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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

underco, i/i, mr, teaimp, eysenck

Correlation between C and Behavioral Impulsivity = -.41


Characterized as moderate-strong and negative

Correlations
8

consicentiousness

2
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

family social class

Correlation between C and Family SES = -.15


Characterized as weak-negligible

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

Advantages:
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

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

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

Advantages:

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 causes A (either directly or indirectly)


B

A third variable causes both A and B


A
C
B

Correlations Inform
Causation

Causation implies Correlation

If A and B are causally related, they must be


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?

Delinquency leads to low


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

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

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

Advantages:
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

Reformulated learned helplessness:

When people find they are helpless, they


ask why
three dimensions of causal attributions
internal-external
specific-global
stable-unstable

internal, global, and stable attributions lead to


depression

Attributional Style Questionnaire

Micros oft
PowerPoint Pres entation

Should find correlation between I, S, G


attributional style and level of
depression

Attributional Style
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
about you, or to, something about other people or circumstances ?
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
Hypothetical Money Choice Task
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

Which would you choose?


$5 now

$100 in 1
week

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

or

$100 in 1
week

Which would you choose?


$10
now

$100 in 1
week

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

or

$100 in 1
week

Which would you choose?


$15
now

and so on.

$100 in 1
week

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

Which would you choose?


$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
grades I get.
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
in linetask
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

Sad

Happy

7.5

3.0

The meaning depends on a control group:


Sad

Control

Happy

1)

7.5

7.5

3.0

2)

7.5

5.0

3.0

3)

7.5

3.0

3.0