3 Psych 101
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The belief that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation
A procedure for finding truth by using empirical evidence
A falsifiable prediction made by a theory
What is the rule of parsimony?
Simplest answer is most often the correct one. Aka Ockham's razor
Why can theories be proven wrong but not right?
Because it only takes one counter example to prove a theory wrong whereas it takes every example possible to prove a theory right
A set of rules and techniques for observation
What makes human beings especially difficult to study?
- Complexity: Complicated brain/feelings/thoughts that come with it
- Variability: No two people ever do things and perceive things exactly the same
- Reactivity: People act and react differently depending on what's going on around them
Empiricism is the belief that
The best way to understand the world is to observe it, its become prominent in the last few centuries
The heart of the scientific method is
Empiricism, which suggests out theories give rise to falsifiable hypotheses and we can make observations to test and disprove them but never prove them
Observation doesn't just mean
"Looking" it requires a method. Psychology requires special methods because people are different than bacteria or something like that
What two things does measurement require?
- 1. Define the property we wish to measure
- 2. Find a way to detect it
A description of a property in concrete, measurable terms
Anything that an detect the condition to which an operational definition refers
The goodness with which a concrete even defines a property
The tendency for an instrument to produce the same measurement whenever it is used to measure the same thing
An instrument's ability to detect small magnitudes of the property
Those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they think someone else wants or expects
A technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environment
What are the properties of a good operational definition and a good instrument?
Reliability and validity.
How do people respond when they know they are being observed?
They display demand characteristics like refusing to honestly comment on if someone looks fat or not
Why is it important for subjects to be "blind"?
It helps avoid demand characteristics and get authentic results from the participants
Why is it important for experimenters to be "blind"?
Expectations can influence observations and expectations can influence reality
An observation whose true purpose is hidden from both the observer and the person being observed
A graphical representation of measurements arranged by the number of times each measurement was taken
A mathematically defined distribution where the frequency of measurements is highest in the middle and decreases symmetrically in both directions
The value of the most frequently observed measurement
The average value of all the measurements
The value that is in the middle; that is, greater than or equal to half the measurements and less than or equal to half the measurements
What are the two major kinds of descriptive statistics?
- Central tendency: Statements about the value of the measurements that tend to lie near the center or midpoint
- Variability: in a frequency distribution
What are two measures of variability
The value of the largest measurement in a frequency distribution minus the value of the smallest measurement
A statistic that describes the average difference between the measurements in a frequency distribution and the mean of that distribution
Defining a property in terms of a concrete condition, and then constructing a measurement that can detect that condition
A good measure is
- Valid: The concrete conditions it measures are conceptually related to the property of interest
- Reliable: It produces the same measurement whenever it is used to measure the same thing
- Powerful: It can detect the concrete conditions when they actually exist
When people know they are being observed they may
Behave as they think they should (demand characteristics)
Frequency distribution graphs are used by psychologists to
Describe the measurements they make. The graphs often have a special shape known as the normal distribution.
Psychologists also describe their measurements with
Descriptive statistics; the most common are central tendency: mean, median and mode; and descriptions of variability: such as range and standard deviation
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