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Research Methods. Chapter 2. Fact of Falsehood?. 1. Human intuition is remarkably accurate and free from error 2. Most people seem to lack confidence in the accuracy of their beliefs 3. Case studies are particularly useful because of the similarities we all share

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fact of falsehood
Fact of Falsehood?
  • 1. Human intuition is remarkably accurate and free from error
  • 2. Most people seem to lack confidence in the accuracy of their beliefs
  • 3. Case studies are particularly useful because of the similarities we all share
  • 4. We tend to overestimate the number of people who share our attitudes and beliefs
fact or falsehood cont
Fact or Falsehood cont
  • 5. The opinions of 1,550 randomly selected people can provide a very accurate picture of the opinions of an entire nation
  • 6. Research suggests that college students spend more than 25% of their waking hours in conversation
  • 7. The scientific finding that children who watch violence on TV tend to be violent proves that viewing violence can cause it
fact or falsehood cont1
Fact or Falsehood cont
  • 8. The purpose of the experiment is to recreate behaviors exactly as they occur in everyday life
  • 9. As a science, psychology is objective and value-free
  • 10. States with the death penalty have lower homicide rates
  • Write out to the side how many you predict you got right
scientific method
Scientific Method
  • Theory- general framework for scientific study, has smaller parts which can be tested
  • Hypothesis- statement of the results the experimenter expects (prediction)
  • Subjects- people or animals on whom a study is conducted
  • Random Sampling/Assignment- a sample of subjects that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion and the sample has people of various ages, races, socioeconomic class, location, etc.
scientific method cont
Scientific Method cont
  • Variables-factors that change in the experiment
    • Sometimes there can be hidden variables that the experimenter did not think about
  • Independent Variable- the factor that the experimenter manipulates or changes in a study
    • It is independent of everything else in the study
  • Dependent Variable- the factor in a study that changes as a result of changes in the independent variable
    • Depends on the independent variable
lunatic experiment
Lunatic Experiment
  • Does a full moon really make people CrAzY?
  • We would compare mental hospital admission rates for 10 days before and after a full moon
  • Hypothesis- will rates increase, decrease, or remain the same over a full moon period?
  • Subjects- People who are admitted to the mental hospital during our experiment time period
lunatic experiment1
Lunatic Experiment
  • Independent Variable- moon phases (what is independent and changes)
  • Dependent Variable- hospital admission (what depends on independent variable and changes accordingly)
  • Any hidden variables we might not have accounted for?
  • Full moon was over a weekend. Hospital admissions always drop over the weekend so this showed that admissions went down.
  • Is this accurate? Should we do the experiment again?
scientific method cont1
Scientific Method cont
  • Controls- factors that you can control or manipulate
  • Subjects may be divided into groups
  • Experimental Group- group on which the critical part of the experiment is performed
  • Control Group- group that does not participate in the critical part of the experiment and is used to measure against experimental group
  • Groups need to be even in size and characteristics (age, race, health, social class)
scientific method cont2
Scientific Method cont
  • Placebo- “fake drug,” given to participants in the control group in a drug study, so they “think” they have drug as well and do not act different
  • Sometimes experimenters can act differently or interpret results differently if they know which group got the drug and which got the placebo
  • Double Blind Study- neither experimenter or participants know who got drug (so no one is biased- even unconsciously biased, and the experiment is as accurate as possible)
scientific method cont3
Scientific Method cont
  • Results- What happened?
  • Replicate- Results are not accurate until replicated by different experimenters
sleeping pill study
Sleeping Pill Study
  • Hypothesis- 300mg of Super Sleeper Pills will help an otherwise healthy person suffering from insomnia get sleep at night
  • Subjects- 2 groups of healthy people suffering from insomnia
  • Independent Variable- Super Sleeper Pills
  • Dependent Variable- amount of sleep
  • Control- Pills (I manipulate, some get it, some don’t)
sleeping pill study1
Sleeping Pill Study
  • Control Group- group that does NOT receive drug, receives placebo
  • Experimental Group- group that receives 300mg of Super Sleeper Pills
  • Results- what happened?
    • Sleeping pills did or did not help otherwise healthy people suffering from insomnia get a good night’s sleep
take it one step further
…take it one step further
  • What would we do if we wanted to see how much of Super Sleeper Pills were ideal?
  • 2 or more independent variables and experimental groups
  • Same hypothesis and subjects
  • Independent Variable- 500mgs, 300mgs, and 100mgs of Super Sleeper
  • Dependent Variable- amount of sleep
take it one step further1
…take it one step further
  • Control- amount of pills
  • Experimental Group- groups which receive pills
    • Group A 500mg, Group B 300mg, Group C 100mg
  • Control Group- group which does not receive Super Sleeper pills, instead receive placebo (used to compare against)
  • Results- what happened
    • Say 100mg of Super Sleeper are ideal, 500mg and 300mg are too much and leave the patient still very tired in the am
  • Hindsight Bias worksheet
things that hinder us
Things that hinder us
  • Sometimes we read into findings what we “expect” to happen
  • Its not on purpose- its unconscious human nature
  • Hindsight Bias- we tend to believe, after learning an outcome, that we would have foreseen it
    • “I knew it all along”
  • Answer yes or no as to whether or not you like the following items. Then guess the percentage of people in class who agree with you.
  • President Obama
  • Ice Cream
  • The Office
  • Glenn High School
  • American Idol
  • Reading for fun
things that hinder us cont
Things that hinder us cont
  • Overconfidence- we tend to think we know more then we do
    • How did you do on your rate test?
    • How did you do on your Fact or Falsehood test?
examples of overconfidence and hindsight bias
Examples of Overconfidence and Hindsight Bias
  • “There is no reason for anyone to have a computer in their home” – Ken Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Company, 1977
  • “Ronald Reagan doesn’t have the ‘presidential look’” – United Artists Executive when asked if famous actor Ronald Reagan should be offered the starring role as president in 1964’s The Best Man
  • “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible” – Lord Kelvin, British mathematician, 1895
  • “Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances” – Lee DeForest, inventor of the vacuum
  • “A severe depression like that of 1920-1921 is outside the range of possibility” – Harvard Economic Weekly, November 16 1929
  • Group 1 Studies have found that a hard practice the day before a game related to winning– explain why
  • Group 2 Studies have found that a hard practice the day before a game is related to losing– explain why
things that hinder us cont1
Things that hinder us cont
  • Confirmation Bias- tendency for people to believe information that confirms their beliefs, and disregard information that does not
  • You would use facts that help support your view and ignore facts that disprove it
    • Can be conscious or unconscious
random sampling activity
Random Sampling Activity
  • Most M&M sample packs contain about 24 M&Ms- in blue, brown, green, orange, red, and yellow
  • Draw the following chart
random sampling activity cont
Random Sampling Activity cont
  • Predict how many M&Ms each color will contain and write that in the first row. Then count from your bag and write down that beside it in the first row.
  • Decide if you would like to change your predictions. Write your new prediction in the second row. Then using averages write how many there are between you an your partner beside it in the second row
  • Decide if you would like to change your predictions. Write your new prediction in the third row. Then using averages we will as a class see how many there are of each color. Write that beside it in the third row
random sampling results
Random Sampling Results
  • Blue 24%, Brown 13%, Green 16%, Orange 20%, Red 13%, and Yellow 14%
is the grass always greener on the other side
Is the grass always greener on the other side?

If so how can we find out?

  • Now its time to put your skills to the test. You are to develop a question and go through the scientific process as if it was a true experiment- from hypothesis to conclusion. (Obviously you will have to “guess” your conclusion). Explain in detail how your experiment would be conducted.
  • Survey- method of research that involves asking subjects questions about feelings, opinions, or behavior
  • Pro- Gain detailed, personalized information
  • Con- Depending upon your method you may not reach a representative sample
    • If you send a survey in the mail most people will not take the time to fill it out and return it. You will not get an accurate representative sample
  • Con- Must avoid biases
  • Take the survey
survey wording
Survey Wording
  • Do participants know what a word means?
  • #2 Do participants know what “monogamy” means? Does “sexual freedom” mean sexually active, multiple partners, etc?
  • Survey of 1255 adults by the New York American Museum of Natural History found that 77% were interested in plants and trees but only 39% were interested in botany
  • Nightline found out that in 1992 32% Americans doubted that the Holocaust occurred. Once rephrased with an explanation of the word “Holocaust” 14% doubted that it occurred
survey wording cont
Survey Wording cont
  • Does the question make assumptions about participants? Will participants respond honestly?
  • #5 Does the wording “like most people” imply that lying is normal and lead to a higher percent of participants agreeing?
  • #6 Does the wording of the question imply that people exercise? Will participants respond truthfully? Or higher?
survey wording cont1
Survey Wording cont
  • Does the question provide correct anchors?
  • #7 and 8 participants with “500 miles” probably responded to question 8 with lower estimates than participants with “3,000” miles
  • # 9 and 10 participants with “2 million” probably responded to question 10 with lower estimates than participants with “100 million”
  • The length of the Mississippi River is 2348 miles and the population of Argentina is 36 million
survey wording cont2
Survey Wording cont
  • The order in which a question is phrased can alter results
  • In a national poll participants were asked “Should divorce be easier to obtain, more difficult to obtain, or stay as it is?” 23% said easier, 36% said more difficult, and 41% said the same
  • Other participants were asked “Should divorce be easier, stay the same, or more difficult?” 26% said easier, 29% said same, 46 said more difficult
survey wording1
Survey Wording
  • Asked “Does the country have a health care problems or a health care crisis 55% said crisis
  • Asked “Does the country have a health care crisis or health care problems 61% said problems
  • Advertisers ask “Which aspect of car X do you like better then car Y” Then release results saying 90% prefer car X
naturalistic observation
Naturalistic Observation
  • Naturalistic Observation- research method that involves studying subjects without their being aware that they’re being watched
  • Pro- Ability to view normal behavior of subjects in their environment (because they are unaware)
    • Both humans and animals behave differently in the presence of an outsider
  • Con- Observer can not talk or interact with subjects
  • Interview- research method that involves studying people face to face and asking questions
  • Pro- Ability to interact with subjects
  • Con- Deciphering fact from fiction as subjects are likely on their best behavior for the interviewer
  • Con- Interviewer must be aware of biases and try to avoid them when posing questions
psychological tests
Psychological Tests
  • Psychological Tests- objective methods for observation and measurements of subjects in various areas
    • Ex. IQ Tests, Inkblot Tests
  • Pro- Objective and the same for everyone
  • Con- Can not be used to predict or explain behavior
case study
Case Study
  • Case Study- research method that collects lengthy, detailed information about a person’s background
    • Goal is to find out how the person evolved to shed light on the issue
  • Pro- Gain detailed and specific information
  • Con- Takes a lot of time and effort for only one person
  • Con- Can not generalize about entire population from one case study
longitudinal case study
Longitudinal Case Study
  • Longitudinal- method of research that studies the same people over an extended period of time
  • Pro- Gain very accurate and detailed information
  • Con- Large commitment to be involved in a lengthy study over an extended period of time
  • Con- Costly
cross sectional case study
Cross-Sectional Case Study
  • Cross Sectional- research method that looks at different age groups at the same time
    • Shortcut of a longitudinal study
  • Pro- Detailed information in a short amount of time (not as lengthy as longitudinal)
  • Con- Doesn’t account for differences in people of different age groups
ethical guidelines
Ethical Guidelines
  • APA (American Psychological Association) sets ethical guidelines for all psychological experiments
  • 1. Subjects MUST have the right to decline participation at ANY time (before or during experiment)
  • 2. Experimenters must be open and honest with subjects (most commonly done afterwards and is known as debriefing)
ethical guidelines cont
Ethical Guidelines cont
  • 3. Information about subjects MUST remain confidential (before, during, and after experiment)
  • 4. Experimenter must assess any possible risks or side effects the experiment has caused subjects and provide them help (mental/emotional/physical)
  • When it comes to animal research the main ethical principle is the question is “Will the finding help humans?”
    • Basically- is the benefit worth the harm?
predicting outcomes
Predicting Outcomes
  • Problems with predicting outcomes- example Presidential Elections
  • First need a representative sample- but this is hard to get
  • Can’t just use Americans (only about 70% are registered, and only 86% of them actually vote)
  • Must use valid methods- most polling companies use phone calls. This eliminates those without a phone (many people today only have cell phones, not landlines)
  • Most polling companies call during the day. This eliminates voters not at home during the day- it mainly gets retirees and housewives
  • Exit polls (ask people when leaving the polling place) seem to be the best, but not everyone wants to talk to pollsters. For ex. 2004 exit polls had John Kerry beating George W Bush. Did Bush voters not want to talk? Not sure of decision?
predicting outcomes cont1
Predicting Outcomes cont
  • Flip a coin 6 times
  • Students predict the outcome before each flip
randomness correlations
Randomness? Correlations?
  • Predictions of coin flips probably looked something like this:
    • H T T H T H
  • Would you say your prediction is more probable than:
    • H H H H H H
  • Actually both are just as likely
randomness correlation cont
Randomness? Correlation? cont.
  • The odds of being dealt either one of these hands is exactly the same
  • 1 in 2,598,960
other illusionary correlations
Other illusionary correlations
  • More accidents occur at home. So are homes dangerous. No, we spend more time at home so naturally more accidents should occur there
  • The elevator always seems to be going in the wrong direction
  • It always rains after you wash your car
understanding results
Understanding Results
  • A recent survey found that people who ate Frosted Flakes as a kid had ½ the cancer rate of those who never ate the cereal. Conversely those who are oatmeal were 4 times as likely to develop cancer. Why?
  • Cancer tends to be a disease that occurs later in life. Those who ate Frosted Flakes are younger (this cereal hasn’t been around for a long time). Those who ate oatmeal were older (it was a typical breakfast years ago)
understanding results cont
Understanding Results cont
  • National police reports show that as ice cream consumption increases, the crime rate increases, and vice versa. Why? Cause and effect?
  • Both ice cream consumption and crime are related to a third hidden variable
  • Outside temperature
  • When its warm people enjoy ice cream more
  • Also when its warm more crimes are committed- stays light longer, people are outdoors more, windows and doors are open.
  • During the winter people eat less ice cream and less crimes are committed