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Chapter 2 1 Methodology CHAPTER 2 Dogmatism people s tendency to cling to their beliefs and assumptions Empiricism the beliefs that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation the backbone of the scientific method a procedure for using empirical evidence to establish facts Theories hypothetical explanations of natural phenomena no amount of observation can ever just falsify a theory o A good theory makes specific predictions about what we should observe in the world if the theory is true o A theory can be proved wrong it can never be proved right Hypothesis a falsifiable prediction made by a theory Empirical method a set of rules and techniques for observation 3 qualities that make humans hard to study o People are highly complex o People are highly variable o People are highly reactive Human beings are highly complex variable and reactive which presents a challenge to the scientific study of their behavior Psychologists have met this challenge by developing 2 kinds of methods Methods of observation allows them to determine what people do Methods of explanation allows them to determine why people do it Chapter 2 2 Methodology Measurement Define the property o Generate an operation definition a description of a property in measurable terms ex A person s happiness as a person s self assessment or the number of times a person smiles in an hour that has construct validity Detect the property o Design an instrument that has reliability and power What makes a good operational definition Construct validity the extent to which the thing being measured adequately characterizes the property ex People being happier is more reasonably measured by smiles per hour vs eating or talking more An operational definition is said to have construct validity when most people agree that it adequately characterized a property What makes a good detector magnitude of a property the magnitude of a property Power a detectors ability to detect the presence of differences or changes in the Reliability a detectors ability to detect the absence of differences or changes in A good detector detects differences or changes in the magnitude of a property when they do exist power but not when they don t reliability Demand characteristics are those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they think someone else wants or expects ex If a friend asked do you think I m smart you would probably say yes whether you meant it or not A study that asked such question would be said to have demand characteristics because the question demands participants to give a response that may or may not reflect their true feelings How to avoid demand characteristics Naturalistic observation a technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environments o Naturalistic observation is not always practical some events just don t occur naturally and some events can only be observed through direct interaction like conducting an interview or experiment Privacy people are less likely to be influenced by demand characteristic when they are allowed to respond privately or anonymously Involuntary behaviors a person s behavior can t be influenced by demand characteristic if that behavior is not under their voluntary control o Ex If you were asked if you like celebrity gossip you might lie and say no but since our pupils contract when we are bored and dilate when we are interested the psychologist could record your pupil dilation when you hear gossip to see if you were interested or not Unawareness people can t try to behave how they should behave if they don t know how they should behave o Ex If you didn t know that a psychologist was studying the effects of classical music on mood you wouldn t feel obligated to smile when you hear Bach That s why psychologists typically don t reveal the true purpose of a study until it s over Observer bias is the tendency for observers expectations to influence both what they believe they observed and what they observed Expectations can influence observations Expectations can influence reality Avoiding observer bias Double blind study a study in which neither the researcher or the participant knows how the participants are expected to behave Chapter 2 3 Methodology Methods of explanation Correlation EXAMPLE IN THIS PART How do we determine if people who get more sleep are smarter Suppose you ask a dozen college students how many hours of sleep they got on the prior night and how many US presidents they can name students who report the fewest hours of sleep also tend to name fewer presidents In collecting data you do 3 things o Measure a pair of variables properties that can take on different values when you ask about sleep you were measuring a variable whose value could vary from 0 24 and when you asked about presidents you were measuring a second variable whose value could vary from 0 44 o You made a series of measurements by asking multiple students rather than just one o You looked at the measurements you made and tried to discern a pattern of variation The patterns of variation in these two columns the values in the second column increase from top to bottom are somewhat synchronized this is known as correlation occurs when variation in the value of one variable are synchronized with variations in the value of the other When patterns of variation are synchronized two variables are The direction of correlation is either positive or negative said to be correlated o A positive correlation exists when two variables have a more is more relationship when we say that more sleep is associated with more presidents recalled it is a positive correlation o A negative correlation exists when 2 variables have a less is more relationship If we said that less sleep is associated with more colds caught we would be describing a negative correlation Causation Natural correlations the correlations we observe in the world around us although such observations can tell us that two variables are related they cannot tell us why Correlation does NOT equal causation EXAMPLE media violence aggressiveness Possibilities Exposure to media violence causes aggressiveness media may tach children that aggression is an acceptable way to vent anger solve problems Aggressiveness causes exposure to media violence children who are naturally aggressive may be inclined to play violent games or watch violent shows a third possibility is that there is some other factor

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