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Chapter 1 Adjusting to Modern Life. The Paradox of Progress What Is the “Paradox of Progress”? –Today, we enjoy more technological advances, more leisure.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1 Adjusting to Modern Life. The Paradox of Progress What Is the “Paradox of Progress”? –Today, we enjoy more technological advances, more leisure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 1 Adjusting to Modern Life

2 The Paradox of Progress What Is the “Paradox of Progress”? –Today, we enjoy more technological advances, more leisure time and choices than ever before. –However, we are not happier. In fact, our perceived quality of life seems to be worse. Why is this so?

3 The Paradox of Progress, continued Possible explanations: –Traditional sources of emotional security, such as family, community, and religion, have been lost. –We are overwhelmed by rapid cultural change. –Mental demands of modern life have become too complex. –Excessive materialism has weakened social ties, makes us insecure and undermines our sense of well-being.

4 The Search for Direction, The greatest challenge of modern life may be our search for meaning in life or a sense of direction. In desperation, people turn to many ineffective and/or self-destructive sources for enlightenment (e.g., radio personalities, cults) One of the most prominent sources is self-help books. But, how valuable are they?

5 The Search for Direction, continued The value of self-help books –Excellent self-help books do exist. However, many are not effective Their message is too vague to be useful. They are not based on solid, scientific research. They don’t provide explicit directions for changing behavior. They encourage a narcissistic (self- centered) approach to life.

6 The Search for Direction, continued What to look for in a good self-help book: 1.Clarity in communication. 2.Books that are realistic, that don’t promise too much change too soon. 3.Books by authors with good credentials. 4.Books with a theoretical or research basis. 5.Books that provide detailed, explicit directions about how to alter your behavior. 6.Books that focus on a particular kind of problem or behavior.

7 The Psychology of Adjustment, Psychology is “the science that studies behavior and the physiological and mental processes that underlie it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems”. Adjustment is “the psychological processes through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life”.

8 The Scientific Approach Empiricism is “the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation”. Thus, the conclusions of scientific psychology are based on careful, systemic observation rather than speculation or “common sense”.

9 The Scientific Approach, continued Advantages of the scientific approach: 1.Clarity and precision – empiricism demands that scientists state exactly what they are referring to in their hypothesis. 2.Relative intolerance for error. Scientists’ ideas are subjected to empirical tests. Their ideas and research are scrutinized by other scientists.

10 The Scientific Approach, continued Experimental research: looking for causes. –The experiment is “a research method in which the investigator manipulates one (independent) variable under carefully controlled conditions, and observes whether any changes occur in a second (dependent) variable as a result”.

11 The Scientific Approach, continued An independent variable – “is a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable”. –It is the variable the researcher manipulates in the experiment. The dependent variable – “is the variable that is thought to be affected by the manipulations of the independent variable”. –It is usually a measurement of behavior. See Schachter’s (1959) study in Figure 1.2.

12 Figure 1.2 The basic elements of an experiment. This diagram provides an overview of the key features of the experimental method, as illustrated by Schachter’s study of anxiety and affiliation. The logic of the experiment rests on treating the experimental and control groups alike except for the manipulation of the independent variable.

13 The Scientific Approach, continued The experimental group – “consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable”. –In Schachter’s (1959) study, the experimental group was told the shocks would be painful. The control group – “consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group”. –In Schachter’s (1959) study, the control group was told the shocks would not be painful.

14 The Scientific Approach, continued Determining cause and effect in experiments. –If the experimental and control groups are alike in every way except for the treatment from the independent variable (whether shock will be painful), and –if a difference in the dependent variable is found (e.g., desire to affiliate), then –the difference in their response must be due to the independent variable (e.g., fear of the painful shock).

15 The Scientific Approach, continued The advantage of using experiments is that –precise control allows cause and effect conclusions to be drawn. The disadvantage of using experiments is that –there are some variables of interest that cannot, for ethical reasons, be manipulated in an experiment.

16 The Scientific Approach, continued Correlational Research: Looking for Links. –A correlation exists when two variables are related to each other. –A correlation coefficient is “a numerical index of the degree of relationship that exists between two variables”. –It provides two pieces of information: 1.How strongly related two variables are. 2.The direction (positive or negative) of the relationship.

17 The Scientific Approach, continued Positive Correlations – “indicate that two variables covary in the same direction”. –High scores on variable x are related to high scores on variable y, and low scores on variable x are related to low scores on variable y. Negative Correlations – “indicate that two variables covary in the opposite direction”. –High scores on variable x are related to low scores on variable y (see Figure 1.3).

18 Figure 1.3 Positive and negative correlations. Variables are positively correlated if they tend to increase and decrease together and are negatively correlated if one variable tends to increase when the other decreases. Hence, the terms positive correlation and negative correlation refer to the direction of the relationship between two variables.

19 The Scientific Approach, continued Strength of the correlation is indicated by the size of the correlation coefficient. Correlation coefficients can range from 0 to (if positive) and from 0 to (if negative). Coefficients near 0 indicate there is no association between variables. Coefficients near either or -1.00, indicate strong associations (see Figure 1.4).

20 Figure 1.4 Interpreting correlation coefficients. The magnitude of a correlation coefficient indicates the strength of the relationship between two variables. The closer a correlation is to either or -1.00, the stronger the relationship between the variables. The square of a correlation, which is called the coefficient of determination, is an index of the correlation’s strength and predictive power. This graph shows how the coefficient of determination and predictive power goes up as the magnitude of a correlation increases.

21 The Scientific Approach, continued Common methods of finding correlations between variables. –Naturalistic observation – “careful observation of behavior without intervening directly with the subjects”. –Case studies – “in-depth investigation of an individual participant”. –Surveys – “structured questionnaires designed to solicit information about specific aspects of participants’ behavior”.

22 The Scientific Approach, continued Advantages of using correlations. –They allow us to explore variables not suitable for/or ethical to manipulate in experimental research. (e.g., the effect of psychological trauma on males versus females) –Thus, correlations allow investigation of a broader array of psychological phenomena than is possible in experimental research.

23 The Scientific Approach, continued Disadvantages of using correlations. –Correlations only tell us that two variables are related, not how the two variables are related. x could be causing changes in y, y could be causing changes in x, or z, a third variable, could be causing changes in x and y (see Figure 1.6). –Thus, we cannot determine cause and effect from correlations alone.

24 Figure 1.6 Possible causal relations between correlated variables. When two variables are correlated, there are several possible explanations. It could be that x causes y, that y causes x, or that a third variable, z, causes changes in both x and y. As the correlation between relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction illustrates, the correlation itself does not provide the answer. This conundrum is sometimes referred to as the “third variable problem.”

25 The Roots of Happiness, continued What makes people happy? What is not very important. 1.Money – the correlation between income and happiness is very weak (.13) in U.S. 2.Age –accounts for less than 1% of variation in reported happiness. 3.Gender –also accounts for less than 1% of variation in reported happiness.

26 The Roots of Happiness, continued Variables that are not important, continued 4.Parenthood – good and bad aspects of parenthood offset each other. 5.Intelligence – there is no association between IQ and happiness. 6.Physical attractiveness – attractive people enjoy many advantages in society, but the relationship with happiness is very weak.

27 The Roots of Happiness, continued What has a moderate impact? 1.Health – health and happiness have a positive correlation of Social activity – people who are satisfied with their friendships and are socially active report above-average levels of happiness. 3.Religion – people with sincere religious convictions are more likely to be happy. 4.Culture – more affluent nations are more likely to be happy.

28 The Roots of Happiness, continued What is very important? 1.Love and marriage – across cultures, for men and women, married people are happier than people who are single or divorced. 2.Work – job satisfaction is strongly related to happiness. 3.Genetics and personality – extraversion (or positive emotionality) is an inherited trait that is a strong predictor of happiness.

29 The Roots of Happiness, continued Conclusions regarding roots of happiness. 1.Subjective feelings of happiness are more important than objective measures. 2. Happiness is relative. –We evaluate our happiness relative to what others around us have, and –We evaluate our happiness relative to our own expectations. 3.It is hard for people to predict what will make them happy.

30 The Roots of Happiness, continued Conclusions, continued 4.People adapt to their own circumstances. –Happiness is affected by hedonic adaptation. This occurs when “the mental scale that people use to judge the pleasantness-unpleasantness of their experiences shifts so that their neutral point, or baseline for comparison, is changed”.


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