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What do you think are the 5 most important steps? Why are these the most important?
Chapter 5 (Smith & Davis)
Using the Scientific Method In Psychology
An Overview Of This Chapter
In this chapter, I want to focus on the Scientific Method. We will talk about the following …
Part One – Components of the Scientific Method
Part Two – The Psychological Experiment
Part Three – Establishing Cause-Effect Relationships
Part Four – Formulating the Research Hypothesis
Part Five – Characteristics of the Research Hypothesis
Part Six – An Eye Toward The Future
Part One
Components of the Scientific Method
Steps of the Scientific Method
Before going into the various components of the scientific method, think about the basic steps of the scientific method …
Step One: Observation
Observation is the easy stage. You look around and see what’s going on! Or, you read newspaper articles, watch the nightly news, attend a lecture, read a blog, or do a hundred other things where you simply … observe!
Is there something exciting that you saw, something that made you wonder—What did that happen?
Step Two
Step Two: Tentative explanation / theorizing or hypothesizing
Our observations can lead us to questions about WHY and HOW those observations occurred. Our second step is thus to develop those questions further so that we can better understand why something may have occurred!
It might help scientists to go back into the literature to see what others have done, or even to start with that literature and see where it needs to go in the future!
Step Three
Step Three: Data collection / further observation
Our third step is data collection. That is, we need to try to answer our question, and we do that through systematic (that is, very careful and bias-free) experimentation with further observation and refinement of our question
Step Four
Step Four: Refining, testing, and conclusions
Our final step is to focus on what we did, trying to make sense of it, testing and retesting (if needed), and then drawing conclusions and reporting those conclusions
But knowing the four steps is just a start. We also need to know that our observations are careful, bias free, and as objective as possible. That is …
Components of the Scientific Method
Throughout all of our steps, we want to make sure that we:
1. Use objective measurements of the observations under consideration
2. Have the ability to verify or confirm the measurements made by other individuals
3. Be aware that we can make errors, so engage in self-correction of those errors and potential fault reasoning
4. Try to control unwanted factors
Overview
In this section of the chapter, we will look at …
1. Components of the scientific method
2. The scientific method and scientific explanations
Characteristics of the Scientific Method
As Smith and Davis note, at each step of the scientific method, the researcher must be aware of several key characteristics …
A. Objectivity
B. Confirmation
C. Self Correction
D. Control
Objectivity
A. Objectivity refers to making empirical measurements (using objectively quantifiable observations)
Objectivity is very important in research, whether we are conducting experimental or correlational studies
If experimenter biases influence results, the research is meaningless. Thus we need to take care to focus on the “truth” of our observations with as much objectivity as possible
Confirmation
B. Confirmation of findings refers to making sure the original results can be confirmed and replicated
Pure replication refers to a second study using the exact same methods as the first study and finding the exact same results (reliability). Of course, these are rare in psychology, since most journals prefer to publish original studies
Many experiments thus use a replication with extension approach, taking an existing study and then extending it with a new set of variables. Recall the good Samaritan study. A follow-up study could look at old versus young students
Self Correction
C. Self-correction involves the researcher being willing to correct their misconceptions and alter their perceptions
Researchers like to support their predictions, theories, and hypotheses, but such support doesn’t always occur!
Researchers who are unwilling to take a step back and see potential flaws in their research design may never get to the truth behind their topic of interest
Control
D. Control refers to directly being able to manipulate variables to see their impact OR to see what other potential variables can contribute to the results of the research project
This is especially important when trying to draw cause-effect conclusions. The only thing that you want to differ in your research is the presence of your manipulated variable
If two conditions are identical (similar procedures, similar participants) and only your manipulation differs, then you can have confidence that your manipulation ALONE is responsible for any differences in the observed results
Pop-Quiz 1: Quiz Yourself
Which of the following scenarios correctly depicts the self-correcting nature of science?
A). Jane controls various extraneous variables in her study on self-esteem.
B). Mark conducts a replication with extension study on counterfactual thinking and finds that the previous research reached a faulty conclusion.
C). Kelly conducts a study illustrating a cause-effect relationship between distraction and reading comprehension.
D). Ray conducts an empirical study on racial discrimination
Answer 1: B
Which of the following scenarios correctly depicts the self-correcting nature of science?
A). Jane controls various extraneous variables in her study on self-esteem.
B). Mark conducts a replication with extension study on counterfactual thinking and finds that the previous research reached a faulty conclusion. (Correct answer)
C). Kelly conducts a study illustrating a cause-effect relationship between distraction and reading comprehension.
D). Ray conducts an empirical study on racial discrimination
What is Science?
But what is science? Well, it’s the study of the natural world through observation and experimentation. Let’s talk some more about this…
The Scientific Method
Scientific explanations are …
A. Empirical (they are based on objective and systematic data, often collected in controlled settings)
B. Rational (they follow logical rules and are consistent with known facts and established scientific procedure)
C. Testable (can be verified or lead to specific predictions)
D. General (provide broad explanatory power not limited to a specific set of circumstances)
The Scientific Method (2)
Scientific explanations are also …
E. Tentative (scientists employ falsifying methods. That is, scientists are willing to show their hypotheses are incorrect)
F. Rigorously evaluated (scientific explanations are tested through careful research and experimentation)
G. Parsimonious (scientific explanations use the fewest number of assumptions to reach the solution)
Most of these are self-explanatory, but let’s consider the more complex idea of parsimony a bit further…
Why is this boy shaving like his dad?
How would Sigmund Freud answer this question?
Freud:
Why do 4-year-old boys act like their dads?
Freud: Uses a wide variety of assumptions / constructs, including the ideas of unconscious control of behavior, infantile sexuality, Oedipal feelings, castration anxiety, repression, and identification with the aggressor
Essentially, the boy represses his desire for his mother into the unconscious and identifies with his father
Seems rather complex, doesn’t it? A lot of pieces have to fall into place in order to support this explanation. Now, consider …
Learning Theory:
Why do 4-year-old boys act like their dads?
Learning Theory:
Reinforced behaviors tend to occur again in the future
Parents notice and reinforce imitative behaviors, like shaving
Here, the explanation is much simpler, more intuitively possible
Thus it is more parsimonious!
This is a testable theory as well. Have adults reinforce their kid’s behavior, and then see if the kid’s behavior occurs again in the future! If A happens, then B happens
Theories Vs. Hypotheses
Learning Theory thus seems like a great way to understand the relationship between fathers reinforcing their sons’ behaviors, but let’s get more specific about that term “theory”.
A theory is a formal statement about the relations among the variables in a given area of research. As we will see shortly, a theory is very broad, applying to a lot of situations
While a theory can look at broad levels of behavior, a study with a specific hypothesis examines specific behaviors.
We’ll distinguish between theories and hypotheses in Part Four, but for now let’s examine variables in more detail …
Part Two
The Psychological Experiment: Variables
The Psychological Experiment
Experiments in psychology examine relationships among different variables, focusing on three characteristics, including …
1). Manipulating / measuring independent variables
2). Measuring dependent variables
3). Controlling extraneous variables
Manipulating Independent Variables
Independent variables are variables whose values are chosen and set by the experimenter (i.e. the variable the experimenter directly controls to determine its influence on behavior)
The experimenter thus creates “independent” conditions
This may involve assigning some participants to a treatment group and others to a control group
Designs, of course, can get more complex than this, involving multiple treatment groups and / or multiple control groups
Measuring Dependent Variables
Dependent variables are variables whose value you observe in the research design (i.e. The response or the behavior that an experimenter measures)
The dependent variable thus “depends” on the participant’s response.
Dependent variables are essentially any kind of answer or response that participants might provide, and it is often influenced by the independent variable
Extraneous Variables
Extraneous variables are any uncontrolled, undesired variables that may influence the dependent variable. Having them around may invalidate the experiment.
For example….
Extraneous Variable Examples
a. If you give your control materials out before lunch and your experimental materials after lunch, then scores may be influenced by hunger-status (maybe those with empty stomachs have a harder time making friends than those who just ate).
b. If you have participants come into the lab to participate on different days of the week, perhaps that might influence how they respond to the study (maybe people are happier and more easy-going on Friday than on Monday).
Pop-Quiz 2: Quiz Yourself
In one study, students read a fictitious job application. The applications are identical except that half have a female name (“Joan”) and half have a male name (“John”). The students rate the likelihood of the applicant succeeding at the job. What is the dependent variable?
A). The name on the job application
B). The students
C). The students’ ratings of the applicants’ success
D). The gender of the students
Answer 2: C
In one study, students read a fictitious job application. The applications are identical except that half have a female name (“Joan”) and half have a male name (“John”). The students rate the likelihood of the applicant succeeding at the job. What is the dependent variable?
A). The name on the job application
B). The students
C). The students’ ratings of the applicants’ success (correct answer)
D). The gender of the students
Pop Quiz 3: Quiz Yourself
Students read a fictitious job application in the National Football League (NFL). The applications are identical except half have a female name (“Joan”) and half have a male name (“John”). Given gender differences in the NFL, “John” applies for quarterback and “Joan” applies as a coach. The students rate the likelihood of the applicant succeeding at the job. What is the a potential extraneous variable?
A). The name on the job application
B). The type of position the applicant applies for
C). The students’ ratings of the applicants’ success
D). The gender of the students
Answer 3: B and D
Students read a fictitious job application in the National Football League (NFL). The applications are identical except half have a female name (“Joan”) and half have a male name (“John”). Given gender differences in the NFL, “John” applies for quarterback and “Joan” applies as a coach. The students rate the likelihood of the applicant succeeding at the job. What is the a potential extraneous variable?
A). The name on the job application
B). The type of position the applicant applies for
C). The students’ ratings of the applicants’ success
D). The gender of the students
Part Three
Establishing Cause-Effect Relations:
The Role of Random Assignment
Experimental Designs
Experimental designs (unlike the correlational designs we talked about on Day One) can establish cause-and-effect relationships, as the only thing that differs between conditions is the presence of the independent variable
If you lock people in a room and have a loud noise go off every ten seconds for some (experimental group) while others have no loud noise (control group), you can see if the presence of the loud noise has an impact on their ability to complete a test
If participants use the same room, take the same test, and the participants are similar, the ONLY thing that differs between the experimental and control conditions is the loud noise.
Experimental Designs (2)
In other words, the loud noise (and ONLY the loud noise) “caused” the poor test performance, as everything else was controlled in the study
So how do we get this type of control? Part of it is based on the idea of random assignment …
Random Assignment
Random assignment is a key element of cause-effect studies
All participants are just as likely to be in the control group as they are to be in the experimental group
“Odd” characteristics among participants are most likely present in both the control and experimental group (via random assignment), and thus cancel each other out.
What do I mean by “odd” characteristics? Well …
Random Assignment Example
Imagine we want to see the impact of heat on exam grades. Participants in our experimental group take an exam in lab room where the temperature is 95 degrees. Control group participants take the same exam in the same room, but now the temperature is 75 degrees.
Think about “heat-tolerance” an “odd” characteristic
That is, some people are better with heat than others. If we have all heat-tolerant people in the experimental group and heat-intolerant people in the control group, exam scores may not differ, and we might (incorrectly) conclude that heat does not impact exam scores. A better way is to make sure heat-tolerant and intolerant people are in both conditions
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More About Random Assignment
Random assignment helps us with this. Imagine flipping a coin. If heads, they get the hot room; if tails, the cold room. Using this “random” approach, heat tolerant (and intolerant) participants are assigned to the hot v. cold room at random!
Thus random assignment makes it likely that the participants in both conditions are comprised of similar type of people
As you will come to find out, though, random assignment does not guarantee the groups are equal; it merely makes it more likely
Part Four
Formulating the Research Hypothesis
Formulating The Research Hypothesis
Recall our discussion involving theories, or “the formal statements about the relations among variables in a given area of research”
Theories can represent a way to understand the phenomena that researchers are interested in, but they are very broad. Yet they can be useful in specific hypothesis generation.
A hypothesis is more specific than a theory, presenting a testable prediction about what will likely occur in a specific situation
Think about apes fighting …
Formulating The Research Hypothesis (2)
Imagine you observe an aggressive fight between two primates over food. After seeing the winner and the loser, you can easily predict that the two animals will not fight again. Why?
The winner of the fight may only have to show a follow-up threat gesture to get the loser to give up (no fight needed!)
Observations of such behaviors may help scientists predict how these specific animals (or all animals) will respond
Let’s examine the characteristics of hypotheses …
Part Five
Characteristics of the Research Hypothesis
Hypothesis Characteristics
In our final section of this chapter, I want to focus on several characteristics of hypotheses, including …
1). Theories Versus Hypotheses
2). Types of statements
3). Confirmational strategies
4). Disconfirmational strategies
5). Types of reasoning
6). Directional versus non-directional research
7). A new view of hypothesis testing – Paradigm shifts
What are theories and hypotheses?
We’ve talked generally about theories and hypotheses already, but it is important to really understand how the two differ. So …
What are theories and hypotheses?
How are theories and hypotheses developed?
How do you go about evaluating theories and hypotheses?
Theories
A. Theories are formal statements about the relationships among the independent variables (IV’s) and the dependent variables (DV’s) in a given area of research
In this class, we will deal primarily with scientific theories
Scientific theories describe scientific relationships by indicating how variables interact within the system to which the theory applies
These theories are broad. For example, Learning Theory says that reinforced behavior is likely to increase that behavior. This applies to tons of situations!
Inference and Scientific Theory
Sometimes scientific relationships cannot be observed directly, but merely inferred through the theory
For example, looking at our fighting apes, we must infer that the losing ape feels threatened by the winner. After all, asking the loser ape “Do you feel threatened?” would get us nowhere! We infer that from the ape’s reaction
Scientific Theories
B. Scientific theories help the researcher organize and interpret research results
Theories can provide a nice framework for both organizing and interpreting research results
Research results can also be interpreted in light of a theory
C. Scientific theories help the researcher generate research by providing ideas for new research or providing a framework for asking and answering new questions. It’s a nice, circular way to do science!
Hypotheses
D. Hypotheses attempt to organize data and relationships among specific variables within a portion of large, more comprehensive theories
That is, hypotheses are tentative statements (they still need to be tested) about the relationships between variables
Unlike theories, hypotheses are narrow and focused, often using “If A, Then B” oriented statements. However, they often logically follow from a theory. For example, …
Examples of Hypotheses Vs. Theories
The theory of learned helplessness notes that …
People become depressed when they come to believe that they are helpless to control actions in their lives
A learned helplessness hypothesis is much more specific …
If you give someone a puzzle that he cannot solve (because it CANNOT be solvable!), he will not even try to solve a later puzzle that looks similarly impossible but is actually solvable
Examples of Hypotheses Vs. Theories (2)
Terror Management Theory:
Theorizes that people are scared when aware of their own death, so they embrace things that make them feel safe and secure (e.g. things that support their “cultural worldview”)
A Terror Management Hypothesis:
If thinking about death (compared to a neutral thought), participants who hold positive beliefs about America will support those beliefs to an even greater extent. They will also hate those who don’t support America
Examples of Hypotheses Vs. Theories (3)
Observational learning (social learning) theory:
Suggests that behavior can be acquired by observation and imitation of others, unlike traditional learning theories that require reinforcement or punishment for learning to occur
An observational learning hypothesis:
Children who view an adult physically punching a Bobo-doll (one of those inflatable dolls that you can punch, and then it returns to an upright position) will be more likely to punch the doll themselves compared to children who view an adult sitting quietly and reading next to the Bobo-doll
Pop-Quiz 4: Quiz Yourself
Which of the following best represents a hypothesis involving emotion?
A). A person can experience physiological arousal first, and then interpret those feelings as arousal
B). A person can experience arousal and interpret those feelings as arousal at the same time
C). An event causes arousal first, and then the person has to label this arousal
D). Exposing people to torture videos (compared to videos about nature) will increase their feelings of arousal (as measured by heart rates and breathing rates)
Answer 4: D
Which of the following best represents a hypothesis involving emotion?
A). A person can experience physiological arousal first, and then interpret those feelings as arousal
B). A person can experience arousal and interpret those feelings as arousal at the same time
C). An event causes arousal first, and then the person has to label this arousal
D). Exposing people to torture videos (compared to videos about nature) will increase their feelings of arousal (as measured by heart rates and breathing rates) (correct answer)
The Null Hypothesis
We will focus on hypotheses a lot this semester, but please note that we actually pit one hypothesis (the one we want to support) against another type of hypothesis (a null hypothesis)
Suppose we develop a new program to increase the problem-solving skills of children. We want to know that the program works, right? The way we assess this is by testing to see if kids in our control group (those without the new training) do worse than kids in our experimental group.
The Alternative Hypothesis
In this case, our study prediction (which we call the alternative hypothesis) is that the groups will differ (experimental kids will have higher problem-solving skills than control kids)
Our other hypothesis (which we call the null hypothesis) is that the groups will not differ.
So how do we write out these hypotheses? Well …
Types of Research Statements
1). Types of statements
Hypotheses are statements about predictions. However, you must be careful in how your phrase your research hypothesis. Consider three types of statements (two bad, one good) …
A. Analytic statements are always true (bad)
A study may say, “Those in Condition A will feel either more or less frustrated than those in Condition B.”
This type of statement is always true, so any answer provides little insight into the phenomena. Thus it is a pretty bad way to phrase a hypothesis
Contradictory Statements
B. Contradictory statements are always false (bad)
A study may say, “Those in Condition A will feel both more and less frustrated than those in Condition B.”
This type of statement is always false. Again, answers will not provide very good insight into the phenomena. Instead, I prefer the following synthetic statements …
Synthetic Statements
C. Synthetic statements can be either true or false (good!)
A study may say, “People in condition A will find the task more frustrating than those in condition B.”
Research is best when using synthetic statements
Consider this in terms of an “If … then” statement (or what your book calls a general implication form) …
IF people receive difficult puzzles to solve, THEN they will find the task more frustrating than IF they are given easy puzzles to solve
Phrasing your hypothesis this way can help you figure out exactly what you are testing
Confirmational Strategies
One way to conduct a study is to use a confirmational strategy
If you find the results you predicted, your confidence in your hypothesis increases. If the predicted effects do not result, the hypothesis is not supported, and confidence decreases
Note that I avoided the word “prove”. We never “prove” anything in psychology. We merely support or do not support. Remember those pesky extraneous variables? We rarely catch all of them, so there is always another explanation for our findings. Thus we never PROVE a hypothesis. We merely support or do not support it!
Confirmational Strategies (2)
Think about a confirmation approach where you seek out information that confirms your prediction. Can you think of any problems with this purely confirmational approach?
Since you are looking primarily to confirm a hypothesis, your ideas may be wrong, but you may not know it since you have yet to find an instance that “fails your test”.
Let me give you an example. You’ll like this …
Confirmational Strategies: Example
Imagine you predict that all mammals walk on at least two feet.
You start looking at mammals to test your new hypothesis
Keep in mind the other six key mammal characteristics …
All mammals are warm blooded
Most young mammals are born alive
Mammals have hair or fur on their bodies
Every mammal is a vertebrate
All mammals have lungs to breathe air
Mammals feed milk to their babies
The next 7 slides will provide a demonstration of conformational strategies.
Let’s continue to test our hypothesis
Yes! An ape has all of six key mammal characteristics, and he walks on at least two feet.
Our “walking on at least two feet” hypothesis is looking good! Maybe it is a useful 7th criteria!
1. Is This Animal A Mammal?
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Yup, our hypothesis is still looking good!
Is this a mammal that has our new “walking on at least two feet” characteristic?
2. Is This Animal A Mammal?
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Yup, our hypothesis is still looking good!
Is this a mammal that has our new “walking on at least two feet” characteristic?
3. Is This Animal A Mammal?
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Yes to all of these! Our confirmational strategy is working!
Finally …
6. Are These Mammals?
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Ummmm … oh no. These are both mammals (they have the sixkey mammalian characteristics), but neither walks on two feet
7. Is it a Mammal?
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Demonstration Conclusions
Using a confirmational strategy, we may never find these mammals, and might wrongly conclude that all mammals walk on at least two feet when this statement is false! See, we didn’t prove our “walking on two feet” hypotheses (there’s always a chance we are wrong!)
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Confirmation can be Coincidental
Even if you confirm your hypothesis in one study, this does NOT mean the theory or hypothesis is completely confirmed
Confirmation can be spurious or coincidental. Maybe you got lucky!
Confirmational strategies are useful, but they may be best when used in the beginning stages of theory testing
Consider one last example of a confirmational approach …
Confirmational Example: Clever Hans
Do you know about Clever Hans (1907), the clever horse who had incredible mathematical and reading abilities! He would read a math problem on a card and then do the equation!
Ask him to multiply 4 X 4 and he would tap 16 with his hoof
Ask him to add 2/5 and 1/2and he would tap out 9 for the numerator and 10 for the denominator! Incredible, right?
From a confirmational standpoint, Clever Hans gave correct responses to every equation given to him, so it was hard to see him as anything other than a “clever” horse
Clever Hans
Was Clever Hans actually doing math?
His owner, Wilhelm von Osten, was a mathematician
Knowing this, can you think of any reason why Clever Hans might not be so clever?
When von Osten also read the math problem on the card, the horse would respond by tapping out the correct answer.
But what if the horse had to “read” the card himself, and von Osten did not know what the card said?
Confirmation vs. Disconfirmation
When von Osten saw the card first, Hans was correct 98%
But when he did NOT see the card, Hans was correct only 8%
von Osten gave subtle, unconscious signs of when to stop!
I hope you see here that taking a confirmational approach only gets you so far. You can NEVER prove your case, you can only support your case until you find an instance where you are wrong. Fortunately, there is another approach we can use to get at hypotheses a little differently. That is, think about taking adisconfirmational approach …
Disconfirmational Strategies
Using a disconfirmational (falsifiable) approach can force you to seek out other reasons for an outcome instead of relying on confirmation alone
That is, a disconfirmational approach seeks to find out what else (other than “cleverness”) might be responsible for the horse’s behavior!
Disconfirmation (Falsification)
3). Disconfirmational strategies look for hypothesis disconfirmation
We thus seek non-confirming study results (that is, we need to be assess our “null” hypothesis—the study failed)
Falsification (another word for disconfirmation) thus involves research strategies that emphasize putting theories and hypotheses to the test by trying to disprove or “falsify” them
May be better used when a theory has a large empirical foundation (in the later stages of the research process)
Pop-Quiz 5: Quiz Yourself
The principle of falsifiability (or falsification) refers to the idea that …
A). we develop research projects based on contradictory statements (general implication forms).
B). we look for evidence that supports our hypothesis.
C).research should be capable of producing results that do not support the hypothesis.
D). hypotheses should be composed of analytic statements.
Answer 5: C
The principle of falsifiability (or falsification) refers to the idea that …
A). we develop research projects based on contradictory statements (general implication forms).
B). we look for evidence that supports our hypothesis.
C).research should be capable of producing results that do not support the hypothesis. (Correct Answer)
D). hypotheses should be composed of analytic statements.
Types of Reasoning
4). Types of reasoning
Hypotheses may also rely on two different types of reasoning
A. Inductive logic (specific to general)
B. Deductive logic (general to specific)
Inductive Logic
A. Inductive logic involves reasoning from specific cases to general conclusions or theories
Think about the case of social apathy researched by Darley and Latane in the 1960’s that began with the murder of Kitty Genevese
Kitty Genovese, a 28 year old New Yorker, was brutally killed in her own neighborhood over a 45 minute period
The odd thing about this case was that she was killed in the presence of 38 apathetic bystanders who did nothing
Latane and Darley Study
Intrigued by this real life case, Latane and Darley decided to study the phenomenon in the laboratory
Participants sat alone in a room and had a conversation with other “participants” (actually confederates!), but this conversation took place over an intercom system
One of the confederates suddenly went into a seizure (a pretend seizure, of course, but it sounded real!)
Latane and Darley Study (2)
In the Latane and Darley study, the real participant thought:
1. that only he heard the seizure
2. that he and one other “participant” heard the seizure
3. that he and four other “participants” heard the seizure
The researchers wanted to see if the real participant would try to help the “seizing” participant, and how long it would take for the real participant to provide this help
Latane and Darley Study: Details
What is the Independent Variable(s) in this study?
Number of “participants” who could hear the seizure
How many levels are there for the Independent Study?
Three: Alone, p + 1 other, p + 4 others
What is the Dependent Variable(s) in this study?
1: Whether they provided help (help)
2: How long it took them to provide help (time)
Number of Helpers & Time
Study Conclusions
People are less likely to help when there are lots of people around
Latane and Darley called this the bystander effect: As the number of people who are aware of an emergency increases, any given person becomes less likely to help.
Inductive Logic
As you can see, this inductive logic reasons from specific events (like the Kitty Genevese murder) to general theories or conclusions (like the bystander effect or the diffusion of responsibility)
Think about this with birds …
Inductive logic example with birds
Inductive Logic is Confirmational
Of course, you can probably see the “confirmation problem” in this bird example, right?
Do ALL birds fly? You might say yes, yes, yes… until you come across these birds:
Deductive Logic
B. Deductive logic, in contrast, involves reasoning from general principles to specific conclusions or predictions
That is, we look first to a general theory or the literature and then deduce a likely specific outcome
We can thus gather a pool of information from the literature and develop a hypothesis based on that general information
That is, we look at a body of information about helping behavior and develop specific IV’s and DV’s to test a hypothesis based on what the literature tells us
Deductive logic example with birds
Pop-Quiz 6: Quiz Yourself
Jasmine uses her knowledge of past research on social facilitation to help formulate a hypothesis for her experiment. This example illustrates
A). deductive logic.
B). inductive logic.
C). serendipity.
D). a contradictory statement.
Answer 6: A
Jasmine uses her knowledge of past research on social facilitation to help formulate a hypothesis for her experiment. This example illustrates
A). deductive logic. (correct answer)
B). inductive logic.
C). serendipity.
D). a contradictory statement.
Directional vs. Non-directional Research
So far we’ve discussed different ways of phrasing hypotheses (synthetic statements work the best!), different approaches to hypothesis testing (confirmational versus disconfirmational approaches), and reasoning from inductive (specific to general) or deductive (general to specific) approaches.
Now, we are going to discuss something that might get a bit trickier to understand, so read carefully
Directional vs. Non-directional Research (2)
Some predictions focus on one specific outcome. That is, “A does better than B.” It may not care if A is worse than B or if A is the same as B. It only cares about A being better than B.
Other predictions focus on more than one outcome. That is, “A might do better than B, but A might also do worse than B.”
This leads us into discussing directional vs. non-directional research …
Directional Research
A. Directional research involves predictions about a specific, single outcome of an experiment
Imagine you create a new drug to combat social anxiety
Here, you would hope that those on the new drug would be less anxious than those not taking the new drug
Think about this in a general implication form:
“IF you give participants a new drug to combat social anxiety, THEN they will have less anxiety then those who do not get the new drug”
Non-Directional Research
B. Non-directional research involves not making any specific predictions concerning the outcome of an experiment
Imagine you create the same new social anxiety drug
Rather than seeing if those taking the new drug do better than those not taking the new drug, you merely want to see if the two groups differ. Or …
“IF you give participants a new drug to combat social anxiety, THEN they will differ from those not taking the new social anxiety drug”
We’ll learn a lot more about directional and non-directional research later this semester!
Pop-Quiz 7: Quiz Yourself
“Depressed individuals who receive therapy will be less depressed than those in the control group who do not receive therapy.” This hypothesis is an example of a
A). contradictory statement.
B). nondirectional research hypothesis.
C). directional research hypothesis.
D). non-falsifiable hypothesis.
Answer 7: C
“Depressed individuals who receive therapy will be less depressed than those in the control group who do not receive therapy.” This hypothesis is an example of a
A). contradictory statement.
B). nondirectional research hypothesis.
C). directional research hypothesis. (correct answer)
D). non-falsifiable hypothesis.
Chart1
None
One
Four
Number of Bystanders
Percentage of helpers
Whether they helped
85
62
31
Sheet1
None One Four
85 62 31

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