# Chapter 1: Research Methods

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Chapter 1: Research Methods

Psychological Research
Scientific Observation: A systematic empirical investigation that is structured to answer questions about the world Research Method: Systematic approach to answering scientific questions

Correlations Existence of a consistent, systematic relationship between two events, measures, or variables

Scatterplots, showing patterns of correlations
Perfect positive correlation (+1.00) No relationship (0.00) Perfect negative correlation (-1.00) Scatterplots, showing patterns of correlations

Scatterplot of Height and Temperament
Correlation 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 Temperament scores Height in inches Scatterplot of Height and Temperament

Positive Correlation Increases in one measure are matched by increases in the other measure

Negative Correlation Increases in one measure are matched by decreases in the other measure

Coefficient of Correlation
Statistical index ranging from to that indicates direction and degree of correlation Closer the statistic is to –1.00 or to +1.00, the stronger the relationship Correlation of 0.00 demonstrates no relationship between the variables

Correlation and Causation
Correlation does not demonstrate causation: Just because two variables are related does NOT mean that one variable causes the other to occur

Naturalistic Observation
Observing a person or an animal in the environment in which the person or animal lives

Limitations Observer Effect: Changes in a subject’s behavior caused by an awareness of being observed Observer Bias: Occurs when observers see what they expect to see or record only selected details Anthropomorphic Error: Attributing human thoughts, feelings, or motives to animals, especially as a way of explaining their behavior (e.g., “Anya my cat is acting like that because she’s feeling depressed today.”)

The Survey Method Using public polling techniques to answer psychological questions Representative Sample: Small group that accurately reflects a larger population Population: Entire group of animals or people belonging to a particular category (e.g., all married women) Courtesy Bias: Problem in research; a tendency to give “polite” or socially desirable answers

The Clinical Method Case Study: In-depth focus of all aspects of a single subject Natural Clinical Tests: Natural events, such as accidents, that provide psychological data

Experiments A formal trial to confirm/disconfirm a hypothesis and to identify cause and effect relationships

The Scientific Method Six Basic Elements Observing Defining a problem
Proposing a hypothesis (an educated guess that can be tested) Gathering evidence/testing the hypothesis Publishing results Building a theory

Hypothesis Predictable outcome of an experiment or an educated guess about the relationship between variables Operational Definition: States exact procedures used to represent a concept. Allows abstract ideas to be tested in real-world terms

Performing an Experiment
Directly vary a condition you might think affects behavior Create two or more groups of subjects, alike in all ways except the condition you are varying Record whether varying the condition has any effect on behavior

Variables Any condition that can change and that might affect the outcome of an experiment

Independent Variable Condition(s) altered by the experimenter; experimenter sets their size, amount, or value. These are suspected causes for behavioral differences

Dependent Variable Measures the results of the experiment; Condition is affected by independent variable

Extraneous Variables Conditions that a researcher wants to prevent from affecting the outcomes of the experiment (e.g., number of hours slept before the experiment)

Groups Experimental Group: The group of subjects that gets the independent variable Control Group: The group of subjects that does NOT get the independent variable Random Assignment: Subject has an equal chance of being in either the experimental or control group

Placebo A fake pill (sugar) or injection (saline)
Placebo Effect: Changes in behavior that result from expectations that a drug or other treatment will have some effect; the belief that one has taken an active drug

Experiment Types Single Blind: Only the subjects have no idea whether they are in the experimental or control group Double Blind: The subjects AND the experimenters have no idea whether the subjects are in the control or experimental group Best type of experiment if properly set up

Experimenter Effects Changes in subjects’ behavior caused by the unintended influence of the experimenter’s actions Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A prediction that leads people to act in ways to make the prediction come true

Assessing Experiments
Reliability the extent to which a test yields consistent results assessed by consistency of scores on: two halves of the test alternate forms of the test retesting Validity the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to

Statistical Reasoning
Mode the most frequently occurring score in a distribution Mean the arithmetic average of a distribution obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores Median the middle score in a distribution half the scores are above it and half are below it

Statistical Reasoning
A Skewed Distribution 90 475 710 70 Mode Median Mean One Family Income per family in thousands of dollars

Assessing Intelligence
Standardization defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested “standardization group” Normal Curve the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extremes

Normal Distribution

The Normal Curve

Statistical Reasoning
Range the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution Standard Deviation a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean Statistical Significance a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance

Variance and Standard Deviation
SD= √variance What does this mean?

Critical Thinking Ability to analyze, evaluate, compare, critique, and synthesize information

Ethics in Psychology Informed consent Debrief
Protection of Participants Deception Confidentiality Withdrawal from Experiment