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Science and Psychology

I. Scientific Method – Experimental designs that systematically evaluate hypothesis under controlled settings.

A. Methods for Evaluating Behavior

1. Survey – Face to face or sent out questionnaires
▪ Advantages: efficient way to get data; select specific pool of respondents (e.g., mothers of monozygotic twins) or a more broad group (e.g., Republicans) ▪ Disadvantages: 1) only get 25% back (or a much smaller proportion of what you may have mailed out) 2) the opinions expressed on a survey are subject to changing forces and times 3) humans are unskilled self-observers although we think we are, and 4) people lie

2. Naturalistic Observation
▪ Fly on the wall
▪ Participant observer

3. Laboratory Setting – Basic Research
▪ Control of environment
▪ Control of Subjects (room temp, hunger, level of deprivation, type of surgical procedure) ▪ Maximize experimental controls, variables

4. Natural Environment – The world as your laboratory
▪ Generalization to “real world”
▪ Management of variables more difficult

B. Types of Experiments:

1. Group – Persons, animals or many other categories of matter that may share some characteristics, such as college sophomores. AKA – Cohorts. Of interest may be the response of that population to a particular situation or treatment. a. generalization to larger population(s).

b. statistical analyses for significance and the assessment of “chance” when evaluating change due to a particular treatment or intervention

2. Identification of Group or identifying the type and features of the group: a. Random assignments- to deal with population or demographic bias b. Matched groups – matched for age, sex, education, etc...

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