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Hindsight Bias

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. (Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon)

Applied Research

scientific study that aims to solve practical problems

Basic Research

pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base


a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations (expresses a relationship between two variables)

Dependent Variable

the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable

Independent Variable

the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied


aims to explain some phenomenon and allows researchers to generate testable hypotheses with the hope of collecting data that support the theory

Operational Definitions

clear, precise definitions and instructions about how to observe and measure concepts and variables


research is valid when it measures what the researcher set out to measure (accuracy)


research is reliable when it can replicated (consistency)


individuals on which the research will be conducted


the process by which participants are selected


the group of participants


the mass from which the sample will be selected from; includes anyone or anything that could possibly be selected to be in the sample


the goal in selecting a sample, the sample must be a () of the population

Random Selection

every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected: increases the likelihood that the sample represents the population and that one can generalize the findings tot he larger population

Stratified sampling

process that allows a researcher to ensure that the sample represents the population on some criteria (example proportion group sizes)

Laboratory experiments

are conducted in a lab, a highly controlled environment (can control variables)

Field experiments

are conducted out in the world (more realistic)


scientific method that shows a casual relationship (cause and effect)

Confounding variables

Is the difference between the experimental and control conditions


is the process by which participants are put into a group, experimental or control

Random Assignment

means that each participant has an equal chance of being placed into any group (limits the effect of participant relevant confounding variables)

Participant-relevant confounding variables

the differences amongst participants; random assignment avoids this

Group average

differences between groups

Grouping matching

the group is equivalent on the same criteria (example: the same sex)

Situation-relevant confounding variables

the differences amongst participants' situations

Experimenter bias

is the unconscious tendency for researchers to treat members of the experimental and control groups differently to increase the chance of confirming their hypothesis

Double-blind procedure

occurs when neither the participants nor the researcher are able to affect the outcome of the research

Single blind

occurs when only the participants do not know to which group they have been assigned (strategy minimizes the effect of demand characteristics, response, or participant bias)

Demand characteristics

Cues about the purpose of the study

Response or subject bias

is the tendency for subjects to behave in certain ways (Example: social desirability)

Social desirability

the tendency to try to give politically correct answers

Experimental group

is the group that gets the treatment operationalized in the independent variable

Control Group

is the group that receives none of the independent variable

Hawthorne Effect

The effect that merely selecting a group of people on whom to experiment has been determine to affect the performance of that group

Placebo Effect

Method of control that allows researchers to separate the physiological effects of the drug from the psychological effects of people thinking they took the drug. (some people will receive the drug, others will receive placebos)


A procedure that uses participants as their own control group, Alternating the order in which participants perform in different conditions of an experiment. For example, group 1 does 'A' then 'B', group 2 does 'B' then 'A' this is to eliminate order effects.

Order effects

changes in a subjects performance resulting from the position in which a condition appears in an experiment


expresses a relationship between two variables without ascribing cause

Positive correlation

means that the presence of one thing predicts the presence of the other

Negative correlation

means that the presence of one thing predicts the absence of the other

Ex post facto study

to seek to control all other aspects of the research process because the assignment of the independent variable has been predetermined

Survey method

involves asking people to fill out surveys, can be used to investigate whether there is a relationship between the two variables

Naturalistic observation

unobtrusive observation: goal is to get a realistic and rich picture of the participants' behavior

Case study method

used to get a full, detailed picture of one participant or a small group of participants

Descriptive statistics

describes a set of data

Frequency distribution

a distribution of observed frequencies of occurrence of the values of a variable

Frequency polygons

line graphs


bar graphs

central tendency

measures of it attempt to mark the center of a distribution


add up all the scores in the distribution and divid by the number of scores, the average (measure of central tendency)


central score in the distribution, the middle number


the number that occurs the most often, distribution may have more than one mode (a distribution is bimodal)

extreme scores (outliers)

the number that is out of place, often distorts the accuracy of the central tendency

Positively skewed


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