Chapter 2 Text Notes

Chapter 2 Text Notes - Chapter 2 Research Methods Important...

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1 Chapter 2: Research Methods The focus of this chapter is on the various methods used in psychology to gather data about behaviour. We need to have some systematic way of collecting data, because our “common sense” beliefs are often wrong. Consider the following scenario: You have agreed to participate in a study at the university and when you arrive, the experimenter explains the task. On the table in front of you is a tray containing a number of spools. Your task will be to turn each spool one-quarter of a turn, move to the next spool, turn it one-quarter of a turn, and so on. Each time you finish turning all of the spools, you record a completion and start over again. This task lasts for 30 minutes. As you’re leaving, the experimenter tells you that he has been having trouble getting people to finish this study—apparently it is a bit boring. He tells you that there is another person waiting in the next room and asks if you will please tell him that the task is quite interesting. He experimenter further tells you that he will pay you $1.00 (or $20.00 in comparison group) to do this. You agree. After you tell the lie, and the second person has started the task, the experimenter takes you aside and says that he forgot to ask you how much you really enjoyed the spool task. Question: who do you think will say that they liked the spool task the most—the people who were paid $1.00 or those who got $20.00? Important Points Collecting Data Research Methods Summarizing Data Pitfalls & Problems Ethics
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2 Most people predict that those who received $20.00 for telling a lie should say that they liked the task more than those who got only $1.00. But in fact, the opposite is true! Leon Festinger demonstrated this back in 1958, supporting his theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Festinger argued that people will tend to justify their behaviour when they voluntarily do something that might have a negative impact on someone else. The first thing they do is to look for a good external reason. The people in the $20.00 condition have a good reason—they were paid good money to lie. But the people in the $1.00 condition have no external justification. Under these circumstances, we will often change our attitude to justify our behaviour—I lied for only $1.00, therefore, I
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Chapter 2 Text Notes - Chapter 2 Research Methods Important...

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