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Assignment 2

Short Answer
Question 1 Explain what makes psychology a science. -- Psychology is defined as, the science that studies behavior and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it. The manner in which psychology gathers its data to study such areas is what makes it a science. It uses scientific research to study human nature and response. The fact that psychology follows a carefully set up and meticulously repeatable procedure makes it characteristically a science. Just like researchers in any other area of science, psychology uses the scientific method. Psychologists build theories and hypotheses based on their understanding of other sciences such as biology and chemistry. This yields results and data that are clear and precise and thus easier to communicate to others. It also yields more reliable data because the scientific method does not tolerate error. Moreover, the attitudes associated with the scientific approach are objectivity, curiosity, skepticism, and critical thinking. Many find it hard to accept psychology as a science because the results are not always as conclusive or concrete as those in other sciences, but this is just further proof that more research must be done to understand the abstract results. Chemistry and Biology were both doubted as sciences at some point in history. Before the invention of the microscope, it was hard for many to believe cells made up the whole human body. Similarly, before Wundt combined physiology and philosophy with methodical observation, psychology as a science was inconceivable. Question 2 What are the three goals of scientific enterprise in psychology? -- The first goal of the scientific enterprise in psychology is measurement and description. This is what makes psychology able to convey its findings to others. Before anything can be done, there must be a way to evaluate and quantify the abstract topic being studied. With measurement and description, psychologists are able to develop techniques to compare one subject with the next. -- The second goal of the scientific enterprise in psychology is understanding and prediction. This is important in any science because the purpose of studying and analyzing is to comprehend the meaning and purpose behind the topic. The best way psychologists know how to do this is by creating a hypothesis and testing variables within that hypothesis. With understanding and prediction, psychologists are able to implement techniques from the measurement and description phase and methodically interpret the data to further their knowledge of the subject. -- The final goal of the scientific enterprise is application and control. This goal is crucial for furthering psychology as a science. Application and control enable psychologists to utilize the findings from the understanding and prediction phase and make them relevant and available to more broad topics. It is this goal that connects findings to other concepts, thus making psychology interconnected. Question 3

Briefly describe the steps involved in scientific psychological research. --The first step is to transform a theory into a testable hypothesis, which is an educated judgment about the relationship of at least two measurable characteristics, behaviors, events, or conditions that can be manipulated and controlled. The hypothesis must be clear in its variables and parameters in order for it to be credible and testable. -- Once a hypothesis is devised, the psychologist must determine the technique that will be used to gather data. In order to do this the psychologist must evaluate the components of the variables in question and then choose a technique that properly assesses those components. This technique must then be integrated into a procedure before beginning experimentation. This way there is no bias or manipulation of data that can be present if parameters are not set before data is collected. It is imperative to define every aspect of the procedure down to the last detail to avoid this potential distortion. --The next step in the psychological scientific process is to begin experimentation and to gather data. Usually the best way to do this is to follow the procedure set forth after devising a hypothesis. If the procedure is properly set up, there should be minimal room for error, thus making the data more reliable. This will also make the next step, data analysis, easier. -- In this step, the psychologist refers back to the hypothesis set up in the second step to which to compare the data. One commonly used method in data analysis is to set up the data as statistics, thus making it easier to compare and draw conclusions from. Furthermore, this way the psychologist gets a better idea of overall trends and tendencies. It is important to analyze the data in an unbiased fashion and to do so without imposing the psychologists own opinions into the mix. -- The final step is to share conclusions and the overall understanding with the scientific community. Usually the psychologist will write a research paper and submit it for publishing to a relevant scientific journal. This way others will learn what happened and how it happened. This can then potentially affect others research and be used as a basis for new experiments because psychology is vast and far-reaching. Question 4 Describe why scientific research methods are important to psychologists. --Scientific research methods are important to psychologists for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they substantiate psychologists as true scientists. This is crucial because psychology as a science is relatively new in comparison to other sciences and there are those who still do not accept it as a true science. --Furthermore, the scientific research method allows psychologists to produce results that are clear and precise. Through the scientific method results have applicable significance that is evident by through their clarity and precision. Also, they are repeatable by other scientists and thus make the results more credible. --Finally, the scientific research method does not allow a great deal of error so the results produced through this method are more plausible. The intolerance of error makes for a more rigorous and grueling process that eventually produces results validated throughout the scientific community. Consequently, the scientific research method is important to psychologists everywhere.

Question 5 Explain the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable as used in the experimental method. -- The main difference between an independent and dependent variable is that one is manipulated in order to see the effect it will have on the other. The independent variable is a characteristic, trait, condition or event that can be manipulated in order to study the impact it will have on the dependent variable. The dependent variable on the other hand is also a characteristic, trait, condition or event, but it is not changed in any way. On the contrary, it is purposely left unchanged in order to evaluate the effect the independent variable has on it. It is important to have well defined independent and depended variables so that data may be properly collected and analyzed. If there is more than one independent variable, the results are often harder to analyze because it difficult to determine which independent variable affected the dependent variable. All in all, both are imperative to the experimental method because each, while relatable, serves a key purpose that cannot be replaced. Question 6 Explain the difference between a correlational and an experimental research study. Be sure to explain what type of conclusions can be drawn from each. -- The biggest difference between correlational and experimental research is how the study is conducted. Experimental research consists of manipulation of an independent variable to see the effects on a dependent variable. In this way, experimental research tests cause and effect relationships of variables. This approach is heavily controlled and monitored. Unfortunately, this means it is essentially a made up situation or condition that mimics real life. Correlational research on the other hand determines the relationship between the two variables and associated patterns. Correlational research is unable to manipulate the variables involved and therefore must rely on other techniques of data collection. These techniques cannot be mimicked and consequently rely on the genuine version of the issue or event in question making correlational research more real life experiences and less laboratory testing. This enables psychologists to study topics and ideas that are not possible through experimental research due to either ethics or limitations. Unfortunately, this also means correlational research cannot conclusively say one thing caused another because the techniques used for data collection are not always black and white. It can however predict the most likely outcome to an effect or determine the most likely trend. This is very different from experimental research where the controlled environment of the empirical test determines direct causes. Question 7 Explain why "a correlation does not prove causation." --While correlation is great for predictions, it does not prove causation. This is because many a time there is a third variable involved. One example of this statement is as ice cream sales increase, the number of people who die by drowning increases. Therefore, ice cream causes people to drown. While the ice cream sales and incidence of people drowning seems like a cause and effect relationship, the real underlying cause of both is a third variable - the temperature outside. When it is hotter outside, people are more prone to buy ice cream to cool themselves off. Also, when it is hotter outside, people are more likely to go swimming. With more people swimming, the likelihood of a person drowning goes up, thus disproving a cause and effect relationship between ice cream sales and the number of people who drown. This

distinction is very important to both statistics and psychology because it forces statisticians and psychologists to dig deeper for the real truth behind the issues they study.
-- Correlation does not prove causation because the methods used in correlation research cannot account for and control every variable present and therefore the data collected is not necessarily the direct product of the variable being studied. Whether using naturalistic observation, case studies, or surveys correlation does not prove causation. --Naturalistic Observation is done from afar and without any interaction with the subjects or variables being studied. While this method of correlation research opens up more research topic avenues, the results do not prove causation because the observations are often difficult to make inconspicuously, without affecting the variable being studied. Also, observations in themselves hold an echo of the psychologists own opinions and thoughts and thus cannot definitively prove cause. --Similarly, case studies open up more areas of research just like naturalistic observation. Unfortunately the method of data collection and presentation requires a researcher to compile the data in a coherent and relatable manner, which frequently is biased by their own stance. For this reason, case studies as a method of correlation cannot prove causation. --Finally, surveys reach people who would otherwise be unattainable for study. This form of correlation research is the most likely to prove causation because it is similar to experimental research in that it frequently sets up an artificial scenario on which answer questions. However, it cannot cause causation because like the other two forms of correlational research questionnaires and interviews cannot separate variables the influence the outcome.

Question 8 Describe how inferential statistics are used and explain statistical significance. --Inferential statistics are used to interpret and draw conclusions from the data collected. This is done after the hypothesis has been created and the data gathered. Inferential statistics is used to compare the control results to the independent variable results. The two must have enough of a margin of difference between the results to show any significance. When the difference in results is clearly a result of the independent variable and not happenstance, this is referred to as statistical significance. In fact, when the margin is said to be very low meaning the chance of the data is not due to the independent variable less than 5 percent of the time, it is the perfect condition of it being statistically significant. This is an important concept when using inferential statistics. One example of inferential statistics at work is when comparing the effect of exercise on a persons body mass index. After the hypothesis was created and the data was collected, inferential statistics would be used to compare changes in bmi after exercising. If the changes in bmi are not due to chance and instead due to the independent variable exercise in this case then it there is a statistical significance. Question 9 List and describe the six ethical principles and the code of conduct for psychologists. --There are six ethical principles for research as set by the APA. Four apply to humans and two apply to research animals. All in all, these are set for the safety of those involved and those conducting the experiment. First, a persons involvement should be of his or her own free will and therefore they should be allowed to pull out of the experiment whenever they want. This way the person is still in control and accountable for what happens to him or her. Second, the people involved should not be put through anything harmful or dangerous to their health or wellbeing. This way regardless of the circumstance, the people involved know they will not be purposely harmed. Third, the people involved need to know the nature and purpose of the research being conducted if there is a chance of deception. This way the experiment can stay unbiased and the participant is not unnecessarily surprised. Finally, the privacy of those involved in the experimentation should never be compromised. Regardless of the circumstances, the people involved are involved by choice of their free will and should not be penalized for helping out. For this reason, their privacy should be kept above all else. This also helps the validity of the experiment by make the patients seem interchangeable.

Human rights are not the only ones protected by the ethical principles. Even though animals cannot speak for themselves and their rights must be protected. The APA guidelines state that unnecessary harm and pain in the research being conducted is not allowed unless there are considerable possible benefits as a result of the research. Furthermore, the research animals in the experiments are entitled to suitable living conditions. Question 10 Describe some of the reasons for using animals in research. -- An animal as a research subject is a controversial topic, but there are valid scientific reasons for their use. First, scientists use animals to study behavioral differences between humans and animals. This is useful for many reasons such as showing evolutionary differences and similarities in characteristics. Also, this is important in testing if certain principles and laws apply to both animals and humans. This is a great segue to test the waters for the most common reason for animals in research, which is the development of new treatments. -- Evolutionarily it is known that animals share characteristics with humans. This comes in handy for developing new treatments for diseases and disorders. It is unethical to induce diseases and disorders in healthy humans so animals are used to develop cures. This is controversial because some say it violates the APA ethical guidelines in that it is unnecessary harm purposely caused to animals for the betterment of animals. Furthermore, some say animals are cannot volunteer and therefore should not be tested. This is opposed by those who have created successful cures for diseases through the testing on animals. Essays Question 11 Pretend that you are in a discussion with friends and the topic is hard sciences versus soft sciences. It is argued that psychology is not a true science at all, as are sciences like chemistry and physics. How would you defend the proposition that psychology is a true science? -- Psychology is a true science because just like chemistry and physics it uses the scientific method to gather data and conduct research. It may not always be as black and white as chemistry or physics but there was a time that those two subjects were just as new and grey as psychology is now. Just because psychology has not been around a long as other sciences, does not make it any less of a science. To this day, there are components of physics and chemistry that are as intangible and just as questionable as aspects of psychology and physics and chemistry have been accepted as a science for a great deal longer than psychology. The beauty of knowledge is that it goes hand in hand with open-mindedness. What makes up a science? The dictionary defines a science as, the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. By this definition psychology fits. It follows procedure, has purpose, conducts experiments, and uses observation. All in all, psychology is just as much a science as chemistry and physics; the only difference is that it hasnt been around as long. Question 12 Design an experiment that will examine the question: "Who will learn more about psychology, those students enrolled in a traditional course or those enrolled in a distance learning course."

Be sure to identify:

The independent and dependent variables Any confounding variables that might need to be controlled Your control and treatment groups

Also be sure to discuss how you will measure the dependent variable --To create an experiment to determine who will learn more about psychology, those enrolled in a traditional course or those enrolled in a distant learning course, the first step would be to set up a hypothesis such as, Those enrolled in an IDL course will learn more about psychology than those enrolled in a traditional course. Next, we must identify the variables. The independent variable is they type of course taken by the students. The dependent variable is the amount the student learns in his or her respective class. A study like this tricky to set up because there are many outside factors at word. For example, does the student have prior knowledge of psychology, how does the student study best in a group, surrounded by others, having a discussion, or by him/herself, and finally does the student want to learn psychology or is he/she taking it to satisfy a school requirement. Due to the number of outside factors, the best way to set up the experiment would be to have one set of random students similar in knowledge and age study one topic of psychology through a traditional classroom course and another topic of psychology through the distant learning course. It is important to make sure the topics being studied are similar in difficulty and do not need any previous knowledge to complete. With this set up, the control and treatment groups will be the same because the results of each student will be compared to him/herself. Through this method, the best way to analyze the data is inferential statistics, where the results of the traditional classroom topic will be compared to the results from the distant learning topic. The best way to collect data would be through a multiple-choice test given after the topic has been studied. It is important the test is conducted in the same manner both times so no outside factors influence the results. Once the results have been collected, the data analyzed, and the conclusions drawn, the findings must be reported in an appropriate manner. This way the hypothesis will be either accepted or rejected and the findings can be applied to other topics and subjects. Question 13 What are the relative weaknesses and strengths of descriptive/correlational research as opposed to experimental research? Under what conditions would a psychologist choose one method as opposed to the other? -- It is not really fair to compare correlational/descriptive research with experimental research because they both serve very different purposes. While the overall purpose of both as used in psychological research is to better understand psychology, they differ greatly in the methods used to conduct the experiment and gather the data. Naturalistic Observation is done from afar and without any interaction with the subjects or variables being studied. This method is useful when trying to study natural habits and behavior. While this method of correlation research opens up more research avenues, the observations are often difficult to make inconspicuously, without affecting the variable being studied. Also, observations in themselves sometimes hold an echo of the psychologists own opinions and thoughts and thus can have a greater margin of error/bias. Similarly, case studies open up more areas of research just like naturalistic observation. Unfortunately the method of data collection and presentation requires a researcher to compile

the data in a coherent and relatable manner, which frequently is biased by their own stance. Furthermore, this research method is often done after the fact, which can be problematic in replication of results since no two cases are exactly the same. This method however is every useful in studying phenomena such as psychological disorders and therapies currently in use. Surveys are useful in that they reach people who would otherwise be unattainable for study. This form of correlational research is most like experimental research in that it sets up an artificial scenario on which participants answer questions. The problem with this type of research is that it is often difficult to separate variables that influence the outcome. Finally, experimental research is the most empirical method of psychological research. It is most frequently used when studying phenomena with physical, computable results such as numerical data. This form of research leads to cause and effect results, which can be useful. The basis of this research method is variable manipulations. The problem is that this type of research is only applicable to a narrow topic pool. There are many topics that cannot be studied through experimental research. Topics such as the pace of life in different cultures and the number of people who commit suicide that have a psychological disorder cannot be studied through experimental research and thus correlational/descriptive research methods must be used. Question 14 Design a simple descriptive/correlational study to investigate the relationship between television violence and children's aggressive behavior. -- The best way to study the relationship between television violence and childrens aggressive behavior would be to set up a naturalist observation experiment, which is an example of a descriptive/correlational research. The first step would be to come up with a hypothesis such as: there is a direct relationship between the amount of television violence seen by children and their own aggressive behavior. Here the independent variable is the amount of television violence watched and the dependent variable is the amount aggressive behavior displayed by the child. Next you would have to study the children over a period of time designated ahead of time based on increased violence seen over the period of time. For example, the control would be week one where all television viewed by the children had no violence in it. Then the children would be observed all week as to how aggressive they were. The next week the amount of violence on tv would be increased from TV-Y rated violence to TV-Y7 rated violence and again the aggressiveness of children would be observed and recorded. This would be continued for TV-Y7 FV, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA. Throughout the experiment the aggressiveness would be observed from a distance, without interaction from the observer. Finally after the experiment was over, the data would be analyzed by comparing aggressiveness from one week to the next and a conclusion would be drawn from the data. Once the hypothesis was accepted or rejected, the data would be reported to the public and the study validated. Regardless of the outcome, the correlation would not prove causation because it is a correlational/descriptive study. Question 15 What is the difference between a positive correlation and a negative correlation? List some specific variables that you predict would be positively correlated with alcohol consumption by college students and some that would be negatively correlated with the same.

-- A positive correlation is where one variable increases and the second variable increases. It can also be when one variable decreases and the second variable decreases. Some possible positive correlation associated with alcohol consumption could be alcohol consumption and the number of missed classes, alcohol consumption and money spent or alcohol consumption and body weight. Negative correlation on the other hand is where one variable increases and the other variable decreases. Some possible negative correlation associated with alcohol consumption could be alcohol consumption and grade point average, alcohol consumption and coordination, or alcohol consumption and money in the bank. Question 16 A correlational research study was conducted that found that adults who ate oatmeal as a child were four times more likely to develop cancer than those who did not. Can the authors of this study conclude that oatmeal causes cancer? Why or why not? --The author cannot conclude that oatmeal causes cancer because there is no way to prove a direct cause and effect between oatmeal and cancer. More than likely, there is one or more hidden variable that is the link between oatmeal and cancer. This is an example of when correlation does not prove causation. Furthermore, correlational research studies have different data gathering methods than experimental research studies and therefore have different types of error and bias. If the author is convinced that oatmeal is the cause for cancer, he may want to design a new experiment where people only eat oatmeal throughout their lives. If they still develop cancer than oatmeal is more likely to cause cancer but many experiments and studies must be done to prove that oatmeal is the cause of cancer. Another experiment that would add to the likelihood of oatmeal causing cancer would be to analyze the components of oatmeal and determine what is the likely underlying cause that makes oatmeal more likely to cause cancer than any other food. Question 17 How do you feel about the use of animals as research subjects in psychological studies? Back up your position with evidence. --Personally, I do not have a problem with the use of animals as research subjects in psychological studies but I do think there is a line of distinction that should never be crossed. It is okay to use animals if they serve some greater purpose that will eventually better the living conditions of people with psychological disorders. It is also okay to use animals if no harm or pain is being inflicted upon them. It is not okay to use animals to bring greater luxuries to the human population. It is also not okay to use animals if harm or pain is being inflicted to study a topic that would be a luxury to humans. For example, it is okay to use animals to test drugs that will help the symptoms of schizophrenia but it is not okay to use animals to test drugs that will increase the IQ of a person. People with low IQs are not suffering in the same manner as those with schizophrenia. Furthermore, the use of animals is not always helpful because human anatomy and brain physiology does not always translate to animal anatomy and physiology. In these cases, animal subjects should not be used if known ahead of time the results will not be applicable to humans. This however serves as a grey area because while you know an animal is not compatible, you cannot know if there is another method without testing that animal. In this case, I think the APA ethical guidelines should be taken into consideration and the researcher should proceed with caution. One key example of this is the use of mice in testing the causes of cystic fibrosis. A study was done that proved that the hindrance of the CFTR gene in mice did not produce the same symptoms and conditions as in humans. Here mice should have been theoretically taken out of the testing pool but instead another study was done years later that

overexpressed the Na+/K+ pump and thus created CF like symptoms. In this case, once the mice did not produce viable symptoms, more research was done and a new educated hypothesis was created and testing thus making the testing on mice still the best possibility. All in all, I believe testing on animals is okay if it serves some greater purpose and it is backed by valid research.