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  • Created on: 09-01-13 08:23

Disadvantages of the Scientific Method

LACKS ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY- because scientific research involves controlled variables in artifical settings. Participants behaviour may not be true as to how they would act in real life compared to these artificial surroundings. This means it is harder to generalise some studies beyond the research setting. 

EXAMPLES- Loftus and Palmer- (leading questions influencing memory study)-  was conducted in an ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENT (car accidents on a video) and HIGHLY CONTROLLED CONDITIONS...

This is not supported by Yuille and Cutshall's study- (effect of leading questions on real life witnesses of a violent crime)- This demonstrates the difficulty of generalising findings in an artifical environment to the real world as the results can be very different.

Asch- (conformity study)- task was deemed to be trivial which could explain the reason why ppts went along with an answer that was obviously wrong. Task wasn't tru to real life so findings are difficult to generalise.

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Disadvantages of the Scientific Method

IGNORES INDIVIUAL DIFFERENCES- it is nomothetic so it looks for general laws of behaviour, generalising findings to everyone.Therefore, differences such as culture, age, gender etc. are often overlooked. 

EXAMPLES- Most research in psychology has involved American participants who are mean and college students. The underlying assumption is that the behaviour of this group of people can be generaliosed to the whole population, ignoring that this group  of people have unique characteristics, such as higher intelligence than average, interests that are typical of young male adults and so on. 

Buss (mate preferences study)- criticised for overemphasising similarities of male and female mate preferences between different cultures. Actually, several differenced between mate preferecnes for both genders were not published. He assumed everyone was heterosexual making the results extremely difficult to generalise to everyone due to the complexity of human behaviour and difference between cultures. 

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Disadvantages of the Scientific Method

REDUCTIONIST- Scientific method uses experiments where 'real life' is reduced down to the effect of IV on DV, ignoring other factors so only ascpects of a human's behaviour is studied. In the scientific method, researchers aim to control as many factors as possible to reduce the effect of extraneous variables. However, often the main characteristics of human nature are classified as EV's when in fact they are part of the process that is being measured.

EXAMPLES- Langer and Rodin-(the elderly patients study)- the behaviour that was considered to be poor on the measure of well-being was isolation (e.g. not attending movie night). However, what if the patients preffered to be in their room because it was more comfortable for them or whether they enjoyed the particular movie being shown?

Brown and Kulik- (flashbulb memory that dramatic events have an effect on long term memory formation.)- suggested that the manipulation of the IV (the dramatic events) as the only cause for the effect on the DV(how they answered the questionnaires). However, it could be aruged that the mood of ppts, the level of motivation and media reports they had been recently exposed to could have effected their answers on the day of recall.

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Disadvantages of the Scientific Method

LACK OF INTERNAL VALIDITY- often problems such as investigator/researcher bias and demand characteristics can occur, making the results less valid. Demand characteristics- ppts may try to figure out the aim of the ppt or try to change their behaviour consciously/unconsciously to help or go against the researcher (the 'Help/Screw You' effect.) Also, the researcher may influence the behaviour of the ppts in accordance with their hypothesis. 

EXAMPLES- Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle- suggests that it is not possible to measure a subatomic particle without altering 'its behaviour' in doing the measurement. This reflects the idea that the prescence of an experimenter changes the behaviour of what is observed, even in physics. RESULTING IN A REDUCTION OF VALIDITY.

Milgram (obedience study)- lack internal validity. Obedience controlled observation could be a reflection of 'how helpful ppts are in the experiments' rather than a study of obedience to authority. Did the ppts change their behaviour to be helpful to the experimenter?  Were some ppts more obedient due to confounding variables such as their own confidence or assertiveness?

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