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- Naturalistic Observation—observe the behavior of interest in natural environment.
- Pros: reflects natural/every day behavior
- Cons: can’t control conditions
- Structured Observation—observe behavior in a lab, where conditions are the same for all
- Pros: each participant gets an opportunity to display behavior of interest
- Cons: Unnatural conditions may inhibit natural behavior
- Clinical Interview—flexible interview to obtain insight of participant’s thoughts
- Pros: Great depth and breadth of info can be obtained
- Cons: Reporting may be inaccurate because of desire to please the interviewer
- Structured Interview—participants are asked the same questions via self-report instruments (questionnaire, surveys)
- Pros: Allows for comparison
- Cons: Not same depths of info acquired in clinical interview
- combines interviews, observations, and test scores (sometimes) to assess psychological functioning
- Pros: provides insight of developmental process
- Cons: Can’t be used to make inferences about general population
- Ethnography—aimed toward understanding a culture or a distinct social group through entering into close contact
- Pros: thorough description
- Cons: may be biased. Findings are exclusive to chosen culture.
General Research Designs
- Correlational Research—research in which the relationship between two sets of variables is examined to determine whether they are associated.
- Represented by a mathematical statistic—correlation coefficient
- Ranges from +1.0 to -1.0
- Cannot demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships
- Positive correlation—indicates that as the value of one variable increases, other variable will also increase.
- Positive correlation is indicated by a positive number.
- The greater the number, the stronger the correlation.
- More study time = higher test scores (+.85 correlation)
- Negative correlation—tells that as the value of one variable increases, the other variable will decrease.
- More study time = less hours spent partying (-.85 correlation)
- Ranges between 0 and –1.0
- Little or no relationship
- Number of study hours and height (-.02)
- Lack of relationship would be indicated by correlation close to 0
General Research Designs
- Experimental Design—the investigation of the relationship between two (or more)variables by deliberately changing one variable in a controlled situation and observing the effects of that change on other aspects of the situation.
- Only method that can establish cause-and-effect relationships.
- Experimental manipulation—the change that the experimenter deliberately makes.
- Experimental research requires comparison between, at least two groups.
- Experimental/Treatment group—group that receives a treatment
- Control group—group that receives no treatment
- Treatment—manipulation implemented by experimenter.
- Using both groups rules out external factors.
- Independent variable—manipulated variable
- Dependent variable—measured variable that is expected to change as a result of manipulating the IV
- Random assignment to condition—participants are assigned to groups based on chance.
- Make experiments valid
- Flip the coin method
- Guarantees equal chance of characteristic distribution to various groups.
- Significant outcome—meaningful results that lead to confirmation of hypotheses.
- Replicated research—repeated research using different procedures, settings, groups of people to increase confidence in previous findings
Developmental Research Design
- Cross-Sectional Research—compares people of different ages at the same point in time
- Differences among groups of people
- e.g. IQ scores between 25, 45, and 65 year olds.
- Cannot be sure that different findings are due to age differences alone.
- Cohort Effects
- e.g. people in older group may belong to a cohort that was less likely to attend college than younger cohorts.
- Longitudinal Research—traces the behavior of one or more participants as the participants age
- Asses change in behavior over time
- e.g. intellectual development during adulthood.
- IQ test every 20 years to same group of people (25, 45, 65 yrs).
- Time expenditure
- Researcher must wait as participants age
- Drop out
- Move away, die, or simply stop showing up
- Participants may become “test-wise”
- Time expenditure
- Sequential Research—combines cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches
- Makes up for limitations in cross-sectional and longitudinal
- Takes a number of different age groups and examines them at several points in time
- e.g. group of 3, 5, and 7 year olds and examines them every 6 months for a period of several years.
- Same as Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal
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Psychology 041 – Life Span Psychology
1. History and Fundamentals