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Goals of behavioral science (4)

1. Description of behavior
2. Prediction of behavior
3. Determining the causes of behavior
4. Explanation of behavior

Temporal precedence

order of events in terms of cause and effect

Covariation of cause and effect

no cause=no effect

basic research

tries to answer question about the nature of behavior and cognition

Applied research

conducted to address issues in which they are practical problems and potential solutions

Program evaluation

assesses the social reforms and innovations that occur in government, education, healthcare, etc


the idea that knowledge is based on observation

Operational definition

a set of procedures used to measure or manipulate the variable


any event, situation, behavior or individual characteristic that varies

Positive linear relationship

increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by increases in the values of the other variable

Negative linear relationship

increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by decreases in the values of the other variable; decreases proportinally

Curvilinear relationship

increases in the values of one variable are accompanied by systematic increases and decreases in the values of the other variable

Correlation coefficient

numerical index of the strength of relationship between variables

Nonexperimental method

relationships are studied by making observations or measures of the variable of interest; both variable are measured and either covary or correlate
aka correlational method
two problems:
1. direction of cause and effect
2. third variable problem

Experimental method

one variable is manipulated and the other is then measured; gives cause and effect; has experimental control and randomization

Third variable problem

there may be no direct causal relationship between the 2 variables; another variable could cause a relationship

Independent variable

considered to be the cause and the manipulated variable

Dependent variable

considered to be the effect

Internal validity

the ability to draw conclusions about causal relationships from the results of the study;
Requires analysis of 3 elements:
1. temporal precedence
2. covariation between the 2 variables
3. need to eliminate plausible alternative explanations for observed relationship

External validity

the extent to which the results can be generalized to other populations and settings

Construct validity

concerns whether our methods of studying variables is accurate

Response set

a tendency to respond to all questions from a particular perspective rather than to provide answers that are directly related to the questions- most common is social desirability

Closed-ended questions

answer questions from a list- structure

Open-ended questions

free response

Rating scales

scale of how much/how one feels about a certain topic

Graphic rating scale

mark along a line between a description at each end

Semantic differential scale

measure of meaning of concepts- rates behaviors, ideas and objects on a 7 number scale (anything can be measured)

Panel study

the same people are surveyed at two or more points in time

Confidence interval

the true population value lies with this interval around the obtained sample result

Sampling error

confidence interval gives you information about the likely amount of the error- margin from error

Probability sampling

each member of the population has a specific probability of being chosen (required when you want to make precise statements about a specific population)

Simple random sampling

type of probability sampling- every member of the population has an equal probability of being selected from the sample

Stratified random sampling

type of probability sampling- population is divided into subgroups (strata) and random sampling techniques are used to select sample members from each strata

Cluster sampling

type of probability sampling- when no list is available and just cluster people

Non-probability sampling

we don't know the probability of any particular member

Haphazard sampling

type of non-probability sampling- all about convenience- "take them where you find them"

Purposive sampling

type of non-probability sampling- obtain a sample of people who meet predetermined criterion

Quota Sampling

type of non-probability sampling- collect specific proportions of data representative of percentages of groups within population and then use haphazard techniques

Sample frame

used to evaluate samples- a list of clusters from which a random sample of clusters will be drawn

Response rate

used to evaluate samples- the percentage of people in the sample who actually completed the survey


comes before validity; refers to the consistency or stability of a measure of behavior

true score

real score on he variable being measured

Measurement error

Variability shown when an unreliable test has been taken

Test-retest reliability

measuring the same individual at two points in time

Internal consistency reliability

using different questions (items) and using responses at only one point in time
3 types:
1. split-half reliability
2. Cronbach's alpha
3. item-total correlations

Split-half reliability

type of internal consistency- correlation of the total score on one half of the test with the total score on the other half

Cronbach's alpha

type of internal consistency- assessed by examining the average correlation of each item (question) in a measure with every other question; best choice for reliability

Item-total correlations

type of internal consistency- the correlation between two scores on individual items with the total score on all items of a measure

Interrater reliability

the extent to which raters agree in their observations; Cohen's kappa

Face validity

does the test look like it is going to do what it is supposed to do (not very important)

Content Validity

does the instrument (test) cover the content it is supposed to (achievement tests- knowledge)

Predictive Validity

Look at SAT scores and predict that student's freshman GPA- does not have to be academic ex whose likely to commit suicide

Concurrent Validity

Scores in the measure are related to a criterion measured at the same time

Convergent Validity

Scores of the measure are related to other measures of the same construct

Discriminant Validity

the test doesn't correlate with things it shouldn't correlate


a problem in measurement in which the measure changes the behavior being observed- knowing what is being tested

Nominal Scale

categories with no numeric scales; ex. males/females

Ordinal Scale

Rank ordering, numeric values limited; ex. 2-,3- and 4- star restaurants

Interval Scale

Numeric properties are literal; ex. intelligence, temperature

Ratio Scale

Zero indicates absence of variable measured; ex. reaction time, weight, age

Observational methods

can be classified as primarily quantitative or qualitative

Qualitative methods

focuses on people behaving in natural setting and describing their world in own words; conclusions are based on interpretations drawn by the investigator

Quantitative methods

Focus on specific behaviors that can be easily quantified (counted); conclusions are based upon statistical analysis of data

Naturalistic observation

The researcher makes observations of individuals in their natural environments

Participant observation

Allows the researcher to observe the setting from inside in which they experience events

Systematic observation

Observations of one or more specific variables, usually made in a precisely defined setting

Coding system

A set of rules used to categorize observations

Case Studies

An observational method that provides a description of an individual (rare cases)


A type of case study in which a researcher applies psychological theory to explain the life of an individual

Archival Research

The use of existing sources of information for research. Sources include statistical records, survey archives, and written records

Content analysis

A systematic analysis of existing documents


Tentative idea or question that is waiting for evidence to support or refute it


An assertion what will occur in a particular research investigation


A systematic body of ideas about a particular topic or phenomenon

Anatomy of a Research Article

1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Method
4. Results
5. Discussion
6. References


A summary of the research report that includes information about the hypothesis, the procedure, and the results


The researcher outlines the problem that has been investigated; specific hypotheses being tested or explained


It is divided into subsections that include:
overview of the design
description of characteristics of participants
detailed procedures
materials necessary
Also it does not start a new page


The researcher presents the findings in three ways:
1. narrative form
2. statistical language
3. tables and graphs


The researcher reviews the research from various perspectives

The Belmont Report

Defined the principles and applications that have guided more detailed regulations and the APA ethics code; three basic ethical principles:
1. beneficence
2. respect for persons (autonomy)
3. justice

Informed consent

Potential participants should be provided with all information that might influence their decision of participation


The need for research to maximize benefits and minimize any possible harmful effects of participation


Occurs when there is active misrepresentation of information

Role Playing

Alternative to deception - the experimenter describes the situation to participants and then asks them how they would respond to the situation


Alternative to deception - real world situation; can be used to examine conflict between competing individuals or jury deliberation for example

Honest experiments

Alternative to deception - Participants agree to have their behavior studied and to know what the researchers hope to accomplish

Institution review board (IRB)

Local review agency composed of at least five individuals; every college that receives federal funding must have an IRB

Exempt research

Research in which there is no risk is exempt from review.
Anonymous questionnaires
Surveys and educational tests
Naturalistic observation
Archival research

Minimal risk research

The risks of harm to participants are no greater than risks encountered in daily life or in routine physical and psychological tests


An opportunity for the researcher to deal with issues of withholding information, deception, and potential harmful effects; occurs after the study

Confounding variable

A variable that varies along with the independent variable

Posttest only design

Type of basic experiment;
1. Obtain two equivalent groups of participants
2. Introduce the independent variable
3. Measure the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable

Selection difference

The people selected to be in the conditions cannot differ in any systematic way

Pretest-postest design

The dependent variable is measured both before (pretest) and after (posttest) manipulation of the independent variable

Mortality or Attrition

Dropout factor in experiments

Independent group design (between-subjects design)

Participants are randomly assigned to various conditions so that each participates in only one group; comparisons are made between different groups

Repeated measures design (within-subjects design)

Each participant is assigned both levels of the independent variable

Order effect

The order of presenting the treatments affects the dependent variable

Practice effect or learning effect

Performance on second task might improve

Carry over effect

The effect of the first treatment to carry over to influence the response to the second treatment


Including all orders of treatment, presentation, or randomly determining the order for each subject

Matched pairs design

Matched people with a participant variable

Latin Square

To control for order effects without having all possible orders

Active Voice

Subject matter first.
Participants took...
I gave...

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