Week+2+Lecture - Part 1: The Methods, Philosophy, and...

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The Methods, Philosophy, and Principals of (Psychological) Science How do we know what we know? And how do we talk about it? Part 1:
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A way of knowing How do we know what we claim to know? Science is a method. a “set of methods, designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomena, past or present, and aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation,” to be more specific (Shermer, 1997) Natural explanations for natural phenomena Attempts to minimize biases through replication and external validation
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The “show me” state Karl Popper’s concept of falsification We must be able to demonstrate that a claim is false Science serves as the arbiter between “know nothing” skepticism and “anything goes” credulity
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There are no facts in science! At least, not in the common usage of the word “fact” Some definitions (Shermer, 1997) : Hypothesis: a testable statement accounting for a set of observations Theory: a well-supported and well-tested set of hypotheses Fact : a conclusion confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer provisional agreement So, might everything we know about science amount to bunk 1,000 years from now? Yes
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Why science? Control and predict our environments (avoid disease, natural disasters) Improve our lives (technology) Understand – we are a curious bunch, and science has proved itself to be a reliable and fruitful way of knowing about our world.
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The scientific method Induction – forming a hypothesis by drawing conclusions from existing data Deduction – making specific predictions based on hypotheses Observation – Gathering data, driven by hypotheses that tell us what to look for in nature Verification – testing predictions against further observations to confirm/falsify the hypothesis
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1, 2, 3 1. Unsystematic Observation 2. Building Theories 3. Evaluating Propositions
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1. Unsystematic observation We are all amateur personality scientists We can all paint a fairly decent “character sketch” of someone we know The “creative observer” Perceiving order and patterns out of chaotic stimuli Context of discovery Seeks to discover new ways of seeing reality; new ways of controlling, improving, and understanding our world
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1. Unsystematic observation Example: Case studies An in-depth investigation of a single individual, sometimes conducted over a substantial period of time. Allport’s letters to Jenny Can then be used to build a theory about the person of interest or about all people.
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2. Building theories Organizing the observations we have made about the world (people) How do we do this? There is no good answer to this. Might proceed by
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2012 for the course PPE 3003 taught by Professor Kenswan during the Spring '12 term at University of Florida.

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Week+2+Lecture - Part 1: The Methods, Philosophy, and...

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