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5th Edition
Stephen F. Davis
Emporia State University
Joseph J. Palladino
University of Southern Indiana
PowerPoint Presentation by
Cynthia K. Shinabarger Reed
Tarrant County College
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Copyright © Prentice Hall 2007
Chapter 1
5th Edition
Research, and You
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• Psychology is the science of behavior and
mental processes.
• When we try to understand events in the world
around us, we sometimes turn to what is known
as folk wisdom.
• Such efforts to explain events are usually
presented in ways that can never be proved
• Hence folk wisdom provides answers for all
situations, but explains none.
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• To understand our world we can look for
insights and explanations through
psychological research methods.
• Psychologists are trained to ask good
questions, to gather useful information, to
arrive at appropriate conclusions, and to
develop and ask further questions based
on the information collected.
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• After World War I, spiritualism (a belief in
the supernatural) sparked interest on both
sides of the Atlantic.
• Almost every city had several mediums—
people who claim that they can contact the
spirit world and communicate with the
dead during a séance.
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the
master detective Sherlock Holmes, was
deeply interested in spiritualism.
• In May 1920, Doyle heard reports that
fairies had been photographed; he greeted
the reports with enthusiasm because they
seemed to confirm his belief in the
existence of the spirit world.
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• The case of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the
photographs of alleged fairies teaches us the
importance of asking good questions.
• Modern technology has shown the fairies to
be a hoax.
• The case demonstrates the importance of
being aware of how bias can influence the
questions we ask and the conclusions we
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• Bias refers to beliefs that interfere with
• The law of parsimony is a principle that
simple explanations of phenomena are
preferred to complex explanations.
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• By asking good questions, collecting
useful data, arriving at defensible
conclusions, and being aware of our own
biases and those of others, we can
become good consumers of psychological
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• In evaluating causal or research claims,
we should ask the following questions:
• What is the statement or claim, and who is
making it?
• Is the statement or claim based on
scientific observations?
• What do statistics reveal?
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Becoming a Psychological Detective
• Are there plausible alternative
explanations for the statement or claim?
• Using these guidelines does not guarantee
that you will always arrive at a complete
and accurate understanding of any claim
or proposed explanation.
• The guidelines do, however, help you
avoid certain pitfalls that can easily lead to
inaccurate conclusions.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The goals of psychology are to describe,
predict, and control behavior.
• These goals are accomplished by using
the scientific method.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The scientific method is a system of
investigation in which a person makes
careful observations of a phenomenon,
proposes theories to explain the
phenomenon, makes hypotheses about
future behaviors, and then tests these
hypotheses through more research and
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Research Methods in Psychology
• A theory is an explanation for a
phenomenon based on careful and precise
• A hypothesis is a prediction about future
behaviors that is derived from observation
and theories.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Psychologists use a number of research
methods, including case studies,
naturalistic observations, and experiments.
• Each method has strengths and
weaknesses; all of them contribute to our
knowledge of claims and events.
• The choice of the specific method used
usually is determined by the type of
problem being investigated.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• A case study is an in-depth analysis of
one person.
• The goal of a case study is to use the
information obtained from one person to
understand the behaviors of others.
• One potential disadvantage of the method
is that what we learn by studying one
person may not necessarily apply to other
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The goal of naturalistic observation is to
describe the settings, frequency, and
characteristics of certain behaviors in the
real world.
• When psychologists make naturalistic
observations, they observe behaviors as
they occur, without intervening or altering
the behaviors in any way.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The observers must be careful not to
affect the behaviors they observe and
• Observations that interfere with the
behavior being studied are termed
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Research Methods in Psychology
• A Humorous example of Observational
Research and some problems associated
with its assumptions.
– Kitchen Stories, IFC Films, (2003), MGM
Home Entertainment.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Correlational research tells whether the values
of two variables are related.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Keep in mind, though, that just because
two variables are correlated, even highly
correlated, one variable does not cause
the other.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• A correlation coefficient is a number
ranging between -1.00 and +1.00 that
represents the degree and direction of
relation between two variables.
• The number tells you the strength of the
correlation, and the sign tells you the
direction of the relation.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The higher the number, the stronger the
• A plus sign tells us that as the values of
one variable increase, so do the values of
the other.
• Thus values of both variables are headed
in the same direction; they are positively
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Research Methods in Psychology
• By contrast, a minus sign tells us that the
values of the two variables travel in
opposite directions; they are negatively
• As the values of one variable increase, the
values of the other tend to decrease.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The survey method is a research method
that involves collecting information from a
selected group of people who are
representative of a larger group.
• When conducting a survey, researchers
must obtain a representative sample—
one that is selected to reflect the
characteristics of a larger group (the
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Research Methods in Psychology
• By asking questions of a
representative sample,
researchers using the
survey method can
provide useful information
about a much larger
• The wording of the
questions can influence
participants' responses.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The experimental method involves
manipulating independent variables to
determine how they affect dependent
• Because it can generate cause-and-effect
statements, many psychologists believe
that the experimental method is the most
powerful research approach.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• By manipulating an
variable (the cause),
the researcher
determines whether
it influences the
dependent variable
(the effect).
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Research Methods in Psychology
• An independent variable is manipulated
by a researcher to determine its effects on
a dependent variable.
• A dependent variable is a variable that
shows the outcome of an experiment by
revealing the effects of an independent
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Researchers are careful to offer clear and
precise definitions for both the
independent and dependent variables.
• Such definitions, known as operational
definitions, allow other researchers to
replicate (repeat) an experiment exactly as
it was originally done in order to verify the
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Some participants in the experiment are
exposed to the independent variable; they
constitute the experimental group.
• Other participants are not exposed to the
independent variable; they constitute the
control group that will be compared with
the experimental group on the dependent
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Research Methods in Psychology
• If you hold all other variables that could also
influence the results of the experiment—known
as extraneous variables—constant, you may
identify the cause of the behavior under
• One way to accomplish this objective is to use
the procedure called random assignment, or
assignment of participants to two or more groups
on the basis of chance.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Random assignment usually results in two
groups that are quite similar in many
• However, random assignment does not
solve all problems and make all research
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Statistics is a branch of mathematics that
involves the collection, analysis, and
interpretation of data.
• Descriptive statistics are procedures
used to summarize any set of data.
• Inferential statistics are procedures used
to analyze data after an experiment is
conducted to determine if an independent
variable had a significant effect.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Measures of central tendency provide
information about the typical score in a set
of numbers.
• Measures of variability provide
information about the amount of variability
or spread in a set of data.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The American Psychological Association
has adopted ethical guidelines that
prescribe standards of conduct for the
professional work of psychologists in their
roles as researchers, clinicians, and
• These guidelines include several general
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Research Methods in Psychology
• For example, psychologists must maintain
high standards of competence in their
work, including recognizing the limitations
of their expertise.
• They also must show respect for the rights
and dignity of people, such as rights to
privacy and confidentiality.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The ethical guidelines for conducting
research require that all research
proposals be reviewed to ensure
compliance with the guidelines.
• Each proposal must be approved by an
institutional review board (IRB) established
by a college, university, or other
organization where research is conducted.
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Research Methods in Psychology
• The ethical guidelines state that
psychologists who conduct research using
human participants must ensure that they
are protected from physical and
psychological harm.
• The ethical guidelines also require that
any research records associated with a
person’s name or identity be kept
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Participants, including college students in
introductory courses, must be told that
their participation in research is voluntary.
• When psychologists use deception in their
research, their participants must undergo
a debriefing session immediately after the
study in which they are given a complete
explanation of the research that has used
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Participants in psychological research have
the right to end their participation at any time.
• Researchers cannot use any form of threat or
intimidation to force them to complete tasks
in a study.
• The American Psychological Association lists
seven areas of concern in the ethical
treatment of animals in psychological
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Research Methods in Psychology
• Researchers who use animals in their research
are subject to a long list of regulations,
including local, state, and federal laws.
• These regulations seek to define under what
circumstances it is acceptable to sacrifice
animals for research.
• Moreover, the regulations often mandate
certain requirements concerning food, cage
space, and veterinary care.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Wilhelm Wundt established the first
psychology laboratory at the University of
Leipzig in Germany in 1879.
• Wundt and his student Edward B.
Titchener, who brought Wundt’s type of
psychology to the United States, wanted to
study psychology in the same way that a
person would study physics or chemistry.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Titchener’s research depended on a
method called introspection, in which
participants gave verbal reports of their
conscious experiences.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• A new approach to psychology developed
in the United States in the late 1800s.
• Functionalism was concerned not with
the structure of the mind, but with the
purposes of consciousness—what the
mind does and why.
• Functionalists wanted to see how people
use information to adapt to their
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• A group of psychologists who termed their
approach Gestalt psychology, which was noted
for emphasizing that perception of a whole
differs from that of the individual stimuli that
make up the whole, spearheaded the challenge
to the structuralists’ notion that conscious
experience could be broken down into elements.
• The key members of this group were Max
Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The behavioral perspective focuses on
observable behaviors; thus it does not speculate
about mental processes such as thinking.
• This perspective emphasizes the importance of
learning in understanding how various behaviors
• The American psychologist John B. Watson
believed psychology should be concerned not
with the mind or consciousness, but solely with
observable behaviors.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Sigmund Freud and his followers
developed the psychodynamic
perspective, which suggests that both
normal and abnormal behaviors are
determined primarily by unconscious
• The term psychodynamic is used because
these forces are believed to interact with
one another.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Freud also focused on early childhood
experiences as a major influence on
personality development.
• The treatment approach for maladaptive
behavior that he eventually developed,
known as psychoanalytic therapy, attempts
to bring unconscious causes of distress to the
conscious level.
• According to Freud, once the sources of
distress are brought to awareness, they can
be changed.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Dissatisfaction with both the behavioral and
the psychodynamic perspectives led
psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham
Maslow to develop the humanistic
• Emphasizing free will and individuals’ control
of their own behavior, the humanistic
perspective was characterized by a distinctly
positive view of human nature.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Humanistic psychologists viewed
themselves as a “third force” because they
were an alternative to the behavioral and
psychodynamic perspectives in
• Rather than attempting to develop general
principles, Rogers and Maslow sought to
understand each person as a unique
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The physiological perspective focuses
on the underlying biological bases of all
forms of behavior.
• Physiological psychologists have a special
interest in the functioning of the brain and
the rest of the nervous system.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The evolutionary perspective focuses on why
a particular behavior or physical structure
developed and how that behavior or structure
aids in adaptation to the environment.
• Charles Darwin, who popularized the theory of
evolution, maintained that evolution unfolds
according to the principle of natural selection,
which states that the strongest or most fit
organisms are those that have adapted best to
their environment.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The cognitive perspective focuses on
the study of how thought occurs, how our
memories work, and how information is
organized and stored.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• In the past, numerous barriers limited access to
the field of psychology for women and ethnic
• For example, Mary Whiton Calkins completed her
work at Harvard University, where she was a
student of William James, but the university
refused to award the doctoral degree she had
earned because it did not grant degrees to
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Despite this setback, Calkins had a distinguished
career in teaching, founded one of the first
psychology laboratories in the United States, and
was the first woman to be elected president of the
American Psychological Association.
• In some cases, marital status and family ties
hindered the careers of the first female
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The noted researcher Christine Ladd-Franklin
“was not considered a suitable candidate for any
regular academic position” because she was
• Similarly, the tradition of the eldest daughter
taking care of her aging parents cut short the
budding career of Milicent Shinn, the first woman
to receive a Ph.D. from the University of California
at Berkeley in 1898.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Robert Guthrie (1998) summarized the struggles
of African-American psychologists in his influential
book Even the Rat Was White.
• It wasn’t until 1920 that Francis C. Sumner
became the first African American to receive a
Ph.D. in psychology.
• Doctoral degrees in psychology were not granted
to African-American women until the 1930s.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• Inez Beverly Prosser was the first AfricanAmerican woman to receive a doctoral degree in
educational psychology; she received this degree
from the University of Cincinnati in 1933.
• Ruth Winifred Howard received her Ph.D. in
psychology in 1934 from the University of
• Until recently, few members of racial minority
groups obtained jobs in psychology.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The impact of different cultures and diversity
on psychology is seen in contemporary
psychological literature.
• It is important for all of us to appreciate how
cultural factors moderate our psychological
• At the same time, we need to know what kinds
of cross-cultural similarities exist in
psychological principles and basic processes.
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The Origins of Modern Psychology
• The later 20th century witnessed an increasing
concern for the effects of overpopulation on the
quality of life and the quality of our environment.
• These concerns are responsible for the
development of a new perspective in psychology:
the environmental, population, and
conservation perspective.
• In short, these psychologists are applying
psychological principles to help save the planet.
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Present Day Psychology
• Present-day psychologists do not align
themselves strictly with any of the approaches
outlined earlier.
• Instead they tend to choose the approach they
consider appropriate to each issue under
• Because they use several approaches, many
psychologists have adopted an eclectic
approach to psychology.
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Present Day Psychology
• Most psychologists earn an advanced
degree, usually a doctorate.
• Although many psychologists teach and
engage in research, a growing number
provide direct services to clients.
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Psychological Specialties
• Psychologists involved in clinical
psychology specialize in helping people
with behavioral or emotional problems
adjust to the demands of life.
• By contrast, psychiatrists are medical
doctors; they have earned an M.D.
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Psychological Specialties
• A specialty that has much in common with
clinical psychology is counseling
psychology; counseling psychologists also
administer psychological tests and provide
• One difference between clinical and counseling
psychologists involves the types of clients they
• Counseling psychologists often work with
clients who have less serious problems than
those of patients seen by clinical
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Psychological Specialties
• You may hear the term experimental
psychologist used to describe
psychologists who conduct experiments;
however, because many different types of
psychologists conduct experiments, the
term research psychologist is more
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Psychological Specialties
• Because modern psychology is identified so
highly with the United States, we may have a
tendency to view our psychological research as
applying to all other cultures.
• The view that other cultures are an extension of
your own is called ethnocentrism.
• Cross-cultural psychology is a branch of
psychology that seeks to determine if research
results are universal (that is, if they can be
generalized or applied to other cultures).
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Psychological Specialties
• School psychologists are employed by
school systems as consultants to other
educational personnel.
• Industrial and organizational
psychologists (also known as I/O
psychologists) are concerned with all
aspects of work and the structure and
function of organizations.
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Psychological Specialties
• Some I/O psychologists are involved in the
design of equipment and manufacturing plants.
• When they design equipment, they take into
consideration the relation between the worker
and the equipment, as well as the capabilities of
the worker.
• These psychologists are also called human
factors psychologists, and they work in a
specialty called ergonomics.
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Psychological Specialties
• Consumer psychology is the scientific study of
the behavior of consumers.
• Health psychology is a diverse and rapidly
growing specialty concerned with the relations
between psychological factors and health.
• Forensic psychologists work within the legal
system; they may work in a prison to evaluate
incoming prisoners or assist in selecting a jury
for a trial.
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Psychological Specialties
• Sport psychologists apply the theories
and knowledge of psychology to enhance
athletes’ performance.
• Neuropsychologists are trained to
diagnose disorders of the brain.
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