1 3 research in psychology experimental methods
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1.3 Research in Psychology: Experimental Methods

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1.3 Research in Psychology: Experimental Methods. Pgs. 25 - 29. The Use of Experiments in Psychology. GOAL: establish cause and effect relationship between two variables Experiment: Quantitative research (generates numerical data) Variables

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the use of experiments in psychology
The Use of Experiments in Psychology
  • GOAL: establish cause and effect relationship between two variables
  • Experiment:
    • Quantitative research (generates numerical data)
  • Variables
    • Independent Variable (IV): variable being manipulated or changed in the study
    • Dependent variable (DV): the variable that is being measured

Variables must be Operationalized, i.e. they must be measurable.

apply your knowledge pg 26
Apply your knowledge – pg 26
  • Operationalize your variables by considering each of the following descriptions and deciding whether it is an example of aggression or not.
    • Two men fight over a parking space
    • A football player kicks the ball into a goal
    • Two girls give a boy the “silent treatment” on the playground
    • A man kicks the back of the car when it will not start
    • Three students have a heated debate about whether global warming is happening.
  • Know write a well worded definition of aggression.
the experiment
The Experiment
  • The Experimental Hypothesis predicts the relationships between the IV and the DV
  • Null Hypothesis: predicts that there will be no results or that the results will be due to chance.
  • The Control Group has no experimental actions applied to it.
    • Accept the null hypothesis
    • Refute the null hypothesis
    • Except experimental hypothesis if demonstrate effect due to IV manipulation.
be a thinker pg 27
Be a Thinker pg 27
  • Identify the IV and DV in each of the experimental hypotheses:
  • People are more likely to make a risky decision when they are in a group than when they are alone.
  • An increase in carbohydrates decreases ones ability to concentrate.
  • People will react more quickly to an auditory stimulus than a visual stimulus.
  • Lack of sleep will affect learning new word negatively.
  • Children who have watched a film with a model hitting a blow-up doll will exhibit more aggressive acts toward a blow-up doll than children who have not watched the film.
different kinds of experiments
Different Kinds of Experiments
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Field experiments
  • Natural experiments
laboratory experiments
Laboratory experiments
  • Pros:
    • Easy to control
    • Easy to replicate
  • Cons
    • Artificial environment
    • What is the ecological value?
    • Would your result stand up outside of a lab setting?
field experiment
Field Experiment
  • Pros
    • Used in Social Psychology
    • Takes place in natural environments, but IV is still manipulated.
    • e.g. Piliavin and Rodin (1969) helping behavior in a New York Subway
    • Kitty Genevese1964
    • The bystander effect
  • Cons
    • Cannot control all variables
natural experiment
Natural Experiment
  • Natural experiment or quasi – the researchers have no control over the variables
    • Research on stoke patients
    • Cannot change gender
    • Children who have been separated from their parents due to war
points to consider with experiments
Points to consider with experiments
  • ConfoundingVariables: undesirable variables that influence the relationship between the IV and DV.
  • Artificiality – the situation is so unlikely that one has to wonder if there is any validity to the study
points to consider with experiments cont
Points to consider with experiments cont.,
  • Three of the most common confounding variables:
    • Demand characteristics or Hawthorn Effect –participants behave in a manner that they think they should to meet the demands of the study.
      • To overcome – Single Blind control – participants do not know what the study is about.
    • Researcher Bias or observer bias- the researchers sees what he wants to see.
      • To overcome – Double Blind control – the participants & researcher do notknow who is in the control group vs. experimental group
    • Participant Variability – sample represents same characteristics
      • Overcome – random sampling
correlation studies
Correlation studies
  • Not all experiments can be carried out, however, data can reveal relationships between two variables = Correlations
  • Correlation – as one variable changes the other variable changes. This does not mean there is a cause and effect.
    • Positive correlation: as X increases Y increases
    • Negative correlation: as X increases, Y decreases
  • Note – no IV is manipulated, thus there is not cause and effect.
advantages of correlation studies
Advantages of Correlation Studies
  • They are simple and provide a numerical representations of the relationship that can be easily understood
  • They allow the study of a number of variables that cannot be manipulated experimentally.