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CONDUCTING EXPERIMENTS The APA (American Psychological Association) sets guidelines for conducting experiments.

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Presentation on theme: "CONDUCTING EXPERIMENTS The APA (American Psychological Association) sets guidelines for conducting experiments."— Presentation transcript:

1 CONDUCTING EXPERIMENTS The APA (American Psychological Association) sets guidelines for conducting experiments.

2  Experiments are the most used research method of psychologists.  They answer the question of cause and effect.

3 Guidelines for Animals  Provide comfortable environment (or as much as possible given the experiment)  Follow local laws  Must do research under a qualified person  Benefit to humanity must outweigh any harm to the animal

4 Reasons to Use Animals  Shorter life span  Reproduce quicker  Environment can be controlled more completely  Can do things to animals that you can’t do to humans  Some are similar enough to humans that we can apply the research to us

5  When using animals, we must guard against anthropomorphism – giving animals human characteristics.  They don’t respond the same as us so this could bias the experiment.

6 Guidelines for Humans  All information is confidential; privacy of subjects should be protected.  Subjects may withdraw at any time.  Subjects must be protected from physical and psychological harm.  Any harm done must be undone.

7  Experimenter and subject agree concerning responsibilities.  Informed consent must be given after the subject has been told the general nature (overview) of the experiment. Sometimes, deception is required but must be justified.

8 EXPERIMENTS  When conducting experiments, you will need to identify independent and dependent variables.  The independent variable is the variable being studied or manipulated.  The dependent variable is the result.

9  The easiest way to determine these is to look at your hypothesis.  The independent variable will be in the “if” part of the hypothesis.  The dependent variable will be in the “then” part of the hypothesis.

10  Each variable must have an operational definition. That is, it must be specific and testable.

11  If the brain is larger, then the IQ will be higher.  If a plant receives more sunlight, then it will grow larger.  If children are prevented from playing with toys by having fences set up, then they will display anger and frustration.

12  Once the variables are identified, subjects are selected.  A subject is any participant (animal or human) in an experiment.  Subjects will then be placed in either a control group or an experimental group.

13  The experimental group will have the independent variable. The control group will not have it.  The two groups should be as much alike as possible and any outside factors should be the same.

14 Problems  Subjects may not act “normally” because they know they are being watched or that they are subjects in an experiment. This is called the “Hawthorne Effect.”  People may not be representative of the total population.

15  The experimenter may be guilty of a self-fulfilling prophecy – overlooking evidence that may conflict with his/her hypothesis or unconsciously setting up the experiment to get the results he/she wants.

16 To prevent this from happening, a researcher may use a double-blind procedure – the experimenters and the subjects don’t know who is in which group (control or experimental) so they can’t unconsciously give away information.

17  Volunteer bias may skew the results.  There may be a placebo effect – the subject believes he had the independent variable and behaves as if he did An example would be believing you took a new headache remedy which helped end your headache when, in reality, you took a sugar pill.

18  A solution to this is to use a single-blind procedure where the subjects don’t know which group is the experimental group and which is the control group. Each is given a pill that looks the same. If a double-blind procedure is used, neither would know.

19  It is difficult to guarantee privacy of subjects when it is expected that you report your findings.  The experiment may not be replicable so it won’t hold up scientifically.  The researcher may make errors in drawing conclusions or generalizing (must be sure to consider all data collected)

20  Now read pages 32 and 33 in your textbooks.  Then answer the two questions on a separate piece of paper.  Homework: Read pp and do the worksheet passed out during the reading.


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