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PSYC 3450 Experimental Psychology. Course Instructo r : Alla Chavarga Monday 9:05-10:45am. Course Syllabus. Syllabus handout. Your ONLY homework assignment!. Email me: [email protected] Subject: Your Name PSYCH 3450 – Name of TA. Attendance. Course Format: Lecture & Lab.

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psyc 3450 experimental psychology

PSYC 3450Experimental Psychology

Course Instructor: Alla Chavarga

Monday 9:05-10:45am

course syllabus
Course Syllabus
  • Syllabus handout
  • Your ONLY homework assignment!
  • Subject: Your Name PSYCH 3450 – Name of TA
  • Attendance
  • Course Format: Lecture & Lab
  • Required Textbook
chapter 1 scientific thinking in psychology
CHAPTER 1Scientific Thinking in Psychology

Why take this course?

How do we come to know things?

Science as a way of knowing

Psychological Science vs. Pseudoscience

Goals of Research

why take this course
Why take this course?
  • Learn how to do research in Psychology
  • Process vs. content
  • Informed and critical consumption of information
  • Responsibility as a clinician
  • How to Get into Grad School 101
how do we come to know things
How do we come to know things?

I know three things:

Correlation does not prove causation.


Socrates has ten fingers.


(a priori)

The sun will come up tomorrow.


(a priori)


how do we come to know things1
How do we come to know things?

Empiricism – the process of learning things through direct observation or experience, and reflecting on those experiences.

Sounds legit. What could be wrong about this method?

Social Cognition Biases

Belief perseverance – the tendency to hold on to a belief, even in the face of contradictory evidence.

Confirmation Bias – tendency to seek out information only in support of belief, ignoring contradictory information.

Availability heuristic – tendency to overestimate the frequency with which unusual or memorable events occur

science as a way of knowing
Science as a way of knowing

Scientific Method - the most reliable way to develop a belief; independent of pre-existing bias and opinion.

Hypothesis  Experiment  Conclusion


  • Determinism

All events have causes.

Statistical determinism.

  • Discoverability

Through systematic observation, these causes can be found.

science as a way of knowing1
Science as a way of knowing

Scientific methods are characterized by objectivity.

Scientists need not be perfect; their results simply need be publicly verified and replicated.

  • Specific, detailed descriptions of method.

Scientists are data-driven.

Science produces tentative conclusions.

Science asks answerable questions.

Science develops theories that can be disproven.

science as a way of knowing2
Science as a way of knowing

Some important concepts:

  • Hypothesis
  • Theory – a set of statements that summarize what is known about some phenomenon and propose working explanations for those phenomena.
  • Falsification
psychological science vs pseudoscience
Psychological Science vs. Pseudoscience
  • Pseudoscience: any field of inquiry that appears to be scientific but is based on inadequate scientific methods and typically produces false conclusions.
  • May seem convincing! Anecdotal evidence; effort justification
  • Sidesteps disproof
the goals of research
The Goals of Research
  • Description
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Application
lab prep
Lab Prep
  • Typically, at the end of a lecture, we will do a mini-lecture consisting of the material to be presented in lab that very week.
  • Often times, you will be responsible for writing up the experiment you will perform in lab, so please pay special attention to the definitions and concepts presented.