Chapter 1: Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

Intuition & common sense
-Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature.
-Intuition and common sense may aid queries, but they are not free of error.

Limits of Intuition
Personal interviews may rely too much on their “gut feelings” when meeting with job applicants.

Hindsight bias
-The “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon.
-After learning an outcome of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very outcome. We only know that dot.com stocks would plummet after they actually DID plummet.

Overconfidence
-Sometimes we think we know more than we ACTUALLY know.
-People said it would take about 10 sec to solve an anagram, yet on average they took about 3 mins.

The Scientific Attitude
Composed of curiosity (passion for exploration), skepticism (doubting and questioning), and humility (ability to accept responsibility when wrong).

Critical thinking
-Does not accept arguments and conclusions blindly.
-It examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.

How psychologists ask and answer questions.
-Psychologists, like all scientists, use the “scientific method” to construct theories (ideas) that organize, summarize and simplify observations.

The Scientific Method
-Identify the problem
-Design the study
-Perform the study
-Interpret the results

Conducting Research
-5 steps for conducting research
1. Form a research question
2. Form a hypothesis
3. Test the hypothesis
4. Analyze the results
5. Drawing conclusions
–6. Replication

1. Form a research question
-Many questions come from daily observations/experiences.
-Questions are best directed toward behavior which can be measured easily.
-Ex: what do cats and dogs do when placed together?
-Questions can come from folklore, common knowledge, and psychological theory.

2. Form a hypothesis
-This is an educated guess trying to answer the research question.
-Because this is an educated guess, the question must be tested.

3. Test the hypothesis
-Psychological knowledge rests on CAREFULLY examined human experience.
-A variety of methods are used to test a hypothesis.
Decide what info is needed to test hypothesis,
-Gather info
-Examine info
-Is info sufficient to test the hypothesis?

4.Analyze the results
-This asks what the findings mean.
-Psychologists may spend weeks, months, even years gathering info and testing.
-Psychologists look for patterns and relationships in the data then must decide if the data supports their hypothesis.

5. Draw conclusions
-Draw conclusions based on analysis of the research.
-Used to help with validation of the original question.
-If the conclusion does not support the hypothesis then question needs to be revised.
-An open mind is ESSENTIAL.

Replication
-The study MUST be repeated and the results must be the same.
-This is to rule out random occurrence.
-If results are different then results from the 1st study are questioned.
-Repeating the study may involve using different participants, slightly varied circumstances.

New questions
-New questions often develop due to the study. Questions not thought of before.
-When new questions occur, then the process begins all over.

Theory
-A theory is an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts behavior or events.
-Ex: low self esteem contributes to depression

Hypothesis
A testable prediction, often prompted by a theory.

Research observations
Research would require us to administer tests of self esteem and depression. Individual who score low on a self esteem test and high on a depression test would confirm our hypothesis.

Case study
-A technique in which 1 person is studied IN DEPTH to reveal underlying behavioral principles.
-Case studies examines a phenomenon intensively in a specific individual, group, or situation.
-Used when the phenomenon under investigation is new or rare.

Case study method
-You may need to interview the client, people who know them to discover their background.
-Freud’s psychodynamic theory used a lot of case study.
-Caution must be used. It CANNOT replicate people’s memories and are filled with memory gaps.

Survey
-A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions, or behaviors of people usually done by questioning a representation, random sample of people.

The survey method
-Gathering info by asking people directly.
-People are asked to respond to a series of questions.
-May be written questionnaires.
-May interview orally-telephone, in person.
-May not be accurate, people may lie!

Survey: wording effects
Wording can change the results of a survey

Survey: random sampling
-If each member of a population has an equal chance of inclusion into a sample, it is called a random sample (unbiased). If the survey sample is biased, its results are not valid.

Naturalistic observation
Observing and recording the behavior of animals in the wild and recording self-seating patterns in a multiracial school lunch room constitute naturalistic observation.

Naturalistic observation method
-Often used with children
-You observe and record the subject as they interact with peers or other (adults).
-Often done in the field – home, school, office, restaurant, and only place they spend time.

The laboratory-observation method
-A laboratory is any place that allows for observation. Many are informal.
-Can be used to control the environment.
-Skinner used laboratory to observe his rats.

Correlation
When 1 trait or behavior accompanies another.

Scatterplot
-A graph comprises of points that are generated by values of 2 variables. The slope of the points depicts the direction, while the amount of scatter depicts the strength of the relationship.

Correlation and causation
Correlation does not mean causation!

Illusory correlation
The perception of a relationship where no relationship actually exists. Parents conceive children after adoption.

Experimentation
Like other sciences, experimentation is the backbone of psychological research

DV
-A factor that may change in response to an independent variable. In psychology, it is usually a behavior or mental process.
-Many factors influence our behavior. Experiments manipulate factors that interest us, while other factors are kept under control.

IV
-A factor manipulated by the experimenter. The effect of the IV is the FOCUS of the study.
-Effect generated by the manipulated factors isolate cause and effect relationships.

Experimental Method
Random sampling and random assignment

Random sampling
Ensures that everyone in the population has an equal chance at being in the experiment

Random assignment
Spreads the uncontrolled subject variables evenly between groups.

Experiment research
Experimental group and control group

Experimental group
The group that receives the treatment (group that watches violent TV)

Control group
The group that receives no treatment, or some other treatment (group that watches play TV or no TV)

Single-blind studies
-Participants DO NOT know if they are in the experimental group or the control group.
-Means you DO NOT know if the meds given are real or sugar pills.

Double-blind studies
-In evaluating drug therapies, patients and experimenters’s assistants should remain unaware of which patients had the real treatment and which patients had the placebo treatment.
-Required by the Food and Drug Administration
-You are assigned at random.
-Idea to keep bias out.

Placebo effect
A substance or treatment that has no effect except the clients belief.

Statistical reasoning
Analyze and interpret data allowing us to see what the unaided eye missed.

Statistical reasoning in everyday life!
-Doubt big, round, undocumented numbers as they can be misleading and before long, become public misinfo.

Describing data
-A meaningful description of data is important in research. Misrepresenting may lead to incorrect conclusions.

Measures of central tendency
-Mode, mean, and median

Measure of variation
-Range and standard deviation

Standard deviation
-A computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean

Normal curve
A symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that describes that distribution of many types of data (normal distribution). Most scores fall near the mean.

Making inferences
A statistical statement of how frequently an obtained result occurred by experimental manipulation or by chance.

When is an observed difference reliable?
1. Representative samples are better than biased samples.
2. Less variable observations are more reliable than more variable ones.
3. More cases are better than fewer cases.

When is a difference significant?
-When sample averages are reliable and the difference between them is relatively large, we say the difference has statistical significance. It is probably not due chance variation.

Ethnics in research
-Research with people
-Confidentiality
-Informed consent
-Deception and debriefing
-Animal research
-Ethnics using data

Ethical issues
-Ethics are standards for proper and responsible behavior for psychologists to follow.
-Idea id to lessen people’s suffering.
-APA provides guidelines on making a study ethical.

Confidentiality
-Records of clients and participants are confidential = DO NOT share, do not gossip.
-Have respect for privacy

Informed consent
Means that participants have been explained what is going on and they agree, or consent, to participate.

Deception
Sometimes we have to use deceptions such as a blind study where participants are not aware of the treatment.

Research with animals
-Controversial
-Psychologists use animals ONLY when where there is no alternative and the benefits outweigh the harm.
-Some studies may be harmful
-PETA

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