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© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Chapter 1 Explaining Behavior
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Critical Thinking Guidelines Ask Questions (Be Willing to Wonder) Define your Terms Operational definition Examine the Evidence Analyze Assumptions an Biases Avoid Emotional Reasoning Don’t Oversimplify Consider Other Interpretations (alt. hyp.) Tolerate Uncertainty
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Irrational Reasoning Availability Heuristic –tendency to judge the probability of a type of event by how easy it is to think of an example or instance. Mental Set- tendency to try to solve new problems by using the same strategies or rules that worked in the past. Confirmation Bias- tendency to look for or pay attention only to information that confirms one’s own beliefs.
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Major Goals of Science 1. Build an Organized Body of Knowledge about Subject Matter 2. Develop Valid, Reliable Explanations for the Phenomena Within its Domain The Principle Method used to Accomplish these Goals is the Research Method. The Research Methods Leads to Scientific Explanations.
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Characteristics of Scientific Explanations Scientific explanations are EMPIRICAL They are based on objective, systematic observations Scientific explanations are RATIONAL They follow the rules of logic and are consistent with known facts Scientific explanations are TESTABLE They are verifiable through observation and can be disproved
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Scientific explanations are PARSIMONIOUS They provide the simplest explanation using the fewest possible assumptions Scientific explanations are GENERAL They apply beyond the original observations on which they are based
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Scientific explanations are TENTATIVE They are never accepted as absolutely correct Scientific explanations are RIGOROUSLY EVALUATED They are constantly evaluated for consistency with evidence, generality, and parsimony
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Non-Scientific Explanations Commonsense Explanations- based on our own sense of what is true about our world. (examples: computer violence, crowds) Belief-Based- Accepted because of the source. No evidence is required (examples date of earth,
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Scientific vs. Nonscientific Explanations Explanation Type EmpiricalRationalTestableParsimonyGeneralTentative Rigorously Evaluated Scientific Yes Belief Based No Common- sense No MaybeNo Maybe
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Why Scientific Explanations Fail Faulty inference Scientific explanations involve inference process If inference is wrong, explanation fails Pseudoexplanation Alternative label for behavior masks as an explanation Must have independent measures of behavior and explanatory concept to avoid this trap
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Aggressive Behavior Aggressive Instinct Causes Proves the Existence of A Circular Explanation
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Methods of Inquiry Method of Authority Authoritative source (e.g., book or expert) consulted Useful in early stages of science Does not always provide valid answers Source may not be authoritative Source may be biased by a point of view Can be used to generate new ideas that can later be tested empirically
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Rational Method Pioneered by Descartes Steps involved Willingness to doubt the truth of anything Search for “self-evident” truths Deduce a new truth from the self-evident truths Power of the method lies in logical deduction of truths from self-evident truths Unfortunately, few self-evident truths exist The rational method is not used to develop scientific explanations The method is used to develop testable hypotheses
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The Scientific Method The goal of science is to develop general laws Only the scientific method can lead to general laws The scientific method consists of four steps Observing a phenomenon Formulating testable explanations (hypotheses) Further observing and experimenting Refining and retesting explanations The scientific method can be tedious and time consuming But the results are worth the effort
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The Scientific Method: Four Steps Observing a Phenomenon While observing a phenomenon, you identify the VARIABLES that appear important in explaining behavior Formulating Tentative Explanations Initial observations allow you to develop a HYPOTHESIS, or tentative statement, about the relationships among the variables identified
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Further Observing and Experimenting You carry out more detailed OBSERVATIONS of the behavior of interest These observations are directed at testing your hypothesis Refining and Retesting Explanations Supported hypotheses are often REFINED and subjected to further exploration Disconfirmed hypotheses may be reworked and RETESTED
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The Steps of the Research Process Developing an idea and a hypothesis Choosing an appropriate research design Choosing an appropriate subject population Deciding on what to observe Conducting a study Analyzing data Reporting results
© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The Research Process
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