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Introduction to research methods

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This slideshow was created with images from the web. I claim no copyright or ownership of any images. If a copyright owner of any image objects to the use in this slideshow, contact me to remove it. This is for a course in Introductory Psychology using Wayne Weiten’s "Psychology: Themes and Variations" 8th ed. Published by Cengage. Images from the text are copyrighted by Cengage.

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Introduction to research methods

  1. 1. Chapter 2 Introduction to Research in Psychology Why Do We Need a Science of Behavior? Use the Arrows below to proceed through the slides
  2. 2. Demonstration <ul><li>On the next slide, read the scenario and choose an answer. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>You fire a pellet gun into a spiral tube. You can see the gun and tube below. Which path does the pellet follow as it shoots out of the end of the tube? A, B, or C? </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Don’t cheat, answer the question. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Answer <ul><li>The correct answer is B. </li></ul><ul><li>Did you get it right? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>If you missed that one, don’t feel bad. Many people do. </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, for 2000 years, people got this wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>Put simply, human intuition about physics is pretty bad. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Intuitive Physics <ul><li>We Observe things moving all throughout our lives… so why don’t we know intuitive physics? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Intuitive Physics <ul><li>More to the point, not many people seriously argue that their intuitive ideas of physics are better than physicists’ theories. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Many people do resist psychological findings, though. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Have you heard comments like these? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Psychologists may say that, but I know a person who…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t tell me I have a drinking problem; I can quit anytime I want to.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t need some psychologist to tell me how to raise my children.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Researchers can do all the studies they want, I know how to do my job based on experience.” </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  11. 11. How do we Study Behavior? <ul><li>The problem is that Intuitive Psychology is limited. It doesn’t work well. </li></ul><ul><li>It is limited to personal experiences. </li></ul>
  12. 12. How do we Study Behavior? <ul><li>As rich and diverse as one person’s experiences may be… </li></ul><ul><li>… think how much better it would be to include many people’s experiences. </li></ul>
  13. 13. How do we Study Behavior? <ul><li>Imagine including thousands of people’s experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>This is what a science of behavior attempts to do: </li></ul><ul><li>We put together information from many people to find general findings, tendancies, or trends. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Do we really have to have the scientific method? </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Yes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human nature is not very systematic in gaining information! </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>The following is a quote by biologist E. O. Wilson, which highlights the problem with human experience as a tool for investigating the world. </li></ul><ul><li>“ the brain is a machine assembled not to understand itself, but to survive. Because these two ends are basically different, the mind unaided by factual knowledge from science sees the world only in little pieces. It throws a spotlight on those portions of the world it must know in order to live to the next day…That is why even today people know more about their automobiles than they do about their own minds…” (1998) </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Think about it: </li></ul><ul><li>Why would we be able to figure out general rules about human behavior based on only our own experiences? Or only ours and our closest friends’ and family member’s experiences? </li></ul><ul><li>Of course a systematic study, using many people’s experiences, will be better! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Review <ul><li>Unaided by science, many people have poor intuitive ideas of physics. </li></ul><ul><li>Unaided by science, intuitive psychology is not much better. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>So what does Intuitive Psychology look like? </li></ul><ul><li>Psychologists have studied this. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Intuitive Psychology <ul><li>One type of intuitive ideas about psychology is called Recipe Knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recipe Knowledge – doing something because you believe it will lead to a certain result </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Recipe Knowledge typically has the form: </li></ul><ul><li>If I do [A], then [B happens]. </li></ul><ul><li>Simple example: </li></ul><ul><li>If I [press the power button], then [the TV turns on]. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Recipe Knowledge is very useful. </li></ul><ul><li>You use it to get what you need. </li></ul><ul><li>Most recipes work, though some are bad recipes… </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Example Recipes </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe to pass a class: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>get syllabus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see where points come from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>figure out minimum effort to get points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>do minimum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: pass course, learn little. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recipe to get a date: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see sexiness at a bar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>approach sexiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>say pickup line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: usually get laughed at, but occasionally get a date. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Problem! <ul><li>To use a recipe, you do not have to know why the recipe works. All you have to do is follow it, and you get the predictable result. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s be honest, few of us know the chemistry behind why most kitchen recipes work… </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Recipe Knowledge is Limited </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe knowledge gets us through our days, but it leaves us with few tools if we need to make changes, improve the recipe, or explore alternatives. If something goes wrong, recipe knowledge can leave you clueless. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Recipe Knowledge is Limited </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes recipe knowledge holds us back. Many people do things a certain way simply because that is how they have always done it. Is it the best way? Can it be improved? </li></ul>“ If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” This is only good advice if you’ve looked to see if “it” is not broken. If you never look…then this is bad advice.
  27. 27. Intuitive Psychology <ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>One type of intuitive ideas about psychology is called Recipe Knowledge </li></ul>
  28. 28. Intuitive Psychology <ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe Knowledge can work well. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Intuitive Psychology <ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>Recipe Knowledge is limited. </li></ul><ul><li>It gives us no guide to change or select recipes if we do not know why it works. </li></ul><ul><li>It can limit us if we never explore our recipes. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Intuitive Psychology <ul><li>A Second type of Intuitive Psychology is a Personal Theory. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Theory – psychological explanations based on your experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes called Armchair Psychology, or Lay Psychology </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><ul><ul><li>Personal theories are sometimes simplistic, incomplete </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><ul><ul><li>Personal theories are sometimes simplistic, incomplete </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I can solve the problem in Iraq. Nuke them!” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… is this a fair solution? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What would be the result? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would this solve problems or create more? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><ul><ul><li>Personal theories are sometimes biased </li></ul></ul></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><ul><ul><li>Personal theories are sometimes biased </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The word “Bias” in psychology is not judgmental. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If knowledge of new information might lead to a different personal theory, then the original theory was “biased.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Note how I’m using “bias” differently than commonly used.) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><ul><ul><li>Remember the E. O. Wilson quote? He pointed out that we shouldn’t expect people to come up with perfect theories based only on personal experience. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ the brain is a machine assembled not to understand itself, but to survive. Because these two ends are basically different, the mind unaided by factual knowledge from science sees the world only in little pieces. It throws a spotlight on those portions of the world it must know in order to live to the next day…That is why even today people know more about their automobiles than they do about their own minds…” (1998) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><ul><ul><li>The scientific method allows us to observe systematically and to seek information strategically. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Take Home Message
  38. 38. Take Home Message <ul><li>Examine your own recipe knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>You have spent your life gaining knowledge of how to live. </li></ul><ul><li>To use the scientific approach, you must be open to finding new ways! </li></ul>
  39. 39. Take Home Message <ul><li>Be aware that you probably have personal theories </li></ul><ul><li>Although many of us have personal theories of psychology, we may not have put them into words. Nevertheless, your personal theories will probably color your opinions of topics as you read them in the text. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Goal for Chapter 2 <ul><li>Learn how the scientific method can improve upon “intuitive psychology” </li></ul>

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