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Dr. William G. Huitt Valdosta State University Introduction to Psychology Last revised: May 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. William G. Huitt Valdosta State University Introduction to Psychology Last revised: May 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. William G. Huitt Valdosta State University Introduction to Psychology Last revised: May 2005

2 Why Study Psychology Learn more about yourself Investigate psychology as a major Learn more about others Need a social science course Learn more about how others influence you Learn more about how you influence others

3 Ways to Validate Truth or Reality Intuition Religious scripture and interpretation Philosophy and logical reasoning Science and the scientific method Social and/or cultural consensus Personal experience

4 Scientific Method –The orderly, systematic process researchers follow as they identify a research issue, question or problem, design a study to investigate the issue, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, and communicate their findings –The database that is developed using the scientific method

5 Purpose for Using Scientific Method Description Explanation Prediction Understanding Influence or Control Database Facts & Concepts Theories Principles Laws

6 Critieria for Using Scientific Method Knowledge must be grounded in experience Knowledge must be grounded in a paradigm or exemplar Any hypothesis must be potentially falsifiable

7 Psychology Definition –The scientific study of behavior and mental processes (or mind and behavior) especially as it relates to individual human beings Related areas of study –Philosophy –Other sciences Biology Sociology Anthropology History –Literature and the arts –Religion

8 Science or common sense? psychology/Commonsense2.htm

9 Psychology Goals of Psychology –Description First step in understanding most behaviors or mental processes Describes the behavior or mental process of interest as accurately and completely as possible Tells what occurred –Prediction When researchers can specify the conditions under which a behavior or event is likely to occur

10 Psychology Goals of Psychology (continued) –Explanation Requires an understanding of the conditions under which a given behavior or mental process occurs Enables researchers to state the causes of the behavior or mental process they are studying Tells why a given event or behavior occurred –Influence or Control When researchers know how to apply a principle or change a condition to prevent unwanted occurrences or to bring about desired outcomes

11 Psychology Two types of research that help psychologists accomplish these goals –Basic research Research conducted to advance knowledge rather than for its practical application –Example: studying the nature of memory –Applied research Research conducted to solve practical problems –Example: exploring methods to improve memory

12 Psychology Critical thinking –The process of objectively evaluating claims, propositions, or conclusions to determine whether they follow logically from the evidence presented –Critical thinking is the disciplined mental activity of evaluating arguments or propositions and making judgments that can guide the development of beliefs and taking action. –The foundation of the scientific method

13 Psychology Creative thinking –Producing new ideas or thoughts. Imaginative thinking that is aimed at producing outcomes that involve synthesis of ideas or lateral thinking; thinking that is more synthetical than analytical, sometimes referred to as divergent thinking.

14 Descriptive Research Methods Descriptive research methods –Research methods that yield descriptions of behavior rather than causal explanations Naturalistic observation Laboratory observation Case studies Surveys Interviews Questionnaires

15 Research Methods Description Explanation Prediction Understanding Influence or Control Type of Study Descriptive Correlational Experimental Theoretical

16 Population vs Sample Population –The entire group that is of interest to researchers and to which they wish to generalize their findings; the group from which a sample is selected Sample –The portion of any population that is selected for study and from which generalizations are made about the larger population

17 Selecting A Sample Representative sample –A sample of participants selected from the larger population in such a way that important subgroups within the population are included in the sample in the same proportions as they are found in the larger population –Biased sample A sample that does not adequately reflect the larger population –Random sample A sample selected where everyone in the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample

18 Descriptive Research Methods Naturalistic observation Laboratory observation Case study Survey Interviews Questionnaires

19 Correlational Method Correlational method –A research method used to establish the degree of relationship (correlation) between two characteristics, events, or behaviors –For use when it is impossible to manipulate variables of interest

20 Correlational Method Correlational coefficient –A numerical value that indicates the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables –Coefficients range from (a perfect positive correlation) to –1.00 (a perfect negative correlation) –The further the correlation coefficient is from zero, the stronger the coefficient –The sign determines the direction of the relationship (+) Positive – as one variable increases, the other must also increase (-) Negative – as one variable increases, the other must decrease

21 Experimental Method Experimental method –The research method in which researchers: randomly assign participants to a control group or an experimental group control all conditions other than one or more independent variables, which are then manipulated determine their effect on some behavioral measure, the dependent variable in the experiment –Variable Any condition or factor that can be manipulated, controlled, or measured

22 Experimental Method Independent variable –In an experiment, the factor or condition that the researcher manipulates in order to determine its effect on another behavior or condition known as the dependent variable –Sometimes referred to as the treatment Dependent variable –The variable that is measured at the end of an experiment and is presumed to vary as a result of manipulations of the independent variable

23 Experimental Method Experimental group –In an experiment, the group that is exposed to the independent variable, or the treatment Control group –In an experiment, a group that is similar to the experimental group and is exposed to the same experimental environment but is not exposed to the independent variable; used for purposes of comparison Hypothesis –A prediction about the relationship between two or more variables

24 Potential Problems Confounding variables –Any factors or conditions other than the independent variable that could cause observed changes in the dependent variable The placebo effect Selection bias Experimenter bias –Double-blind technique

25 Limitations of the experimental method The more control a researcher exercises over the setting, the more unnatural and contrived the research setting becomes Unethical or not possible in many areas of interest –For instance, researchers could not addict humans to tobacco to establish that smoking tobacco causes cancer –Scientists could not testify that smoking tobacco causes cancer – only that smoking tobacco is highly correlated with cancer

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