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Chapter 1: Psychological Foundations and research methods

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1 Chapter 1: Psychological Foundations and research methods

2 Psychology’s Biggest Question
Nature – Nurture – the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors. Today’s science sees traits and behaviors arising from the interaction of nature and nurture.

3 Psychology’s Roots Psychology – the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Goals of Psychology: Explain behavior Predict behavior Control behavior

4 Structuralism Structuralism – an early form of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human mind. William Wundt focused on elements and atoms of the mind and studied it using introspection (self-reflection). Wundt established the 1st laboratory of psychology in at Leipzig, Germany.

5 Functionalism Functionalism – focuses on how our mental and behavioral processes function; how they enable us to adapt, survive, and flourish. William James suggested it would be more fruitful to consider evolved functions of our thoughts and feelings. James suggested that the function of thoughts and feelings was adaptive and necessary to our survival.

6 The Unconscious Mind Sigmund Freud emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind and its effects on behavior. His theories would late develop into psychodynamic theory.

7 Freud’s Conception of the Mind
Id – acts on the Pleasure Principle Ego – Reality Principle moderates id and superego Superego – internalized ideals

8 Behaviorism B.F. Skinner John Watson
Defined psychology as the science of behavior and demonstrated conditioned responses on a baby. Believed that psychology should be objective. Emphasized the study of overt, observable behavior as the subject matter of scientific psychology. Later became famous for his “Rat in a Skinner Box” experiment.

9 Humanistic Psychology
Abraham Maslow & Carl Rogers Humanistic Psychology – emphasizes the importance of current environmental influences on our growth potential, and the importance of having our needs for love and acceptance satisfied. Rejects psychoanalytic theory and does not focus on the meaning of early childhood memories.

10 3 Levels of Analysis

11 Psychological Perspectives
Focus Sample Questions Neuroscience/Biological 1950s-present Olds, Sperry How the body and brain enable emotions. How are messages transmitted in the body? How is blood chemistry linked with moods and motives? Humanistic Rogers, Maslow Humans are free, rational beings with the potential for personal growth, and they are fundamentally different from animals. How do we have our needs for love and acceptance met? How do I achieve self-fulfillment? Evolutionary 1960s-present Buss How much our genes and our environments influence our individual differences. To what extent are psychological traits such as intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, and vulnerability to depression attributable to our genes or environment?

12 Psychological Perspectives
Focus Sample Questions Psychodynamic 1900-present Freud, Jung, Adler How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts. How can someone’s personality traits and disorders be explained in terms of sexual and aggressive drives or as disguised effects of unfulfilled childhood traumas? Behavioral 1913-present Watson, Pavlov, Skinner How we learn is observable. How do we learn to fear things? What is the most effective way to alter behavior? Cognitive 1950s-present Piaget, Chomsky, Siimon How we encode, process, store, and retrieve information. How do we use information for remembering, reasoning, & problem solving? Socio-Cultural How behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures. How are we alike as humans? How does social context influence our differences?

13 The Need for Psychological Science
Intuition and Common Sense. Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature. Intuition and Common Sense may aid us in finding some answers, but they are not free of error. For Example Job interviewers are likely to be overconfident in their gut feelings about a job applicant.

14 Limitations of Common Sense
Which hand are you more likely to be dealt?

15 Limitations of Common Sense
The odds are Exactly the Same. Your chances of being dealt either hand is precisely the same: 1 in 2,598,960

16 Let’s Try It I am going to show you a list of three words that are scrambled. When I show you the 3 words, simply tell me how long that you think it will take you to unscramble them. Ready…

17 How long do you think that it will take you to unscramble these words?

Most people believe that it will take themselves only about 10 seconds to unscramble the words, yet on average, a person takes about 3 minutes.

19 The Hindsight Bias The Hindsight Bias is also know as the “I knew it all along” phenomenon. After learning about the outcome of an event, many people believe that they could have predicted that very outcome. Think about it. Have you ever watched a movie, saw the ending, and then said, “I knew it was going to end like that”

20 Why Use Psychological Science
The science of psychology helps us understand how people feel, think, and act. The scientific attitude is composed of curiosity (passion for exploration), skepticism (doubting and questioning), and humility (ability to accept responsibility when wrong). This kind of critical thinking does not accept conclusions blindly, it examines assumptions, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.

21 Psychological Research
Theory – an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors and events. Hypothesis – a testable prediction, often implied by a theory.

22 Descriptive Research Methods
Case Study – an observational technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles. Often suggest directions for further studies. Can be misleading if the individual is atypical.

23 Descriptive Research Methods
Survey – a technique for ascertaining the self- reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group. Surveys are not perfect… What are the effects of self-reporting Wording of the survey influences results

24 Wording Effects People are more likely to respond favorably to…
Government Restriction … Government Censorship Aid to the Needy … Welfare Affirmative Action … Preferential Treatment Revenue Enhancers … Taxes

25 More on the Survey Random Sampling – each member of a given population has an equal chance of being included in a sample. The goal is to produce results that are Generalizable to the Population.

26 Descriptive Research Methods
Naturalistic Observation – observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. Examples… Videotaping parent-child interactions. Watching chimpanzee societies in the jungle. Recording racial seating patterns in the school lunch room.

27 Correlation Research Correlation – a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other. Correlation Coefficient – a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to 1).

28 Scatterplots A scatterplot is a graph comprised of points that are generated by values of two variables. The slope of the points depicts the direction, while the amount of scatter depicts the strength of the relationship. Perfect Positive Correlation (+1.00)

29 Scatterplots Perfect Negative Correlation (-1.00) No Correlation

30 Data showing height and temperament of a group of people
Subject Height in Inches Temperament 1 80 75 2 63 66 3 61 60 4 79 90 5 74 6 69 42 7 62 8 9 77 81 10 39

31 Scatterplot The Scatterplot below shows the relationship between height and temperament in people. There is a moderate positive correlation of +0.63

32 Correlation does not mean Causation!

33 Illusory Correlation An Illusory Correlation is a perception of a relationship where none exists. For example… Some people believe that infertile couples are more likely to conceive if they adopt a baby first. You are more likely to find it noteworthy if this situation happens, as opposed to when nothing happens.

34 Experimentation Experiment – a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable) Experiments Can Prove Causation!

35 Experimentation Random Assignment – assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between the groups. Experimental Group – the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable. Control Group – the group that is NOT exposed to the the treatment

36 Experimentation Double-Blind Procedure – an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are unaware about whether the participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Placebo Effect – experimental results caused by expectations alone. For example, if in a new anxiety study, the control group receives a placebo (sugar pill), then report feeling less anxious.

37 Independent Variable Independent Variable – the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied. Dependent Variable – the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable.

38 For Example If a study was interested in examining the effects of breast feeding on intelligence. Breast Feeding = Independent Variable Intelligence = Dependent Variable

39 Review of Research Methods
Basic Purpose How Conducted What is Manipulated Weaknesses Descriptive To observe and record behavior Case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation Nothing No control of variables; single cases can be misleading Correlational To detect naturally occurring relationships; to assess predictability Compute statistical association Does not specify cause and effect Experimental To explore cause and effect Manipulate one ore more factors Independent Variable(s) Sometime not feasible; may not generalize; ethical considerations

40 Measures of Central Tendency
Mode – the most frequently occurring score in a distribution. Mean – the average score in a distribution. Median – the middle score in a rank-ordered distribution.

41 A Skewed Distribution

42 Measures of Variation Range – the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution. Standard Deviation – a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean.

43 Reliability and Validity
Reliability – the extent to which a test yields consistent results. Validity – the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to.

44 Ethical Considerations
To what extent is it ethical to experiment on people? To what extent is it ethical to experiment on animals? What cultural considerations must be considered?

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