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Sep20 - Psychologists as Scientists and Skeptics...

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9/20/10 1 Psychologists as Scientists and Skeptics Open-minded Require evidence Willing to change one’s mind when the evidence requires Examine the evidence: “What do you mean?” “How do you know?” Consider plausible alternative explanations: “What would happen if the conditions were any different?” Rorschach Ink Blot Test Barnum Effect Professor Ray Hyman and palm reading “Cold reading” Start with a testable hypothesis to avoid after-the-fact explanations A hypothesis is not testable when: Concepts are poorly defined Hypothesis is circular Involves non-scientific ideas or forces Person committed a crime because he is “mentally disturbed” “Bobby is distractable and having trouble reading in school because he has an attention deficit disorder.” e.g., the devil Variables Situational variables Response variables Participant or subject variables Mediating (intervening) variables Operational definition: definition of a variable in terms of the operations or techniques that a researcher uses to measure or manipulate it Anxiety = Number of foot taps Amount of sweat Self-report (questionnaire)
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