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psy study guide - Introduction to Psychology and Research...

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Introduction to Psychology and Research Methods Psychologists work in many different areas and conduct many forms of scientific research. Careers in Psychology Psychologists are usually thought of as either professional or research/academic although the two may overlap. Specialty areas – biological, learning/motivation, cognitive, developmental, and social Employment settings – colleges/universities, hospitals/clinics/businesses, private practice, and government Major research areas – colleges/universities Psychological Research Objectives Research is a critical process for asking and attempting to answer questions about the world. The goal is to better understand human behavior Description – find information about a subject Prediction – take information and make future decisions based on it Explanation – find why something happens Control – have a way to cause change and know what will happen The Scientific Method Psychology is a science because it uses the scientific method. Steps of the scientific method: 1. Formulate a problem. Hypothesis – a clear predictive statement 2. Decide how to gather empirical data. Population – the entire group of individuals to be considered Sample – a small number of the population Representative sample – a selection chosen to match the entire
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population with regard to specific variables 3. Obtain empirical data. 4. Test your hypothesis. 5. Communicate your results. Variables A variable is anything that can change in value and is measured, manipulated, or controlled. Operational definition – specifies the operations used to produce or measure something; a way to give it a numerical value 1. Independent variables – the item that an experimenter manipulates to determine how it affects the dependent variable 2. Dependent variables – the item measured to determine how changes in the independent variable affect it Experimental Research Method The experimental method is the most respected type of research in psychology. It may be able to show that changes in the independent variable will always lead to the same changes in the dependent variable. Causation - attempt to determine what exactly caused a particular effect Requirements for experiment: 1. Manipulate at least one IV and measure at least one DV. 2. Compare at least two groups. Blind experiment – either the observer or the participants are unaware of which participants received which treatment Double blind experiment – both the observer and the participants are unaware Experimenter bias – tendency of an experimenter to distort or misperceive experiment results based on the expected
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outcome Placebo effect – occurs when any changes in the results are due more from expectations than from the independent variable 3. Randomly assign subjects to groups to cancel out individual differences.
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