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Social Science 1A Principles in the Social Sciences

Study Guide Exam I
Exam 1 will cover chapters 1, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 49, lecture material, film clips and handouts.
From the lectures, please know the following:
(The first three items are from the syllabus)
What is the purpose of the Social Science 1A course?
To understand how social sciences depict/contribute to the understanding of social problems.

What is the definition of social science?

study of human beings and their social world (living with fellow humans)

What are the various social sciences?

anthropology, psychology, political science, economics, sociology, geography

What are the different ways of obtaining knowledge and answering questions?
- science
- common sense
- authority
- tradition/religion
- logic/reasoning

Please review the article and the two film clips on the Columbia Accident Investigation.
We will have one or two questions regarding the actions of the NASA that hindered the accident
The representative of NASA used common sense to describe the accident --> ignored that the foam is the
cause of the accident.
Physical culture (foam) vs. root cause (NASA culture - broken safety culture)

Who is Francis Bacon?

- Father of Modern Science (scientist)

- Scientific Method
- separated science from church
- uses induction logic
- anti-theorist

What are Bacons doctrines of empiricism and induction?

Empiricism: scientific knowledge comes from observation with the sense
- observations
- data
- INDUCTION --> conclusions
- not logic/innate knowledge
- can't study immaterial phenomena

How does induction work as a means to discover empirical laws?

observation --> theory
- get data and look for patterns

Why did Bacon criticize the use of hypotheses in science?

- theories are only guesses, and have tendency of bias

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What did Bacon mean by knowledge is power?

- must use science to improve technology --> lead to a utopia
- science can solve our problems --> utopia
- gaining knowledge --> opportunity to improve ourselves

What is the practical purpose of the social sciences for Bacon? to form conclusions from observations
Know the meaning of the four Idols of the Mind that interfere with the search for correct knowledge
according to Bacon.
1) Idols of the Tribe --> human conditions
2) Idols of the Cave --> individual characteristics
3) Idols of the Market Place Errors due to misuse of words
4) Idols of the Theatre Trying to use logic to explain something that is beyond logic

Why did Rene Descartes support the use of theory in science?

- theory: logical guess that predicts and explains
- we need theories to explain our observations (Theory + empirical facts)
- data + understanding
- everyone science have to have a theory
- She did not trust Bacon's rely on senses

What analogy did Descartes use to indicate the importance of theory?

- can observe a watch for time
- but need to look closer (inside) for its components

Auguste Comte is the originator of positivism for the social sciences. What is this doctrine? - objective,
systematic, logical science based on observations
- based on presumptions that we can apply methods used in Natural Sciences to study human behavior in

According to Comte, societies pass through three stages of development. What are these stages?
1) Supernatural Stage - God, religion, etc.
2) Metaphysical Stage - unknown forces (karma, faith, superstitions)
3) Scientific (positive) Stage - accepts positivism, science reveals causes and effects, technology improves
society, rejected by social sciences

Comte arranged the natural and social sciences into a hierarchy. What is this hierarchy?
Sociology (Social physics)

What is the rationale for Comtes hierarchy? - to quantify human behavior by reducing human behavior to
other sciences

What analogy did Isaac Newton use to describe the world? UNIVERSE is a machine composed of atoms
operating according to fixed laws

How have the natural sciences aided the development of the social sciences? Natural Sciences concepts
in Social Sciences
- gravity = affiliation

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- gene = meme
- natural selection = Social Darwinism

Today, is it possible to put the natural sciences into a logical hierarchy? Yes
If so, what is this hierarchy?
Social Sciences

Is it possible to put the social sciences into a logical hierarchy? No

If not, why not? Social Sciences overlap each other.
And sometimes they overlap with some of the natural sciences.

Compared to the natural sciences, is the subject matter of the social sciences static or dynamic?
What does this distinction mean? DYNAMIC = constantly changing
in soc sci, theories change over time as we learn more and have better technology; culture also changes

What is the difference between explanation and understanding in science?

EXPLANATION = asking how
UNDERSTANDING = asking why

Do the social sciences use both principles? Yes

Can the Lamarckian view of evolution help explain any phenomenon in the social sciences? NO!
Doctrine of Acquired Characteristics
- "smartness" can be inherited and passed down to next generations

What is a meme and what is the function of a meme?

-a unit of intellectual or cultural information passed from one person (brain) to another (tunes, ideas,
catch-phrases, fashion, ads, ways of making pots, etc.)
-a piece of cultural info (beliefs, norms, behaviors, attitude) passed down to next generations
explains how culture changes so quickly

What are the three characteristics of a scientific law?

1) Describes an observation in nature
2) can be tested and probably disproved
3) will always remain a law (wouldn't change into a theory)
-Universal, based on observation, causal explanations

How do scientific laws differ in the social sciences from the natural sciences? Social science cannot state
causes with certainty, only probability

In lecture, we reviewed the research wheel.

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Please know the characteristics of this wheel. data --> theory --> hypothesis --> experiment --> cycle
data --> theory = INDUCTION (induction from data)
theory -- hypothesis = DEDUCTION (Deduction from the theory)
We begin with a theory.

What are the necessary stages in planning an experiment?

1) topic
2) define term
3) research topic background
4) generate hypotheses
5) choose research design (need consultation)
6) analyze data
7) report results & conclusion --> publishing

Know the major research methods used in the social sciences reviewed in lecture and the readings.
-descriptive: Describes the participants in the study
-relational/correlational: looks for relationships between the participant and the data (correlations and
-experimental: finds causes and effect.
-observational study
-case study
-secondary data analysis

What are the ethical rules for social science research?

1) voluntary participation
2) informed consent
3) anonymity
4) no harm
5) debriefing (talk to the participants)
all of these are enforced by Institutional review boards (IRB)

What experiments, cited in lecture, started the interest in the ethics of social science research?
The Nazis
- Germans did cruel experiments with humans
- ex. throw them into water to see how long if would take them to die
-Began in Nuremburg Trials (Germany)
-Weren't enforced until the late 60s because of the unethical experiments
-Institutional Review Boards (IRB)enforce Ethnical Rules
Why are the Milgram and Zimbardo studies considered unethical? Milgram
- might cause psychological problems and cause people to trust less
- students forgot who they are - the research study became REALITY - psychological, physical,
emotional harm
-they forgot that they are volunteering
-into 2 groups : prisoners and guards
-Students become abusive
-there are no informed consent

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There are links to films on the Milgram and Zimbardo studies. We hope you will view these films if you
find the studies interesting, but we will not have any questions from the films specifically, on the lecture
What is the Institutional Review Board? - get federal funds, has to look at every research with human
subjects in terms of ethics

From the chapter readings, please know the following:

Chapter 3:
Know all the methods of social science reviewed in the chapter (i.e. the experiment, the sample survey,
the observational study).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods?
The experiment most precise and rigorous of the research designs
The Sample Survey lacking the precision of an experiment. Useful for gaining information about
issues that cant be directly observed
The Observational Study allows investigators to learn all one can about the particular subject
What is the difference between a detached observational study and a participant observational
Detached observation is when social scientists simply watch without getting involved in the activity
Participant observation researcher joins and participates in the group or community being studied
which allows the researcher more insight into the way of life of the people being observed
Is there any value in reanalyzing previously collected data?
Time, money, and effort can be saved using previously collected data
Chapter 12:
Why is it so difficult to be objective in the social sciences?
Because our assumptions affect our perception of our environment and our behavior
According to the chapter, how do we maintain objectivity in the pursuit of scientific knowledge?
Dont assume anything until factual evidence has been gathered and evaluated
Chapter 13:
According to the chapter, what is the definition of modern science?
Modern science is a philosophy about knowledge, about the way that we know what we know
What is an axiom?
Basic assumptions that cannot be proved but which form the basis of all proofs
What are the three axioms of modern science and what do they mean?
1. We know what we know through the senses alone. Meaning that if the senses cant confirm it, it
cannot be known or regarded as true or real
2. The mind has the power to receive, record and rearrange sensations Deals with the nature of
that which is trying to find knowledge
3. Nature is orderly and regular meaning that what has happened in the past, is happening now,
will happen in the future. Consistency
How as science encouraged our desire to have material things?
Science has placed a high social value on material things making them desirable
According to the chapter, how does science support equality?
It stats that at birth everything is equal in ones eyes and everyone is equally ignorant
Can social science really be value-free?
Which two social sciences will incur greater difficulties by being value-free?

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Political science and psychology

Chapter 14:
This chapter reviews the famous Zimbardo prison study. Know the basic design and results of this
Why did Zimbardo end the study early?
Volunteers started acting too extreme
Based on his results, Zimbardo offered a characterization of human nature. What is this characterization?
We underestimate the power and pervasiveness of situational controls over behavior
According to Zimbardo, what happens to people who are put into prisons?
The mere act of assigning labels to people and putting them into a situation where those laels acquire
validity and meaning is sufficient to elicit pathological behavior
Why do prisons fail to rehabilitate prisoners?

Chapter 15:
When did Milgram begin his research?
Why hypothesis about Germans motivated his study?
Germans have a basic character flaw which explains the whole thing, and this flow is a readiness to obey
authority without question, no matter what outrageous acts the authority commands
What was the basic design and results of Milgrams obedience to authority experiment?
Teacher and learner, more than 60% of teachers would obey higher command
Did Milgrams results support his original hypothesis about Germans?
(Please note that the author of the chapter does not define negative reinforcement correctly).
To explain his results, Milgram proposed the state of agency hypothesis. What is this hypothesis?
In certain circumstances, we operate under a state of agency; one who acts for or in the place of another
by authority from him; a substitute; a deputy
Chapter 17:
The author of Chapter 17 traces the evolutionary history of life on Earth.
Overall, what percent of all species that have ever existed are now extinct?
Know the principle of natural selection (see Box 17.1).
Theoretically, how does natural selection guide evolution?
How does modern biology explain the natural selection process in terms of genetics?
Explain how chance operates in evolution.
Does evolution always guarantee that future organisms develop more perfectly than previous organisms?
What are the evolutionary flaws in the human design?
What does the chapter mean by evolutionary trade-offs regarding human development?
How long ago did hominid and ape forms split off from a common ancestor?
70mil years ago
What is the out of Africa hypothesis for human evolution?
Holds that all people on earth today descend from modern humans who orginated in Africa 130k-200k
ears ago and spread from there less than 100k years ago
Based upon human genetics, why is race a difficult concept to define?

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According to the data from the Human Genome Project, how genetically similar are humans to one
99.9% similar
What are the similarities in the behavior between humans and chimpanzees?
Social hierarchy
Do these similarities support the importance of biology for the social sciences?
In terms of DNA, how similar are humans and chimps?
98.8% of common DNA
According to the author of the chapter, evolutionary combat is taking place between which two
biological forces. Which force might win according to the author? (See Box 17.3)

Chapter 19:
What is the definition in social science of the term society?
What major characteristic is used to classify societies?
What percentage of the worlds current population belongs to hunter-gatherer societies?
Where are hunter-gatherer societies currently located?
What is the most important social institution for the hunter-gatherer society? Why?
What is the major advantage of the pastoral (herding) society over the hunter-gatherer society?
Why does warfare develop between pastoral societies and other groups?
Horticultural societies appear to contain more violence than do hunter-gatherer societies. Why is this
What forms of violence appear in the horticultural society that do not appear in the hunter-gatherer and
pastoral societies?
What is the difference between a horticultural society and an agricultural society?
The agricultural society is able to support a relatively large population.
What is the consequence for society of this expanding population?
What institutions develop within the agricultural society to compete with the family?
Chapter 21:
What do the terms ethnocentrism and cultural relativism mean?
Why should social scientists practice cultural relativism?
When do social scientists have the duty to condemn certain practices in various cultures, thereby setting
aside the principle of cultural relativism?
Chapter 49:
What was the author, John Lamberts profession? What was he hired to study? What was his
hypothesis? What did he find? What is DWB? What is the technical term for this practice? What did
Lambert find out about Blacks experiences with juries? What is the most likely reason that Blacks have
higher frequencies of being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike? How is this idea perpetuated? How
much more likely are Blacks to be arrested than non-Blacks on the New Jersey Turnpike are?