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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

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Theory

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

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Hypothesis

A testable prediction, often implied by a theory

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Operational definition

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

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Replication

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

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Case study

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

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naturalistic observation

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

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Survey

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

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Sampling bias

a flawed sampling process that produces an unrepresentative sample

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Population

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

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Random Sample

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

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Correlation

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

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Correlation coefficient

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

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Variable

anything that can vary and is feasible and ethical to measure

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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.

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Illusory Correlation

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

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Regression Toward the Mean

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

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Experiment

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

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Experimental group

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

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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

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random assignment

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

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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.

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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.

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Independent Variable

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

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confounding variable

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

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dependent variable

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

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Validity

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

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Informed consent

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

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Debriefing

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

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descriptive statistics

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

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Histogram

a bar graph depicting a frequency distribution

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Mode

the most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution

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Mean

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

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Median

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

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skewed distribution

a representation of scores that lack symmetry around their average value

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Range

the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution

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standard deviation

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

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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.

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inferential statistics

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

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statistical significance

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

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