Chapter 4 - Skeleton - Psy250: Scientific Inquiry Chapter 4...

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Psy250: Scientific Inquiry Chapter 4 Studying Behavior
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Variables Variable: any event, situation, behavior, or characteristic that varies. “Varies” means it has at least 2 possible levels or values Sometimes these levels or values are numeric Sometimes levels are different categories
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Categories of Variables Situational Variables Response Variables Participant/subject Variables Mediating Variables
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Situational Variables Describe characteristics of a situation or environment ex, a researcher interested in helping behavior. Researcher would create situations in which participant encounters a person in need of help. Sometimes participant is alone w/ person needing aid. Sometimes participant and “victim” w/ 3 or 6 bystanders; has 3 levels.
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Response Variables Responses or behaviors of individuals Ex. Helping behavior, criticizing romantic partner, eating reaction time, math problems answered correctly.
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Participant or Subject Variables Individual difference variables Characteristics of individuals -ex. Age, sex, race, self-esteem, attachment style, extraversion, political affiliation.
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Mediating Variables Psychological processes that mediate the effects of a situational variable on a particular response Variable that’s caused by predictor variable and that in turn cause outcome variable Help explain why a relationship between two other variables exist. Failure on task->low self-esteem->less interest in task.
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Operational Definitions of Variables Variables are rather abstract concepts Must be translated into concrete forms of observation or manipulation. Operational definition: definition of the variable in terms of the operations or techniques the researcher will use to measure or manipulate it.
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Operational Definitions of Variables Forces researcher to discuss abstract concepts in concrete terms Allow researchers to communicate about their ideas and research No one operational definition is perfect Better understanding of a conceptual variable comes from studying it with a variety of operational definitions
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Operational Definitions: Examples Anxiety: Physiological measure Self-report on anxiety scale Behavioral observation of avoidance behavior Intelligence: Score on IQ test SAT scores GPA
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Relationships Between Variables A lot of research studies the relationship between 2 variables Relationship between 2 variables: the general way different values of one variable are associated with different values of the other variable. Do the levels of the 2 variables vary systematically together?
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Relationships Between Variables Here we will talk about variables with numeric properties… Four most common relationships in research: Positive Linear Relationship Negative Linear Relationship Curvilinear Relationship No Relationship Between Variables
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Positive Linear Relationship Positive Linear Relationship: increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by
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Chapter 4 - Skeleton - Psy250: Scientific Inquiry Chapter 4...

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