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Methodology and Ethics

Social Psychology: An Empirical Science

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Social Psychology: An Empirical Science

Results of some experiments may seem obvious

Why?

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Scientific Method

H ypothesize

O perationalize

M easure

E valuate

R evise/Replicate

4

How are Hypotheses Formulated?

Previous theories and research

Personal observation

HYPOTHESIS: an explicit, testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur.

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Operationalize

Conceptual variable: The general abstract definition of a variable. (the dictionary definition)

Operational definition: The specific procedures for manipulating or measuring a conceptual variable. (concrete application)

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“Birds of a feather flock together.”

Hypothesis (conceptual)

similar people will be more attracted to each other

Hypothesis (operational)

personality test choose partners

height, age attraction questionnaire

Construct Validity: How well measures in a study reflect the variables they are intended to measure and manipulations in a study reflect the variables they are intended to manipulate.

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1.Response to a mirror

2. Questionnaire

1. Questionnaire

2. non-verbal behavior

1. time spend staring

2. questionnaire

3. pupil dilation

1. speed running away

2. questionnaire

3. facial expression

Evaluation of the self

Negative feeling based on group membership

Desire between two people

Feeling scared

Self-esteem

Prejudice

Attraction

Fear

Operational

(concrete)

Conceptual (dictionary)

Variables

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Scientific Method

H ypothesize

O perationalize

M easure

E valuate

R evise/Replicate

Social psychologists use the same methods as other scientists.

Theories and hypotheses can change dramatically

Researchers often find that collected data indicate findings that are quite disparate from the projected findings

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Three Measurement Methods

Observational

Goal: Description

Correlational

Goal: Prediction

Experimental

Goal: Answer causal questions

Observational Method

Researcher observes people and systematically records measurements of impressions of their behavior.

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Observational Method

Ethnography

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Observational Method

Archival Analysis (Historical Records)

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Observational Method Example

Research Question

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Observational Method Example

Method

Behaviors are concretely defined before the observation begins

Observer systematically:

Accuracy of observer is assessed

Interjudge reliability

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Interjudge Reliability

Interjudge Reliability

The level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data.

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Limits of Observational Method

Certain behaviors difficult to observe

Archival analysis

Does not allow prediction and explanation

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Advantage:

Disadvantage:

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Correlational Method

Two or more variables are systematically measured and the relation between them is assessed.

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Example Research Question Using Correlational Method

What is the relation between the amount of violent television children watch and the aggressive behaviors they display?

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Positive Correlation

INCREASES in the value of one variable are associated with INCREASES in the value of the other variable

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Negative Correlation

INCREASES in the value of one variable are associated with DECREASES in the value of the other variable

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The Correlation Coefficient

Correlation coefficients range from –1.00 to +1.00

+ 1.00 perfectly correlated in a positive direction

0 means that two variables are not correlated

– 1.00 perfectly correlated in a negative direction

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Figure 2.1 The Correlation Coefficient The diagrams below show three possible correlations in a hypothetical study of watching violence on television and aggressive behavior in children. The diagram at the left shows a strong positive correlation: The more television children watched, the more aggressive they were. The diagram in the middle shows no correlation: The amount of television children watched is not related to how aggressive they were. The diagram at the right shows a strong negative correlation: The more television children watched, the less aggressive they were.

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The Correlational Method

Surveys

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Population

Sample

Random Sampling:

A random sample (N=1000) allows us to generalize our

findings back to THIS population.

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Surveys Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantage

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Correlation ≠ causation!

Correlational method tells us only that two variables are related

Social psychology’s goal

Identify causes of social behavior

Be able to say that A causes B, not just that A is correlated with B

# churches

# bars

town size

Limits of the Correlational Method

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Correlation ≠ Causation

Three possible causal relations when a correlation is found (e.g., TV violence and aggression are correlated)

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Correlational Research

Advantage:

Disadvantage:

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The Experimental Method

Experimental Research:

Researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions, conditions are identical except for the independent variable (the one thought to have a causal effect on people’s responses).

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Independent Variable (IV)

The IV is what researchers manipulate to see if it has a causal effect

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Dependent Variable (DV)

The DV is what researchers measure to see if it is affected

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Independent Variable (IV)

Variable that is the CAUSE of the dependent variable

Variable that is manipulated (changed systematically)

Dependent Variable (DV)

Variable that is the EFFECT

Variable that is measured

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IV and DV Example using Latané and Darley (1970)

IV

Number of bystanders

DV

Helping behavior

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Figure 2.2 Independent and Dependent Variables in experimental research Researchers vary the independent variable (e.g., the number of bystanders people think are present) and observe what effect that has on the dependent variable (e.g., whether people help).

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Hypothesis: Similarity causes liking

IV?

DV?

Internal Validity

Experiments Should Have Internal Validity

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Increasing Internal Validity

Control extraneous variables

Randomly assign people to experimental conditions

Experimental

2 reasons experiments can show causal

relationships or “two requirements for success”

Control

Random assignment

Need BOTH for it to be an experiment!

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Random Assignment

Distributes differences in participants (e.g., personalities, backgrounds) evenly across conditions

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Random

Assignment

group A

group B

EQUAL

interacts with

similar partner

interacts with

dissimilar partner

Manipulation (IV)

Measure (DV)

likes partner

dislikes partner

UNEQUAL

Hypothesis: similarity causes liking

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Random

Assignment

group A

group B

EQUAL

Manipulation (IV)

Measure (DV)

UNEQUAL

Hypothesis: the more people present the less helping behavior exhibited

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Scientific Method

H ypothesize

O perationalize

M easure

E valuate

R evise/Replicate

Social psychologists use the same methods as other scientists.

Theories and hypotheses can change dramatically

Researchers often find that collected data indicate findings that are quite disparate from the projected findings

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Probability Level (p-value)

A number calculated with statistical techniques

Indicates likelihood results of experiment occurred by chance instead of the IV(s)

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Probability Level (p-value)

The convention in science is to consider results significant when

p< .05

Limits of Experimental Method

Experimental situations can be

Artificial

Distant from real life

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Advantage:

Disadvantage:

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Scientific Method

H ypothesize

O perationalize

M easure

E valuate

R evise/Replicate

Social psychologists use the same methods as other scientists.

Theories and hypotheses can change dramatically

Researchers often find that collected data indicate findings that are quite disparate from the projected findings

49

Get the results you expect  replicate experiment with different population

Don’t get the results you expect  revise your hypothesis, revise your operationalization, and/or revise your method of measurement

Next steps…

Validity in Experiments

Internal and External Validity

Internal validity – Making sure that nothing besides the independent variable can affect the dependent variable

External validity – The extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people.

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Two Kinds of External Validity

Generalizability across

Situations

2. People

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Generalizability Across Situations

Mundane Realism

Psychological Realism

Was it psychologically similar?

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Generalizability Across Situations

When people feel involved in a real event, the psychological realism is increased

Cover story

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Generalizability Across People

Random selection of participants from population

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Increasing Internal Validity

Control extraneous variables

Randomly assign people to experimental conditions

Increasing External Validity

Use of field experiments:

Study behavior outside of the lab, in natural setting

Same design as a laboratory experiment, but use real-life setting

(sidewalk, store, street, campus)

Participants unaware they are in an experiment

External validity is high

Takes place in the real world

Basic Dilemma of the Social Psychologist: trade-off between internal and external validity

By increasing internal validity, some external validity (generalizability) is sacrificed

By increasing external validity (e.g., a field experiment), control over the setting is lost and internal validity is sacrificed

Basic Dilemma of the Social Psychologist

The way to resolve this basic dilemma is not to try to do everything in a single experiment!

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Addressing the Basic Dilemma

First, maximize internal validity to identify cause using laboratory experiments

Then, establish external validity using replication in:

Different settings

Different populations

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Addressing the Basic Dilemma

Maximize external validity with field studies

Do both field studies and experiments

Replication maximizes internal and external validity

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Types of Research: Basic Versus Applied Research

Basic Research Experiments

Answer basic questions about human behavior

Applied Studies

Directed toward solving social problems

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ETHICS

Ethics

Ethics in Psychological Research

Guidelines for Doing Research with People

Rights and well-being of participants outweigh the study’s value to science

Participants must be allowed to make an informed decision about participation

Deception must be justified

Participants may withdraw from the study at any time

Participants protected from risks or told explicitly of risks

Investigator must debrief participants

Data must remain confidential

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A few ethical considerations

Informed consent: an individual’s deliberate, voluntary decision to participate in research, based on the researcher’s description of what will be required during participation.

Deception: a technique whereby researchers withhold information about the purposes or procedures of a study from their participants

Some kinds of research may require it.

However, its use raises ethical issues:

Participant could be harmed (experience distress, anxiety).

Participant could develop negative attitudes toward psychological research (resent)

Resolving the dilemma

Should not be used to persuade people to take part in the research

Informed consent should be used

Debriefing

Only use it if you really have to!

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Role of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The role of the IRB is to protect the rights and welfare of individual research subjects.

This goals is accomplished by having the IRB assure that the following requirements

are satisfied:

1. risk to subjects are minimized

2. risk to subjects are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits,

3. selection of subjects is equitable, i.e. fair

4. informed consent is sought form each subject or his/her legally authorized

representative,

5. informed consent is appropriately documented,

6. when appropriate, the research plan makes provisions for monitoring data

collection,

7. privacy and confidentiality of research subjects is appropriately protected, and

8. when some or all of the subjects are likely to be vulnerable to coercion or undue

influence, additional safeguards have been included.

The IRB process

All research on human subjects must go to IRB

What kinds of studies will be considered exempt? Eligible for expedited review? Requiring full review?

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Trinity’s IRB

http://www.trinitydc.edu/policies/institutional-review-board-irb/

Cases that lead to the IRB

These studies led to the creation of the

IRB which were formed to protect human subjects involved in research:

Unethical Nazi experiments

Willowbrook study

Laud Humphrey’s “Tearoom Sex” study

Stanley Milgram’s experiment

Tuskegee Syphilis study

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Milgram (1963)

Strap in the learner (confederate)

Shock generator (participant)

Learner (confederate) and teacher (participant)

Cover Story: Influence of punishment on memory. Increasing voltage shocks for errors.

Experimenter orders teacher to obey, learner gives scripted pain responses.

DV: How high in voltage the teacher goes before refusing to continue.

Milgram

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auKeZvQuQRc&feature=related

 

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Tuskegee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TqrHiO5GwU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJa4Qd-FB7