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Science and Psychology

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1 Science and Psychology
Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology

2 Announcements Blackboard accounts should now work
Office hours are now posted Dr. Cutting: M 11-12, W 2-3 Degarmo 435D Kevin Wallpe: Tu 9-10 Degarmo 12 JD Hogue: W 9-10 Degarmo 12C Announcements

3 Exercise: How do we know?
Write down two things that you “know”. Write down HOW you “know” those things. Exercise: How do we know?

4 Compare the logic of these two examples:
Empiricism Scientific Method Our focus Experience Observation Type of knowledge Objective Subjective having existence outside of a person’s mind (“real”) existing in a person’s mind Persuasion Rationalism Deduction Logical reasoning Analysis Ways of knowing Authority Instruction Regulation (rules & laws) Tenacity Faith Intuition Acceptance Method of authority a person relies on information or answers from an expert in the subject area Problems people sometimes assume that a person’s status as an authority in one area transfers into some other area (e.g. athletes eating cereals are not nutrition experts) authorities can be biased (e.g. psychodynamic vs. behavioral psychologists) answers from an expert may represent subjective opinion rather than true expert knowledge expert’s statements are often accepted without question just being called an expert does not make someone an expert  The method of intuition information is accepted as true because it “feels right”; you rely on your intuition Problem reliability there is not mechanism for separating accurate from inaccurate knowledge The method of tenacity information is accepted as true because it has always been believed or because superstition supports it (e.g. black cats and “opposites attract”) accuracy difficult to correct in the face of evidence  The rational method involves seeking answers by logical reasoning uses arguments consisting of premises and conclusions if the premise statements are true and the logic is sound, then the conclusion is guaranteed to be correct Example:      All 3-year-old children are afraid of the dark.      Amy is a 3-year-old girl.  Therefore, Amy is afraid of the dark. unless the premise statements are absolutely true, we cannot draw any conclusions about Amy people are not particularly good at logical reasoning  Compare the logic of these two examples:  Example 1  All psychologists are human.  Some humans wear glasses.  Therefore, some psychologists wear glasses  Example 2  All apples are fruits.  Some fruits are oranges.  Therefore, some apples are oranges  The method of empiricism uses observation or direct sensory experience to obtain knowledge we can not necessarily believe everything we see (e.g. illusions) misinterpretation of observation your perceptions can be drastically altered by prior knowledge, expectations, feelings and beliefs  Methods of Inquiry

5 Methods of Inquiry The Scientific Method
A method used to test and analyze claims about behavior Uses systematic observation and experimentation 4 Cannons of the Scientific method: Empiricism, Determinism, Parsimony, Testability A 6 step process (your book breaks it into 7 slightly different steps) Methods of Inquiry

6 Scientific Method Step 1: Observation (Empiricism)
Pay attention to the world around you, look for generalizations write down two generalizations that you have observed about people’s behavior Two classes of generalizations Descriptive generalizations – just describe how it is/what was seen, how frequent, without making predictions Cause and effect generalizations – makes predictions about the observed relationship between two (or more) things. (Determinism: phenomenon have identifiable causes) Scientific Method

7 Scientific Method Step 2: Develop a theory or hypothesis
Identify the variables associated with your observations Variables The characteristics of the behavior and the surrounding context An explanation for the observed behavior(s) How are the variables related to one another? May be based on past research, common sense, intuition, logic, etc. Scientific Method

8 Scientific Method Step 3: Generate a testable prediction
Testability: Need to specify how your hypothesis can be tested through observation. The relevant variables must be defined and observable. Falsification is at the heart of the scientific method Scientists don’t try to prove a theory, but rather set out to refute (“disprove”) theories Refutable hypotheses - must be stated in a way that allows the potential for it to be wrong Karl Popper wiki Scientific Method

9 Scientific Method Step 4: Make systematic observations
Observational and experimental methods Which variables will we examine? How do we measure these variables? Which variables can we systematically manipulate? What variables need to be controlled? Were (from whom) will we collect the observations? Scientific Method

10 Scientific Method Step 5: Evaluate your evidence Refutes theory
Supports theory (not “proves the theory”) Leads to the revision of the theory Consider alternative theories There are always alternative explanations Parsimony: Simple explanations are preferred over more complex ones Scientific Method

11 Scientific Method Step 6: Repeat new hypotheses systematic
predictions systematic observations systematic observations predictions hypotheses observations Scientific Method

12 Psychology as a science
Write down the names of three scientists What field of science do they belong to? Write down the name of a famous psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud Dr. Phil (McGraw) Do they represent the standard psychologist? NO! Psychology is a diverse discipline ISU’s Psych Dept has 6 different groups APA has 54 different divisions of psychology Psychology as a science

13 Psychology as a science
What is science? What are the goals of science? Is psychology a science? Yes Studies the full range of human behavior using scientific methods Applications derived from this knowledge is scientifically based Psychology as a science

14 Psychology as a science
Psychology’s goals are similar to the goals of the physical sciences (e.g., physics and chemistry) Psychologists are concerned with the behavior of people (and animals) rather than the physical world. How is psychology different from the physical sciences? Human (and animal) behavior is typically much more variable than most physical systems. Statistical control Methodological control Often the thing of interest requires indirect measurement (and thus underlying assumptions) Psychology as a science

15 5 Goals of psychology Description of behavior Prediction of behavior
Describe events, what changes what might affect change, what might be related to what, etc. Prediction of behavior Given X what will likely happen Control of behavior For the purpose of interventions (e.g., how do we prevent violence in schools) Causes of behavior Sometimes predictions aren’t enough, want to know how the X and the outcome are related Develop specific theories Explanation of behavior A complete theory of the how’s and why’s Simplest Complex 5 Goals of psychology

16 Next time Developing your research ideas Reviewing the literature
Moving from ideas to hypotheses Chapter 2 Next time

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