Introduction to History & Research Methods of Psychology

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1 Term Explanation Application/Example/Extension Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes and behavior Influences on Psychology Psychology started as only the study of mental processes, but later evolved to include the study of behavior Philosophy and biology influenced the development of psychology Socrates and Plato believed that the mind is separate from the body. This is referred to as dualism- the mind continues after the body dies Aristotle believed that the mind and body are of the same and that experiences influence the mind Rene Descartes believed in interactive dualism- that the mind and body are different but do interact and influence each other Structuralism was developed by Edward Titchener, a student of Wilhelm Wundt, and was the first school for organizing psychological thought and focused on the internal components of the brain and body Introspection was a technique used by structuralists that attempted to look inward at the basic elements that made up conscious experience Functionalism was a school of psychology based in America, which focused on how organisms adapt and functioninfluenced by Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection Wilhelm Wundt is credited as the father of psychology because he was the first to establish psychology as an experimental science. He set up an experiment where he flashed a stimulus to see how fast people responded. He researched whether a person s response time was an indication of their memory The Nature (genetics) vs. Nurture (environment) debate has always been a focus of psychology. The debate centers around: are we influenced by our genesgenetic background, or are we the result of the environment that we grow up in? For example, does someone develop cancer from their genetic background Nature,, such as their mom or dad having cancer- OR did the person s lifestyle Nurture of smoking influence the development of cancer? In the design and engineering of a car, a structuralist would have been interested in the parts of an engine A problem with introspection was that it was not consistent and reliable. Each day during introspection, participants would report different thoughts and feelings- mainly because their moods influenced their remarks William James was a supporter of Functionalism and is credited as the father of American Psychology In the design and engineering of a car, a functionalist would have been interested in how the car drove or improving the way the car functioned

2 Perspectives of Psychology Charles Darwin discussed natural selection (how nature selects organisms best suited for survival in his book) Origin of Species Empiricism is the belief that knowledge comes from experience; either direct observation or experimentation Behaviorism was founded by John B. Watson and focused on the study of overt or observable behavior; emphasizing the process of learning through rewards, consequences, and observation learning Mary Whiton Calkins, a student of William James, as rejected for her degree in psychology from Harvard, but later went onto become the first woman president of the APA- American Psychological Association An example of natural selection would be how dogs grow a thicker coat of fur in the winter to protect them from the cold. John B. Locke believed that the mind was a white paper. He explained his viewpoint through the concept of tabula rasa, which states that the knowledge a person acquires comes only from their experiences. According to the behaviorists, in order to observe someone s behavior, you have to directly observe their behavior. Behaviorism did not study mental processes, only what could be observed or measured. Perspectives are specific approaches or viewpoints used to explain mental processes and behavior Perspectives Focus Key questions & Influential People Cognitive Thinking skills Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky Biological Brain, neurons, nervous system How does the brain communicate with the body? Social-cultural Impact of social factors on behavior and Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram personality Evolutionary Natural selection- survival Charles Darwin Behavior-genetics Nature vs. nurture debate Is alcoholism inherited or learned from others? Psychodynamic Unconscious conflicts/motivations Sigmund Freud Humanistic Free will, improve self-esteem and self- Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow concept

3 Types of studies Applied research- the aim of this research is to apply or use psychology in everyday, practical situations. Basic research- the goal of basic research is to build knowledge through gathering information concerning the growth of psychology Longitudinal study is the study of an individual or group of people over an extended or long period of time Cross-sectional research- a study which makes comparisons between different specified groups (age, gender, social status) Correlational studies examine the relationship or makes predictions between variables, or factors Correlational coefficient- statistical measurement of the relationships between variables An example of applied research would be when an industrial/organizational psychologist (someone who tries to improve working conditions) implements a new type of manager training to improve relationships among workers. An example of basic research would be when an educational psychologist researches how different learning styles affect performance on a standardized test. A researcher who is interested in the long-term effects of smoking would use a longitudinal study to examine and follow a group over a period of time to measure and observe how smoking has an effect on a person s life. Tthis type of research could, however could be long and expensive, especially when trying to track down participants over the course of time. A researcher who wants to know how smoking affects women and men would use a cross-sectional study to draw comparisons and report results of how smoking affected each gender You have to use certain terminology when basing conclusions acquired from correlational research A correlational study would show how smoking could be related to lung cancer; a correlational study however does not provide an explanation or causation for why smoking could lead to lung cancer For example, you would have to state: when a person smokes, they have a higher chance of developing lung cancer. You could not state that smoking causes lung cancer The closer the number is to or -1.00, the stronger the relationship.

4 Scatter plot- used to represent data from a correlational study Scatter plot contains dots which when clustered together, indicate a relationship between variables. Positive correlationdata moves in the same direction on the scatter plot Negative correlation- data moves in opposite directions on the scatter plot An example of a positive correlation: the more you study, the better your grades becomeas one goes up the other goes up An example of a negative correlation: the more you exercise, the more body weight you lose- one goes up the other goes down Illusory correlation- occurs when a researcher believes there is relationship but in actuality there is not- happens when researcher eagerly wants to prove own hypothesis If a researcher wanted to eagerly show that smoking is harmful (possibly the researcher will get paid extra money by the American Lung Cancer Association for finding smoking harmful), he or she may only look for evidence that supports his or her beliefs. Descriptive studies describe certain behaviors, but do not provide causation or explanation for why these behaviors occur Surveys are distributed to large groups of people in order to acquire various opinions quickly Case study is the study of a single and often unique individual. Sigmund Freud often used this type of study. Surveys can be misleading. Wording effect occurs when a researcher writes questions using words that could affect a person s opinion. Ex: Smoking is bad vs. Smoking is detrimental. False consensus effect could occur when a researcher believes that subjects will agree with him or her on certain issues. Questions could be then written supporting opinion Social desirability effect occurs when subjects answer in ways that make them look good. Ex.: not answering truthfully about alcohol consumption Case studies are excellent for extensive examination of a person, but the problem is that the research of one individual cannot be applied to the general population. For example, this person could be atypical, which means is not a typical or ordinary person. Some high school students get upset when they get their yearbooks because they are not included in any pictures or pages. They realize that the yearbook only includes certain people. In other words, this yearbook does not apply to the general school populationlike a case study does not apply to the general population

5 Naturalistic observationobserving a subject in a natural habitat. Experimental studies establish causeand-effect relationships among variables through an experimenter manipulating, (causing change) within a variable, then observing the effects of this manipulation on another variable. Naturalistic observation is a reliable method of observation only if the subject is not aware that they are being observed. Once aware that they are being observed, they will stop behaving naturally because the observer is not a part of their natural habitat If you were having a conversation with your friends and you stated that if you were to drink orange juice right before you take a psychology test you will get a better grade, eventually one of your friends is going to say, prove it. The only way you can provide this proof for your friends is to set up and run an experiment. Key Questions: 1. What are you interested in proving or studying? 2. How are you going to provide the proof needed to convince your friends that drinking orange juice right before a psychology test will improve their test scores? Theory is a general, or grand explanation, which makes predictions and observations The Setup of an Experiment Hypothesis is an actual testable prediction taken from a theory Random sampling allows persons within a population to have an equal chance of being selected or chosen Population- specific group, community which is going to be used for the study Theory: The consumption of orange juice can be very beneficial for learning material. (grand explanation that suggests that drinking orange juice will have a positive impact on how you learn material) Hypothesis: If you drink orange juice before you take a psychology test, then you will receive a better score on the test. (A specific statement that can be tested in an experiment) When picking students to participate in your orange juice study you want to avoid any type of bias (bias could occur if you hand-selected the participants. For example, you may only pick students you know will score well on the test.) A random sample would allow every student an equal chance of being selected, for example, entering every student s name into a box and then randomly pick their names The population in this example would be high school psychology students

6 Representative sample- sample that is taken from the population Random assignment- process of allowing subjects an equal chance of being chosen either for the experimental or control group Operational definitions are precise definitions on how each variable will be used in the experiment Variable- factor or characteristic that is going to be manipulated or measured Other researchers should be able to read these operational definitions or instructions and be able to repeat the experiment exactly as it was run in the original study Independent variablevariable which is manipulated by the experiment, also referred to as the variable the experimenter is interested in studying *The independent variable follows the IF statement in a hypothesis- If you drink orange juice* The representative sample would be the students randomly selected from the population The representative sample would then randomly be assigned into two groups- the group who will drink the orange juice and the group who will not drink the orange juice. (This is important because if you were allowed to hand-pick which students would drink the orange juice you maybe tempted to pick students who would do well and prove your hypothesis.) Operational definitions: 1. Students will drink 12 ounces of concentrated, pulp-free, freshly squeezed 100% orange juice 30 seconds before taking an examination. 2. Students will take a minimum 50 question psychology test according to content percentages of the AP National Psychology exam. The independent This is what you are interested in studying. variable in this Also, by having students drink the orange experiment would be juice, you are manipulating or changing their the consumption of behavior- they never drank orange juice orange juice before a test before

7 Dependent variablevariable that shows the outcome, measurement, or results- proof *The dependent variable follows the then statement in a hypothesis- then you will receive a better score on the test.* Experimental group is the group who receives the independent variable- these are the people who are being manipulated or given the change Control group is the group who does NOT receive the independent variable- they are then held for a comparison to the experimental group Dependent variableis the student s test score (this is the proof that you are going to later provide to your friends.) You (researcher): I told you orange juice (independent variable) will improve test scores! Friends: Yeah, Right You (researcher), Look, several students after drinking orange juice, scored 20% higher on the test (dependent variable) The experimental group would be the group who received the independent variable and drank the orange juice before they took the psychology test. The control group would NOT receive the independent variable and drink the orange juice. This is because the control will eventually be compared to the people in the experimental group who did drink the orange juice. (The reason why the control group does not receive the independent variable is that you will need a group to compare with the experimental group to show how much change actually occurred) You (researcher): I told you orange juice will improve test scores! Friends: Yeah, Right You (researcher), Look, several students after drinking orange juice, scored 20% higher on the test AND averaged 30% higher on the test compared to students who did not drink the orange juice. Friends: Maybe orange juice will improve your test scores

8 Scientific method and procedures Ethics Confounding variables- variables that could affect Confounding variables in this experiment could include a student s the outcome of the dependent variable that were not overall intelligence, how much sleep the student got the night before, initially considered by the experimenter the difficulty of questions on the test, gender, student s mood, etc. All of these factors could affect the dependent variable- the person s score on a test. Scientific method is a set of assumptions, attitudes, and procedures that guide researchers in creating questions to investigate in order to generate evidence and draw conclusions Critical thinking is a type of thinking that is open to all possibilities, ideas, and methods, and does not include biases. Double-blind procedure guards against biases through the researcher and the subjects being unaware of who is in the control or experimental group Placebo- a substance or treatment that has no effect; given to participants to see whether or not the participants are acting or are actually being affected by the independent variable. 1. Informed consent- participants have a right to know what the experiment is about 3. Right to confidentiality- information cannot be released publicly concerning individual participation Overconfidence- a researcher s belief he or she knows the outcome, which will prevent the researcher from taking all factors into consideration Hindsight bias- I knew the outcome the whole time (you knew the answer, but only stated it after the outcome was given)- if you believe you know the outcome you may actually work towards that outcome Researcher bias- when a researcher tries to achieve his outcome or prove his or her theory. Double-blind, for example, prevents researcher bias by not allowing the researcher to know who smoked or who did not. Participant bias- occurs when participants act a certain way because of what they have heard or expect to feel. For example, people who have prior knowledge of marijuana may act the part. 2. Right to be protected- experiment cannot cause harm to the participants 4. Debriefing- researcher has to give full explanation to the participants concerning the results and experiment.

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