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# Correlational Research

Inferential/Descriptive Statistic
(r) Describes strength of linear relation between two
variables

## Strength of relation = degree of

association
Does knowing an individuals score on
A tell you much about that individuals
score on B? How much does it tell
you?

Some properties of r

## Ranges between -1 and 1 inclusive

Sign (+ or -) gives direction of relation
Absolute value gives strength
r2 gives proportion of variance
accounted for

Correlations
140
130
120
110
100
90

Verbal IQ

80
70
60
60

70

80

90

100

110

120

130

Performance IQ

## Correlation between VIQ and PIQ = +.53

Characterized as strong and positive

140

Correlations
8

consicentiousness

2
-6

-4

-2

## Correlation between C and Behavioral Impulsivity = -.41

Characterized as moderate-strong and negative

Correlations
8

consicentiousness

2
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

## Correlation between C and Family SES = -.15

Characterized as weak-negligible

Correlational Research
1) correlation does not indicate causation
2) problems with self-report method

1) can collect much information from many subjects at
one time
2) can study a wide range of variables and their
interrelations
3) study variables that are not easily produced in the
laboratory

Correlational Research
Definition:
Seeks to establish a relation/association/correlation
between two or more variables that do not readily lend
themselves to experimental manipulation

1) correlation does not indicate causation
(6slide
causation example)
2) problems with self-report method

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

## 1) can collect much information from many subjects at

one time
2) can study a wide range of variables and their
interrelations
3) study variables that are not easily produced in the
laboratory

## Correlation is not Causation

Three ways in which A and B may be causally
related
A causes B (either directly or indirectly)
A

B

## A third variable causes both A and B

A
C
B

Correlations Inform
Causation

correlated

## Design or theory informs direction of influence

Longitudinal design
Experimental design
Appeal to strong theory

## Can model third variable effects

Specify and measure likely third
variables
Control for third variables in model
If association between A and B
remains, then third variable
explanation does not hold

Case In Point
Lynam, D.R., Moffitt, T.E., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M.A.
(1993).
Explaining the relation between IQ and
delinquency: Class, race, test motivation, school
achievement, or self-control? Journal of Abnormal
102,correlated
187-196.
IQPsychology,
is negatively
with delinquency

## Think of some ways this relationship could

work. In other words, why or how might
lower IQ be related to delinquency?
What are other possibilities?

IQ?

Third Variables?
What are the likely candidates?
Social Class
Race
Impulsivity

## What happens when they are

included?
Original r = -.25
Partial r = -.15
Significant relation remains

## IQ Delinquency via School

Achievement?
What happens when school achievement is
included?

Correlational Research
Definition:
Seeks to establish a relation/association/correlation
between two or more variables that do not readily lend
themselves to experimental manipulation
Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

1) correlation does not indicate causation
2) problems with self-report method

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

1) can collect much information from many subjects at
one time
2) can study a wide range of variables and their
interrelations
3) study variables that are not easily produced in the
laboratory

Correlational Research
Example

## When people find they are helpless, they

internal-external
specific-global
stable-unstable

depression

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

## Should find correlation between I, S, G

depression

Questionnaire
You have been looking unsuccessfully for a job for some time.
1. Write down one major cause.
2. Is the cause of your unsuccessful job search due to something
Totally due
Totally due
to others
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
to me
3. In the future, when looking for a job, will this cause again be
present?
Will never again
Will
always
be present1
2
3
4
5
6
7be present
4. Is this cause something that influences just looking for a job, or
does it also influence other areas of your life?
Influences this
Influences
all
situation 1
2
3
4
5
6
7situations

Quasi-Experimental
Research
Definition:
Blends correlational and experimental approaches.
Typically examines interaction between an individual
difference variable and an experimental manipulation
(expericorr example)
Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

## Disadvantages: similar to those of correlational

research
1 Third variable problem still remains

## Advantages: similar to those of correlational

research
1 Can tease out cause and effect somewhat better if
have manipulated variable

Quasi-experimental
Example

## Discounting: Tendency to choose

smaller, immediately available rewards
over larger, delayed rewards
Choice is offered: smaller,
immediately available reward or
larger
delayed
one reward, task is over and
Chooses
immediate
value is recorded
Chooses delayed reward, new choice with
larger immediate reward is offered

## Waiting for larger immediate reward

before switching shows less
discounting

HMCT (Version 1)
You can
have:
\$5 now
or
\$100 in 1
week

\$5 now

\$100 in 1
week

HMCT (Version 1)
You can
have:
\$10
now

or

\$100 in 1
week

\$10
now

\$100 in 1
week

HMCT (Version 1)
You can
have:
\$15
now

or

\$100 in 1
week

\$15
now

and so on.

\$100 in 1
week

HMCT (Version 2)
You can
have:
\$5 now
or
\$100 in 1
month

\$5 now

\$100 in 1
month

HMCT (Version 2)
You can
have:
\$10
now

or

\$100 in 1
month

## Which would you choose?

\$10
now

\$100 in 1
month

Hypothetical Results
Effect of Condition:
Version 1

Version 2

\$80.25

\$70.25

## Interaction of Condition and

SS:
Version 1
Version 2
Low SS

\$85.25

\$65.25

High SS

\$65.00

\$65.00

Quasi-Experimental
Research
Definition:
Blends correlational and experimental approaches.
Typically examines interaction between an individual
difference variable and an experimental manipulation

## Disadvantages: similar to those of correlational

research
1 Third variable problem still remains

## Advantages: similar to those of correlational

research
1 Can tease out cause and effect somewhat better if
have manipulated variable

## Locus of Control Scale

For each pair of statements, choose the one with which you most
agree:
1a. Many of the unhappy things in people's lives are due partly to bad
luck.
1b. People's misfortunes result from the mistakes they make.
2a. One of the major reasons we have wars is that people don't take
enough interest in politics.
2b. There will always be wars, no matter how hard people try to
prevent them.
3a. Sometimes I can't understand how teachers arrive at the grades
they give.
3b. There is a direct connection between how hard I study and the
4a. The average citizen can have an influence in government
Scoring: Give yourself one point for each of the following: 1a, 2b,
decisions.
3a,This
4b world is run by the few people in power and there isn't much
4b.
the little guy can do about it.

Quasi-Experimental
Research
Locus of Control
Beliefs about ones ability to influence outcomes
Similar to learned helplessness
Assessed with LOC scale
Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

## Selected participants to be high or low in external

LOC
Randomly assigned participants to one of two
conditions
Performance task with shock that is very easy to learn to
avoid
Findings
with
hypotheses
Performance
with
shock that is hard to learn to
In
easy task most people learned how to avoid shock
avoid
In harder task, Ps with high external LOC were less likely
to learn

## Problems to Look For

Experimental confound: when another variable is
allowed to vary with the independent variable.
Third variable problem
Nonrandom samples: when samples are selected
so that not everyone has an equal opportunity to
participate.
Failure to replicate: single experiments do not
constitute facts.
Failure to include relevant comparison groups: lack
an adequate baseline or normative data.
(Example)

Failure to Include
Comparison
Make people happy or sad and examine
effects on aggression:
Aggression

Happy

7.5

3.0

Control

Happy

1)

7.5

7.5

3.0

2)

7.5

5.0

3.0

3)

7.5

3.0

3.0