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Intro to debates

AS Psychology 2015

Rajiv Ariaraj

on 23 January 2017

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Transcript of Intro to debates

introduction to
Socially sensitive research

Reductionism- Holism
Psychology as a science
A-Level Psychology 2016
Briefly summarise what the nature-nurture debate is.

Whether behaviour can be explained through
natural processes
(like genetics and biology) or
through upbringing
(the way a person is raised).
What type of people are useful to study when researching this debate?
Identical (monozygotic) twins.
Are the studies likely to have been actually carried out in psychology?
Look at your handout:

It is interesting
It's useful
The findings can help others in the future (practical application)
Conducting the studies will hurt people
The findings could be contraversial
The findings wouldn't help others.
1. Deliberately cause inter-gang rivalry to investigate prejudice.
Carried out my Sherif in the 50s
2. Causing continuous stress to children to see if they develop uclers.
But it was carried out on monkeys (Brady)
3. Investigating the impact of personal space invasions by standing too close to men in urinals
Carried out my Middlemist (1976)
4. Pretending to be mentally ill to see if a mental hospital would admit you.
Carried out by Rosenhan (1973)
5. Giving a small baby electric shocks when stroking his pet rat to see if you could induce a phobia.
Carried out by Watson and Rayner
6. Making children watch aggressive behaviour to see if they imitate it.
Carried out by Bandura (1961)
7. Seeing if type of music played in the background in a shop effects the amount of money that peoplen spend.
Areni and Kim (1993) found that people spend more money on wine when played classical music.
8. Getting a woman to stand at a cliff edge to see if danger affects how attractive men find her.
They used a rickety bridge instead (Aron and Dutton 1974)
9. Analysing sport results to see if teams win more games at home than away.
Schwartz and Barsky (1977) found that basketball had the strongest home advantage effect compared to ice hockey and american football.
10. Deliberately isolating a child from other humans to see how this effects their language development.
This did happen to a girl (with abusive parents) once she was resuced by authorities psychologists interviewed her.
Ethical Issues
As psychological research has the potential to hurt and harm people psychological associations such as the british psychological society (BPS) have a guideline of issues that researchers should try to follow.
The issues come under 4 main categories:
Participants should be made aware that they can leave the research at any point in the study. There should be no pressure put on participants to stay, and any rewards offered for taking part in research (e.g. money) should still be awarded.
Each participant must give formal permission to take part in research. This is best obtained by signing a form before the research begins. Under-16s should have a parent sign on their behalf.
Individual participants should not be named when results of research are published, unless they have given permission. If you need to refer to individual participants then only their initials should be used.
Informed consent

At the end of research participants should be told about the purpose of the study, why they have taken part and researchers should answer any questions the participant may have.

Research should not harm participants, either physically or mentally through distress or emotional pain.
Protection from harm

Where possible, participants should not be lied to about the purpose of the study and should be fully informed about why they are taking part in the research.
Psychologists should conduct research only in areas in which they are familiar. They should not try to use technical equipment or engage in any form of psychological practice (e.g. therapy) that they are not trained in using.
Complete the exercise on page 2
Why should psychologists definitely NOt conduct studies like some of the ones you've just seen?
When studying human behaviour it is very possible that you will research areas of humanity that are socially sensitive.

Socially sensitive research are studies that have the potential to upset, distress or anger people as well as risk harmful outcomes in the future.

In your pack, write down any human experiences that could be seen to be socially sensitive.
Studying socially sensitive research isn't wrong or unethical in itself, but it should be handled carefully so to try and not upset other people.

Imagine you're researching how emotionally harmful bullying in childhood affects happiness in adulthood. You will need to interview people who had been bullied in childhood.

How can you approach this research in a socially sensitive way?
Does the person act that way because of
who they are
what situation
they're in?
Look at the following situations:
Last day of school
First day of college
Hanging out with old friends
Hanging out with new friends
Job interview
Spending time with family
Does your personality change in each situation or do you stay pretty much the same?
Can you explain behaviour through...
Individual explanations
Situational Explanations
A person acts according to their natural personality and does not change their behaivour no matter what social situation they are in. Their behaviour is determined by their personality.
A person will change their behaviour to suit whichever social situation they are in. Their behaviour is determined by the situation.
the Debate
Can you choose how to act or is your behaviour already decided?
Watch the clip
Write down what you were doing in your life 5 years ago
Could you have predicted back then what you would be doing today?
Can you predict basically what you'll be doing 5 years from now?
10 years from now?
How predictable is your life?
Do you have a
about how your life will turn out or is it already fixed (or
Can people choose how they behave? (freewill)
Are people's behaviours caused by factors they cannot control? (Determinism)
What factors can determine our behaviour?
Biological factors
E.g. sleep, hunger, breathing
Social factors
E.g. language, expectations from others, peer pressure
Look at the exercise in your pack, decide how determined or free-willed you think the behaviours are.
(both of these are types of determinism)
Have a go at the exercises in your pack
Individual or situational?
Why is obesity on the rise in the UK?
Write down as many reasons as you can think of.
Researchers should isolate and study
one factor
that affects human behaviour at a time
Researchers should try to take into account
lots of difference factors
that can affect human behaviour at once
Choose a celebrity
Some people claim that a way to reduce obesity in people is to get them to drink more water everyday
Design an experiment that would test out if drinking more water helps people to lose weight.
Consider: Who would be in your experiment, what groups you might have, what you would get them to do and how you would collect results
Should psychological research be conducted if it isn't useful to anyone?
How can you tell if research is useful?
The findings of the research are useful if they have a
practical application
(they can be used to help people in the future).
Psychological research has helped a wide range of people in the past including doctors, teachers, the police parents, advertisers, the military and many others.
YOU need to decide
research will be useful to these people.
Rank the following 3 videos in order of how useful they are. Explain your answers
Is psychology a science?
List subjects that are considered a science and subjects that are NOT considered a science.
Look at your list of sciences - can you see what they have in common?
There are 3 features that make up a science
1. Replicability
Research should be able to be repeated again on different participants, but the results should remain the same.
For example a research conducts an experiment about whether eating banana's improves memory.
He gets together a group of 20 people.
10 of them eat 5 bananas while the other 10 eat nothing.
All 20 do a memory test.
The researcher finds that the group that ate the banana's had a better memory score.
For this research to be replicable - the researcher should be able to repeat this study again in the exactly the same way but with different people. The results should also be similar even though different people have taken part.
2. Falsifiability
Claims that are made by researchers should be able to be scientifically tested and proven wrong.
For example - "Everyone in this class has a twitter account" is a falisfiabile statement as we can clearly test to see if it is right or wrong.
Why is "God exists" not a falsifiable statement?
3. objectivity
Research should be based on facts that can be scientifically recorded rather than personal opinions and beliefs.
It can be difficult to be objective when studying psychology. For example studying the effects of child abuse is more difficult to remain objective about compared to studying the periodic table of elements in chemistry.

Which of the following are you able to be objective about?
Memory, concentration, happiness, brain structure, social relationships, aggression, eating disorders
Where possible, participants should not be lied to about the purpose of the study and should be fully informed about why they are taking part in the research.
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