2The Science of Psychology PsychologistsDevelop theoriesConduct researchAnswer questions about behavior and mental processes
3Example: Media Violence and Aggression Exposure to media violence causesIncrease in aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviorsShort- and long-term effectsEffects of media violenceConsistent acrossResearch studies and methodsPeopleTypes of media
4Media Violence and Aggression, continued Long-term studiesChildhood exposure to media violence→ adult aggressionTheories about exposure to violence“Activates” aggressive cognitions and arousalModels aggressive behaviorsDesensitizes people to violence
5Media Violence and Aggression, continued Factors affect likelihood of aggressive response following media violenceCharacteristics of viewersSocial environmentMedia contentNo one is immune to the effects of media violence.
6The Scientific Method “Scientific method” Two important aspects An abstract conceptNot a particular technique or methodWays in which scientists ask questionsLogic and methods used to gain answersTwo important aspectsEmpirical approachSkeptical attitude
7The Scientific Method, continued Empirical approachObserve behaviors directlyExperimentationSystematic control
8Science in Context Historical, Social/Cultural, and Moral Historical ContextIncreased scope of scientific psychologyPsychological organizations: APA, APSEarly 1900s: empirical approach20th century: computer revolutionShift: behaviorism to cognitive psychology
9Science in Context, continued Social and Cultural ContextZeitgeist influencesResearch questionsResources for scienceSociety’s acceptance of psychological researchPotential bias of ethnocentrism
10Science in Context, continued EthnocentrismUnderstand behavior of individuals in different culture through framework of own cultureBe aware of cultural influences.Consider research questions that go against stereotypes.Ethnocentric bias influences how we interpret behavior.Example: Stereotypes based on clothing, hairstyle, body art
11Science in Context, continued Moral ContextHigh standards for integrity and ethical conductScientists do notFabricate dataPlagiarizeSelectively report research findings
12Science in Context, continued Ethical Principles of APAEvaluate research dilemmas involvingRisks and benefitsDeceptionAnimal research
13Thinking Like a Researcher Think like a researcher: Be skepticalEven of claims based on “published” findingsand claims presented in the mediaStrongest evidenceConverging evidenceAll claims are probabilistic.
14Thinking Like a Researcher, continued Science and Legal SystemBoth make decisions based on evidence.Legal systemSmall amount of evidence leads to suspicionLarge amount of evidence is needed to convict
15Guidelines for Evaluating Reports of Psychological Research Pseudoscience ≠ scienceBe skeptical.Scientists may disagree.Research is generally about averages.Go to the original source.
16Getting Started Doing Research What should I study?Choose a research topic by reviewingPsychology journals, textbooksCourses in psychologyGet involved in researchAttend colloquiaJoin a research teamMost important: Read reports of psychological research.
17Getting Started, continued Research hypothesesA hypothesis (plural: hypotheses) isA tentative explanation for a phenomenonStated in the form of a prediction and an explanation
18Getting Started, continued Example hypothesisResearch participants who play violent video games are predicted to behave more aggressively than participants who passively watch televised violencebecausevideo-game participants’ aggression is reinforced (rewarded) while playing the game.
19Getting Started, continued An alternative hypothesisResearch participants who play violent video games are predicted to behave less aggressively than participants who passively watch televised violencebecausevideo-game participants have the opportunity to release any aggressive impulses.
20The Multimethod Approach One scientific methodMany psychological research questions and research methodsDifferent areas of psychology require multiple methodsclinical, social, industrial/organizational, developmental, counseling, physiological, cognitive, educational, personality, human factors, neuropsychology, etc.
22The Multimethod Approach, continued No perfect research methodEach method or measure of behavior has flawsMultimethod approachFlaws associated with any particular method are overcome by other methods to fill in the gaps
23The Multimethod Approach, continued “Toolbox” with different tools for conducting researchFocus of this courseIntroduce different research tools
24Steps of the Research Process Develop a research question.Generate a research hypothesis.Form operational definitions.Choose a research design.Evaluate the ethics of your research.Collect and analyze data; form conclusions.Report research results.
25Have you heard or read media reports about psychological research? Discussion QuestionsHave you heard or read media reports about psychological research?Did you accept the report without questions?Why or why not?Did you have enough information?What do other scientists say about the topic?Could the reporter be biased?
26Discussion Questions, continued Do you remember ever being skeptical about research presented in the media?Why were you skeptical?What information would have made you less skeptical?Did a finding seem “too good to be true”?Did anyone have anything to gain through the report?Have the findings been replicated (repeated)?
27Discussion Questions, continued What research topics in psychology interest you?What hypotheses can you form about your topic?What relationships might exist between variables (factors) you’ve identified?Can you make predictions regarding your topic?Can you identify potential causes for the behavior or phenomenon?
28Discussion Questions, continued Does your cultural background influence your choice of topic and hypotheses?Would people with different backgrounds view your topic similarly?Consider people with different sex, age, racial, socioeconomic status than yourself.Might these characteristics make a difference for your topic?Are there other cultural variables that would make a difference?
29Discussion Questions, continued What research topics and theories are currently popular among psychologists?What psychology research topics are investigated at your school?
30Discussion Questions, continued How might our current social and cultural context be related to the prominence of certain research topics?To what extent does ethnocentrism play a role in the prominence of current research topics?