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Why do we use a scientific approach to studies?

Allows unto answer SPECIFIC questions regarding Behaviour, Emotion, Cognition, Development and Health (tested) in a systematic manner


What as an example of an ethical controversy in New Zealand?

1966 Trial at National Women's Hospital in Auckland
Some patients had the precursor to Cervical cancer (CIS)(Carcinoma In Situ), and were treated 'conservatively'
Controversy= Unnecessary Invasive surgery vs. withholding vital treatment
Doctors studies the natural progression
Majority of Colleagues and Research opposed this approach
Majority of patients were Unaware that they were Participating in this research. also unaware that the treatment they recieved was Non-standard
Cartwright report, published by committee, and was a Landmark document on Ethics in Research and Clinical Practice. Brought more awareness to the issue.


What is an example of a Natural Case Study?

Phineas Gage = patient with a natural incident (non-manipulated occurrence)
Traumatic brain injury, large iron rod through his head and destroyed most of frontal lobe
Lead to major personality changes - emotional outbursts
It was the first time that 'behaviour' had been linked to brain regions
Informed clinical science
Advent of Lobotomies


What is an example of 'Science' off the Rails?

Ice Pick Lobotomies
Lobotomies= purposely damage brain tissues to cure mental illness (surgery to manage agitated psychiatric patients)
Had dramatic permanent effects - some were Positive, some were Very Damaging (and permanent)
(was at the expense of basic human characteristics, with sever and permanent language and personality Deficit)
Widespread practice, W/O due concern about Ethics and Procedure
Walter Freedman performed lobotomies with an ' ice pick' and hammer on 3,000 'mentally ill' people
'mentally ill' = included vulnerable people, unmanageable children, misfits
Intentions of curing and managing however with a major risk of negative side effects
President Kennedy's sister, Rosemary, underwent a controversial lobotomy and was left incapacitated


What are the characteristics of Good Research?

1. A Theoretical Framework: a. Systematic wat of Organising and Explaining observations. b. Hypothesis that flows from the theory, or from an important question. ("if then" statement which is testable)
2. A Standardised Procedure: Procedure that is the same for all participants except where variation is introduced to test hypothesis (only variation in manipulated group)
3. Generalisability: a. Sample that is representative of the Population. b. Procedure that is sensible and Relevant to circumstances outside the laboratory
4. Objective Measurement: a. Measures that are Reliable (that produce consistent results)(test re-test reliability) b. Measures that are Valid (that assess the dimensions they purport to assess)


What are examples of Research designs?

General Research Designs:
1. Experimental (RCT)
2. Descriptive/Correlational (Epidemiological Study)
Developmental Research Designs:
1. Longitudinal
2. Cross sectional


What are the Elements of an Experiment?

Cause-and-effect relationship:
Experiments ask whether Systematic variation in one variable, produces variation in another variable
IV = Independent variable= Manipulated by Experimenter= 'cause'
DV= Dependent variable= Participants' Response= 'effect'
Effect could be Multi-Factorial
Value of DV will dependant on the IV
Experiments investigate the effect of the IV on the DV


What is the overview of Experimental Research Design?

Stage1 Framing an Hypothesis = Predicting the relationships among two or more variables
Stage2 Operationalising Variables = (Independant Variable), Converting abstract concepts into testable form
Stage3 Developing a Standardised Procedure = Setting up experimental and control conditions; attending to demand characteristics; attending to researcher bias
Stage4 Selecting and Assigning Participants = Randomly assigning participants to different conditions
Stage 5 Applying statistical techniques = Describing the data and determining the Likelihood that differences between the conditions reflect either Causality or Chance
Stage 6 Drawing Conclusions = Evaluating whether or not the data supports the hypothesis: suggesting future studies to address limitations and new questions raised by the study


What is an example of an Experimental Method?

1. Subjects Randomly Assigned to experimental and control groups (increased likelihood to have similar proportions of confounding variable)
2. Independent variable: A. Experimental group (experiences treatment) B. Control group (doesn't receive treatment)
3. Dependant variable: Effects on Subjects


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Methods?

Advantage: Can make causal claims.
1. Manipulation removes directionality
2. Random assignment (limits potential confounding variable by having increased likelihood of similar proportions)
Disadvantages: Random assignment sometimes Impossible and Unethical. Control can reduce Validity.


What is an example of a Natural Longitudinal study?

English and Romanian Adoptees Study:
Infants left in Romanian institutions, exposed to Extreme Early Global Deprivation, Lacked Early Childhood Stimulation. Adopted by UK families at the age of 0-42 months
Longitudinal study comparing 144 Romanian adoptees with 52 non-deprived children adopted within the UK
The children adopted after the age of 6 months had significantly more problems (emotional, language, behavioural, cognitive) at ages 4, 6, 11 and 15 years.


What is a Descriptive and Correlation Study?

(cross sectional)
Describes subjects behaviour, beliefs, health and abilities at a particular time or place
i.e: No manipulation of variable
Control group and Cohort group
Common Research Methods:
1. Naturalistic observations
2. Laboratory observations
3. Clinical/case studies
4. Surveys and Interviews
5. Neurobiological techniques e.g. MRI neuroimaging


What are the advantages and disadvantages of an RCT?

Adv: acts as the Gold Standard test
allows to establish causal relationship
limits potential confounding factors via likelihood of even proportions
Disadv: Not always practical, hard to get many people, sometimes no ethical


What are the advantages and disadvantages of an Epidemiological study?

Adv:No manipulation required, easier to be ethical, only requires observation
Disadv: Only Correlational relationship, Conflicts of interest, Confounding errors


How do you understand Correlational data?

Observed correlation: e.g. As the inability to manage stress increases, blood pressure increases
instead of either variable causing the other, there is a Possibility of a Third Factor
(Third Variable Explanation) which causes Both Variable 1 and 2 (e.g. genetic tendency, poor nutrition, lack of exercise)


What is a Naturalistic Observation?

Observe behaviour in its natural setting, attempt to avoid influencing or controlling it
(careful and unobtrusive/no manipulation)


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation?

Advantage: Good way to collect normative data
Disadvantage: Must Wait for behaviour to naturally occur (time consuming). Difficult to remain Unobtrusive.


What is a Laboratory Observation?

Observe behaviour in a laboratory where extraneous variable can be controlled and specialised equipment can be used
(measuring reactivity)


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Laboratory Observation?

1. Better control of outside factors.
2. More precise equipment can be used
1. Surroundings may effect results (may be stressful for children being in a lab)


What is a case study?

Observe one or a very few subjects in great depth, usually over a long period of time
(usual unusual/rare cases)


What are the advantages and disadvantages of Case Studies?

1. The only method appropriate for very unusual cases
2. Problems with generalising the results (as is just a single unusual/rare case)


What are the advantages and disadvantages of Survey and interviews?

Collect data from groups of people using questionnaires or interview
Advantages: 1. can collect wide range of information, including data on attitudes and beliefs. 2. Can sample large populations
Disadvantages: 1. Subjects may lie of mislead. 2. Data is useless sample is representative


What are the advantages and disadvantages of Longitudinal research design?

Collects baseline data at the start of the study.
the same participants are studied in intervals
Advantage: able to see change, growth and development as is over a long period of time
Disadvantage: takes a long time. Can be expensive to conduct for such a duration.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of Cross Sectional Study Design?

Compares people of different ages (cohorts) at one time point
Advantage: Quick to carry out. Cheaper.
Disadvantage: Compares different people so cannot detect changes within an individual (at one point in time rather than over a period)


What is Cross-cultural research?

Determining whether research findings apply in other cultures is an important and challenging undertaking (cohorts)
Methods used include:
1. Naturalistic observation
2. Replication of experiments with people from different cultures
3. Questionnaires


What are common issues in research?

1. Results of the study are associated with subject expectancies and/or experimenter expectancies
(results in expectancies acting as a filter through which things are interpreted)
2. Sampling Bias
3. Confounding Variables (i.e. possible Alternative Explanations (3rd Variable))
4. Correlation/Association does not equal Causation
5. Distortions in self Reported data (withhold personal data, not most honest info on their own behaviour, subject expectancies)


How do you deal with bias?

Placebo treatments can be used to handle Subject Expectancies(related to personal belief) (no active improvement)
Double-blind trial studies can be used to handle Both Subject and Experimenter Expectancies

Experimenter bias also minimised through: 1. Standardised procedures. 2. Objective measurements (operationalisation of IV)
Sampling bias is minimised through: 1. Representative sample (equal chance to be recruited). 2. Random assignment (equal chance to be assigned). 3. Matched control group (similar proportion of confounding variable in EG and CG)


What are Ethical Principles in research?

1. Informed Consent (privacy assured)
2. Intentional Deception --> Debriefing
3. Risk/gain assessment
4. Children or vulnerable people as subjects (don't understand, want to please parents)
animals, can't understand, so (protected from any unnecessary harm)