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Social Psychology Ch 2


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Hindsight Bias
The tendency for people to exaggerate how much they could have predicted and outcome after knowing that it occurred
Observational Method
The technique whereby a researcher observes people and systematically records measurements or impressions of their behavior
The method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it form the inside, without imposing any preconceived notions they might have
Participant Observation
A form of the observational method in which the observer interacts with the people being observed but tries not to alter the situation in any way
Inter-judge Reliability
The level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data; by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observations, researchers ensure that the observations are not the subjective, distorted impressions of one individual
Archival Analysis
A form of the observational method in which the researcher examines the accumulated documents, or archives, of a culture (e.g. Diaries, novels, magazines, and newspapers)
Correlational Method
The technique whereby two or more variables are systematically measured and the relationship between them (i.e., how much one can be predicted from the other) is assessed
Correlation Coefficient
A statistical technique that assesses how well you can predict one variable from another – ex. How well you can predict people’s weight from their height
Research in which are preventative sample of people are asked (often anonymously) questions about their attitudes or behavior
Random Selection
A way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected
Experimental Method
The method in which the researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions and ensures that these conditions are identical except for the independent variable (the one thought to have a causal effect on people’s responses)
Independent Variable
The variable a researcher changes or varies to see if it has an effect on some other variable
Dependent Variable
The variable a researcher measures to see if it is influenced by the independent variable; the researcher hypothesizes that the dependent variable will depend on the level of the independent variable
Random Assignment to Condition
A process ensuring that all participants have an equal chance of taking part in any condition of an experiment; through random assignment, researchers can be relatively certain that differences in the participants’ personalities or backgrounds are distributed evenly across conditions
Probability Level
A number calculated with statistical techniques that tells researchers how likely it is that the results of their experiment occurred by chance and not because of the independent variable or variables; the convention in science, including social psychology, is to consider results significant (trustworthy) if the probability level is less than 5 in 100 that the results might be due to chance factors and not the independent variables studied
Internal Validity
Making sure that nothing besides the independent variable can affect the dependent variable; this is accomplished by controlling all extraneous variables and by randomly assigning people to different experimental conditions
External Validity
The extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people
Mundane Realism
The extent to which and experiment is similar to real-life situations
Psychological Realism
The extent to which the psychological process triggered in an experiment are similar to psychological processes that occur in everyday life; psychological realism can be high in a experiment even if mundane realism is low
Cover Story
A description of the purpose of a study, given to participants, that is different from its true purpose, used to maintain psychological realism
Repeating a study, often with different subject population or in different settings
Meta- Analysis
A statistical technique that averages the results of two or more studies to see if the effect of an independent variable is reliable
Cross- Cultural Research
Research conducted with members of different culture, to see whether the psychological processes of interest are present in both cultures or whether they are specific to the culture in which people were raised
Field Experiments
Experiments conducted in natural settings rather than in the laboratory
Basic Research
Studies that are designed to find the best answer to the question of why people behave as they do and that are conducted purely for reasons of intellectual curiosity
Applied Research
Studies designed to solve a particular social problem
Informed Consent
Agreement to participate in a experiment, granted in full awareness of the nature of the experiment, which ahs been explained in advance
Misleading participants about the true purpose of a study or the events that will actually transpire
Explaining to participants, at the end of an experiment, the true purpose of the study and exactly what transpired

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