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Myers PSYCHOLOGY

(7th Ed)

Chapter 1
Thinking Critically with
Psychological Science
James A. McCubbin, PhD
Clemson University

Worth Publishers
The Need for
Psychological Science

Psychologists, like all scientists,


use the scientific method to
construct theories that
organize observations and
imply testable hypotheses
The Need for
Psychological Science

Hindsight Bias
we tend to believe, after learning an
outcome, that we would have
foreseen it
the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon
Overconfidence
we tend to think we know more than
we do
The Need for
Psychological Science

Critical Thinking
thinking that does
not blindly accept
arguments and
conclusions
examines
assumptions
discerns hidden
The Amazing Randi--Skeptic values
The Need for
Psychological Science

Theory
an explanation using an integrated
set of principles that organizes and
predicts observations
Hypothesis
a testable prediction
often implied by a theory
The Need for
Psychological Science
The Need for
Psychological Science

Operational Definition
a statement of procedures
(operations) used to define research
variables
Example-
intelligence may be operationally defined
as what an intelligence test measures
The Need for
Psychological Science

Replication
repeating the essence of a
research study to see whether
the basic finding generalizes to
other participants and
circumstances
usually with different participants
in different situations
Description

Psychologists describe
behavior using case studies,
surveys, and naturalistic
observation
Description
Case Study
Psychologists
study one or
more
individuals in
great depth in
the hope of
revealing
things true of
us all Is language uniquely human?
Description
Survey
technique for ascertaining the self-
reported attitudes or behaviors of people
usually by questioning a representative,
random sample of people
Random Sample
a sample that fairly represents a
population because each member has an
equal chance of inclusion
Description
False Consensus Effect
tendency to overestimate the extent
to which others share our beliefs and
behaviors
Population
all the cases in a group, from which
samples may be drawn for a study
Description
Description
If marbles of two
colors are mixed
well in the large
jar, the fastest way
to know their ratio
is to blindly
transfer a few into
a smaller one and
count them
Description
Naturalistic
Observation
observing and
recording behavior
in naturally
occurring situations
without trying to
manipulate and
control the situation
Correlation
Correlation Coefficient
a statistical measure of the extent to which two factors
vary together, and thus how well either factor predicts the
other

Indicates direction
of relationship
(positive or negative)

Correlation
r = +.37
coefficient

Indicates strength
of relationship
(0.00 to 1.00)
Correlation
Scatterplot
a graphed cluster of dots, each of which
represents the values of two variables
the slope of the points suggests the
direction of the relationship
the amount of scatter suggests the strength
of the correlation
little scatter indicates high correlation
also called a scattergram or scatter diagram
Correlation

Perfect positive No relationship (0.00) Perfect negative


correlation (+1.00) correlation (-1.00)

Scatterplots, showing patterns of


Correlation
Height and Temperament of 20 Men
Height in Height in
Subject Inches Temperament Subject Inches Temperament
1 80 75 11 64 48
2 63 66 12 76 69
3 61 60 13 71 72
4 79 90 14 66 57
5 74 60 15 73 63
6 69 42 16 70 75
7 62 42 17 63 30
8 75 60 18 71 57
9 77 81 19 68 84
10 60 39 20 70 39
Correlation
95
Temperament 90
scores 85
80
75
70
65
60
55
50
45
40
35
30
25
55 60 65 70 75 80 85
Height in inches

Scatterplot of Height and Temperament


Correlation
Three Possible Cause-Effect Relationships
could cause
(1)
Depression
Low self-esteem
or

(2) could cause


Low self-esteem
Depression

or
Low self-esteem
(3)
Distressing events could cause
and
or biological
predisposition
Depression
Illusory Correlation

Illusory Conceive Do not conceive

Correlation confirming
evidence
disconfirming
evidence
Adopt
the
perception of
a relationship disconfirming confirming
where none Do not
evidence evidence

exists adopt
Two Random
Sequences
Your chances
of being dealt
either of these
hands is
precisely the
same: 1 in
2,598,960.
Experimentation
Experiment
an investigator manipulates one or
more factors (independent variables)
to observe their effect on some
behavior or mental process (the
dependent variable)
by random assignment of participants
the experiment controls other relevant
factors
Experimentation
Placebo
an inert substance or condition that may be
administered instead of a presumed active
agent, such as a drug, to see if it triggers the
effects believed to characterize the active
agent
Double-blind Procedure
both the research participants and the
research staff are ignorant (blind) about
whether the research participants have
received the treatment or a placebo
commonly used in drug-evaluation studies
Experimentation
Experimental Condition
the condition of an experiment that exposes
participants to the treatment, that is, to one
version of the independent variable
Control Condition
the condition of an experiment that
contrasts with the experimental treatment
serves as a comparison for evaluating the
effect of the treatment
Experimentation

Random Assignment
assigning participants to
experimental and control
conditions by chance
minimizes pre-existing
differences between those
assigned to the different groups
Experimentation
Independent Variable
the experimental factor that is
manipulated
the variable whose effect is being studied
Dependent Variable
the experimental factor that may change
in response to manipulations of the
independent variable
in psychology it is usually a behavior or
mental process
Experimentation
Research Strategies
Subliminal tape content

Self-esteem Memory
Design of
Tape label the
Self-esteem subliminal
tapes
experiment
Memory
Statistical Reasoning

100%
Percentage
still functioning 99
after 10 years
98

97

96

95

Our Brand Brand Brand


Brand X Y Z
Brand of truck
Statistical Reasoning
100%
Percentage 90
still functioning 80
after 10 years
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Our Brand Brand Brand
Brand X Y Z
Brand of truck
Statistical Reasoning
Mode
the most frequently occurring score in a
distribution
Mean
the arithmetic average of a distribution
obtained by adding the scores and then
dividing by the number of scores
Median
the middle score in a distribution
half the scores are above it and half are below
it
Statistical Reasoning
A Skewed Distribution

15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 90 475 710
70

Mode Median Mean


One Family Income per family in thousands of dollars
Statistical Reasoning
Range
the difference between the highest and
lowest scores in a distribution
Standard Deviation
a computed measure of how much scores
vary around the mean
Statistical Significance
a statistical statement of how likely it is that
an obtained result occurred by chance
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Can laboratory
experiments illuminate
everyday life?
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Does behavior depend


on ones culture?
Culture--the enduring
behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and
traditions shared by a large
group of people and transmitted
from one generation to the next
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Does behavior vary


with gender?
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Why do psychologists
study animals?
Is it ethical to experiment
on animals?
Is it ethical to experiment
on people?
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Is
psycholog
y free of
value
judgment
s?
Frequently Asked Questions
about Psychology

Is psychology
potentially dangerous?