PSY 101U: Introduction to Psychology
Psy Lecturer: Dr. Afroditi Papaioannou-Spiroulia
Source of basic material:
Dr. A. Papaioannou-Spiroulia
Research in Psychology
Goals of Psy Research
Contemporary Psychology:Psychologys current perspectives
Example: views of anger [a]
Perspective Focus Sample Questions
Neuroscience How the body and brain creates/enables emotions, memories and sensory experiences.
How are messages
transmitted in the body?
How is blood chemistry linked with moods and motives?
Evolutionary How nature selects traits that promote the
perpetuation of ones genes.
How does evolution influence behavior tendencies?
How much our genes and our environment influence our individual differences.
To what extent are
psychological traits such as intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, and vulnerability to depression attributable to our genes and/or to our environment?
Example: views of anger [b]
Perspective Focus Sample Questions
Psychodynamic How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts.
How can someones personality traits and disorders be explained in terms of sexual and aggressive drives or as disguised effects of unfulfilled wishes and childhood traumas?
Behavioral How we learn observable responses.
How do we learn to fear particular objects or situations? What is the most effective way to alter our behavior, say to calm, lose weight or quit smoking?
Example: views of anger [c]
Perspective Focus Sample Questions
Cognitive How we encode, process, store, and retrieve information.
How do we use information in remembering, reasoning problem solving?
How behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures.
How are we as Greeks, Africans, Asians, Australians or North Americans, etc.alike as members of human family? As products of different environmental contexts, how do we differ?
Contemporary Psychology:Psychologys subfields
Q: What are Psychologys specialized subfields?
Psychologys subfields encompass:
- Basic research
- Applied research
- Clinical applications.
[This term well focus on the first two subfields.]
pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base
Psychologists What they do
BiologicalExplore the links between the brain and the mind.
Developmental Study changing abilities during lifespan.
CognitiveStudy how we perceive, think, and solve problems.
Personality Investigate our persistent traits.
Social Explore how we view and affect one another.
scientific study that aims to solve practical problems
Psychologists What they do
ClinicalStudy, assess, and treat people with psychological disorders.
CounselingHelp people cope with academic, vocational, and marital challenges.
EducationalStudy and help individuals in school and educational settings.
Study and advise on behavior in the workplace.
Scientific approach and critical thinking
Scientific approach: can help us sift reality from illusion importance of critical thinking.
Critical Thinking: thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions, but it:
- examines assumptions
- discerns hidden values
- evaluates evidence
- assesses conclusions.
Characteristics of a critical thinker
A critical thinker:
- is open-minded
- has the ability to identify inherent biases and assumptions
- has an attitude of skepticism
- distinguishes facts from opinions
- doesnt oversimplify
- uses the processes of logical inference
- reviews all the available evidence before reaching a conclusion
Science without religion is lame, religion
without science is blind. (Albert Einstein, 1941)
How do psychologists ask and answer questions? The scientific method
Q: How do psychologists use the scientific method to
Psychologists make observations, form theories based onhypotheses and conclusions, and then refine their theories in the light of new observations.
Empirical research: knowledge based on direct observation.
Theory: an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations Goal: support or disprove -We can never PROVE!
Research Strategies in Psychology:The scientific method
Hypothesis: a testable prediction, often implied by a theory states the relationship between two things (variables).
Operational definitions: precise psychological report statements of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables.
Replication (repeatable): repeating usually with different participants and materials the essence of a research study to see whether the basic finding generalizes to other participants and circumstances.
- If we get similar results, the confidence in our findings reliability grows.
The scientific method
Why psychologists rely on empirical methods? [a]
All scientists use empirical methods to study the topics that interest them. Empirical methods include the processes of collecting and organizing data and drawing conclusions about those data. The empirical methods used by scientists have developed over many years and provide a basis for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data within a common framework in which information can be shared. We can label the scientific method as the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures that scientists use to conduct empirical research.
Although scientific research is an important method of studying human behavior, not all questions can be answered using scientific approaches. Statements that cannot be objectively measured or objectively determined to be true or false are not within the domain of scientific inquiry. Scientists therefore draw a distinction between values and facts. Values are personal statements such as Abortion should not be permitted in this country. Facts are objective statements determined to be accurate through empirical study such as There were more than 21.000 homicides in the USA in 2009.
Why psychologists rely on empirical methods? [b]
Because values cannot be considered to be either true or false, science cannot prove or disprove them. Nevertheless, research can sometimes provide facts that can help people develop their values. For instance, science may be able to objectively measure the impact of unwanted children on a society or the psychological trauma suffered by women who have abortions. The effect of capital punishment on the crime rate in the United States may also be determinable. This factual information can and should be made available to help people formulate their values about abortion and capital punishment, as well as to enable governments to articulate appropriate policies.
Scientific research has provided information that has improved the lives of many people.[Source: Stangor, 2011]
Description Descriptive research methods
Q: How do psychologists observe and describe
behavior and mental processes?
Case study: an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles.
- For example, Freud constructed his theory for personality from very revealing case studies.
Survey (a): a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them Asks people to report their behavior or opinion about everything (from sexual practices to political opinions).
- For example, 72% of Americans think theres too much TV violence.
Research Strategies in Psychology:Description
- wording effects: wording can change the results of a survey. For example:
Q1: Should cigarette ads and pornography be
allowed on TV? ( no)
Q2: Should cigarette ads and pornography be
forbidden on TV? ( yes)
- sampling: representative samples are a better guide than vivid examples If each member of a population (all the cases in a group) has an equal chance of inclusion into a sample, it is called a random sample (unbiased).
! If a survey sample is biased, its results are not valid.
Naturalistic observation: observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation.
All the above descriptive research methods (1. case study, 2. survey, 2. naturalistic observation) describe behavior and dont explain it, but they can be revealing.
Research Strategies in Psychology:Correlation
Describing behavior a first step toward predicting it.
When describing research methods reveal that one trait or behavior accompanies another, we say that these two variables correlate
Correlation coefficient (a): a statistical measurement that indicates the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well either factor predicts the other
- positive correlation (0-+1.00): direct relationship of two things, which increase or decrease together. For example:
more hours of work more cigarettes smoked.
Correlation coefficient (b):
- negative correlation (0--1.00): inverse relationship of two things as one thing increases, the other decreases. For example:
people who score low on self-esteem tend to
score high on depression .
+ efficient a lot of data
- cannot determine causation.
Q: Why do correlations permit prediction but not
explanation? Can you give an example?
Correlation and causation: Correlation indicates the possibility of a cause-effect relationship, but it does not prove causation.
- Example: Length of marriage correlates with hair loss in men.
Does this mean that marriage causes men to lose
their hair?... balding men are better husbands and
hairy men arent?...
! A 3rd factor can explain the correlation: length of marriage (f1)and baldness (f2) both accompany WHAT?
Example: 3 possible cause-effect relations about the negative correlation between self-esteem and depression:
Q: How accurately does the naked eye detect
Notice random coincidences + Forget that they are random = We see them as correlated = We deceive ourselves by seeing what is not there
- For example: sugar makes children hyper-active, meat makes us violent
Illusory correlation (a): the perception of a relationship between two things that doesnt exist.
Illusory correlation (b): the perception of a relationship between to things that doesnt exist.
- When we believe there is a relationship between two things, we are likely to notice and recall instances that confirm our belief
(Trolier & Hamilton, 1986)
- Illusory correlations arise from our natural eagerness to make sense of the world. And given even random data, we look for order, for meaningful patterns.
- For example: On the 2002 anniversary of 9/11,
New York States three-pick lottery numbers
came up 9-1-1 SO WHAT?
- Do you believe that previously infertile couples become more likely to conceive a child after adopting a baby?
- Many people answer yes. Their belief arises from their attention being drawn to such cases, while many couples who adopt without conceiving or conceive without adopting grab less attention.
- How can we determine
whether theres actually
a correlation between
Conceive Do not conceive
Research Strategies in Psychology:Experimentation
Q: How do experiments clarify or reveal cause-
Experiment (a): a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe their effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable).
- True experiments:
a) have random assignment,
b) manipulate the factor(s) of interest,
c) hold constant (control) other factors,
d) lead to an effect
clarify cause-effect relationships.
- Distinction between random sampling in surveys and random assignment in experiments:
- random sampling helps us generalize to a
- random assignment controls extraneous
influences, which helps us
infer cause and effect.
- Variable(s) (a): is anything that can vary intelligence, infant nutrition, hair color etc.
- Variable(s) (b):
Independent Variable (IV): the experimental factor that is manipulated the variable whose effect is being studied.
Dependent Variable (DV): the experimental factor that is being measured in Psychology it is usually a behavior or mental process it may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable.
- Example of an experiment (a):
We want to research the possible effect of caffeine to
IV: caffeine DV: memory
Participants: 1rst team: caffeine 2nd team: placebo
- placebo: an inert substance or condition that may be administered instead of a presumed active agent (drug) to see if it triggers the effects belie-ved to characterize the active agent
- placebo effect: any effect on behavior caused by a placebo.
- Example of an experiment (b):
- double-blind procedure: when both
participants and staff ignore the receipt
- experimental condition: the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable;
- control condition: the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental treatment it serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment;
Material: memory test  Conclusion
Research Method Basic Purpose How conducted What is
Descriptive To observe and Case studies, surveys, Nothing
record behavior and naturalistic
Correlational To detect naturally Computing statistical Nothing
occurring relationships - association, sometimes
To assess how well among survey
one variable predicts responses
Experimental To explore cause Manipulating one or Independent
and effect more factors and using variable(s)
to eliminate preexisting
Basic characteristics OF AN ETHICAL RESEARCH PROJECT USING HUMAN PARTICIPANTS
Trust and positive rapport are created between the researcher and the participant.
The rights of both the experimenter and participant are considered, and the relationship between them is mutually beneficial.
The experimenter treats the participant with concern and respect and attempts to make the research experience a pleasant and informative one.
Before the research begins, the participant is given all information relevant to his or her decision to participate, including any possibilities of physical danger or psychological stress.
The participant is given a chance to have questions about the procedure answered, thus guaranteeing his or her free choice about participating.
After the experiment is over, any deception that has been used is made public, and the necessity for it is explained.
The experimenter carefully debriefs the participant, explaining the underlying research hypothesis and the purpose of the experimental procedure in detail and answering any questions  [Stangor, 2011]
Goals of Psychological Research
Description of social behavior: Are people who grow up in warm climates different from those in cold climates?
Establish a relationship between cause and effect: Does heat cause higher amounts of aggression?
Develop theories about why people behave the way that they do: We dislike foreigners to feel better about ourselves.
Application: Creating effective therapeutic treatments, more successful negotiation tactics, and greater understanding amongst groups of people.
Example of Research [Stangor, 2011]
Unconscious Preferences for the Letters of Our Own Name
A study reported in the Journal of Consumer Research (Brendl, Chattopadhyay, Pelham, & Carvallo, 2005) demonstrates the extent to which people can be unaware of the causes of their own behavior. The research demonstrated that, at least under certain conditions (and although they do not know it), people frequently prefer brand names that contain the letters of their own name to brand names that do not contain the letters of their own name.
The research participants were recruited in pairs and were told that the research was a taste test of different types of tea. For each pair of participants, the experimenter created two teas and named them by adding the word stem oki to the first three letters of each participants first name. For example, for Jonathan and Elisabeth, the names of the teas would have been Jonoki and Elioki.
The participants were then shown 20 packets of tea that were supposedly being tested. Eighteen packets were labeled with made-up Japanese names (e.g. Mataku or Somuta), and two were labeled with the brand names constructed from the participants names. The experimenter explained that each participant would taste only two teas and would be allowed to choose one packet of these two to take home. One of the two participants was asked to draw slips of paper to select the two brands that would be tasted at this session.
However, the drawing was rigged so that the two brands containing the participants name stems were always chosen for tasting. 
PLANNIND LECTURE 3
TOPICS OF INTEREST:
Based on Lecture 2: Focus on the Research in Psychology.
Next, well focus on the biological perspective on Psychology.
FOR ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS
DONT HESITATE TO ASK ME IN CLASS
OR CONTACT ME VIA E-MAIL
-Always Cc Student Support, as well (email@example.com).
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