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Thinking like a psychologist: The tools of the trade.

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Presentation on theme: "Thinking like a psychologist: The tools of the trade."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thinking like a psychologist: The tools of the trade

2 The need for psychological science Common sense and gut instincts are not enough. Intuition has limits. – “You must not fool yourself- and you are the easiest person to fool.” Hindsight bias and overconfidence often lead us to overestimate our intuition. But scientific inquiry can help us sift reality from illusion. Is psychology a “soft” science?

3 The Scientific Attitude Skeptical, not cynical; open, but not gullible. – A hard-headed curiosity. – An empirical approach, following the facts. – Humility; the ability to let go of preconceptions. – Critical thinking: not blindly accepting arguments and conclusions; evaluating evidence and assessing conclusions.

4 The same scientific method 1. Form a question based on a theory 2. Form a hypothesis (a testable prediction) 3. Test the hypothesis, using precise operational definitions 4. Analyze the results 5. Draw conclusions Publish and replicate!

5 Part 1: Descriptive methods of research Simplest method of scientific research used in psychology Most widely used Used to describe mental processes and behavior Are NOT used to establish cause and effect relationships

6 Surveys Advantages: Disadvantages:

7 Tests Advantages: Disadvantages:

8 Case studies Advantages: Disadvantages:

9 Longitudinal studies Advantages: Disadvantages:

10 Cross-sectional studies Advantages: Disadvantages:

11 Naturalistic observations Advantages: Disadvantages:

12 Laboratory observations Advantages: Disadvantages:

13 Part 2: Formal experiments The only method that allows you to identify true cause and effect relationships Researchers administer a treatment, then carefully observe the subjects to see how the treatment influences their behavior, if at all. Advantages: Researchers are better able to control and manipulate the conditions of the subjects and have a better opportunity to determine cause and effect Disadvantages: the conditions in the lab may not accurately reflect the conditions in the real world, and errors can lead to faulty conclusions Use the web to define the following terms/concepts on the next slide:

14 A closer look at experiments Random assignment: Independent variable: Dependent variable: Confounding variable:

15 A closer look at experiments (cont.) Experimental group: Control group: Placebo: Single-blind study: Double-blind study:

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