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The Scientific Method. Key Issues in Human Development. 1- Heredity and Environment Heredity-oriented theories assume an important role of underlying biological structures. They point out that specific genes may underlie development and behavior.

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key issues in human development
Key Issues in Human Development

1- Heredity and Environment

Heredity-oriented theories assume an important role of underlying biological structures. They point out that specific genes may underlie development and behavior.

Environmental explanations focus on the individual’s experience pertaining to thinking, health, and social factors

key issues in human development4
Key Issues in Human Development
  • Heredity and environment interact, but theorists still disagree over the relative contributions of each and the manner of their interaction.
  • The position that the theorists take on this question determines the direction and nature of their research
key issues in human development5
Key Issues in Human Development

2- Maturation and Learning

Maturation refers to biological processes.

Learning refers to change over time related to practice or experience.

When development is considered in terms of maturation and learning, the emphasis is on time.

Example: How is the biological event of menopause affected by a woman’s lifestyle (experience)?

key issues in human development6
Key Issues in Human Development

3- Critical Versus Sensitive Periods

Optimal periods during which certain types of learning occur best

Readiness refers to reaching a maturational point at which a specific behavior can be learned


The effects of certain diseases during pregnancy

Acquiring a second language during an early age

The critical time span several hours after birth during which goslings become bonded to the mother (imprinting)

what makes research scientific
What Makes Research Scientific?

1- Precision

2- Skepticism

3- Reliance on Empirical Evidence

4- The Principle of Falsifiability

5- Openness? Replication

issues in data collection
Issues in Data Collection

1- Sampling

Random Sampling

Representative Sample

2- Reliability

The degree of consistency with which a

test or scale measures something.

3- Validity

The extent to which a test or scale measures

what it is supposed to measure


1- Internal Validity

What happened to the experimental group actually caused the new behavior.

2- External Validity

The extent to which an experiment corresponds to what happens in the real world

3- Construct

how do psychologists observe and describe behavior
How Do Psychologists Observe and Describe Behavior?

1- Descriptive Method

2- Correlational Studies

3- Experimental Method

methods of studying behavior
1- Descriptive Methods

Approaches that primarily involve the observation and description of behavior

Methods of Studying Behavior
methods of studying behavior15
Methods of Studying Behavior

2- Correlational Studies

Examine the relationship between two variables to determine whether they are associated or correlated

methods of studying behavior16
3- Experimental Methods

Approaches that go beyond description and attempt to determine what causes what in development and behavior

Methods of Studying Behavior
descriptive approaches
Descriptive Approaches

1- Case Studies

2- Systematic Observation

3- Questionnaires and Surveys

4- Psychological Testing

5- Developmental Research Design

case study
Case Study

Sometimes are called baby biographies

They involve extensive interviews with a particular individual or a small group of individuals


1- The lack of standardization

2- Reliance on language

systematic observation
Naturalistic Observation

Occurs in a natural setting such as studying apes in the wild or people in bars

Laboratory Observation

The psychologist has more control

One shortcoming is that the presence of researchers and special equipment may cause subjects to behave differently

Systematic Observation
questionnaires and surveys
Questionnaires and Surveys

Interview that ask people directly about their experiences, attitudes, or opinions


The difficulty of getting a representative sample

When dealing with volunteers, we may have volunteer bias

psychological tests
Psychological Tests

Sometimes called assessment instruments

Are procedures used for measuring and evaluating personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes, interests, abilities, and values

psychological testing
Objective Tests

Also called Inventories

Measure beliefs, feelings, or behaviors of which the individual is aware

Have more reliability and validity

Projective Tests

Designed to tap unconscious feelings or motives

Psychological Testing
projective tests
Projective Tests

1- Association Techniques

The Rorschach Test

The Word Association Test

2- Completion Techniques

Sentence Completion Tests

Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Study

projective tests26
Projective Tests

3- Construction Techniques

The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) The Picture Projective Test (PPT)

4- Expression Techniques

The Draw-a-person Test

The House-tree-person Test

developmental research
Developmental Research

1- The Longitudinal Design

2- The Cross-Sectional Design

3- The Sequential-Cohort Design

1 the longitudinal design
1- The Longitudinal Design

A group of individuals is studied repeatedly at different points in the lifespan


a. Large investments in time and money

b. Some subjects drop out or die

c. Some subjects become testwise

d. Changes in individuals may be due to the time of measurement rather than development

2 the cross sectional design
2- The Cross-Sectional Design

Compares individuals of different ages at one point of time


a. It tells us more about age groups than about development within the individuals

b. The cohorts differ not only in chronological age but also in the time period in which they were born

3 the sequential cohort design
3- The Sequential-Cohort Design

A mix of the two types of research


Studying a group of 4-year-olds, a group of 8-year-olds, and a group of 12-year-olds each 2 years comparing them longitudinally and cross-sectionally

defining psychology
Defining Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviorand mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s physical state, mental state, and external environment.

correlational study by craig anderson karen dill 2000
Correlational Study by Craig Anderson & Karen Dill (2000)

The Effects of playing violent video games on behavior, especially aggressive behavior

correlational study by anderson and dill 2000
Correlational Study by Anderson and Dill (2000)


A correlational study based on questionnaires and personality measures administered to a large number of college students

correlational study by anderson and dill 200035
Correlational Study by Anderson and Dill (2000)


Analysis of data indicated that playing violent video games was strongly and positively correlated with two factors:

a. Aggressive delinquent behavior in real life

b. Aggressive personality characteristics

correlational studies
Correlational Studies

Examine the relationship between two variables to determine whether they are associated or correlated

Establishing a correlation between 2 variables does not indicatecausality

experimental methods anderson and dill 2000
Experimental Methods Anderson and Dill (2000)

The Effects of playing violent video games on behavior, especially aggressive behavior


Playing violent video games would increase aggressive behavior

the outcome of the experiment
The Outcome of the Experiment

The results confirmed that participants who played a violent video game behaved more aggressively than participants who played a nonviolent video game.

experimental methods46
Experimental Methods

They tell us about cause and effect

The investigator manipulates one set of variables (independent variables)and observes their influence on another set of variables(dependent variables)

To establish causality, experimenters compare different groups, experimental groups and control groups.

experimental design
Experimental Design


Who are the subjects?

What is the independent variable?

What is the variable that is going to change because of manipulation?

What is the dependent variable?

If there were changes in behavior, what was the causative agent?

What was the outcome of the experiment in one sentence?

ethics in research
Ethics in Research

1- Freedom from Harm

2- Informed Consent

3- Use of Deception

4- Maintenance of Privacy

understand these terms

Correlational studies

Experimental method

Independent variable

Dependent variable

Experimental group

Control Group




Representative sampling


Understand these Terms
design your own research
Design Your Own Research

1- You want to examine the effect of watching violent movies on the behavior of children, what design are you going to use, cross-sectional, longitudinal, or sequential-cohort design?

2- What is your hypothesis?

3- How many groups are you going to have? Why?

4- What is the population you are going to experiment on? How are you going to select your sample?

5- If you want to establish causality, what technique are you going to use, correlational, observational, case studies, or experimental?

6- What is the methodology?

7- Where are you going to conduct the experiment?

8- What are the dependent variables?

9- What are the independent variables?

10-Do you think your experiment has internal and external validity? Why?