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Scope of psychology including specialist career fields and fields of application and their contribution to understanding human behaviour Classic and contemporary theories that have contributed to the development of psychology from philosophical beginnings to an empirical science, including the relationship between psychology and psychiatry Differences between contemporary psychological research methods and non-scientific approaches to investigating and explaining human behaviour Major perspectives (biological, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural) that govern how psychologists approach their research into human behaviour Application of psychological perspectives to explain visual perception - characteristics of the visual perceptual system and the visual processes involved in detecting and interpreting visual stimuli - the effect of psychological factors on perceptual set - distortions of visual perceptions by illusions Research methods and ethics associated with the study of psychology

What is Psychology?

Scope of Psychology

Theories of Psychology

Major Perspectives of Psychology

Differences between contemporary Psychological perspectives Research methods and other That explain visual perception sciences

Research methods and ethics


For each unit of Psychology, you will be required to: - complete topic revision questions - complete approximately 4 assessment tasks, including a poster, test and ERA - complete a semester exam * NOTE: For all assessment tasks and exams, you must score a minimum of 50%. Anything under this must be satisfactorily redeemed. If any work is not satisfactorily redeemed or not submitted, an N result would incur.


For each of the following statements, indicate whether you think it is True (T) or False (F). 1. Psychology is only the study of the human mind. Answer: False- Psychology also studies behaviour (and this can include of animals too). 2. There are people who never dream. Answer: False- All people dream, it just depends on when you wake up if you will remember them. If you wake up and can remember your dreams, you were most likely in REM sleep. If you could not remember much detail about your dream/s then you were probably in NREM sleep. 3. There are 5 lobes in the human brain. Answer: False- The human brain has 4 lobes; the Frontal, Parietal, Occipital and Temporal. 4. A Neuropsychologist assesses and diagnoses brain impairments. Answer: True- This field of psychology works with various forms of brain damage and helps to develop and implement programs to assist brain-impaired people to cope. 5. Psychologists can prescribe medication to their patients. Answer: False- Psychologists use counselling as their main form of treatment, whereas Psychiatrists are able to use medication as well as counselling. 6. Parents can speed up the age at which their child learns to toilet train. Answer: False- Children cannot use the potty until their bladder and bowel muscles are developed enough to hold urine and waste in. Therefore, no amount of rewarding and encouragement can improve the age of toilet training.


7. Withdrawal Rights is an ethical consideration that states participants must be free to pull out of a study at any time. Answer: True- This consideration is one of many specific rules that researchers must follow to ensure the rights of participants are protected at all times throughout an experiment. 8. Babies can perceive depth at birth. Answer: False- Generally, babies cannot perceive depth until they begin crawling, usually around the age of 6 months. 9. When trying to understand behaviour, psychologists use their personal opinion. Answer: False- Psychologists always try to avoid personal opinion and bias. 10. Mentally ill people are more dangerous than so called normal people. Answer: False- This is totally untrue and a myth associated with mental health issues. 11. If your car breaks down, you are more likely to get help from groups of people on a busy highway than from an individual who passes you on a lightly travelled country road. Answer: False- On a busy road, it is very easy for passers-by to think that someone else will stop and help, however on a quiet country road, there are few people to pass the responsibility on to. 12. Intelligence is completely inherited from ones parents. Answer: False- An individuals upbringing and the opportunities available to them have been shown to strongly contribute to intelligence and intelligent behaviours.


Psychology is classified as a science because it:
Develops hypotheses, which can be tested through research It uses research procedures It relies on systematic data collection It replicates studies to test results It challenges existing beliefs It avoids emotional reasoning and relies on logic

The term psychology originates from two Greek words: psyche, meaning mind, and logos, meaning study or knowledge. However, over time, this definition has broadened to include behaviour. Therefore, a commonly accepted definition of Psychology is: the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes.


Behaviour refers to any observable action made by a living person. It refers to activities such as writing, talking, getting dressed, playing sport and crying. These actions that can be seen are often referred to as OVERT BEHAVIOURS. Think: Overt = Observable The term Mental processes refers to an individuals thoughts and feelings that are personal and cannot be directly observed. Mental processes include: - Perception: refers to our understanding of the world and our environment. - Cognition: thinking, knowing and processing information. - Emotion: an individuals personal feelings and responses to the world around them. These internal behaviours are often referred to as COVERT BEHAVIOURS.


How does this picture of Lady and the Tramp show overt and covert behaviours?

Copy the following table into your workbook and select whether you think the activities shown fit into either the Overt or Covert column. Be sure to explain your answer.
ACTIVITY Whistling aloud Dreaming Having a toothache Having a blood nose Writing a letter Scratching an itch Having a leg cramp Doing a maths equation in your head Watching TV OVERT BEHAVIOUR COVERT BEHAVIOUR REASON


It was not until the last half of the nineteenth century that behaviour and mental process were studied using scientific methods rather than using philosophical analysis Commonsense Psychology where people collect information about behaviour and mental process informally or non scientifically often leads to inaccurate conclusions, therefore, Psychologists approach the study of behaviour and mental processes in a scientific way The scientific method was used as successful results were achieved in creating explanations based on causation The SCIENTIFIC METHOD refers to the systematic approach for planning, conducting and reporting research which involved the collection of empirical evidence EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE is data (information) collected directly from observation, or, more frequently in psychology by experimentation. Empirical evidence allows psychologists to draw accurate conclusions free of personal bias.


Step 1 - IDENTIFY THE RESEARCH PROBLEM: A research topic is identified. The researcher id interested in finding a solution to particular psychological issue. The research problem is quite general. They also identity the population of interest at this point in time. Step 2 FORMULATE A HYPOTHEIS: A hypothesis is an educated guess about the outcome of the research. It is defined as a testable prediction about the relationship between two or more variables. Step 3 DESIGN THE METHOD: involves three tasks; selecting the participants, preparing the materials and devising an appropriate procedure for gathering the data Step 4 COLLECTING THE DATA: refers to conducting the study. It involves applying the chosen procedure in order to obtain the relevant information Step 5 ANALYSE THE DATA: Data is collated, meaning collected an combined. It is then organised in a systematic way so that calculations can be made and data is viewed in a meaningful way. Step 6 INTERPRET THE DATA: Decide if the hypothesis is supported or rejected and make conclusions about the data Step 7 REPORT THE FINDINGS: A report is written and usually published in a scientific journal


BACKGROUND SUMMARY- American psychologist Robert Kool and his colleagues (2008) used the scientific method to study the effects of using the internet on a persons psychological well-being. Kool was aware that Internet technology enabled people to keep in closer touch with family and friends, find information quickly and to develop relationships with others from all over the world. He wanted to know whether the use of the internet was beneficial to people by improving their psychological well-being. To investigate this, Kool and his research team studied 169 people from 93 households over a two year period. They measured each persons internet use (amount of time spent on the internet) with an electronic recording device. They also asked each participant to rate their level of social activity and emotional well-being on a scale (test), both at the beginning of the research, then again after two years. The results of the research indicated that as a persons internet use increased, the participants reported a decrease in both the number of social activities in which they were involved and in the amount of social support that they felt. They also reported feeling more lonely and depressed (a decrease in their psychological wellbeing). Why is this so? Why explanation and conclusion could be draw from these results? According to Kool, one possible reason is that the time spent on the internet replaces important day-to-day human contact. Now you try and relate each step in the process of psychological research to the information presented above. Step 1: Identify the research problem Step 2: Formulate a hypothesis Step 3: Design the method Step 4: Collect the data Step 5: Analyse the data Step 6: Interpret the results Step 7: Report the findings

ANSWERS TO THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD SCENARIO Step 1: Identify the research problem
Does use of the internet benefit people by improving their psychological well-being? Step 2: Formulate a hypothesis That high levels of internet use will have a negative impact on a persons psychological wellbeing Step 3: Design the method Decide who the research participants will be, the number to be used and how they will be selected. Develop a way of accurately measuring time spent on the internet (electronic recording devises) and obtain or construct valid and reliable rating scales to measure each participants estimation of their social activity and emotional well-being. Step 4: Collect the data Data on internet use and each participants ratings of their social activity and emotional well-being were collected from 169 people in 93 households in Pittsburgh, USA, over a two year period. Step 5: Analyse the data As internet use increased, there was a decrease in the social support felt by participants and the number of social activities they were involved in. Participants also reported feeling more depressed and lonely. Step 6: Interpret the results The results support the hypothesis. Time spent on the internet may replace important dayto-day human contact, resulting in feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression. Step 7: Report the findings Research published in American Psychologist (September 1998) Vol 53(9), 53-9


Many people think psychology and psychiatry are the same thing. However, although they share some similarities, there are several differences as well.
PSYCHOLOGIST - Psychologists complete the equivalent of 4 years full time study and then EITHER: - A) 2 years post-graduate study in Psychology OR/ - B) 2 years full time training under the supervision of a qualified and registered psychologist. -When a psychologist is qualified, they have completed at least 6 years of study. - Psychologists use counselling and various forms of therapies to assist their clients. They CANNOT prescribe medication as a form of treatment. PSYCHIATRIST - Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors who have obtained additional qualifications to become a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness and emotional problems. - Psychiatrists first undertake six years of university study and training to gain their basic medical qualifications as a doctor. They then, work as an intern in a general hospital for 12 months to gain practical experience in medicine and surgery. Following this, they then undertake at least one year as a Resident Medical Officer. Finally, postgraduate training in psychiatry takes a further five years. - When a psychiatrist is qualified, they have completed at least 13 years of study in medicine, surgery and psychiatry. - A psychiatrist is able to perform medical procedures and prescribe medications to treat and control symptoms of mental health issues.

PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY what do you remember???

Based on what you have now learnt about psychology and psychiatry, answer the following questions.
1. What is the total length of time that a psychiatrist must complete to be fully qualified? Answer: 13 years 2. Can psychologists prescribe medication to their patients? Answer: No. As psychologists have not completed a medical degree, they are forbidden to prescribe any form of medication to a patient. 3. What is the total length of time that a psychologist must complete to be fully qualified? Answer: 6 years 4. What do psychologists have to choose between for their final 2 years of their course? Answer: Either 2 years of post-graduate study at university or 2 years supervised training in their field of interest. 5. What are the 3 main areas a psychiatrist is specialised in at the completion of their course? Answer: medicine, surgery and psychiatry.


- - Psychologists work in a variety of specialist areas and workplaces. These include: Academic psychologist: conducts research and teaches in universities. Clinical psychologist: specialises in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and mental illness. Clinical neuropsychologist: specialises in the assessment of changes in behaviour and thinking that may arise from brain damage or irregularities in brain function. Community psychologist: work with people, groups and organisations to help achieve the goals of their community or social groups, as well as helping to address social problems such as homelessness. Counselling psychologist: assists individuals, families and groups in areas such as personal wellbeing, work and health. They are also trained to assist people experiencing both acute (severe) and chronic (persistent) life crisis. Educational psychologist: focussed on how individuals learn throughout their lives. This counselling psychologist may need a few more sessions with this couple to help resolve any tension between them!!!


- Forensic psychologist: applies psychological theory and skills to the understanding and functioning of the legal and criminal justice system. - Health psychologist: specialises in understanding the effects of psychological factors related to health and illness. Many health psychologists are engaged in the prevention of illness and the promotion of health-related behaviours. Organisational psychologist: focuses on ways of assisting organisations to become more effective and productive, whilst maintaining the wellbeing of individual employees. A sports psychologist may help the athlete on the right to overcome the physical and psychological obstacles needed to win this fight!! - Sports psychologist: applies psychological theories and ideas in helping elite-level, professional, recreational and other athletes achieve peak performance and develop personal wellbeing and life adjustment skills.


Based on what you have now learnt about the different fields of psychology, fill in the gaps in the statements below.
1. A ________________ psychologist may work in the community to promote good lifestyle behaviours, such as nutritious foods and the importance of exercise. Answer: Health 2. A ________________ psychologist may present evidence to the court of law on behalf of the police or a criminal. Answer: Forensic 3. An _______________ psychologist conducts research and teaches in universities. Answer: Academic 4. This type of psychologist assists individuals who may be experiencing a mental health issue. _____________________. Answer: Clinical 5. A __________________ __________________ would work with individuals who have suffered a form of brain trauma or injury. Answer: Clinical neuropsychologist


We now know that Psychologist use scientific methods when conducting research to ensure valid and reliable conclusions can be made about behaviour and mental processes There are many other ways of explaining human thoughts feelings and behaviours that are not based on science. These alternative explanation are referred to as pseudoscience Pseudoscience means fake or false science Horoscopes activity you are going to hear a description relating to your star sign, listen carefully and begin to think about does this sound like you?

ASTROLOGY: Describes the belief that the movement of the stars and planets influence our beliefs about personality, moods, events in our life and so on.

NUMEROLOGY: Involves examining significant numbers in a persons life to predict future events or to describe influences on a person's life

GRAPHOLOGY: Involves interpreting a persons handwriting to judge a persons personality and identify significant issues in a persons life

PALMISTRY: Involves examining the lines on a persons palm and using these to describe a person's thoughts, feelings and behaviours as well as to predict future events in their life.


A psychic is someone who claims to have supernatural powers associated with the mind. These alleged abilities are called psi abilities. The laws of nature can not explain these abilities and that is why they are referred to as supernatural abilities. There is a groups of 3 psi abilities that are known as extrasensory perception (ESP). ESP is the alleged ability to perceive events through means other than the known human sensory system, such as seeing an hearing. The three types of ESP are: Telepathy: The alleges ability to communicate with another person without using any standard means of communication Clairvoyance: The alleged ability to perceive physical objects or events occurring in the past, present at a distance or through physical barriers and without the use ok known senses Precognition: The alleged ability to know about events that will happen in the future


Edwards claims to have the paranormal ability of a medium, who can connect individuals with spirits of dead people. He has famously performed this ability on his TV show crossing over Psychologist have found no evidence to support Edwards paranormal abilities. They agree with the view of many sceptics that he is a trickster or manipulator. They use the term of cold reading to explain Edwards abilities. Cold reading is a term used to describe the tactics of reading someone's body language, offering them sweeping general statements, then extracting information, dressing it up with details and offering it back to the person, convincing them they have been told things that they couldnt possibly have known. It is also claimed that Edwards electronically eavesdrops on his audience before the show to gain information about the audience members. What do you think about psychic abilities?


To learn about the present you must recognise and know about the past. Knowing about historical origins can provide information that allows us to make intelligent assumptions about our future. Furthermore, many of the issues and topics that are studied by psychologists today are the same ones that concerned philosophers, scientists and psychologists years ago. PHILOSOPHICAL BEGINNINGS Psychology was not recognised as a specific discipline or profession until the end of the 19th century. However, the earliest origins of psychology are usually traced back to the writings of the great philosophers in ancient Greece. More than 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates and his followers Plato and Aristotle wrote extensively about all kinds of human thoughts, feelings and behaviour, as well as human nature in general. Some of the areas they discussed were: Memory - Good and evil Sleep - Pleasure and pain

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- Dreams - The senses

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others, also debated many important questions that psychologists still continue to debate today. For example, one such question that has puzzled both historical and modern psychologists is whether humans are born with set thoughts, feelings and behaviour (because of our genes) or whether they are acquired through life experiences (our upbringing). Today, this is known as the nature-nurture debate.


THE NATURE VERSUS NURTURE DEBATE Nature: the inborn inherited characteristics you gain genetically from your parents Nurture: the environmental or external conditions that affect a person Settling the debate: Although we may be born with certain capabilities, environmental factors play a crucial role in determining how these capacities develop- or whether they develop at all. YOUR TASK: Describe the Tomato plant analogy. In your answer, make sure you refer to how Nature and Nurture can influence the development and growth of the tomatoes.

Answer: All tomatoes have the ability to grow as it is in their genes. This is their Nature. However, whether the tomatoes grow to their full potential is dependent on how well they are nurtured and cared for. This is their Nurture. For example, if tomatoes are regularly watered and fertilised, then it is most likely that they will thrive and grow into juicy, ripe tomatoes. If they are not cared for, then they may certainly still grow, but probably not to the same quality as those that are cared for.


Answer: Nature - A child may be born with certain talents and abilities due to the genes they have inherited from their parents and grandparents. -A child may inherit particular physical characteristics from their family. E.g. same coloured eyes Nurture -The upbringing a child receives may influence their development and view of themself. E.g. a home that is full of love fosters confidence and self-belief. -The opportunities made available to a child may effect their development. E.g. The quality of education, food, shelter and clothing will all have a positive impact on a childs growth.

THE NATURE VERSUS NURTURE DEBATE cont YOUR TASK: Explain how Nature and Nurture can influence the development of a child.

Read the story Identical Strangers about identical twins Paula & Elyse and how they were separated at birth. Discuss how Nature and Nurture influenced their development.


Another area that historical philosophers often debated was referred to as the mind-body problem . This involved questions about the relationship between the human mind and the body. Mainly, philosophers wondered if the brain and body were separate entities or whether they are one and the same thing. For approximately 2000 years, it was believed that the mind and body were in fact separate entities, and that the mind could control the body, but the body could not influence the mind. This opinion was challenged by French Philosopher Rene Descartes in the 17th century. He theorised that the mind and body were separate entities but both the mind and body were able to influence the other. The mind-brain problem is now more specifically described in psychology as the mind-brain problem. The mind-brain problem involves questions about the relationship between the brain and conscious experience; that is, the relationship between what our brain does and our awareness of our own existence and activities, as well as the events and objects in the external world.


The starting date of psychology as an independent discipline is believed to be in 1879, the year the first psychology research laboratory was established by Wilhelm Wundt. Psychologys emergence as an independent discipline was marked by the surfacing of different perspectives, called schools of psychology or schools of thought. Each perspective had their own theories of behaviours and mental processes, as well as their own leader. These schools of psychology included structuralism, functionalism, psychoanalysis, behaviourism and humanism. Generally, these schools differed in three main ways: 1. Their focus of study- whether to focus on studying the unconscious mind or on behaviour that can actually be observed. 2. Their method of study- whether to undertake research by having participants report what was in their conscious minds or whether to undertake research by observing and recording behaviour as it occurs. 3. Their theories- how behaviour and mental processes are best described and explained.


STRUCTUALISM An approach to psychology that focused on the structure of consciousness, its basic building blocks or parts, and how the parts are organised and inter-related. Wilhelm Wundt (pictured) first pioneered this approach, emphasising the importance of using a scientific approach to collecting psychological data. As such, he had a strong influence on the development of psychology as a science. Through his experiments, Wundt demonstrated that attention, sensations, perceptions and feelings can all be studied experimentally. Wundt introduced a data collection technique called introspection to study consciousness. This required participants to reflect on their thoughts and other mental experiences, and then report them to the researcher who would analyse them.


FUNCTIONALISM An approach to psychology that focuses on the function or purpose that mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment. E.g. How and why do we behave as we do? William James (pictured) was an influential figure in establishing psychology in America, one of the most important centres for psychological research in the world. James emphasised that the function, not the structure, of consciousness should be studied. He believed that psychological research did not have to be limited to the laboratory and could include direct observations of people and animals in their natural environments.

James described consciousness as a never-ending, constantly changing stream of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Today, this description is still widely accepted.


PSYCHOANALYSIS An approach to psychology developed by the Austrian doctor Sigmund Freud (pictured). This approach focuses on the roles of unconscious conflicts and motivations in understanding and explaining behaviour and mental processes. Freud believed that our unconscious is a part of the mind below our level of normal conscious awareness. It contains instinctive sexual and aggressive needs that would be considered socially unacceptable if we acted on them. Therefore, Freud theorised that conflicts arise between our attempts to satisfy our impulses and urges, and what is appropriate in the real world. As these conflicts are in the unconscious part of the mind, Freud thought that this explained why we sometimes say or act in ways that we did not mean or intend. Freud also believed that these unconscious impulses may be revealed through dreams, memory blocks, slips of the tongue and even the jokes we tell.


PSYCHOANALYSIS cont Another important belief according to Freud is that our past experiences, especially our early childhood experiences are very important in the development of our personality and behaviour. As part of his theory, Freud identified five stages of development, each with its own conflicts or emotional events that must be resolved in order to achieve a healthy personality. Many of Freuds theories were controversial and resulted in numerous debates. Furthermore, as the unconscious mind is difficult to study, he was unable to conduct scientific research (e.g. in labs) to test his theories. This prevented psychoanalysis receiving widespread credibility. To this day, Psychoanalysis continues to influence some psychologists. One example of this is that Freud was first to propose the idea that mental processes can occur below the level of conscious awareness. This is a belief still accepted today.


BEHAVIOURISM An approach to psychology developed by American psychologist John B. Watson (pictured) that outlined the importance of studying observable behaviour that could be objectively measured and confirmed by other researchers. Watson also promoted the idea that the goals of psychology should be to describe, predict, understand and control behaviour. Watsons perspective and approach to studying psychology came to be known as Behaviourism as it involves understanding and explaining how behaviour is learned and moulded by experience. Behaviourists believe that almost everything a person (or animal) does is influenced by rewards and punishments in everyday life. According to this belied, we tend to repeat behaviours that we find rewarding in some way and avoid or not repeat behaviours we associate with punishment. This is why they believe that in some way, we are controlled by our environment, because this is the source of rewards and punishments. For example: - To encourage a child to do their chores, you may reward them with pocket money, lollies, ice cream, their favourite meal and gold stars. - To discourage them from swearing, you may send them to bed early, stop their pocket money, ground them, take away their TV privileges etc.


BEHAVIOURISM cont Watson theorised that if he had enough control over the environment, he could create learning experiences that could turn any infant into whatever he wanted, including a doctor, lawyer or even a criminal. This belief was tested in one of his famous experiments with an 11-month-old baby boy called Albert. Watson and his research assistant, Rosalie Rayner, designed an experiment to test the notion that fears can be learned and Albert, the son of a woman who worked at the same clinic as Watson, was to be used as the sole participant. The trials were conducted irregularly over a 17-day period. At first, Albert showed no fear towards the object being used (a white rat), but throughout the trials, his behaviour began to change. When Albert went to reach for the furry animal, Watson would stand behind him and strike a hammer on a suspended steel bar, obviously making a loud noise and scaring Albert. Albert would begin to cry and, as his mother did not know what was happening in the tests, she was not present, therefore was unable to comfort her frightened son. As the trials continued, just the sight of the white rat became enough to make Albert feel scared and start crying. Watson and Rayner concluded that Albert had learned to associate the loud noise with the white rat, proving their belief that a child could be taught to be fearful of something. When Alberts mother found out what was happening to her son, she immediately withdrew him from the experiment and quit her job. Baby Albert did not undergo any form of debriefing or attempt at undoing his learned fear. This study would not be allowed to be conducted today as it would be classified as unethical. YOUR TASK: Discuss (with reasons) whether you think the results of the study outweigh what happened to Baby Albert.


HUMANISM Humanism emerged in the 1950s as an alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviourism. This approach proposes a way of understanding and explaining behaviour and mental processes that focuses on the uniqueness of each individual person, their positive qualities and their potential to fulfil their lives. This approach is based on the belied that all people are born good and that, throughout their lives, each individual strives to reach their full potential. Carl Rogers was one of the founders of this approach, and he emphasised an individuals free will; our ability to freely choose to behave in whatever way we desire. Essentially, this means that we control our own destinies and have the potential to achieve great things. Another key belief that Rogers believed was that our personality develops as we strive to overcome the various hurdles that we face in our attempts to reach our full potential. Rogers developed an approach to helping people with problems called client-centred therapy. This approach views the clients as having the power and motivation to help themselves, with some guidance from the therapist.


HUMANISM Abraham Maslow is another key humanist who is often regarded as another founder and leader of this theory. Read Box 1.6 Maslows theory of self-actualisation and then answer the following questions. 1. In your own words, briefly summarise Maslows theory. 2. What does Maslow say must happen before a person can move up the hierarchy of needs? 3. Define the term self-actualisation. 4. Explain the importance of childhood and its potential to impact development in Maslows theory. 5. Copy and label (with detail) Maslows pyramid of needs.

BIOLOGICAL: Focuses upon the biological (physiological) influences on behaviour and mental processes, including the brain and the rest of the nervous systems, the endocrine (hormones) system, the immune system and genetics

BEHAVIOURAL: Focuses on how behaviour is acquired or modified by environmental consequences such as rewards and punishments

COGNITIVE: Focuses on how we acquire, process, remember and use information about ourselves and the world around us

SOCIO-CULTURAL: Focuses on the roles of social and cultural influences on human behaviour and mental processes

A major assumption of this approach is that all our thought, feelings and behaviour are associated with underlying bodily activities and processes According to Michael Gazzangia (Roger Sperrys assistant with the split brain research) there have been three significant developments during the recent period that have enabled greater understanding about the biological perspective, they are; Understanding Brain chemistry: The brain work through the action of chemicals called neurotransmitters, which communicate messages within the brain the rest of the nervous system. Over the past 30 years psychologists have been able to identify many types of neurotransmitters and their functions. Understanding the influence of Genes: Since the discovery of the human genome project, psychologists have been able to develop new techniques to study the link between genes and how we think, feel and behave Studying the living human brain in action: Neuroimaging devises have allowed psychologists to study the brain while at work


In the 19th century, research on people with certain brain injuries, made it possible to suspect that the language centre in the brain was commonly situated in the left hemisphere. One had observed that people with lesions in two specific areas in the left hemisphere lost their ability to talk. The final evidence for this, however, came form the famous studies carried out in 1960s by Roger Sperry and his assistant Michael Gazzangia. The results of these studies later led to Roger Sperry being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1981. Sperry received the prize for his discoveries concerning the functional specialisation of cerebral hemispheres. With the help of so called split brain patients he carried out experiments and for the first time in history, knowledge about the left and right hemispheres was revealed


In the 1960s there was no other cure for people who suffered from a special kind of epilepsy than by cutting off the connection, corpus callosum, between the two hemispheres. Epilepsy is a kind of storm in the brain, which is caused by the excessive signalling of nerve cells, and in these patients, the brainstorm was prevented from spreading to other hemispheres when the corpus callosum was cut off. This made it possible for the patients to live a normal life after the operation, and it was only when carrying out these experiments one could notice their somewhat odd behaviour. Each hemisphere is still able to learn after the split brain operation but one hemisphere has no idea about what the other hemisphere has experienced or learned. Today, new methods and technology in split brain operations makes it possible to only cut off a small proportion and not the whole of the corpus callosum of patients


The studies demonstrated that the left and right hemispheres are specialised in different tasks. The left side of the brain is normally specialised in taking care of the analytical and verbal tasks. The left side speaks much better than the right side, while the right half takes care of the space perception tasks and music. The right hemisphere is involved when you are making a map or giving a direction on how to get home from the bus station. The right hemisphere can only produce rudimentary words and phrases, but contributes emotional context to language. Without the help from the right hemisphere you would be able to read the word pig for instance but you wouldnt be able to imagine what it is. If an object was flashed to the right side of the body the person could identify in words what the object was. If an object was flashed to the left side of the body the person could not verbally identify the object, but they could recognise the object seen by touching it with their LEFT hand only


1. In your own words explain the motivation of Sperrys research? Sperry wanted to see if by cutting the corpus callosum whether it would reduce the severity of the epileptic seizures. He was also interested in, if a person who had split brain surgery suffered any negative effects because of the operation. 2. What part of the brain needed to be partially severed and why? The corpus callosum because it is the connection between the corpus callosum. By severing the corpus callosum it was hoped that the seizure would be prevented from crossing to the other side of the brain. 3. What were Sperrys major findings? The left hemisphere was responsible for analytical and verbal tasks and the right hemisphere is responsible for space perception and music 4. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of Sperrys research? Advantages: Understanding the idea of hemispheric specialisation Disadvantages: Technique is invasive and may not be accurate


Understanding the chemical processes of the brain has provided many new insights into behaviour and mental processes and has been useful in developing treatments to help people with brain and nervous system disorders

Psychologists discovered that the neurotransmitter Dopamine is involved in complex bodily movements and in regulating emotional responses, particularly our experience of pleasure and excitement. Because of this discovery of the function of Dopamine, we are able to use it to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Psychologists discovered the function of the neurotransmitter Serotonin. They found out that it is involved in the onset of sleep and the moods we experience, therefore it is used to help treat people suffering from severe depression.


Psychologists have been able to complete experiments on the effect of a gene on memory. Psychologists have been able to breed mice who have this gene and mice who do not have this gene. The mice have then shown either improvements in the memory or their memory was hampered depending on whether or not they had that particular gene. This technology is hoped to be useful one day. Psychologists hope that by manipulating this memory gene in humans it will help people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease Although many of the possibilities for correcting genetic defects are decades away, the methods now available to psychologists to study the influence of genetic processes have provided new insights into behaviour and mental processes.


These imaging techniques allowed psychologists to study the brain and identify which parts of the brain are working during different tasks MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagining): Patients are surrounded by a large electromagnet and are exposed to short, powerful bursts of strong magnetic fields. These stimulate protons in the brains tissue to emit radio signals, which are the detected an analysed by a computer to form an anatomical image or slice of the patients brain. It is especially useful in studying the brain and the spinal cord as it shows the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue. It can also produce side profile and frontal images.


PET (positron emission tomography): Radioactive glucose or oxygen compounds are injected into he blood stream. The scanner detects gamma rays emitted at the most active sites in the brain enabling the computer to construct a colour coded function pictures showing the activity levels of slices through the brain during different tasks, Different shades of colour (Red = Most activity, Blue = low levels of activity) correlated with different levels of brain activity. Adjacent slices can be combined to form 3D images that reveal blood flow and as well as activity of the brain tissue


FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging): Developed in the early 1990s this technique is able to detect the brain function rather that solely brain structure. The subject first has to carry out some cognitive tasks of periods of rest and activity, while their brain is scanned repeatedly. During the activity the magnetic resonance signals from the region of the brain involved in the tasks increase due to the flow of blood into that region. It is often used prior to surgery to locate the desired region and to map the area of the critical brain disease.


The use of neuroimaging techniques has enabled psychologists to address some of the most important questions about human experience, such as how different brain areas interact to produce perceptual experience, how different types of memory are similar or different and how conscious experience involved changes in the brain Neuroimaging techniques have also helped psychologists to explore other aspects of normal brain functioning, as well as the effects of medication on the brain and the changes in the brain that may be linked to various types of diseases, such as Parkinsons disease, Alzheimer's disease or motor neurone disease, or may be linked to mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia


1. What is the major assumption with this perspective? A major assumption of this approach is that all our thoughts, feelings and behaviour are associated with underlying bodily activities and processes 2. What are the three significant developments that have occurred and why are they so important? Understanding brain chemistry: Able to identify the neurotransmitters and their functions, implicated with medication for some diseases Understanding the influence of genes: the human genome project has enabled psychologists to see the effects of abnormal genes and develop the possibility of modifying these Studying the living human brain in action: Able to identify which parts of the main are active during different tasks 3. What two imaging techniques are useful in determining which part of the brain in functioning during a task? PET scan and FMRI Scan

Are you more likely to wash the dishes if you are going to receive some pocket money? Are you more likely to wear your school uniform to avoid getting a detention? Are you more likely to do your homework if you received a lolly on completion? Hopefully you answered YES to these three statements, as all of these statements there is a consequence. It may be a positive consequence or it could be a negative consequence. Consequences can influence our behaviour A key assumption of the behavioural perspective is that all behaviours can be explained in terms of the learning processes The behavioural perspective has its roots from the behaviourism work completed by Watson, however, Burrhus Skinner modified and extended this work. His theories have has a major influence on Psychology and many of his ideas are still used in contemporary Psychology.

Skinners work involved rats and pecking pigeons pressing a lever pressing, which inturn led him to discover the theory of operant conditioning Skinner placed the hungry animals in what was called a Skinner Box, they would explore their new environment and accidently press the lever and a food pellet would be released immediately. This reward eventually led the animal to continually press the lever to receive the food. He called this type of consequence or reinforcement positive reinforcement Skinner varied this experiment to investigate the idea of negative reinforcement. He placed the rat in the Skinner box, but this time the bottom of the box had an electric current running through it. The rat had to press the lever to remove this unpleasant stimulus, which they learnt to do Skinner tried another variation to explore the idea of punishment. In this experiment every time the rat pressed the lever it would receive a mild electric shock. The rat eventually learnt not to touch the lever. Skinner discovered that reinforcement could be use to increase the likelihood of a behaviour occurring again and that punishment decreased the likelihood of a behaviour occurring again.

Skinners work with operant conditioning highlighted the idea of Shaping Involves giving positive reinforcement for a specific behaviour that ultimately to the final pattern of the target behaviour This type of learning is commonly used in training animals

Involves using learned principals to eliminate the unwanted and bring about the desired changes Many clinical and counselling psychologists use a form of behavioural therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on changing unreasonable thoughts that underlie unwanted behaviour, rather than changing the behaviour itself Cognitive behaviour therapy represents the idea that our thoughts about the environment and consequences are just as important in influencing behaviour as the environment itself.


1. What is the name of the most influential psychologist in the behavioural perspective and what did he discover? Burrhus Skinner and Operant Conditioning What is the key assumption for this perspective? A key assumption of the behavioural perspective is that all behaviours can be explained in terms of the learning processes Explain Skinners work with the rats and the skinner box. What 3 types of consequences did he use? Skinner placed the hungry animals in what was called a Skinner Box, they would explore their new environment and accidently press the lever and a food pellet would be released immediately. This reward eventually led the animal to continually press the lever to receive the food. He called this type of consequence or reinforcement positive reinforcement Skinner varied this experiment to investigate the idea of negative reinforcement. He placed the rat in the Skinner box, but this time the bottom of the box had an electric current running through it. The rat had to press the lever to remove this unpleasant stimulus, which they learnt to do. Skinner tried another variation to explore the idea of punishment. In this experiment every time the rat pressed the lever it would receive a mild electric shock. The rat eventually learnt not to touch the lever. What is the technique called that uses rewards for approximations of behaviour, that lead to the ultimate behaviour? Shapping




How does your brain process visual information? How does your memory work? Can you learn if you couldnt remember? What is the relationship between thoughts and language? These questions about mental processes are of interested for someone who is adopting the cognitive approach Psychologists use cognition to refer to mental processes, mainly mental processes that involve thinking The first cognitive theories appeared in the middle of the twenty century. One of the best known cognitive theories was developed by Jean Piaget that describe and explains how thinking develops from birth. His theory is still influential today.


In contemporary psychology, the cognitive perspective focuses on how we acquire, process, remember and use information about ourselves and the world around us. The emphasise is on understanding how we take in information and how we treat information in order to think, feel and behave as we do A major assumption of the cognitive perspective is that internal mental processes are important in their own right, as well as important influences over behaviours. This means that in order to understand what makes a person tick, we must understand what is actually going on inside their brains


Many cognitive psychologist have explained mental process by comparing the human brain to a computer. This is because both receive, process, store and retrieve information The information processing approach has been used to develop theories to explain a wide variety of mental processes such as how we form perceptions or view the world as we do, how we learn, how memory works, how we acquire language, how we go about solving intellectual problems, how we react to social situations and how we make decisions. Memory as an information processing example

Incoming Stimuli




Converted into a form the body can use

Holding the information for later use

Retrieved when needed

This approach considers how the brain actually works when performing different mental processes. An example is the semantic network theory. This theory explains how information is stored and organised in our long term s memories. According to this theory bits of related information are clustered together and spread throughout an interrelated network. The closer the information is the more related the information and the further away the links are the less related they are.

Are there racial differences in intelligence? Are younger people more likely to suffer from peer pressure than older people? Does the amount of money someone earns affect their perception of themselves? These are some of the questions asked by people interested in the socio-cultural perspective According to this approach it is assumed that socio-cultural factors such as sex, age, race, income level and the culture in which we grow up are important influences Socio refers to the study of influences within a society or culture; for example sex, age, race, income level and culture can affect how we think, feel and behave Cultural refers to the study of similarities ands differences between in how people think, feel and behave across different cultures


As psychologists have started studying people from different cultures and countries they discovered some well established findings from experiments may not have been able to be applied to all culture or countries as once thought. For example: It was found that when part of a group you tend to exert less effort than when you are working alone. We call this social loafing. This idea was first described in the 1970s and was widely found to be accurate among participants from America and Europe. However when studies were conducted in China, the opposite was found. Chinese participants were found to work harder when they were in a group situation compares to when they were on their own. This highlights the diversity of human beings Psychologists are now left wondering whether research findings on certain topics are able to be generalised to the wider population (as once though) or just describe a certain group, as many of the most famous studies of the past only used white, middle classes males.


Although there are many similarities within people from different cultures, there are also distinct differences such as: Although depression is seen in all cultures their symptoms can vary between cultures. In western countries such as Australia and North America people with depression tend to think less about themselves, whereas Eastern cultures like countries Japan and Iran, this is less likely to happen. Child rearing practices differ between countries/cultures but facial expression based on emotions and our ability to recognise these facial expression dos not seem to be affected but culture


1. Why do some psychologists refer to the human brain as a computer? Many cognitive psychologist have explained mental process by comparing the human brain to a computer. This is because both receive, process, store and retrieve information What is the connectionist approach and give and example in your answer? This approach considers how the brain actually works when performing different mental processes. An example is the semantic network theory. This theory explains how information is stored and organised in our long term s memories. According to this theory bits of related information are clustered together and spread throughout an interrelated network. The closer the information is the more related the information and the further away the links are the less related they are. What does Socio and Cultural refer to? Socio refers to the study of influences within a society or culture; for example sex, age, race, income level and culture can affect how we think, feel and behave. Cultural refers to the study of similarities ands differences between in how people think, feel and behave across different cultures Explain how different cultures can show the same behaviour but can also show different behaviours? Child rearing practices, social loafing depression symptoms all differ between countries/cultures but facial expression based on emotions and our ability to recognise these facial expression dos not seem to be affected but culture





No single contemporary perspective is necessarily right or wrong, nor are there neat boundaries separating each perspective. Psychologists from each perspective are not competing against one another. Each perspective has informed members of the other perspectives so they can broaden their ideas and theories Each perspective enables almost any theory in Psychology to be looked at from different angles Many psychologists today do not adopt a single perspective rather they take an electic perspective; draws on theories, ideas and research methods from different perspectives All of our different perspectives have meant we now have a diverse contemporary psychology

A research method is a particular way of conducting a research study or an investigation to collect data. For example a survey and an experiment are different research methods The choice of research method is made by the researcher and depends on which method is most appropriate for the specific topic of research interest Each research method has a particular logic underlying its use and how it is used Despite these different approaches many research methods have common features, for example the scientific method and the collection of a sample from a wider population The different types of research methods are often defined in to broad categories: Experimental research: includes all the different types of experimental research designs Descriptive research: includes all the research methods that focus on studying aspects of behaviour and mental processes as they occur in a given time and place rather than by manipulating and controlling participants experiences in one or more ways

An experiment is used to test whether one variable influences or causes a change in another variable A variable is known as something that vary in amount or kind over time The Independent Variable (IV) is the variable that is manipulated or changed by the experimenter to see if it affects another variable and what those affects are The Dependent variable (DV) is the variable that is used to observe and measure the effect of the independent variable The extraneous variable is a variable other than the IV which can cause a change in the DV Extraneous variables may include participant variables (individual personal characteristics such as sex, age, religion, cultural background, motivation etc) or experimenter variables (personal characteristics of the experimenter such as the experimenters age, sex, cultural background, intelligence, mood, social skills, previous contact with participants etc)

IV,DV and EV
IV Hours of sleep affect the number of remembered dreams Traffic noise impairs performance on a French verb test A hungry rat will run a maze quicker than a satisfied rat That eating a low fat diet will improve physical health The older a person becomes the more forgetful they become That studying in the morning is more effective than studying in the evening Migraine sufferers will have fewer migraines if they use meditation techniques regularly DV Possible EV


The term population refers to the entire group of research interest from which the sample will be drawn The term sample refers to a subsection or smaller group of research participants selected from a larger group (population).

Population All elite AFL players in Australia

Sample: 100 elite AFL players

The process of collecting a sample for a study is called sampling A key goal with sampling is to ensure the sample closely reflects the population. When a researcher collects a sample that reflects the populating we call this a representative sample. A representative sample is defined as a sample that is approximately the same as the population from which it is drawn in every important participant characteristic There are several ways of collecting a representative sample, two that we are going to look at are called random sampling and stratified sampling


Random sampling is a method of sampling that ensures every member of the population of research interest has a genuinely equal chance of being selected as a participant for the study. This can be achieved a number of different ways. A common way is to get a list of all the names of people in the population, and the using a lottery method (such as pulling names out of a hat) select the amount of participants that you need. If you have a large population often a computer generated sample is used. Non random sampling is when every member of the population has not had equal chance of being selected as a participant for a research study. For example if you went to the class next door and asked them to be in your experiment, this would be considered a Non Random sample of convenience because not everyone in the school had a chance of being in the study

Stratified sampling involves dividing up the population to be samples into different subgroups or strata, then selecting a different sample from each subgroup in the same proportions as they occur in the population Example: 100 student are needed for a research study from Happy High School Happy high School (1000 students)

Red house (300 students)

Green house (200 students)

Yellow house (400 students)

Blue house (100 students)

30 students from Red house

20 students from Green House

30 students From Yellow house

10 students From Blue house

Therefore the sample will consist off 100 people (30 from red house, 20, from green house, 40 from yellow house and 10 from Blue house, as these proportions reflect the amount of students in each house of the school


The experimental group is the group that exposed to the experimental condition, that is the IV is present The control group is exposed to the control conditions, that is the IV is not present Population


Control group NO IV

Experimental group IV present

Random allocation refers to the idea that participants chosen for the experiment have just as much chance as being selected to be part of the experimental group as they do the control group. This means they have an equal chance of being placed in either condition. You may do this by pulling names out of a hat of flipping a coin. Population All participants names in the sample are placed in hat, the first name drawn will be in the control group, the second name drawn will be in the experimental group and so on Control group NO IV


Experimental group IV present

Consider this experiment. A psychologist is interested in whether alcohol affects a person's driving ability. The IV in this experiment would be the amount of alcohol the participants have (the experimenter would manipulate this), and the DV is what is being measure is the participants driving ability/ performance in a driving simulator. What would be the control group in this experiment? The participants in the group who do not consume alcoholic beverages before entering the driving simulator What would be the experimental group in the condition? The participants in the group that consume alcoholic beverages before entering the driving simulator This control group will provide a standard of comparison for the experimenter to compare the performance experimental in order to see if the independent variable has had an effect on the dependent variable. If the driving performance of the experimental group is significantly worse than the driving performance of the control group, the experimenter may conclude that the IV (amount of alcohol) has had an effect on the DV (driving performance).




Advantages Controlled conditions (attempt to control the condition in which the behaviour occurs) The IV can be manipulated in order to see the effect of the DV, therefore making it possible to test if there is a cause and effect relationship between the IV and DV Because controlled conditions are known condition the experimenter can set up the experiment again and repeat it to test or check the results Greater confidence in the reliability and validity of results Disadvantages Difficult to strictly control all variables because of the unpredictability of real life settings Lab setting can be artificial or too dissimilar to real life Some things can not be measures in a laboratory


A research hypothesis is a testable prediction of the relationship between two or more variables The hypothesis is essentially an educated or thoughtful guess about what the results of the research will be It is a specific prediction based on theory and previous research findings A research hypothesis is always written as a statement NOT as a question, and always starts with the word THAT An example of a hypothesis is THAT STUDENTS WHO DRINK RED CORDAIL WILL RUN FASTER An operational hypothesis is a more a detailed hypothesis and from now on when you are asked to write a hypothesis you will need to create one of these:

Formula for constructing an operational hypothesis:


A researcher wants to test if eating grapes improves memory. 24 VCE students eat 10 grapes every day for a month. 25 VCE students eat no grapes for a month. All participants are given a a standard recall test. An example of an operational hypothesis for this scenario would be:

That VCE students who eat 10 grapes every day for a month will score higher on a recall test than VCE students who do not eat any grapes for a month


1. Is a year 12 psychology students ability to perform well on an examination affected by studying less than 10 hours a week? That year 12 psychology students who study more than 10 hours per week will perform better on the exam than year 12 Psychology students who study less than 10 hours per week. 2. Is alcohol a factor that may effect the driving ability in a simulator of teenagers ages 18? That teenagers aged 18 who consume alcohol will not perform as well on the driving simulator than teenagers age 18 who do not consume alcohol. 3. If teenagers from Narre Warren play violent video games they will they commit more aggressive acts? That teenagers from Narre warren who play violent video games will commit more aggressive acts than teenagers from Narre Warren who do not play violent video games 4. A new diet pill on the market may help reduce peoples weight in the adult population That adults who take the new diet pill will see a reduction in their weight compared to adults who do not take the new diet pill

Descriptive research refers to a research method that focuses on studying one or more aspects of thoughts, feelings and behaviour as they occur at a given time or place This type of research provides a snap shot into how people might be thinking, feeling, behaving at some particular time in a certain situation without necessarily explaining why they be thinking, feeling or behaving that way It does not necessarily use a large number of participants and does not explain a cause and effect relationship Descriptive research methods include case studies, observation studies, self reports, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, rating scales, longitudinal studies, cross-sectional studies, twin studies and adoption studies

A case study is an intensive in-depth investigation of some behaviour or event of interest in an individual, small group or situation Sigmund Freud often used the case study method Piaget developed his theory of cognitive development by using case studies. This involved observing, questioning and testing his own children. Clinical psychologists use case studies to develop detailed patient profiles Case studies are often used when large groups are not available for a study e.g. patients with a rare disability or illness

Obtain detailed and valuable descriptive information on behaviour and mental processes Provide a snapshot of an actual experience Insights into how others think, feel and behave under similar circumstances A valuable source for a hypothesis in future research It can be difficult to make generalisations Susceptible to biased information from the participant or researcher, this can influence the accuracy of the information obtained and the conclusions drawn Sample size ( usually follow the experience of one person or a small group of people) and therefore only provide a weak support for drawing scientific conclusions

Case studies can not be used to test a hypothesis, unless combined with other results from other case studies

In psychology all research involves observation Observation refers to any means by which a phenomenon (observable act) is studies, including that represent a phenomenon, such as scores or spoken and written word An observational study involves collection of data by carefully watching and recording behaviour as it occurs Psychologists will use an observational study to collect data when the behaviour is visible and can be easily recorded Naturalistic observation is a naturally occurring behaviour is viewed by a researcher in an inconspicuous manner so that there presence has no influence on the behaviour being studied When researchers try to conceal their presence while making observations this is called non-participant observation Participant observation is where the psychologist participate in the activity being observed and may deliberately try to be mistaken by the participants as being part of the group or situation being observed Observations have become more accurate as new technology permits more precise measurement e.g. Digital cameras

Naturalistic observation allows researchers to gain more accurate information about the typical behaviours of organisms than other methods of gathering data Some kind of human behaviour can be only studied in a natural setting it would be unethical to study these behaviours in a lab Does not require the cooperation of participant being studied

You need to have patience to wait fir the behaviour of interest to be shown as you are not manipulating the situation Difficult to determine the cause of the behaviour in a natural environment Observer bias: psychologist mat distort what they see so that it fits what they had hoped to see Researchers must be trained to observe and record accurately to avoid any bias Psychologists may neglect to record certain behaviours which they believe to be irrelevant or they do not see


In research the information that is collected is called data Qualitative data are information about the qualities or characteristics of what is being studied. They may be descriptions, words, meaning, pictures, texts and so on. It is data in a non numerical form. Quantitative data are numerical information on the quantity or amount of what is being studied. This may be raw data, percentages, mean numbers and so on The use of numerical data makes it easier to summarise and interpret information, this is why quantitative data is often preferred


Decide whether the data collected in each of the following research studies are qualitative data, quantitative data 1. Tape recordings of a students description of the effect of background noise on their concentration when trying to do their homework: QUALITATIVE Mean response time to a key word flashed on to a computer screen QUANTITAIVE Ages at which infants are reported by their mothers as having walked unassisted for the first time QUANTITAIVE A mothers description of the changes in her childs behaviour after the child walked unassisted for the first time QUALITATIVE





Once the results have been collected, researchers usually do three things to the data: Summarised and described so they can be interpreted Interpreted so they can be understood Explained reasons are suggested why the results were obtained and what they mean

Researchers use statistics to summarise and interpret data Statistics are essential mathematical procedures Two main kinds of statistics are used in psychology, they are - descriptive and inferential Descriptive statistics are used for summarising and describing results. They include calculations such as percentages and means, tables and graphs Inferential statistics are used for interpreting and giving meaning to the results, such as calculating the probability of the results occurring because of the manipulations of the IV

PERCENTAGES: Is a statistic that expresses a number as a proportion (or fraction) of 100. It is usually shown using the pre cent sign (%). Percentages are commonly used in psychology to describe data; for example scores on a test, changes in tends etc

TABLES: A table is an orderly arrangement and display of data in columns and rows. All tables should be numbered e.g. Table 1, Table 1 etc and each table should have an individual title. The title should be a clear statement which explain what the table is about without being too long

GRAPHS: A graph is a pictorial representation of data. All graphs should be also be numbered and given an

BAR GRAPHS: Is a type of graph that uses a series of discrete (separate) bars next to but not touching each other HISTOGRAMS: Is a graph that shows the frequency with which a particular score occurs in a set of data. Histograms differ from bar graphs in two main ways; In histograms the bars touch and the information on the X axis is usually continuous and numerical PIE CHARTS: Is a circular diagram that shows the proportions of values or scores for different categories of data. LINE GRAPHS: Is a pictorial representation that indicates the relationship between two factors or two variables in an experiment FREQUENCY POLYGON: Is a graph showing the frequency (how often) of data using a line graph. An advantage of this type of graph over the histogram is that you can plot more that one set of data on the same graph

Ethics refers to standards that guide individuals to identify, good, desirable, or acceptable conduct Therefore ethical standards help us to make judgements about which behaviours are appropriate and inappropriate ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Ethical Standard or consideration Role of the experimenter Explanation of standard Must consider the ethical considerations relevant to the research. Responsible for ensuring the experiment is run in a safe manner and that the wellbeing of the participants is the main concern. They must balance the benefits to society from the findings of the research against any discomfort or risks to the participants. No physical of psychological harm is to be suffered by the participants. The participants must also respect the rights of the participants Participants have the right to privacy, so any information that that may identify details of their involvement in a study can not be revealed unless written consent is given Participants must volunteer to take part in the study, they can not be forced or pressured to take part in a study. Prospective participants must nor suffer any negative consequences if they choose not to take part in a study

Participants rights Confidentiality Voluntary Participation


Ethical Standard or consideration Withdrawal rights Explanation of standard The experimenter must inform the participants of the nature of the study and that they are free to participate, decline to participate or withdraw from the study at any time if they wish to do so. Participants should not suffer any consequences if they withdraw from a study Where possible participants must be told of the true nature of study and why it needs to be conducted. Participants must then agree to take part in the study, usually written consent is given. If the participants are under the ager of 18, the parent/guardian consent must be obtained Sometime telling the participants about the true nature of the experiment may influence the participants behaviour and therefore the results. In these cases it may be necessary to not tell the participants the true nature of the experiment. In experiments involving deception the experimenter must fully debrief the participants at the end of the study. Must inform participants about the study and clarify their understanding., including changing any mistaken beliefs or attitudes. The experimenter must also provide contact information for services to rectify any distress suffered The experimenter is always expected to behave in a professional manner. They must not behave in a manner that brings the psychology profession into disrepute

Informed Consent



Professional conduct


Your tasks is to evaluate this research proposal in terms of whether it meets the guidelines and then decide whether this is a good or bad study Dr Jones is interested in the effect of stress on performance on the McCord IQ test. He feels that the test, which is very widely used in schools, gives misleadingly low scores to students under stress. He wants to divide his participants (VCE students) into two groups of 20 each. Participants are to be collected from random classes during the day and told it is vital for them participate. All participants are under the age of 18. All participants will take a fake pre-test and will be given their results. The experimental group will be told that they failed the test and that it is surprising that they were able to do well enough as secondary school to make it through to VCE. This will cause the students to become stressed. The control group will be told that they passed the test with flying colours. The fake results and the persons name who achieved these results would then be published in the library for the school community to see. All students will then be given the real McCord IQ test. All students must sit both tests they can not pull out of the study, if they do they are given a detention. Dr Joness hypothesis is that the experimental group will not do as well on the IQ test as the control group. At the end of the experiment that participant were not debriefed and therefore were not told about the fake test or the true purpose of the study. Ethical considerations breeched: Participants rights, deception (no debrief), confidentiality, withdrawal rights, voluntary participation, informed consent


About 10% of psychological research involves animals. Most of these animals are rats, mice, hamsters and pigeons,. About 5% of the animals used are monkeys and other primates. The main reasons animals have been used include: Some psychologist are interested in animal behaviour, this study is called ethology Some studies can not be conducted with humans due to the risk of physical or psychological harm Body systems or behaviours of some animals are similar to humans Animals have practical advantages over people The behaviour of animals can usually be controlled to an extent where as humans can not When large number of participants are required with a certain condition it is often easier to obtain animals Animals dont usually have expectations and therefore participant expectation can not influence the results Ethical guidelines have been produced to protect the welfare of animals in research