Thinking Critically and Research Methods

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Thinking Critically and Research Methods. AP Psychology Myers, Ch. 1. Limits of Intuition and Common Sense. “The naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.” - Madeleine L’Engle (1977). Why Science?. How can we best understand why people think, feel, and act as they do? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Thinking Critically and Research Methods

Thinking Critically and Research Methods

Research MethodsAP PsychologyMs. BrownMyers Ch. 1Limits of Intuition & Common SenseThe naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.

- Madeleine LEngle (1977)

Why Science?How can we best understand why people think, feel, and act as they do?Hunches?Common sense?Intuition?

Psychology needs a scientific approach to separate common sense and hunches from actual credible evidence.Differ from person to personNot always 100% correctAlways seem correct after the fact

Common SenseDescribes more easily what has already happened than it can predict what will happen in the future.

Things that seem like common sense or that we have taken as fact are in many cases proved wrong by psychological research.Dreams can predict the future.Emotions are linked with a females menstrual cycle.You catch a cold from being in a cold, wet environment.

Hindsight BiasThe tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it.I knew it all along phenomenon

Hindsight is 20/20 after the fact, it is easy to see why an event occurred, someone acted in a certain way, etc

Psychological findings often seem already known or like common sense because we constantly observe psychological phenomena or knew it all along.OverconfidenceThe tendency to overestimate our abilities, including knowledge (the illusion of knowledge)FasterSmarterStrongerMore awareMore observantEven after being presented with evidence that contradicts previous assumptions about ourselves, most claim, Well I was close.Draw a bike.




I bet you were pretty confident you knew how to draw a bike

Our brains allow us to be overconfident to shield us from everything we DONT know the illusion of knowledge effect.

How many of you are claiming, I knew it all along! (hindsight bias!)The Bottom Line Hindsight bias and overconfidence often lead us to overestimate our intuition.

But scientific inquiry, fed by curious skepticism and by humility, can help us sift reality from illusions. A Scientific AttitudeExperiment adds to knowledge. Credulity leads to error.

-AnonymousScientific AttitudeBeing skeptical but not cynical, open but not gullibleHumility being humble, often scientists must reject their own ideas/hypotheses The rat is always right.

No matter how crazy an idea or hypothesis sounds the questions are: Does it work? When put to the test, can its predictions be confirmed?Things that we take as granted now, were once considered crazy but were proven true with scientific inquiry.The brain is the primary thinking organ and is located in the head.Mental illnesses are not the products of demonic possessions or evil spirits.Critical Thinking Smart thinking; does not blindly accept arguments and conclusionsHow do you know this? Is there an agenda here? Is the conclusion based on evidence, not a hunch? Are there any alternative conclusions?

Basis of ResearchTheory an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observationsMust be put to the test before accepted as fact

Hypothesis a testable prediction, often implied by a theory

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

Lead toThe Scientific MethodA method in which scientists make observations, form theories, and then refine theories in the light of observations.

Lead toGenerate or refineTheory - an explanation using an organizes data and predicts observations (NOT fact)

Hypothesis - a testable prediction, often implied by a theory

Replication repeating the study to see if the basic finding extends to other participants in other circumstances14Descriptive MethodsDescription is the starting point of any science.

These types of research methods describe behaviors/attitudes, not explain them.

15Case StudyAn observation technique in which one person is studied in depth with the hope of revealing universal principles.

Pros: Insight into specific cases that possibly could not be studied due to ethics

Cons: Individual studies are hard to generalize to large populationsSome events/circumstances cannot be replicated (ethics)

Ex: brain lesion studies, instances of socially isolated (feral) children

SurveyA technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them.

Must have a representative and random sampling from the population for generalization to be possiblePopulation all of the cases in a group from which samples may be drawn for studyRepresentative reflective of the populationRandom sample a sample in which all individuals have an equal chance of inclusion in the studyGeneralization the ability to reflect results from the random sample on the entire population

SurveyPros:Can study large populations from a representative sample

Cons:Self-reporting is not always reliableSocial-desirability effect the tendency of respondents to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others.Samples are not always representativeResults are largely based on how questions are worded (aid to the needy instead of welfare)

Ex: Gallup polls, Kinsey Report on sexuality

Naturalistic ObservationObserving and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. The observer must not manipulate or stage the situation.

Pros:Observe people/animals in real, not artificial, environments

Cons:No control over events or variables

Ex: videotaping mothers and children together in different cultures, recording students self-seating patterns in the lunchroom

Correlational MethodsDescribing behavior is the first step to predicting it.When observed variables seem to relate to each other, it is said they correlate.Correlational ResearchA measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other.How are two things related?How strong is this relationship?Can the relationship shape predictions?

Scatterplots a graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The amount of scatter suggests the strength of the correlation (little scatter = more correlation)

Positive CorrelationTwo variables rise or fall togetherThe taller you are, the more you weighThe more you smoke, your risk of cancer increasesAs temperature rises, crime rate increasesAs the ocean level decreases, the fish population decreases

Negative CorrelationTwo variables relate inversely to each other as one rises, the other falls.The more you brush your teeth, your risk of cavities decreasesThe more years spent in jail, the lower the education levelThe more you hold a baby, the less it criesThe more hours spent watching TV, the less time spent doing HW

No CorrelationTwo variables do not seem to be relatedPeople born later in the year and intelligence level

Correlation coefficient The mathematical expression of the relationship, ranging from -1 to +1Measures how well either one predicts the other and how strong that relationship/prediction is (0 = no relationship)r = +0.37r correlation coefficient (relationship)+ indicates direction of relationship (positive or negative)0.37 Indicates strength of relationship (0.00 weak to 1.00 strong)

r = -1.00r = +1.00r = 0PracticePositive or Negative Correlation?Those with higher rates of depression tend to have higher risks of suicide.

The louder the music while studying, the lower the exam performance.

The more you observe aggression, the more aggression you display.

Strong , Moderate, or Weak Correlation?+0.71Fairly strong relationship

-0.13Fairly weak relationship

+0.46Moderate relationshipCould causeORCould causeORCould causeCorrelation IS NOT CausationCorrelations cannot fully predict future behaviors/attitudes, regardless of how strong the correlation coefficient is.Ex: low self esteem is correlated with depression, however this does not mean that low self-esteem directly causes depression.(1) Low self esteem(2) Depression(3) Distressing events or biological predispositionDepressionLow self esteemDepressionLow self esteem27Correlational ResearchPros:Can measure the extent of a relationship

Cons:Correlation is not causation (just because two things are related does not mean one causes the other)

Skewness (not in Myers)Data can have a skewness, meaning it tends to have along tailon one side or the other

Negative SkewNo SkewPositive SkewSkewness Example Frequency of Compliments and Self-EsteemWhat type of skew does this data have? How do you know?Write a summary statement for this graphs data concerning the frequency of praise and performance.

PerformanceAssume performance is ranked on a scale from 15-24.Research has shown that praise (especially for children) can be effective, but only until a certain point. Too much praise (especially on easy tasks) can cause a decrease of motivation and performance. Parents and teachers should avoid empty and meaningless praise.30Experimental MethodsBecause many factors influence everyday behaviors/attitudes, psychologists need to isolate and control variables to establish cause and effect relationships. They do this using experiments. ExperimentsA research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to