PY3 Issues Essays

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Advantages of the Scientific Method

Collects empirical data: from direct observations rather than arguments = provides evidence for a belief/ treatment e.g. establish if a drug reduces anxiety levels or not.
  Objectivity: Due to the use of empirical data Sci Method is objective e.g. Washoe's criteria for signs ( 3 observes for 15 days)

Falsifiable: Cannot prove hypothesis correct but can be tested for falsification e.g. Freud, Loftus and Palmers hypothesis for the verb change experiment 

High Control: IV manipulated = DV C&E relationship established. EV controlled e.g. drug trials. 

Reliability: SP used Burger 2009, partly replicated Milgram = similar results = R over time

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Disadvantages of Scientific Method

Low EV: Behav not representative E.g. L&P broken glass real life vs. lab conditions

Internal Validity: DC, SD (Asch) Exp Bias 

Ethics: Milgram - stressful conditions, couldn't leave, sweaty palms & seizure 

Nomothetic: Treated the same, no individual differences - Buss 1989 overemphasis of similarity of preferences can't be generated. Human behav complex and cultural differences ignored

Reductionist: Simplified behav, over simplifies human nature but doesn't consider factors that influence behaviour. Reduce behav = narrower understanding of human's 

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Use of Non- Human Participants

The scientific procedures act 1986 states that the lab should be fit and design to suit animal research. BPS 2007: housing of animals 
Bateson 1986 3 criteria: certainty of the benefits; quality of research & degree of animal suffering. 

FOR Darwin 1859 - common ancestor, animal research gives us a valid insight into human behaviour
Convenience animals with rapid breeding cycles more research in a short space of time, improves validity. Utilitarianism, Singer 1975. Moral duty Grey 1986 said that knowledge of humans helps to reduce suffering.

AGAINST Continuity, feel pain and emotions. Anthropomorphism -human characteristics to non-human animals or objects. Lacks EV, low MR, hard to generalise. 

Selye’s rats were injected with noxious agents and the affects were observed, usually this wouldn’t take place lowering the strength of the results.

Singer 1991, argued that this is speciesism; therefore animals are under prejudice and discrimination. Ryder 1991 duty to protect animals in the same way we protect humans. 

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Issues when using Human Participants

BPS C psychologists, legally allowed. those who aren’t registered psychologists do not have to abide by the BPS guidelines can't lead to embarrassment or raise sensitive issues

Deception and withholding: Menges 1973 reviewed approximately 1000 studies and found that 80% involved withholding information. But by 1991 Leavitt found that this figure had dropped to 41% showing that keeping confidential information from participants is decreasing. Lower DC

Zimbardo’s 14 day study had to be stopped after just 6 days because the guards became too brutal and the prisoners displayed signs of severe distress, like crying uncontrollably

Milgram’s 1963 behavioural study of obedience had many complaints as it wasn’t deemed as being very ethical. Discomfort levels higher than expected and those reported before the study 

Intervention studies change behaviour either positively or negatively for a permanent time scale,cannot be undone. Leyens 1975 raised aggression levels in boys by showing them violent films; they found that even outside of the experimental conditions the boys were still more aggressive when compared to the control group.  

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Dealing with ethical issues

Presumptive content: p's from the target pop are asked if they would have given consent to take part in a study that used deception or inflicted harm onto themselves or another person.
Milgram’s 1963 interviewing 14 psychology students from Yale University and found that fewer than 3% if people would go to 450 volts

Prior general consent & Debriefing helps to restore the p's to the same state, used when deception or harm has been inflicted & p's people not just for experiments Asch’s 1951

Chance to withdraw is where participants at the start of the experiment are told that they can remove themselves and withdraw from the study at any time. For example Langer and Rodin’s 1976 study participants were not allowed to withdraw themselves

Role play: p's are told about the study before it happens and any changes that may take place, social desirability bias & DC's can weaken the results = Low V. Milgram’s p's didn’t actually shock the stooge.

Confidentiality e.g. names are kept to the experimenters in confidence & often used with chance to withdraw. Bennett-Levy and Marteau’s experiment participants did not have to give their name or any other details when completing the questionnaire.  

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