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Extending the scientific discipline of Psychology in order to deal with the complexity of applied practice David Clarke School of Psychology University.

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Presentation on theme: "Extending the scientific discipline of Psychology in order to deal with the complexity of applied practice David Clarke School of Psychology University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Extending the scientific discipline of Psychology in order to deal with the complexity of applied practice David Clarke School of Psychology University of Nottingham WARNING: This talk contains some examples drawn from studies of violent behaviour, including rape.

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3 Part 1 Some general points about psychological research and ‘the real world’. Part 2 A brief ‘tutorial’ on sequence analysis, as an example of these principles.

4 Point One On any journey, start from where you are now.

5 Science Human affairs Experimental psychology

6 Science Human affairs Experimental psychology ‘Natural psychology’

7 We have to start from where we are now... The real world is messy (but not entirely incomprehensible). We have to accept that, and refine our approach gradually towards more precise descriptions. NOT begin with methods that require complete precision and bemoan them for not working properly.

8 Point Two Do things in the right order.

9 Typically research tries to start from descriptions of single cases, and end up with general explanations. There are two steps: combining over instances; and finding the meaningful (causal) patterns. Traditional research aggregates first and then looks for patterns (which are often lost during aggregation). The alternative is to find patterns and explanations case-by-case, and then identify the commonalities.

10 DataConclusions Particular General

11 DataConclusions Particular General Impossible (Psych training)

12 DataConclusions Particular General Impossible (Psych training) Impossible (My claim)

13 DataConclusions Particular General ‘Aristotelian’ Experimental Psychology Impossible (Psych training) Impossible (My claim) Loss of structure

14 DataConclusions Particular General ‘Aristotelian’ Experimental Psychology Impossible (Psych training) Impossible (My claim) Loss of structure Impossible?

15 DataConclusions Particular General ‘Aristotelian’ Experimental Psychology New approaches to case study Impossible (Psych training) Impossible (My claim) Loss of structure

16 QUESTIONANSWER SPECIFIC GENERAL APPLIED RESEARCH CASE-BASED METHODS

17 Point Three Don’t try to count everything.

18 “In truth, a good case could be made that if your knowledge is meagre and unsatisfactory, the last thing in the world you should do is make measurements. The chance is negligible that you will measure the right things accidentally.” (George Miller, 1962)

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22 Parametric vs structural sciences (Harré) Physics vs chemistry and anatomy, geology, astronomy, crystalography, etc etc

23 Point Four Beware of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’...

24 ...and falling objects.

25 Point Five Beware of assuming...

26 1) That all experiments are quantitative, and all non- experimental studies are qualitative. 2) That ‘qualitative methods’ can only be certain kinds of approaches to the study of language, such as Conversation Analysis, and Discourse Analysis.

27 Point Six Beware of generalisations.

28 Therefore, Jane’s ability at XYZ, (relative to men), is ??? (Typical inference needed in practical situations. Conclusion.) Research has shown that women are significantly better at XYZ, than men. (Typical format for research finding. Major premise.) Jane is a woman. (Typical occasion for application of findings to individuals. Minor premise.)

29 Point Seven To thine own self be true.

30 The structure of knowledge? Waterstones Bookshop (Nottingham) Floor Plan - alphabetical index History (indexed under ‘H’) Law (indexed under ‘L’) etc, etc Academic Psychology (under ‘A’) - 3rd floor Popular Psychology (under ‘P’) - 2nd floor

31 What you know as a person, and what you know as a scientist are very different. They seem impossible to reconcile. Our official view, as a discipline and a profession, is that it would be wrong to try, because the former is worthless, and the latter is ideal. But...

32 If I lived on a hill and wanted to see further, I would build a tower on the hill. I wouldn’t build my tower in the valley, and hope that one day it would be even taller than the hill. (What we know as scientists should be designed to complement what we know as people; not substitute for it.) How can we do that?

33 Treat what you know (as a professional, and as an everyday person) as part of ‘the literature’. Not because it is perfect (the literature isn’t either) but because we have to use it, challenge it, engage it, in order to make it better, and to integrate it with scientific / professional knowledge.

34 But (and this is a very big ‘but’) It is ‘tacit’. You can’t state, review, and critique it as your starting point, like ordinary literature. You have to elicit it, and work on it, through the medium of case study.

35 That is where tacit (professional and ‘everyday’) knowledge, and explicit (scientific) knowledge, can be made to meet and complement each other.

36 Pool of ideas and time t t - 1t + 1 Sources Experiments rival possibilities evaluation/ selection General applications and future versions ‘SCIENCE’

37 Pool of ideas and time t t - 1t + 1 Sources Experiments rival possibilities evaluation/ selection General applications and future versions ‘SCIENCE’ PRE-THEORETICAL PROBLEM SOLVING ProblemSolution Direct face-value link

38 Pool of ideas and time t t - 1t + 1 Sources Experiments rival possibilities evaluation/ selection General applications and future versions ‘SCIENCE’ PRE-THEORETICAL PROBLEM SOLVING ProblemSolution Direct face-value link ‘PRACTICE’ Research-based knowledge Case particularsPlan/remedy (?)

39 Pool of ideas & beliefs  & lay at Time t Pool of beliefs at t +1 Pool of beliefs at t - 1

40 Pool of ideas & beliefs  & lay at Time t Pool of beliefs at t +1 Pool of beliefs at t - 1 Experiments Revised weightings Conflicts SLOW CYCLE ‘SCIENTIFIC’ METHOD

41 Pool of ideas & beliefs  & lay at Time t Pool of beliefs at t +1 Pool of beliefs at t - 1 Experiments Revised weightings Conflicts SLOW CYCLE USES FRESH SOURCES ‘SCIENTIFIC’ METHOD

42 Pool of ideas & beliefs  & lay at Time t Specific ‘cases’ Specific hypotheses, forecasts & recommendations Pool of beliefs at t +1 Pool of beliefs at t - 1 Experiments Revised weightings Conflicts SLOW CYCLE Applications Ideas EvaluationsProblems FAST CYCLE CASE METHOD USES FRESH SOURCES ‘SCIENTIFIC’ METHOD

43 Point Eight Don’t assume that ‘one size fits all’

44 Psychology sets out to describe what kinds of people behave in what kinds of ways in what kinds of situations. And of course not all people, behaviour and situations are the same. So - What kinds of people are there? What kinds of behaviour are there? What kinds of situations are there? We don’t know. In the main we have not stopped to ask. We have ploughed ahead with the illusion that ‘one size fits all’, and that’s why our generalisations do not apply reliably to individuals.

45 Imagine a world....where chemists did not distinguish different compounds, but just dealt in the common properties that apply to them all..where doctors did not distinguish different diseases, but applied the same generally helpful remedies to all ‘poorly people’..where biologists had not discovered species but dealt with the average data from all life-forms !!!

46 We need to get a life (but first we must get an ontology )

47 Point Nine Don’t be too sceptical

48 All other things being equal, false positives can only be reduced at the expense of increasing false negatives. We are trained to be ultra-sceptical, so we avoid believing most conclusions which are false (and also a great many that are true). Instead of being a profession that can ‘see further through a brick wall than the next person’, we can often fail to notice or accept what everyone else finds blindingly obvious.

49 Sequence Analysis

50 Of all truths relating to phenomena, the most valuable to us are those which relate to the order of their succession. On a knowledge of these is founded every reasonable anticipation of future facts, and whatever power we possess of influencing those facts to our advantage. John Stuart Mill, 1851

51 Motor Skill Model Perception Translation Motor responses Changes in outside world Motivation, goal SOCIAL SKILL

52 INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY  I O Non-  ?? SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  ''

53 Problems as ‘Game Trees’ toto time Past Future

54 ajpx b Discrete Event, Continuous Time aapqr Discrete Event, Fixed Time p  j  a  q  r  z  a  c  i Discontinuous Event, Event Time i.e. Pure (Mere?) Sequence

55 ajpi ax a b c d....z....z abcd z SEQUITURS  ANTECEDENTS

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57 SEQUENCE ANALYSIS OF COURTSHIP BEHAVIOR IN THE DIMORPHIC JUMPING SPIDER MAEVIA INCLEMENS (ARANEAE, SALTICIDAE)

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61 APPLICATIONS INCLUDE Road accidents Violent incidents Family breakdown Human-computer interaction Escaping from fires Military operations Economic forecasting Restorative justice School disruption Anorexia nervosa Rape & sexual assault Mining safety Language acquisition Train & plane crashes Depression Voice disorders Stress Counselling Eye disease Occupational selection Automatic classification Drug abuse

62 Knots in chains The problem of ‘higher order’ sequences A-B-C A-B-D (A-B, B-C, B-D)

63 A-B-C D-B-E (A-B, B-C, D-B, B-E) A-B-C A-B-E - wrong D-B-C - wrong D-B-E

64 A-B-C D-B-E

65 A-B-C-D * E-B-C-F * G-H-C-I * J-H-C-K (AB, BC, CD, EB, CF, GH, HC, CI, JH, CK) Gives 4 correct sequences and 12 others besides: ABCF, ABCI, ABCK, etc, etc.

66 A-B-C-D * E-B-C-F * G-H-C-I * J-H-C-K

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68 ZERO ORDER Days to is for they have proposed I the it material of are its go studies the our of the following not over situation if the greater. FIRST ORDER Goes down here is not large feet are the happy days and so what is dead weight that many were constructed the channel was. THIRD ORDER We are going to see him is not correct to chuckle loudly and depart for home. George Miller, 1951

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71 Schematic basis for the Logical Pathway Model.

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73 The simplified forward empirical pathway map (cut-off pf =.15). All numbers in parentheses following an event refer to the percentage of the total number of incidents that involved that event.

74 The logical pathway model for the reported violent incidents.

75 12340 Clumped Over-spacedBursts & Pauses % Intervals >T Log % Intervals >T 100 T T

76 The log percentage survival without reoccurrence for initial incidents over a period of 26 weeks.

77 The log percentage survival without reoccurrence for initial incidents over a period of 15 days.

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79 Bedroom rapes, all cases, until victim notices offender.

80 Single bedroom rapes, from victim’s first awareness of offender until first physical contact

81 Single bedroom rapes, from first physical contact until first penetration

82 Multiple bedroom rapes, from first physical contact until first penetration - speech

83 Multiple bedroom rapes, from first physical contact until first penetration - sexual behaviour

84 Multiple bedroom rapes, from first penetration until last withdrawal—control and reorientation

85 Multiple bedroom rapes, from first penetration until last withdrawal—sexual behaviour

86 The end


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