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Psychology as a Science. In this lecture we will discuss: science - a method for understanding limits of common sense methods of science description correlation experimentation evaluating data with statistics sources of error and bias in research. Science vs. Common Sense.

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Psychology as a Science


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Psychology as a Science • In this lecture we will discuss: • science - a method for understanding • limits of common sense • methods of science • description • correlation • experimentation • evaluating data with statistics • sources of error and bias in research

    2. Science vs. Common Sense • Common sense and intuition often tell us about psychology • e.g., suppose a study tells us that ‘separation weakens romantic attraction’ • common sense may tell us - “out of sight, out of mind” • or common sense may say the opposite - “absence makes the heart grow fonder” • Common sense can be inconsistent and based on hindsight

    3. Science vs. Common Sense • Science helps build explanations that are consistent and predictive rather than conflicting and postdictive (hindsight) • Science is based on • knowledge of facts • developing theories • testing hypotheses • public and repeatable procedures

    4. Scientific Inquiry • Facts are what need to be explained • objective - viewable by others • based on direct observation • reasonable observers agree are true • Theory is a set of ideas that • explains facts • makes predictions about new facts • Hypothesis • prediction about new facts • can be verified or falsified

    5. Methods in Psychology • Setting - field vs. laboratory • Methods of data collection • self-report vs. observational • Research plan or design • descriptive • correlational • experimental

    6. Descriptive Study • Describes a set of facts • Does not look for relationships between facts • Does not predict what may influence the facts • May or may not include numerical data • Example: measure the % of new students from out-of-state each year since 1980

    7. Correlational Study • Collects a set of facts organized into two or more categories • measure parents disciplinary style • measure children’s behavior • Examine the relation between categories • Correlation reveals relationships among facts • e.g., more democratic parents have children who behave better

    8. Correlational Study • Correlation cannot prove causation • Do democratic parents produce better behaved children? • Do better behaved children encourage parents to be democratic? • May be an unmeasured common factor • e.g., good neighborhoods produce democratic adults and well behaved children

    9. Experiments • Direct way to test a hypothesis about a cause-effect relationship between factors • Factors are called variables • One variable is controlled by the experimenter • e.g., democratic vs. authoritarian classroom • The other is observed and measured • e.g., cooperative behavior among students

    10. Experimental Variables • Independent variable • the controlled factor in an experiment • hypothesized to cause an effect on another variable • Dependent variable • the measured facts • hypothesized to be affected

    11. Independent Variable • Must have at least two levels • categories - male vs. female • numeric - ages 10, 12, 14 • Simplest is experimental vs. control • experimental gets treatment • control does not

    12. Experimental Design • Levels may differ between or within people • Within-subject experiment - different levels of the independent variable are applied to the same subject • Between-groups experiment - different levels of the independent variable are applied to different groups of subjects

    13. Experimental Design • Random sample - every member of the population being studied should have an equal chance of being selected for the study • Random assignment - every subject in the study should have an equal chance of being placed in either the experimental or control group • Randomization helps avoid false results

    14. Research Settings • Laboratory • a setting designed for research • provide uniform conditions for all subjects • permits elimination of irrelevant factors • may seem artificial • Field research • behavior observed in real-world setting • poor control over conditions • measures may be more representative of reality

    15. Data-Collection Methods • Self-report - procedures in which people rate or describe their own behavior or mental state • questionnaires • rating scales • on a scale from 1 to 7 rate your opinion of … • judgements about perceptions • on a scale from 1 to 100 how hot is ...

    16. Data-Collection Methods • Observational methods - researchers directly observe and record behavior rather than relying on subject descriptions • naturalistic observation - researcher records behavior as it occurs naturally • tests - researcher presents stimuli or problems and records responses