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Psychology 242
Research in Psychology
Dr. David J. McKirnan

Week 2
Basics of Scientific Method

Lecture notes

Research hourglassWe continue with basic assumptions of the scientific method, addressing the "hourglass" model of the overall research flow. We will define each of these terms: these will be central to the course (and the midterm!). These are in Week 2 lecture notes

Some Key terms (yes, these will be on the exam...):

Types of research and internal v. external validity: Research Strategies


Suggested background reading: "Introduction to Methods in Science" (or the eqivalent) in whatever text you are using.

Focus Modules:
How do we know things?
What does Science Do?

For lecture & Discussion Group:

Discussion group Assignment

Science and society

How much does science matter? 
How do scientific discoveries influence the way you live?  Are those influences always for the better? 

Click here to read about the role science plays in social policy, and what role should it play.  The article argues that science should matter a lot, but some parts of society may not value it enough.

Neurolaw imageBrain science and legal / moral responsibility
Religious or ethical systems assume people are responsible for their decisions and behavior: people exercise "free will" when they commit a crime.  What if brain science tells us we are basically machines, without free will in the usual sense?

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows scientists to actually watch the brain while it is working. What if these data show that some people commit crimes due to a “brain problem” – a tumor, or restricted blood flow -- that interferes with their "free" decision making?   A new sub-discipline called “Neurolaw” addresses the legal implications of brain research. 

Click the image above for an article on “Neurolaw”, and click on the image in the bonus section for a NPR audio report. Then, write a sentence or two on each of the following: