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39 Cards in this Set

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How do psychologists new knowledge?
they use the scientific method to test their ideas empirically
What is empirical investigation?
an approach to research that relies on sensory experience & observation as research data
What is the scientific method?
a 5-step process for empirical investigation of a hypothesis under conditions designed to control biases & subjective judgements
What are the 5 steps of the scientific method?
1. developing a hypothesis
2. performing a controlled test
3. gathering objective data
4. analyzing the results
5. publishing, criticizing, & replication the results
What is the first step of the scientific method?
Developing a hypothesis
- hypothesis: a statement predicting the outcome of a scientific study
- operational definitions: exact procedures used in establishing experimental conditions & measurement of results
What is the second step of the scientific method?
Performing a controlled test
- independent variable: the variable manipulated by the experimenter
- random presentation: using chance alone to determine the order in which the stimulus is presented
What is the third step of the scientific method?
Gathering objective data
- data: information gathered by researcher and used to test a hypothesis
- dependent variable: the measured outcome of a study; the responses of participants in a study
What is the fourth step of the scientific method?
Analyzing the results
- based on statistical analyses of results, the hypothesis is accepted or rejected
What is the fifth step of the scientific method?
Publishing, criticizing, & replication the results
- researchers must find out whether their work can withstand the scrutiny of the scientific community
Types of Psychological Research: What is done in experiments?
the researcher controls all the conditions and directly manipulates the conditions
Types of Psychological Research: What is included in non-experimental methods? (7)
- correlational studies (no cause/effect)

- surveys (self-report data)

- naturalistic observation (observing/studying people in their natural environment)

- longitudinal studies (same subjects, long study, precise data)

- cross-sectional studies (dividing up subjects, shorter study, not as precise)

- cohort-sequential studies (mini longitudinal studies)

- case-studies (study info. on one individual)
What are the sources of bias? (2)
- personal bias

- expectancy bias (self-fulfilling prophecy)
How can bias affect research?
can affect the way an experimenter designs a study, collects data, or interprets results
How can one control bias?
by using a double-blind study (where researchers and participants do not know the details)

- researchers must also attempt to control confounding variables
What is the APA?
What is the IRB?
APA - American Psychiatric Association

IRB - Institutional Review Board
What is deception?
What is debriefing?
What is animal research?
Deception: hiding the truth

Debriefing: letter explaining what they are studying --> signed AFTER experiment

Animal research: harm if benefits (of knowledge) outweigh the cost; no other way to do it
When is the scientific method not appropriate to use?
not appropriate for answering questions that cannot be put to an objective, empirical test
- ethics
- morality
- religious beliefs
- preferences
How do researchers make sense of the data and for what purposes?
Researchers use STATISTICS for:
- descriptively to characterize measurements made on groups or individuals
- inferentially to judge whether these measurements are the result of chance
How is the data organized?
First: results must be arranged in a summary chart known as a frequence distribution

Next: convert the data into a bar graph called a histogram
What measures central tendency?
- the mean (M=EX / N)
- the median
- the mode
Describe measures of variability.
useful to know how well the average represents the distribution as a whole
[describes the "spread-outcomes" of scores]:
- the range
- the standard deviation (avg. distance from the mean)
- the normal distribution (where the majority lies on a graph - the hump)
What is the Z score formula?
X - X (w/ line over second x) divided by SD
What does a normal distribution look like and where does the peak/avg. fall?
hump/peak/avg. falls on 68%
What does a negative skew look like?
What does a positive skew look like?
Neg. skew: hump is towards the end (on x-axis)

Pos. skew: hump is toward the beginning (on x-axis)
What is correlation?
a relationship between 2 variables, in which changes in one variable are reflected in changes in the other variable
What is correlation coefficient?
a number between -1 and +1 expressing the degree of relationship between 2 variables
What is inferential statistics?
used to assess whether the results of a study are reliable or whether they might be simply the result of change
What types of sampling are there?
- random sample, unbiased
- representative sample
What is statistically significant?
p < .05
What is an inference?
What is an observation?
inference: when something is implied

observation: when something is observed for an exact number of times
What are the directions of correlations?
both arrows up: positive
both arrows down: negative
one arrow up & one arrow down: negative
What are advantages of the scientific approach?
- its clarity in communication
- its relative intolerance of error
What are the 3 main types of variables?
IV: variable manipulated to see its impact on another variable

DV: variable tested
(If IV, then DV)

Extraneous/Confounding variable: variables other than the independent variable that influences the results
What is the experimental group?
What is the control group?
Exp. Group: subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the IV

Control Group: similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment
Describe random assignment.
Random assignment of subjects occurs when all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study
What are the advantages and disadvantages of experimental research?
- Permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables
- Not usable for a specific problem
- Many experiments tend to be artificial
What are the advantages and disadvantages of descriptive/correlational research?
- Allow psychologists to explore issues that might not be open to experimental investigation
- These research methods cannot demonstrate cause-effect relationships
What is the placebo effect?
pill that looks identical to experimental pill but contains no drug (sugar pill)
What is population?
all members of the group to which the study applies