Key scientific attitudes:

Curiosity, skepticism, open-mindedness

Hindsight: explaining behavior after the fact (problem: multiple conflicting outcomes and explanations for results)

Use Scientific Process with variables and factual observations

Scientific Process:

  • Formulate a question based on observed events
  • Formulate a tentative explanation for why those event transpired (hypothesis)
  • Conduct research to test it
  • Analyze research and draw conclusion/ or retest
  • Build a theory
  • Perform additional research based on theory to form new hypothesis and research

Hypothesis: testable prediction

Diffusion of responsibility: kitty Genovese (BYSTANDER EFFECT)

A good theory: organize the facts, is testable (falsifiable), supported by new research and is parsimonious (if two hypotheses explain the same thing, the simpler one is used

Operational Definition: Takes abstract terms and defines them to specific procedures and protocols so that it is universally understood.

Social-Desirability Bias- They put the answer that most socially acceptable answer, oppose to their actual answer

Psychologists understand individuals’ behavior through self-reports, info from other, physiological measures, behavioral observations.

Data Collection Method: Self-report/ observations

Case studies

Descriptive: recording behavior and surveys

Correlational: measure strength of association between two/more events

Experimental: manipulations to establish cause & effect relationships

Case Study: in-depth analysis of individual, group, or event
Advantages Disadvantages
When rare events occur they can be studied thoroughly Poor indicator of cause-effect
Challenge validity of current theory Must determine if case study results are widely applicable
Can be studied over a long period of time Lack of objectivity in how researchers gather/ interpret data (researcher bias)

Phinese Gage- pipe in head, alter behavior; made him aggressive

Goodale/ Milner: 2 visual system of perception/ action

(Field Study) Naturalistic observation: observes behavior as it occurs in natural setting; does not permit causal conclusion of relations between variables (cause-effect) human presence can cause observer disruption of animal’s behavior

Lab Study: behavior observed in a controlled environment (you can control variables but environment may alter behavior)

Survey research: info about topic obtained by questions/ interviews with many people about feelings, behavior, attitudes.

In survey research: need population (people to participate) and sample (subset population of entire population)

Used representative sample (reflects important characteristics of all population) and use of random sampling within that representative sample.

If done properly then representative samples provide representation of entire populace; however CAN BE DISTORTED, rely on self-report which can be distorted, can’t be used for cause and effect conclusions.

Correlational Research

Determine the relationship between two variable; test of measuring A and B, then seeing if they are related.


“Correlation is not the bases for causation” another variable may be at work.

Correlation coefficient (stat, indicates direction strength of two variables) positive & negative correlation (done on scatterplot) also bidirectional problem


Have controlled, independent, dependent variable.

Experimental group- group being actively tested

Controlled group- group being not exposed to the treatment

Random assignment: 50/50 of being in experiment or controlled group


Cofounding experiment: two variables are tangled together so closely, we can’t determine which one actually affects the dependent variable (Mozart effect)

Internal validity is weakened by:

Demand characteristics: cues that allow the participant to become somewhat or fully aware of the hypothesis being tested, act accordingly and DON’T act naturally.

Placebo: inactive or substance ; Placebo effect: people see improvement in treatment not because of the actual medication but because of their expectations to get better. Nocebo effect: Negative expectations, the placebo makes them more ill.

Experimenter expectancy effect: often unintentional ways that experimenters’ influence their participants to achieve the wanted results.  COUNTERED BY: double-blind procedure: keep experimenter and participant blind to which experimental conditions that participant is in.

Can one set of results be replicated in another lab?

External validity: degree to which the results of a study can be generalized to other people. Settings and conditions.

Human research must respect its participants’:

  • Dignity of persons
  • Responsible caring,
  • Integrity in relationships
  • Responsibility to society

Psychologists must:

  • Protect participants welfare
  • Can’t harm them
  • Benefit must out way risks
  • Explain all aspects of procedure; oral consent must be given
  • Ensure privacy

Incomplete disclosure violates informed consent.

ALL animal research must be review and approved by panel; must avoid pain, stress etc. if it can be avoided.

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