What are illusory correlations?
3 years ago
Aug 19, 2020
Unit 2: Research Methods: Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
What are illusory correlations?
Correlations we make without data that are confirmed with our intuitun but in reality are not realistic because of confirmation and hindsight bias, as well as our tendency to see order in chaos.
What are the three main components of the scientific attitude? Why are they important?
Curiosity, skepticism, and humility. Curiosity allows us to ask questions in the first place, skepicism forces us to create a bias-free method of research, and humility lets us accept the answer pointed to by data, not our own preconcieved opinions.
How does one calculate standard deviation?
the square root of ((Sum of (deviations squared))/number of scores)
For example, with 2,4,6:
Deviations: 2, 2; sum after being squared: 8
8/3=2.6, sqr root, 1.6
What is statistical significance?
Statistical significance is the odds of a study occurring by chance, rather than demonstrating a true causation or correlation.
What are three description methods of research?
Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observations.
What four ethical principles safeguard human participants?
The APA outlines:
What is overconfidence as it relates to flawed intuition?
Overconfidence is the tendency to put more faith in our hunches than we should, and giving excuses when our predictions are wrong, "The red team almost won!" or "I was so close!".
What is Correlational Research?
The basic purpose is to detect naturally occuring relationships, by collecting two or more data sets without manipulation. Strengths: Large groups of data are easy to manage, and there are no ethical issues because there is no intervention.
What are naturalistic observations, and what are some pros and cons of them?
Naturalistic observations are research studies without messing this variables or controls; basically just observing a subject or subjects without intervention and noting anything interesting. These can be useful in identifying behavior, but can't be used to deduce causation.
Does behavior depend on one's gender and culture?
Although behavior can vary across gender and culture, at the end of the day we are all human, so the underlying processes and principles of our minds are universal.
What are surveys, and what are some pros and cons of them?
Surveys are questions posed to a large and random sampling of a population. They are useful in determining general experiences of a group, but are bad at explaining them. There are also many pitfalls to avoid, including phrasing and researchers bias.
What are the three types of variables in experiments?
Independent: the variable being changed. (eg Pill A for leg pain.)
Dependant: the measurable result. (eg pain after Pill A vs a placebo Pill B).
Confounding: other variables, which are as randomly distributed among test groups as possible. (eg how the leg was injured.)
What are three reasons psychologists study animals?
Can labratory experiments illuminate everyday life?
Experiments intentionally are in a controlled environment in order to test general principles, which can then be applied to the more complex real world.
What graph helps illustrate correlations?
Why can't correlations prove causation? What are the three options when a correlation is shown?
Correlation does not prove causation because A could result in B, B could result in A, or some third variable C could cause both A and B.
What is Experimental Research?
The basic purpose is to explore cause and effect, by manipulating one or more independent variables. Strengths: Can prove cause and effect. Weaknesses: Sometimes experiments are not feasable, ethical, or repeatable.
Explain the tendency to percieve order in random events and how that effects our intuitive judgments.
An example of that tendency would be feeling lucky when you wear certain socks, or feeling as if you must have done something wrong when you have four 'c' answers in a randomly assigned test. This makes looking for causation, when something might just be random, easier than it should be.
How do theories advance psychological science?
Theories are proven hypotheses, and they allow us to be confident in the truthfulness of our findings and beliefs. They must be clearly defined using "operational definitions" and be replicated in different environments and settings.
Is psychology free of value judgments?
No; however, all psychologists should strive to keep their reseach bias-free at all times.
What are the three factors in determining whether or not a study is reliable?
What are the three statistical measures of central tendency?
Mode, median, and mean. Mode is the value most repeated, mean is the arithmetic average(operates poorly with extreme values), and median is the middle value in a distribution(operates well with extreme values.)
What is the maximum statistical significance allowed before a study is too likely to have occurred by chance?
What are the three biggest flaws with our intuitive thinking?
Hindsight Bias, overconfidence, and the tendency to perceive order in random events.
What are the two types of statistics?
Inferential and descriptive. Descriptive statistics organize and summarize data collected during research, and inferential statistics help determine the statistical significance.
What is a normal curve?
Also called a bell curve, most values will distribute themselves evenly along this curve, with 68% falling in one standard deviation on either side of the middle.
Why can an experiment prove cause and effect?
Because an experiment is designed to isolate the independant variable, any changes in the dependent variable must be because of the change in the independent variable, not some other confounding variable.
What are the three types of research methods?
Descriptive, Correlational, and Experimental.
What is Descriptive Research?
The basic purpose is to observe and record behavior, by doing case studies, naturalistic observations, or surveys, manipulating nothing. Strengths: case studies require one person, naturalistic observations allow research without ethical woes, and surveys are fast and cheap. Weaknesses: single cases may be misleading, and no cause and effect can be proven.
What are positive and negative correlations?
A positive correlation shows as A increases, so does B, or vice versa. A negative correlation shows as A increases, B decreases, or vice versa.
What is hindsight bias?
Saying, "I knew it!" if a hunch is confirmed, but thinking nothing about being disproved later.
Is it ethical to experiment on animals?
As long as it follows the state guidelines, yes. Government agencies and professionally associations all establish standards for animal care, housing, and required well-being.
What are the two measures of variation?
Range and standard deviation. Range is the difference between the largest and smallest values(handles extremes poorly), and standard deviation is the result of a formula that gives the average distance from the mean.
What is a case study, and what are some pros and cons of them?
A case study is an indepth study of one situation, and they are useful as a example of a more general phenomenon, but they cannot be used to prove anything more general than the one individual's situation.
Why is random and large sampling important?
If a study is being done on a population, the sample of that population must be representative; a random sampling of 100 is better than a selected sampling of 500. Large sampling allows some 'wiggle room' for random sampling, so that it is even more representative of the population being studied.
Unit 3: Biological Bases for Behavior
What is a neuron?
A nerve cell.
What is the function and location of the limbic system?
It is a neural system located below the cerebral hemispheres associated with emotions and drives.
What are the four lobes of the cerebral cortex?
The frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes.
What is Acetylcholine(ACh), and what are some examples of malfunctions?
ACh enables muscle action, learning, and memory. During Alzhiemer's disease, ACh neurons deteriorate.
What are endorphins?
Endorphines are neurotransmitters that act as internal opiates, that control pain and produce pleasure.
What is Norepinephrine, and what are some examples of malfunctions?
Controls alertness and arousal, undersupply depresses mood.
What is an action potential?
The brief electrical charge of a neuron from its dendrites to and along the axon.
What is the 'environment'?
All external influences a person has experienced since conception, including diet, people's speech and actions, and events.
What is the function and location of the brainstem?
The end of the spinal cord, responsible for automatic survival functions.
What is the epigenetics?
The study of the enviormental effects of gene expression without a genetic change.
What is the study of behavior genetics?
The study of the connection between genetics and cognition.
What are the locations and functions of the frontal lobes?
Just behind the forehead, involved in speaking and muscle movements, making plans and judgments.
What is the function and location of the reticular formation?
It is a nerve network that travels through the thalamus and brainstem which enables arousal.
What is the pituitary gland?
The most important gland, which regulates growth and the other endocrine glands.
What are dendrites?
A neuron's bushy extensions that receive messages from other neurons.
What is the study of molecular genetics?
The subfield of biology the studies the molecular and functions of genes.
What are motor neurons?
Motor neurons carry signals from the spinal cord to muscles and glands.
What is Glutamate, and what are some examples of malfunctions?
Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter, involved in memory, over supply can overstimulate the brain, producing migraines or seizures.
What is heritability?
The amount a trait can be attributed to genetic differences.
What is the function and location of the thalamus?
A pair of eggshaped structures sitting above the brainstem, the brain's sensory control center, that transmits messages incoming from the body to the brain and vice versa.
Other than receiving input or directing muscles, what does the cortex to?
The other 3/4th of the cortex is devoted to 'free association' which help us make decisions and remember information.
What is plasticity?
The brain's ablility to change; reuse areas when an area is damaged or compromised, particularly strong during childhood.
What is the function and location of the cerebellum?
The 'little brain' at the rear of the brainstem, which processes sensory input, gives a sense of balence, and enables nonverbal learning and memory.
What are the locations and functions of the occipital lobe?
Lie on the back and bottom of the head, receives visual input.
What is the function and location of the hypothalamus?
A neural structure below the thalamus, which directs several maintenance activities(eating, drinking, body temp), governs the pituitary gland, and is linked to reward and emotion.
What is the corpus callosum?
The band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres; severed in some seizure patients in a 'split brain' surgery.
What are sensory neurons?
They are neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord.
What is a neurotransmitter?
A chemical that is released by the axon terminating branches and crosses the synaptic gap once a neuron fires, which can inhibit or excite a receiving neuron.
What do antagonist molecules do in drugs?
They block receptors, inhibiting or blocking a response.
What is the feedback loop of the endocrine system?
Brain -> pituitary -> other glands -> hormones -> body and brain
What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are a pair of glands above the kidneys that secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.
What is the function and location of the amygdala?
Two lima bean neural clusters in the limbic system linked with emotion.
What is dual processing?
The principle that information is often simultaneously processed on seperate conscious and unconscious tracks.
What are interneurons?
Neurons that make up the spinal cord and brain.
What is Gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA), and what are some examples of malfunctions?
GABA is a major inhibitory transmitter, and undersupply is linked to seizures, tremors, and insomnia.
What is the endocrine system?
The gland/hormone system that controls slower chemical reactions than the nervous system.
What's cognitive neuroscience?
The study of the brain linked with cognition(including thinking, memory, perception, and language).
What is consciousness?
Our awareness of ourselves and our environment.
What do agonist molecules do in drugs?
They bind to receptors and mimic the effect of a endorphin.
How to EEG, CT, PET, and MRI scans work respectively?
EEG = noninvasive, electrodes are places all over the scalp and measure brain waves.
CT = x-ray of the brain
PET = harmless radioactive material is given to patient and later a gamma scan shows the brain, and where the material has gone.
MRI = magnets 'reset' the brain's atoms, and when they stop, the brain goes back to normal, releasing magnetic waves that are then measured/'photographed'
What is the difference between the right and left hemispheres?
The right hemisphere helps with inferences(modulating speech to make meaning clear, creates our sense of self, makes inferences), while the left hemisphere makes quick and literal interpretations.
What is a neuron's threshold?
The minimum amount of stimulation a nerve needs to fire; lowered by a excitatory neurotransmitter or lifted by a inhibitory neurotransmitter.
What are the locations and functions of the parietal lobes?
Lie on top and to the back of the head; receives sensory input for touch and body position.
What is reuptake?
The process of neurons reintaking their neurotransmitters after they have been fired into a receiving neuron's receptor sites.
What are axons?
The extension of a neuron after the dendrite; transports impulses from the dendrite to other neurons. Often wrapped in a myelin sheath, which speeds up transmission along the axon.
What is the flowchart of the nervous system and what are its parts responsible for?
What is Serotonin, and what are some examples of malfunctions?
Serotonin affects hunger, mood, arousal, and sleep. Undersupply linked to depression.
What is neurogenesis?
The creation of new neurons in the brain.
What is Dopamine, and what are some examples of malfunctions?
Dopamine influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion, oversupply linked to schizophrenia and undersupply linked to tremors and Parkinson's disease.
What is the synaptic gap?
The tiny gap between the transmitting neuron and the recieving neuron, which neurotransmitters cross.
What are the locations and functions of the temporal lobes?
Between temples; receives auditory input.
What is the study of evolutionary psychology?
It is the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using the principles of natural selection.
What is the refractory period?
The 'recharge' time of a neuron, during which it pumps out sodium ions and can't fire again.
Unit 4: Sensation and Perception
Unit 9: Developmental Psychology
How do complex motor skills develop?
Sitting, standing, and walking develop in a predictable sequence, although the timing is a function of individual maturation and culture.
What are the stages of prenatal development?
Zygote: conception to 2 weeks, embryo 2-9 weeks, and fetus 8 weeks to birth.
What abilities are we born with?
The ability to sense and reflexes that assist us in surviving; eg the ability to distinguish between a mother's smell and a stranger's smell.
When does a brain start processing memories?
Around age 3.5, our memory areas in the brain have developed enough for long-term storage; before that they haven't developed enough for conscious memories.
What are teratogens?
Potentially harmful agents introduced through the placental screen to a fetus, such as alcohol, which causes fetal alcohol syndrome.
What three issues have engaged developmental psychologists?
Nature vs Nurture(how do they effect us), Continuity vs Stages(how do we develop), and Stablility vs Change(how are traits affected as we age).
How does the brain progress from birth to puberty?
At birth, interconnections multiply rapidly, but after puberty a pruning process begins shutting down unused connections.