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Research In Psychology!
Transcript of Research In Psychology!
Definition - Branch or type of psychology concerned with employing empirical principles and procedures in the study of psychological phenomena. source : Merriam-Webster dictionary.
How experiments stack up!
All experiments are carried out under controlled conditions to :
1. Discover an unknown effect or law.
2. Establish and examine the validity of a hypothesis.
3. Illustrate a known law or effect.
In Layman's terms an experiment is tests carried out in controlled circumstances, the experimenter should have an idea of what to expect as an outcome.
1. Replication - Experiments can be repeated to give multiple readings, so that we can establish patterns.
2. Cause and Effect - Experiments are the only way we can establish this, as they allow for the manipulation of a single variable while keeping all other variables constant.
1. Artificial - Experiments distort natural behavior as subjects are asked to do things they wouldn't normally do, also people tend to think about what they would do first which doesn't show true instinctual reactions. The observation method can eliminate this problem.
2. Control - Sometimes it isn't possible to control all the variables of an experiment, in particular it is impossible to completely control the mental parameters of people being tested.
Definition - an act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence often involving measurement with instruments : Merriam - Webster dictionary.
In Layman's terms an observation happens when the observer sits back and watches a situation play out, for instance a researcher will observe an experiment to get a different perspective from that of participating in the experiment.
Observations are carried out in different ways :
1. Direct observational methods
Observation with intervention.
Observation w/o Intervention.
2. Indirect observational methods
Physical or trace evidence
How observations stack up!
1. Natural - Allows for natural; instinctive behavior to be seen, un-obscured by 'second thoughts'.
2. Permanent Records - For true observations to be done, notes need to be taken to be analyzed later. This gives rise to records of past behavior to be used as reference when looking at newer behavior to help establish patterns.
1. Bias - A major problem with observation is the observer is almost never neutral, on some level they will have an opinion on what they are seeing and hearing and will therefore pass some judgement when recording their observations. Experiments do not have this problem.
2. Practicability - Observation can be very time consuming and resource draining, for e.g. observing how a family weathers the loss of a loved one at pivotal moments. You can't observe every family member at once so more than one observer may be needed and grief and loss can continue on for years so observation as a data collecting method in this case is unfeasible.
An example of the type of equipment experimenters might use to see which parts of the brain experience activity in certain situations, e.g. The Amygdalae are two lobes located in the centre of the brain, they process memories and emotional reactions.
A couple having an argument while a marriage councilor observes, taking notes.
What seems to be a frantic self-report.
Correlations are like chain links, variables share a relationship but do not directly influence one another.
Definition - a report about one's behavior provided especially by one who is a subject of research : Merriam - Webster dictionary
In Layman's terms a self-report is a research subjects' own personal account of a situation they were directly involved in. For Psychology purposes this would include behavior ( reactions, feelings towards and reasoning ).
Self-Reports are beneficial in research because :
1. They give personal accounts, an 'in the middle of the action' report.
2. They help speed up data collection times, as every participant will write their own report saving one person from inputting the data for all.
How self-reports stack up!
1. Quick and Easy - They can be surveys or questionnaires so can therefore reach many people in a short space of time and so are convenient for mass data collection
2. Freedom Specific - Using open questions allows for participants to describe their experiences in there own words. This gives more detailed and in - depth answers.
1. Your Own Take - Answers to open questions can have many interpretations, as the surveyor usually can't get the participants to elaborate especially in large groups this is problematic as it makes the data partly unreliable. Observation, experimental and correlation methods don't suffer from this problem
2. Social Desirability Bias - Many people often exaggerate their answers to fit in with societal norms. This distorts the true data and dilutes any average readings.
Definition - the state or relation of being correlated; specifically : a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone : Merriam - Webster dictionary
In Layman's terms a correlation is when two variables occur together in such a way that it is no accident that they are related some how but DO NOT directly affect one another. For e.g. the correlation between crime and poverty, poverty does not lead directly to crime but can be a factor behind the motivation to commit crime.
CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION!
How correlations stack up!
1. Foresight - We can make predictions when we know about correlations, e.g. there is a direct correlation between having a tertiary education and being wealthy, having a tertiary education doesn't cause you to be wealthy but we can predict that by having an education of such a high standard can lead to a wealthy work position.
2. Relationships - Correlations allow researchers to explore to what degree casual relationships between variables reach, e.g. if there are multiple correlations linking variables this leads to accurate predictability of them occurring together.
1. Not Causation - Often correlation is mistaken for causation, but this is not true as the variables can occur together but do not directly cause the occurrence, for e.g. having many material possessions does not mean that a person is wealthy although being wealthy and having many material possessions can occur together more often than not.
2. Lack of Concrete - Correlations cannot give any indication of cause and effect, this allows for some element of chance. Therefore you can say with certainty one variable will occur with the other. Experimental and observation methods can give cause and effect.
By Benjamin Hardy