paper - Research Methods 2 The workings of the human mind...

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Research Methods 2 The workings of the human mind are extremely vast and complex. Why do people do the things they do? What makes one person react to a situation differently than another? Are men and women “wired” to have different personality traits? What defines insanity? The answers to all of these questions are sought out by psychology. Although many of these questions have yet to be answered, psychology has come a long way throughout the years of human existence. Some ancient cultures used to think the heart controlled our emotions and not our blood. Now however, people know that it is in fact the mind that controls many of our emotions and reactions. Psychology used to be seen as a completely uncertain field. There was no real way to determine what made one child more aggressive than another or what made some people talk to people that were not there. There was no concept of mental disease, genetic behavioral traits, or even the effect the environment had on one’s behavior and mental development. It was a field of study that was nearly impossible to study. However, psychology has slowly begun finding a scientific way of exploring and explaining the human mind through correlational, descriptive and experimental research methods. The first method of psychological research is experimental research. This kind of research is normally conducted in a lab as it allows more control for the researchers and psychologists (Shaughnessy and Zechmeister, 1994). In this kind of research, scientific experiments are performed usually using two variables: the independent variable and the dependent variable. The independent variable is the variable that is being tested, while the dependent variable is the variable that will be affected by the independent variable. Two groups of subjects are treated exactly the same except for the independent variable. If the independent variable is not present the group is called a “control group”. Differences between the two group’s dependent variables can be seen as results of the independent variable. Because of this
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Research Methods 3 type of experimental setup, experimental research is one of the only research methods in which causal inferences can be made (Shweigert, 1994). Experimental designs differ in their setup. They can contain multiple independent variables, they can occur once or multiple times, and they can have more than two experimental groups (Experimental Methods, 2004). Experimental designs also vary in the way the subjects are grouped. They can be randomly assigned to various groups or the experiment can be a matched group design. In a matched group design, individuals
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