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Self-Quiz on Psychology and Science

Revised 4/4/2004. Welcome to the self-quiz on Psychology and Science. Introductory psychology textbooks often begin with a chapter which reviews the history of the field and different scientific approaches to psychology. Yours may not be titled "Psychology and Science," but it will probably cover some of the same material. Read the question and click on an answer. You will jump to a correction or (if the answer is correct) a confirmation. No total score is provided for this quiz because it is meant to be browsed; you can scan the responses to wrong answers as well as right answers. If you run into problems or have a question, read the introductory paragraphs on the self-quiz index page.

  1. By the 1920s a new definition of psychology had gained favor. Psychology was said to be the science of...
  2. A cognitive psychologist is most likely to be interested in...
  3. Operational definitions are...
  4. What does it mean to say a definition is valid?
  5. What does it mean to say a definition is reliable?
  6. Replication...
  7. In observational research there are no...
  8. What is the independent variable, in experimental research?
  9. A single-blind design should be sufficient to eliminate -------------------- as a confounded variable.
  10. How are experimenter effects eliminated?

End of multiple choice questions for Psychology and Science

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ANSWERS AND DISCUSSION SECTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You picked...

mind

No, 1920 was about the time behaviorism started its dominance in America. Around that time, talk of "mind" became almost taboo for psychologists who were concerned with being scientific.

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consciousness

No, psychology was originally designed (for example, by Wilhelm Wundt) as the "science of consciousness." And as late as the first decade of the 1900s that was still a common definition of the field. But by the 1920s things had changed.

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computers

No, computers were not common until the 1950s, and they didn't start to influence psychology much until the mid-1950s and 1960s.

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You picked...

behavior

Correct...Watson published his influential book in 1913, and by 1920 many psychologists (in the U.S., anyway) defined psychology as the science of behavior.

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You picked...

philosophy

No...psychology started as part of philosophy, but that was back in the early 1800s.

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therapy research

No...there are such things as "cognitive therapies" (in which the aim is to restructure a person's thought processes) but therapy is not the main emphasis of cognitive psychologists in general.

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You picked...

observational research

No, cognitive psychologists typically do experimental research.

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You picked...

memory and perception

Yes...memory and perception are typical concerns of cognitive psychologists. Cognition is "thinking" or "human information processing" and involves all sorts of mental activities which can be studied directly or simulated on computers, such as memory, problem solving, perception, and language comprehension.

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You picked...

research involving some medicine or placebo

No, medicine and placebos are likely to be used in some sort of health related research, or in tests of people's response to a drug, but not typically in research involving information processing or knowledge representation, which would be more typical of the cognitive approach.

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You picked...

phenomenology

No, phenomenology (the study of experience as it presents itself to the individual) is not a specific concern of cognitive psychologists

 

It is true, however, that subjects in cognitive experiments might be asked to report their experience, so phenomenology might be somewhat involved in such research.

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You picked...

scientifically approved definitions

No, an operational definition is not necessarily "good" or "valid" or approved by scientists.

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You picked...

definitions illustrated with a concrete example or visual image

No...this might help a person understand what you mean by using a word, but it is not the defining characteristic of an operational definition.

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You picked...

definitions which are very precise

No, precision is a virtue in any scientific work, but this is not the precise definition of an operational definition...

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You picked...

dictionary definitions

No...dictionary definitions do not necessarily tell a person how to measure something, which is the essence of an operational definition.

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You picked...

definitions which tell how to collect data

Yes...operational definitions get their name from the fact that they specific measurement operations...they tell how to measure or detect something, which means they allow a scientist to collect data about something.

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it can be repeated under the same circumstances and will produce the same result

No, this is a pretty good definition of reliability, not validity.

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it accurately represents the value of some variable

No, any operational definition might produce accurate data without telling you anything about the thing you are trying to measure. If you defined intelligence as the reading on a thermometer, you could make accurate measurements, but it would be a poor definition of intelligence.

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it measures what you think it measures, as shown by using a different method to measure the same variable

Yes...validity refers to the ability of a particular measurement to give you useful information, to make a useful prediction about the subject of interest, for example. If SAT scores accurately predict school performance, then they are valid for that purpose. They may not be valid for another purpose, such as predicting income or job performance later in life. You always check the validity of a measure by attempting to measure the same thing in a different way, then comparing the results to see if the operations "converge" or agree.

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You picked...

it is described in such a way that it can be measured

No, just because you can take a measurement, that does not mean the measurement is valid.

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it seems reasonable

No...there is a type of validity called "face validity" which is essentially "an appearance of reasonableness" but it is usually mentioned only to discuss its inadequacy. In other words, just because a definition seems reasonable or has "face validity" does not mean it is "really" valid.

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it means what you think it means

No, that relates to the issue of validity, not reliability...although it is probably true in most cases that a measurement has to be reliable in order to BE valid. However, reliability by itself is not enough to make a definition valid...it is a separate issue.

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you can measure the same thing again and get the same results

Yes, that is the meaning of reliability, in a nutshell.

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there are no confounded variables

No, confounded variables are two or more variables the effects of which cannot be separately analyzed, when you interpret an experiment. This is an important and complex issue but it is not the same thing as reliability.

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it can be used to make accurate predictions

Well, you could make an argument for this one, but you would have to stretch a bit... Reliability has to do more with the repeatability of measurements, not the use of one thing to predict another. Now, if you interpreted this as, "When you use a reliable measurement procedure once, you can predict that it will produce similar results if you measure the same thing again" then you would have an argument. There is a better answer here.

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it has been operationally defined

No, just because an operational definition has been specified, this does not mean the measurement procedure is reliable.

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You picked...

relies on self-report methods

No, replication can be used with any type of research and any type of "method."

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is important precisely because it involves the same claim but a different test, with different procedures

No, in replication, the conditions of the original experiment are supposed to be duplicated as exactly as possible.

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is "secondary in importance" to honesty, according to the chapter

No; in fact, a scientific investigator might produce a result which is not replicated, even though the research is completely honest. A failure to replicate a study does not mean somebody "cheated," just that a phenomenon is not yet fully understood.

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is possible only with experimental, not observational research

No, you can attempt to replicate observational research by repeating the same types of observations in the same type of situation.

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is essentially repetition of an experiment in all its details

Yes. Of course, nobody every COMPLETELY replicated anything...there are always some differences...so a failure to replicate might be due to some details that the researchers did not realize were important

 

But the basic idea of replication is to ATTEMPT to repeat a piece of research (whether observational or truly experimental) in all its details.

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variables

No, there are variables as long as you are measuring anything.

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operational definitions

No, there must be operational definitions in any research, whether or not they are spelled out, because any procedure for measuring a variable is an operational definition of that variable.

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standardized tests

No, standardized tests (or any other sort of tests) might be used to collect data, without introducing an experimental manipulation.

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experimental manipulations

Yes...the defining characteristic of observational research is that there is no active change produced "as an experiment," just data- collection of some kind.

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statistical tests

No, there could be statistical tests such as correlations run on correlational data.

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a variable which nobody controls or changes

No, that is nearly the opposite of the correct answer.

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the variable which is manipulated in an experiment

Yes...the independent variable is manipulated "independently" by the experimenter, to see what happens as a result.

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the variable which is measured, to see results of an experiment

No, that would be a dependent variable.

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You picked...

a variable which describes some durable characteristic of the subject

No, that would be a subject variable.

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a variable which is held steady

No, a variable which is held steady is "controlled" but that is not the defining characteristic of an independent variable.

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placebo effects

] Yes...because, in a single blind design, subjects in the experimental and control groups both have an equal "belief" in the treatment they are receiving, ideally, so belief (the root cause of the placebo effect) is not a point of difference between the groups. This removes the placebo effect as a potential confound (in other words, it insures that any differences observed between the groups, later, were not due to belief alone).

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experimenter effects

No, a single blind design cannot eliminate experimenter effects because the experiment still knows who is receiving what treatment, so the experiment could possibly treat the groups differently.

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subject variables

No, subject variables are characteristics of the subject, such as age or gender, which are not likely to be eliminated in typical experiments.

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self-selection

No, self-selection refers to "groups formed by nature" such as rich people compared to poor people. A single blind design does not address this issue.

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measurement effects

No, measurement effects occur because of the measurement process itself and would be more likely to reflect a researcher's awareness of who is in what group, rather than the subject's. The single blind design makes only the subjects "blind" to which group they are in.

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You picked...

with a single blind design

No, as discussed in the previous question, a single blind design addresses a different issue and does NOT eliminate experimenter effects.

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with a double blind design

Yes. Ideally, a double-blind design (which keeps the researcher or data-collector ignorant of which group a subject is in) prevents the subjects from being treated differently on that basis.

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with reactive measures

No....the term "reactive measures" is not typically used to describe any research at all, although one might use the term if drawing a contrast with nonreactive measures (measurement techniques a subject would not notice). A reactive measure would presumably be a measurement technique in which the subject of an experiment notices he or she is being measured, and that would not rule out an experimenter effect.

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with operational definitions

No...operational definitions are employed whenever data is collected, by definition, whether the research is good or bad and whether there are experimenter effects or not.

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with convergent operations

No, convergent operations are involved in determining the validity of an operational definition and have little to do with experimenter effects.

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