PSYCH Chapter 2

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A major assumption of science is that events occur in a ____________ manner.


2 Characteristics of the Scientific Method

1. Data is collected accurately in a controlled setting 2. Other researchers must be able to get the same results using the same method

Where can psychologists carefully control conditions for measuring behavior?



A system of ideas that is used to explain a set of observations. It suggests hypotheses to be tested in research.


A prediction that two or more variables are likely to be related

Theories suggest ___________ which are tested in __________.

hypotheses; research

5 steps used in performing a scientific investigation

1. Formulate a hypothesis 2. Select the research method and design the study 3. Collect the data 4. Analyze the data and draw conclusions 5. Report the findings

Advantages of the Scientific Approach over Commonsense

1. Clarity and precision 2. Relative intolerance of error

Independent Variable

The variable that is manipulated by the experimenter

Dependent Variable

The variable that is affected by the manipulation

Confounding Variables

Extra variables that only one group had

How can confounding variables be avoided?

Groups should be large enough and random

Experimental Group

The group of subjects that receives the experimental treatment

Control Group

The group that does not receive the experimental treatment

Random Assignment

-When all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study -Control for extraneous variable

What is the major advantage of the experimental method?

It permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables.

What are the 2 major disadvantages of the experimental method?

1. Experiments are often artificial and doubts arise about the applicability of the findings. 2. Some research questions are unethical

What are the major advantages of correlational research?

1. Broadens the scope of what can be studied 2. Make predictions 3. Leads to further research

What are the major disadvantages of correlational research?

1. Cannot show cause and effect 2. Cannot manipulate variables

3 Types of descriptive/correlational methods

naturalistic observation, case study, survey

Naturalistic Observation

Study of human beings or animals in their natural environments conducted without direct intervention from the observer.

Case Study

An analysis of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, behaviors, or problems of one person Advantages: 1. Can gain a greater understanding of a particular person to help him or her 2. Could lead to further research Disadvantages: 1. Cannot generalize one person’s results to others 2. Bias because a psychologist does not know what the person is not telling him


Use of questionnaires to find out about specific aspects of human attitudes or opinions

Major Disadvantage of Correlational Research

correlation is not causation


The score that occurs most frequently


The sum of all scores divided by the total number of scores


the middle score

Which measure of central tendency is very sensitive to extreme scores?


Which measure of central tendency is usually the most useful?


What is the name of the statistic used as a measure of variability?

standard deviation

Statistically Significant

The probability that there was a difference between means by chance is very low, less than 5 times in 100 (0.05). Research results are unlikely to be due to chance.

What are two major advantages of survey research?

1. Efficient way to obtain a large amount of data quickly 2. You can compare answers from various ethnic, age,socioeconomic, and cultural groups

Sampling bias

The sample size is not representative of the population from which it was drawn.

Placebo effects

When a participants’ expectations lead them to experience some change even though they receive fake treatment

Social Desirability Bias

Occurs when respondents want to create a favorable impression

Response Set

When people are predisposed to respond in particular ways regardless of the question (This can be avoided by re-wording questions)

Experimenter Bias

When a researcher’s expectations about the outcome of a study influence the results

Double Blind Procedure

Neither subjects nor experimenters know which treatment condition the subject is in

+ Deception

1. It avoids problems such as placebo effects and the unreliability of self-reports 2. Many important issues could not be studied if experimenters were not allowed to utilize deception

– Deception

1. Lying is inherently immoral 2. Psychologists corrupt individuals’ trust in others

What is the major reason that some people object to using animal subjects in research?

Psychologists use animals because they can perform experiments that would be unacceptable to do on human subjects and animals are entitled to the same rights as humans. COUNTER ARGUMENT: It leads to major advances especially for the incurably ill

What’s wrong with anecdotal evidence?

One cannot generalize from a single case

Evidence-Based Decision-Making Process

to solve problems based on solid evidence

Self-Fulfilling prophecy

Having a strong belief or making a statement about a future behavior and then acting, usually unknowingly, to fulfill or carry out the behavior.

The Normal Curve

68%, 95%, 99.7%

Positively Skewed Distribution

Skewed toward lower #’s

Negatively Skewed Distribution

Skewed toward higher #’s

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