Unit 2 - Research Methods: Thinking Critically with Psychological Science

So why do we need psychological science?

-Should we listen to our inner wisdom or should we often be subjecting our intuitive hunches to skeptical scrutiny?

-Psychological sciences prevent us from overestimating our own intuition, a common pitfall in eyewitness accounts, interviewee assessments, and other everyday instances.

Common Problems, and Preventive Measures

Hindsight Bias -- the "I knew it all along phenomenon"; basically being THAT guy who always says he saw it coming when it actually happens, but is silent when it doesn't happen.

Overconfidence -- when we overestimate our abilities, like THAT guy (or girl...) who thinks he can jump from a roof into a pool, and breaks his legs.

Scientific Attitude-- curiosity, skepticism, and humility. Prevents you from being a nitwit when solving psychological issues and lettings your own overestimation and biases cloud your judgement.

Experimentation, Description, and other means of describing data

Hypothesis--  the initial assumption the researcher has; what they think will be the result of their scientific pursuit.

Types of Description --

-Naturalistic Observation: observer takes an hands off approach, observes and carefully records data from afar, lets the subject exist freely.

-Case Study: observer becomes super involved in the daily life of the subject, learns all and any facet of the subjects life in hope of learning more about a certain problem or phenomena.

      - Ex: Jean Piaget examined a few children in depth, which taught us about the                          thought process of children.

-Survey: observer mass distributes a variety of questions to a representative sample of people to find common ideals among many people.

      -Ex: Harris and Gallup have conducted many social surveys

Random Assignment-- process by which an experimenter picks a bunch of random dudes or chicks so they do not have carbon copy people giving results--more diversity = better representation

Independent Variables-- Stuff in an experiment that one can change; amount of a drug given, or the amount of time the subject is exposed to.

Dependent Variable-- Stuff that changes as a result of manipulations to the dependent variable.

Ethics in Psychological Research

Ethical Principles-- informed consent, prevent from harm, confidentiality, and debriefing.

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