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NIOS Class 12 Psychology Chapter 2 How Psychologists Study?
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How Psychologists Study?
Intext Questions & Answers
Q. 1. Fill in the blanks
(a) Science is a method of ____________ inquiry which is based on____________ observation.
Ans: systematic, unbiased.
(b) Science is public or which can be____________ with other person and it can be____________.
Ans: shared, replicated.
(c) Scientific study is____________.
Q. 2. State whether following statements are True or False.
(i) Experiment is observation under controlled conditions. True/False
(ii) Independent variables are not manipulated. True/ False
(iii) Experimental group receives the treatment of IV. True/False
(iv) Control group may be different in its properties than the experimental group. True/False
Q. 3. What is an independent variable?
Ans: A variable that has been manipulated by the experimenter to know its effect on dependent variable.
Q. 4. List the goals of psychology as a science?
Ans: Description, Explanation, Prediction, Control.
Q.5. What are the measures of the central tendency?
Ans: Mean, median, mode.
Q. 6. What is correlation?
Ans: Correlation is a method of numerically showing the relations between two variables.
Q. 7. How is statistics helpful?
Ans: refer to section 2.8 to frame your answer.
1. What are the goals of doing psychological studies?
Ans: In simple language an experiment may be defined as observation under conditions which we can control and vary. Experimental method is generally preferred above other methods, because of its ability to understand the causal factors. An experiment is concerned about the study of relationship between changes in antecedent conditions and the corresponding changes in the consequents. The experimental method helps psychologists establish cause-and-effect relationship between these two sets of conditions which are usually considered as variables. To understand it let us take an example.
Suppose a teacher wants to know if recitation method will aid retention (of a poem) than silent reading? She will proceed as follows:
Forming a Hypothesis:
To answer a problem the teacher has a question or problem in which the effect of one thing (recitation method) on the other (retention) has to be explored. On the basis of her previous knowledge and researches, the experimenter (E) forms a hypothesis. In present case the teacher states a possible answer to the problem. She may hypothesise that the recitation method is better for retention of a poem. To verify the hypothesis she will undertake an experiment.
Identifying Independent and Dependent Variables:
In order to understand the experimental method, one must be familiar with the concept of variables. “Variable is any measurable attribute of objects, things or beings”. Quantitatively measured variables are age, intelligence, number of trials, sex, religion, caste etc. The E is concerned with two main kinds of variables:
(i) independent variable (IV), and
(ii) dependent variable (DV).
An independent variable is manipulated by the E (e.g. method of learning is the IV in the present case) in order to understand its effect on some chosen aspect of behaviour.
Effects of IV are observed on the DV e.g. retention in the present example. In other words, a dependent variable is the consequent variable on which the effect is to be observed.
While studying the effect of IV on DV the relationship is often influenced by a number of factors present in the environment. Such relevant variables need to be controlled by the E. The E plans the experiment using two groups i.e., experimental and control. The experimental group receives the treatment of IV and the control group performs in the absence of the IV. These two groups are supposed to be similar in all respects except the treatment of IV.
Sampling of Participants:
The next step is to decide the population to be selected for the study and deciding on the method of selecting a sample. For example, if one wants to take the students of 10th class for the experiment she can not possibly go to all the schools. So she decides to take an equal number of students in the 10th class of one school. A sample represents the whole population. One has to decide which type of sampling method should be used. Random sampling is considered to be the best method because in this way of sampling all members of the population have equal probability of selection.
Control of Extraneous Variables:
There is a possibility that some other variables, like age, gender, etc., may affect retention. All these variables have to be controlled. In order to do so the E selects participants of similar intelligence, age and gender. Experimenter may use a number of techniques to control the unwanted extraneous variables. Some of them are as follows:
(i) Matching: The participants are matched on their characteristics.
(ii) Elimination: An unwanted variable may be controlled by elimination (e.g., noise).
(iii) Constancy of conditions: If elimination is not possible, the condition may be made constant for the entire duration of experiment.
Planning (designing) the Experiment: The E will select a group of students, divide them in half and give them the same material (poem in this case) to memories. One group is instructed to read the material silently. This group is called the “control group”. The other group recites the poem loudly for the same amount of time. This group is the “experimental group”. Retention of both the groups will be compared.
Verifying the Hypothesis:
If the experimenter finds a significant difference in the amount retained by the two groups, she may infer that recitation method is better for retention of poems. These findings will prove the hypothesis. Limitation of Experimental Method: The experimental method is very powerful for gathering scientific data. But it also has limitations. The findings obtained from this may not apply to natural situations. Sometimes an experiment might prove unethical or dangerous. In some situations, experiment may interfere with behavior that is measured.
2. What are the different steps in planning an experiment?
Ans: Experimental method is the preferred method in psychology because it has greater precision but many times we face problems that cannot be subjected to experimental manipulation. The Behavior of people in a crowd cannot be brought to the laboratory, nor can it be understood why a child breaks things in the class through an experimental method. Such situations require different methods. Some of these non-experimental methods are described below:
Observation is the starting point for all sciences. It is a study of spontaneous occurrences, at the time they occur. But simply observing may not be enough. One should know what one wants to observe. Otherwise a lot of data may be missed. In psychological studies we use naturalistic as well as controlled observation. Also, there is another kind of observation which is called participant observation in which the observer observes by being a part of the group.
To introspect means to look within. This is the oldest method in psychology. It is a very important method to understand the feelings of pain, happiness, fatigue etc. If some persons go to see a movie they may have liked the movie which others may have disliked; but they can understand the emotional response of liking only by looking within. I introspection, attention is directed inwards to find out what is happening at the experiential level. For example, you meet school mate after years, you greet him by shaking hands-an act of friendly behaviour but inside you may not feel happy to meet him because he had bullied you in the class.
It is for the study of social problems such as incidence of alcoholism, popularity of certain careers, causes of unsuccessful marriages. People cannot be manipulated to observe these problems. Psychologists go into the field with a prepared list of questions and interview schedules to a group of people. They may want to know how many people are buying a certain brand of toothpaste. The surveyor may sometimes face problems like refusal of people to answer, biassed answers, misleading answers etc. A carefully conducted survey provides information about the trend in a particular area of concern.
‘Case history’ is a detailed compilation of data about a single individual. A psychologist may gather complete history, from infancy to present period in order to understand a person’s behaviour. This method is often used to study abnormal behaviour, behaviour of criminals, problem children or even to study the developmental changes in personality. The focus is on the assets as well as the weaknesses of the person concerned.
It is used to find out the relationships between two sets of factors/variables. We may use this method to find out the relationship of intelligence with scholastic achievement, or religiosity with spiritual well-being, language skills with examination performance etc. The strength of relationship can be represented by a correlation coefficient, which ranges from 1.00 to +1.00. A positive correlation indicates that as the value of one variable increases the value of the other also increases. A negative correlation tells that as the value of one variable increases, the value of another variable decreases. Correlational research can not demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships. But it gives new insights about the phenomena under study.
3. What are the tools used by psychologists in understanding human behaviour?
Ans: Psychological studies are done with human beings. It is therefore necessary to follow certain principles so that no harm is done to the participants. Some of the accepted principles are as follows:
(i) Informed consent: The investigator can conduct a study on other persons only after obtaining their prior permission to do so.
(ii) Confidentiality: The findings of research remain confidential and are not disclosed with anybody.
(iii) Debriefing: If some kind of manipulation or deception has been done in the study the researcher has the duty to clarify that to the participants after completing the study.
(iv) Right to withdraw: The participants have a right to withdraw from the study if they desire to do so.
(v) Responsibility: The researcher has to bear the responsibility of any harm done to the participants during the course of study.
Today it is a common practice to have Ethics Committees which examine ethical aspects of research before it is undertaken by the researcher.
The use of tests in clinical settings is made for certifying people in terms of mental disorders. It should be done with proper care and by trained persons only. It should not be misused.