All scientists believe that our nature is systematic and orderly. if; Geologists assumed that the planets were aimless and random in space; But they had very little means of studying the orbits of the planets. It is equally applicable to people!
In the field of psychology, it is believed that human behavior can be predicted to some extent! Although we often prefer to do things ourselves, not under normal rules; I think I am capable of doing so. Psychologists believe that; Our behavior is much more orderly and predictable than we think.
Research methods in Psychology In this chapter we will discuss how psychologists research human behavior and mental processes using scientific methods. There are 2 types of test methods in this scientific method – descriptive method and formal method ; And certain techniques are used; which are applied by researchers.
Basic Concepts of Research
The basic premise of the scientific method is to observe in a systematic way; Properly following rules of evidence and thinking critically about this evidence. Indeed; Science is complex thinking in action.
Psychologists want to know – what is evidence? How effective is the evidence? Evidence (Evidence) alternative explanation can be? What do you need to know next? In this chapter, some of the more important aspects of the scientific method in psychology will be discussed.
Empirical Evidence and Operational Definition
Like other scientists, psychologists work with experimental evidence. Which is evidence of obvious observable behavior ! Evidence in all sciences comes from observation of public opinion; so that other scientists verify; Can be confirmed by observation. In psychology, overt behavior is observed; And using those observations to understand private mental processes.
When scientists describe their experimental evidence, they are careful to use operational definitions . This means; That they use their observations in terms of the operations of measurement .
The meaning of this expressive phrase can be understood if a projective example can be given. For example; A team of psychologists was asked to study the causes of fatal accidents in city buses. Operational Definition is used in one statement of this hypothetical research and not in the other: eg;
A. 60% of Chicago city bus drivers sleep during the day, while driving.
B. 60% of Chicago city bus drivers answered “yes” when asked; “Do you ever sleep during the day while driving a bus?”
Which of the above statements is operational definition (Operational Definition) used? The functional definition is used in the B statement . Because; Statement B clearly mentions the task of measuring daytime sleepiness but statement A does not. Why is this important? This is an example of complex thinking in action. So if you know about this, you can judge the quality of evidence/signs.
Theories and Hypotheses
Science deals with theories, not “facts”. Theory in science is the empirical analysis of observations. Any knowledge given by science is always experimental because theory is always changing. Because they are revised repeatedly; Scientists constantly test it. If a theory is tested based on the prediction of that theory; He is called a hypothesis or Hypotheses ; And the hypothesis is verified by conducting a research .
For example, psychologist Terry Moffitt published an important theory in 1993 referring to a case of juvenile delinquency ; A person who was completely different until puberty; He did not commit any crime until puberty!
Another study based on Terry Moffitt’s theory on juvenile delinquency appears to be consistent with that study! However, this does not mean that Terry Moffitt’s theory or research is absolutely true! It may be that other research does not match the theory! If this were the case, Terry Moffitt’s theory would have to be revised or discarded.
A variety of research methods are used in psychology which have both advantages and disadvantages. Each method is very important for answering different types of questions; Hence they are used in various specialties in psychology. However, all research methods depend on the complex assumption of systematic observational relationships.
Descriptive research is the easiest scientific research! The lives of those who are researched are entwined in research; in order to describe their behavior and mental processes. They are noted when buying things in stores; They are listened to and observed in various ways during psychotherapy. Currently; 3 types of descriptive research are widely used in psychology. For example; 1) survey method; 2) normal observation method; 3) Treatment methods.
Survey method is a direct and simple method of describing human behavior and mental processes by asking people questions . television programs; soft drinks; political candidates; Psychologists use survey methods extensively to describe people’s opinions about such and other issues.
A research team of the National Institute of Mental Health , by conducting a survey, puts a surprising example in the survey method! They were very interested to know the variation in human mood. They wanted to know; At what time of the year people are more moody? What do they do in winter?
The research team conducted a telephone survey of 416 people living in the Marianalands and Virginia ! They want every grown man in the house to know that; In which month have they suffered more in the past winter years? Most people say January and February.
Few people say that; Low temperatures and prolonged exposure to sunlight make their moods worse! In this research it should be remembered that; Not all people suffer from winter. As many people feel very refreshed and relaxed during winter. means; This research shows that; Most people suffer more in winter than in summer.
One of the most important advantages of the survey method is; A lot of information can be collected in a relatively short time. On the other hand , the main disadvantages of the survey method are influenced by 3 phenomena.
1. Survey people must be representative without bias. For example; In response to any political question, there is bound to be a difference between the answer of an active political activist and the answer of a common man.
2. Asking someone about sensitive things like sex or drugs; Not everyone will always have an honest answer.
3. the manner in which the survey is conducted; The way the survey is conducted can also affect the results of the survey.
Considering these, it would never be right to say that the survey method is worthless. Because; Like other methods of research, the survey method is also properly evaluated.
Naturalistic observation is the careful observation of real life events . Scientist Jane Goodall used natural observation methods to observe a group of wolves/apes in the African jungle .
He observed their normal behavior for a long time; And he carefully recorded everything he saw. Until he reached a definite conclusion from the signs; Until then he observed.
Using this method he and his colleagues realized that; Owl behavior is very similar to human behavior. What he also discovered was; Owls also kill other owls; For example, they secretly seek refuge and kill when they get the chance.
Thus; Natural observation method is also used to know or understand human behavior. For example; to research the gestures we use to greet others ; In 1968, a German scientist used the observation method. He saw that; Smile, nod, frown; Signaling/Greeting Rituals are common in many societies around the world. Finally it can be said that the natural observation method is an appropriate method of research.
The therapeutic approach is an important modification of normal observation. When a person goes to a psychiatrist for mental/psychological problems; Then they are observed. For example; Psychologist Sigmund Freud studied his patients for many years. Thus; He made progress in research. So; It can be said that therapeutic method is an important method of psychology.
whether two observations are causally related; Correlational studies aim to investigate that . better understand the interrelationship process; As an example, the possible causes of the negative effects of the media world on teenagers and young children can be shown.
whether television shows, movies, or violent electronic games expose children to violence; This issue has been debated among scientists and politicians for the past 25 years; “ Does violence in the media make children violent themselves? “
the Virginia Tech student who killed 32 people in 2007; He was said to play extremely violent video games. So what made him violent?
Many psychologists believe that excessive exposure to violence in the media results in; The 20th century saw an increase in violent crime among children.
Formal Experiments _
Formal experiments are especially helpful in understanding psychology’s goals and influencing behavior. Because this is the scientific method; Carefully conducting an experiment helps researchers to infer cause-and-effect relationships! In this formal examination system one’s behavior; Researchers compare conditions created by themselves.
As can be said by example; More than 30 years ago, psychologist Jean Pierre Leyans (Jean Pierre Leyans) carried out formal experiments on the effects of watching violent films on the behavior of teenagers! Boys who had been convicted of juvenile delinquency were retained and participated in the study.
Half the boys were shown violent fight movies and the other half were shown good nature movies! Observers do this twice a day; The boys continued to observe verbal and physical behavioral aggression. After 2 weeks like this it was seen; Boys who were shown violent fight movies; They show more verbal and physical behavioral aggression/violence than others.
Later, Wendy Josephson conducted a similar formal experiment in 1987 on the effects of media on children’s minds . In this case he took 400 boys aged 6 to 8 years; None of whom have ever committed any juvenile delinquency .
In the study, before a regular floor hockey game, the boys were shown movies. Half of the boys were exposed to extremely violent movies ; A police officer was beaten and shot dead by another police officer and his accomplices in retaliation. The other half of the boys were shown good non-violent movies.
[Read Chapter 1 of Psychology here]
Two teams of boys were then allowed to play hockey; And an observer, who did not know which group of boys had watched which type of movie, was asked to observe.
Similar to Jean-Pierre Lyons ‘ research, boys who watched fighting movies showed more aggressive behavior than boys who watched good movies. Similar results come from research by Jean-Pierre Lyons and Wendy Josephson .
These formal experiments (Formal Experiments) support the reasons for crime seen in the media in real life! Most college students see too much crime in the media. But; Most of them do not commit any crime. If media crime causes real-life crime; But why are they not committing crimes?
In both the above experiments two groups of boys were divided; Between the two groups, watching crime movies showed more aggression in boys! Media crimes only aggravate those who are more powerful. Media crime does not affect everyone equally. Rather; The crime of the media has a strong effect on him; Those who already have a propensity to commit crimes.
Elements and Logic of Formal Experiments
Every formal test has at least 2 variables –
1. Independent 2. Under (dependent).
In independent variables , researchers compare participants’ behavior under different conditions. For example; The two tests of media crime described above are examples of independent variables.
A dependent variable is a measure of interest in a particular behavior, which may or may not be related to the independent variable. In the example above, the dependent variable is the amount of aggressive behavior the boys engage in .