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40 Terms

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Hindsight Bias

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it

Theory

an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events

Hypothesis

A testable prediction, often implied by a theory

Operational definition

a carefully worded statement of the exact procedures used in a research study

Replication

repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic findings can be reproduced

Case study

a descriptive technique in which one individual or group is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles

naturalistic observation

a descriptive technique of observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation

Survey

a descriptive technique for obtaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group or a random sample of the group

Sampling bias

a flawed sampling process that produces an unrepresentative sample

Population

All those in a group being studied, from which samples may be drawn

Random Sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion

Correlation

A measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other.

Correlation coefficient

a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to +1)

Variable

anything that can vary and is feasible and ethical to measure

Scatterplot

a graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables.

Illusory Correlation

perceiving a relationship where none exists, or perceiving a stronger-than-actual relationship

Regression Toward the Mean

the tendency for extreme or unusual scores to fall back (regress) toward their average.

Experiment

A research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process

Experimental group

in an experiment, the group exposed to the treatment is exposed to one version of the independent variable

Control Group

in an experiment, the group not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment

random assignment

assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between the different groups

double-blind procedure

an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Commonly used in drug-evaluation studies.

Placebo

experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which the recipient assumes is an active agent.

Independent Variable

In an experiment, the factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied

confounding variable

a factor other than the factor being studied that might influence a study's results

dependent variable

In an experiment, the outcome that is measured; the variable that may change when the independent variable is manipulated

Validity

the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to

Informed consent

giving potential participants enough information about a study to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate

Debriefing

the post-experimental explanation of a study, including its purpose and any deceptions, to its participants

descriptive statistics

numerical data used to measure and describe characteristics of groups. Includes measures of central tendency and measures of variation.

Histogram

a bar graph depicting a frequency distribution

Mode

the most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution

Mean

the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores

Median

the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it

skewed distribution

a representation of scores that lack symmetry around their average value

Range

the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution

standard deviation

a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score

normal curve

the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes. Most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extremes.

inferential statistics

numerical data that allow one to generalize- to infer from sample data the probability of something being true of a population

statistical significance

a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance