changed
- Dependent variable๎€: variable that gets measured
- Outcome that gets measured after manipulation occurs
- Depends on independent variable
- Operation definition๎€: qualify (describe) & quantify (measure) variables so that
variables can be understood objectively
- Enables other researchers to know precisely what variables were used,
how they were manipulated, how they were measured
- Details of variables
DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH CONSISTS OF CASE STUDIES, OBSERVATION, AND
SELF-REPORT METHODS
- Descriptive research๎€: observing behavior to describe behavior objectively &
systematically
- Helps scientists achieve goals of describing what phenomena are &
predicting when/with what other they may occur
- 3 basic types: case studies, observations, self-report methods &
interviews
- Case study๎€: intensive examination of an unusual person or organization
- Observation, recording, description
- Selected if have special/ unique aspect
- Goal: describe events/ experiences that lead up to or result from
exceptional aspect
- Example
-N.A๎€.: Impaired ability to remember new info
- Roommate pretend to jab back of his head, but he turned
around & accidentally stabbed him through the nose & up his
brain
- Helped researchers develop new models of brain
mechanisms involved in memory
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