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Title: Introduction%20and%20Research%20Methods

Introduction and Research Methods
What is Psychology?
  • Definition- scientific study of behavior and
    mental processes
  • Behavior- any action other people can observe or
  • Mental processes- cognitive activities- dreams,
    perceptions, thoughts, and memories
  • Researchers use psychological constructs-
    theoretical concepts that enable one to discuss
    something that cannot be seen, touched, or

Goals of Psychology
  • Psychologists want to observe and describe
    behaviors and mental processes to better
    understand them
  • Try to explain, predict, and control behavior

Psychology as a Science
  • Psychology is a social science with a foundation
    in natural science
  • Social sciences include- history, anthropology,
    economics, political science, and sociology
  • Deals with the structure of human society and the
    nature and interactions of individuals who make
    up society
  • Focus on individuals and their behavior and
    mental processes

Psy. as a Science contd
  • Natural science- biology, chemistry, and physics-
    nature of the physical world
  • Some parts of psychology focus on the functioning
    of the brain
  • Use the scientific method when conducting
  • form a theory- a statement that attempts to
    explain why things are the way they are and
    happen the way they do
  • Develop principles- a rule or law about behavior,
    mental, and biological processes

Fields of Psychology
  • Developmental- processes and changes involved in
    mental and physical growth in humans from the
    prenatal period to old age
  • Physiological- extent to which behavior is caused
    by physical conditions in the body and focuses on
    the brain, nervous system, and bodily functions
  • Experimental- basic processes- learning, memory,
    sensation, perception, cognition, motivation, and

Fields of Psy. Contd
  • Personality- differences among peoples traits
  • Clinical- diagnosis, causes, and treatment of
    mental disorders
  • Counseling- normal problems of adjustment
  • Social- investigate the influence of people on
    one another

Fields of Psy. Contd
  • Industrial- study the effects of automation on
  • Organizational- problems of training personnel,
    improving working conditions
  • Educational- processes of learning, remembering,
    thinking, train teachers and curriculum design
  • School- work with students

Schools of Psychology
  • Structuralism- stresses the basic units of
    experiences and the combinations in which they
  • Developed by Wilhelm Wundt- said psychology
    should be studies objectively and scientifically
  • Concern- uncovering the natural laws of the human
  • Edward Bradford Titchener- student of Wundt
  • Leader of American Psychology at Cornell
  • Said psychology is the study of experiences-
    broken into 3 elements- physical sensations,
    affections or feelings, and images

Schools contd
  • Functionalism- mental life and behavior that is
    concerned with how an organism uses its
    perceptual abilities to function in its
  • Developed by William James
  • Disagreed with Wundt and Titchener
  • Said perception cannot be separated from

Schools Contd
  • Behaviorism- study of observable and measurable
  • John B. Watson- said psychology must be studied
    in a scientific way
  • Believed in conditioning- the acquiring of fairly
    specific patterns of behavior in the presence of
    well-defined stimuli
  • BF Skinner had the same ideas as Watson but added
    reinforcement- anything that follows a response
    and makes that response more likely to recur

Schools Contd
  • Gestalt- studies how people perceive and
    experience objects as whole patterns
  • Leaders- Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt
  • All believed in perception

Schools Contd
  • Psychoanalytic- behavior is governed by hidden
    motives and unconscious desires
  • Leader- Sigmund Freud
  • Believed people go through stages during first
    years of life and must solve conflicts in stages
    to avoid psychological problems later in life
  • Unconscious desires are sexual

Schools Contd
  • Existential- concerned with meaninglessness and
    alienation in modern life, leads to apathy, fear,
    and other psychological problems
  • Try to help people find identity and take
    responsibility for actions

Schools Contd
  • Humanistic- possibilities of nonverbal
    experience, unity of the mind, altered sense of
    consciousness, and letting go

Schools Contd
  • Cognitive- interested in the way people perceive,
    interpret, store, and retrieve information
  • Mental processes
  • More to behavior than responses to stimuli

  • Biological- the influence of biology on our
  • Evolutionary- the evolution of behavior and
    mental processes
  • Cognitive- role that thoughts play in determining
  • Humanistic- stresses the human capacity for
    self-fulfillment and the importance of
    consciousness, self-awareness, and the capacity
    to make choices

  • Psychoanalytic- stresses the influence of
    unconscious forces on human behavior
  • Learning- emphasizes the effects of experience on
  • Sociocultural- studies the influences of
    ethnicity, gender, culture, and socioeconomic
    status on behavior and mental processes

Research Methods
  • Naturalistic Observation- study an animal or
    person in their natural setting and not in a lab
  • Easy to do in school or factory
  • Disadvantages
  • Observer bias- can have a distorted view of what
    has been observed
  • Notes taken may or may not be relevant to what is
    being observed
  • Depends on particular time, place, and people

Research Contd
  • Advantages
  • Gives psychology new ideas and suggestions for

Research Contd
  • Case Studies
  • Research observes real life behavior of one
    person or a very few at a time
  • Disadvantage- observer bias

Research Contd
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires or interviews administered to a
    subject or a group of people

Research Contd
  • Correlational Research
  • Technique based on the naturally occurring
    relationship between two or more variables
  • Does not permit experimenters to draw conclusions
    about cause and effect, to explain the
    relationship between one set of variables to

Research Contd
  • Experimental Method
  • 5 parts
  • Subjects- individuals whose reactions or
    responses are observed in an experiment
  • Independent variable- the part of the experiment
    which is changed
  • Dependent variable- the part of the experiment
    that does not change
  • Experimental group- the group subjected to the
    change in the independent variable
  • Control group- the group not subjected to the
    change in the experiment

Research Contd
  • Can have experimental bias- expectations by the
    experimenter that influence the results of the
    experiment or its interpretations

Research Contd
  • Types of experimental methods
  • Single blind- study participants do not know if
    they are receiving treatment
  • Double blind- participants and the experimenter
    do not know who is receiving treatment
  • Can use the placebo effect- a substance or
    treatment which has no effect
  • The participant believes the substance is working

Research Contd
  • Multi-Method- use more than one method, mostly
    used by women
  • When doing research, must use samples
  • Sample- taken from a larger population
  • Random sample- everyone has an equal chance of
    being selected
  • Representative- must closely represent the
    characteristics of the larger population
  • Biased- only select those the experimenter wants
  • Target population- whole group you want to
    describe or study
  • Stratified sample- subgroups in the population
    are represented proportionally in the sample

  • Standards for proper and responsible behavior
  • Followed to promote the dignity of the
    individual, foster human welfare, and maintain
    scientific integrity
  • Established by the APA- American Psychological

  • Research with people
  • Have two primary focus
  • Confidentiality
  • Informed consent

  • Confidentiality
  • Records are private
  • Can only reveal private information when the
    person states they are going to harm themselves
    or someone else

  • Informed Consent
  • Means that people agree, or consent, to
    participate in a research study only after they
    have been given a general overview of the
    research and have been granted the choice of
    whether or not to participate

  • Deception
  • In some experiments, a person must be deceived
  • Deception can only be used in the following
  • Experimenter believes that the benefits of the
    research outweigh its potential harm
  • Experimenter believed that the individuals would
    have been willing to participate if they had
    understood the benefits of the research
  • Participants receive an explanation of the study
    after it has occurred

  • Research with animals
  • Can conduct research on animals but must follow
    rules and standards
  • No alternative
  • Benefits outweigh the harm
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