chapter02 - Chapter 2 Scientific Methods in Psychology...

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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 2 Scientific Methods in Psychology Psychology is a science . This chapter is about how we use scientific methods to evaluate theories in psychology. Scientific methods help psychologists obtain the most accurate knowledge of mental processes and behavior. Scientific Methods in Psychology Science, derived from Latin, means knowledge Science and the Evaluation of Evidence The Scientific Method Why do we need it? The scientific method provides guidelines for scientists in all fields to evaluate particular claims (called hypotheses ). The Scientific Method How do we support claims scientifically? Scientists want to know the evidence that will either support or disprove a claim. The scientific word for a claim is hypothesis . A hypothesis is a testable prediction of what will occur under a stated set of conditions. The Scientific Method Whats the hypothesis? Claim: There is a relationship between televised violence and aggressive behavior. A hypothesis leads to predictions. An experimental method tests those predictions. Method to test a prediction of the hypothesis The Scientific Method How do we test the hypothesis? Some possible methods: Measure how much time a sample of children watch violent television programs and compare that to how much violent behavior the children exhibit (a correlational study.) OR: Have two groups: one group of children watch violent programs another group watch non-violent programs Then record differences in the amount of violent behavior between the two groups (an experimental study.) The Scientific Method How do we measure the results? It is tricky to measure phenomena such as violent behavior. We need operational definitions of concepts such as this one. We must clearly state which behaviors will represent violent behavior (shootings, etc.) and aggressive behavior (verbal threats, hitting, etc.). We need to apply the definitions consistently. The Scientific Method What do our results mean? If results support the prediction, it may mean the hypothesis is valid, but that does not eliminate other possible explanations. If results contradict the prediction, the hypothesis may need to be modified or abandoned. Or we may need to improve our method. Scientists generally do not alter their conclusions based on one study only . The Scientific Method The importance of replication Scientific standards demand that researchers report their methods in detail so that any other scientist could repeat the study to confirm or contradict the validity of the findings. Replicable results are those that other scientists can obtain by following the same procedures. The Scientific Method A good example of an interesting NON-replicable result in psychology is the much-ballyhooed Mozart effect. Based on the results of a single study, researchers claimed that listening to classical music could improve cognitive functioning....
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 101 taught by Professor Michaelleyton during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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chapter02 - Chapter 2 Scientific Methods in Psychology...

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