PSYCH-205, Abnormal Psychology.
PART 1: SCIENCE AND PRACTICE
WHAT IS ABNORMAL?
* It is behavior, specifically persistent behavior associated with cognitive, emotional, or perceptual distortions that are not socially acceptable, and are potentially dangerous. Many behaviors fit the criteria, but are not considered abnormal. Astronauts for example are not considered to be psychologically abnormal despite engaging in dangerous and persistently deviant behaviors. Legal insanity is different from a clinical diagnosis, although a clinical diagnosis will determine whether or not a person can be judged insane by a court. To define behavior as abnormal, it must meet the following standards. ...view middle of the document...
) Case studies therefor cannot be replicated or tested, and offer no predictions. Regardless of these setbacks, the main benefit of a case study is that they can be done after a situation has occurred where direct observation would have been unethical, dangerous or illegal. (You can’t follow a serial killer around taking notes while he’s eating people.) Case studies can be conducted for longitudinal research, which improves the internal validity.
2. SURVEY- A question is asked to a number of people to represent a sample for a larger populace. This method does qualify as evidence for opinion bases, but does not account for numerous possible biases. (Lab Coat Effect, Observational Bias.) A survey may account for strong external validity, but the internal form may be inaccurate depending on how the question is asked or worded. Cultural differences must also be accounted for to gain an accurate sample. Surveys are best used alongside various mathematical methods.
3. MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS- Also based on available samples, through either surveys or experiments, this type of research utilizes statistical, probable or otherwise quantifiable methods to define the relationship between variables, the correlational coefficient, is either +1 (Strong Positive Relationship) -1 (Strong Negative) or .00 (No Relationship.) The data collected should be able to be placed on a graph or bell curve, and should account for the possibility of random chance, which there always will be in some form. If used correctly, the results should be as applicable as any laboratory experiment. High external validity, low internal. (Correlation does not imply causation.) Mathematical analysis can also be used to generate a hypothesis, support a theory, or prove a law in both social and natural sciences.
4. OBSERVATION- Is either analog (controlled laboratory) or natural (uncontrolled environment), with pros and cons associated with each. Analog observations border on the territory of experimentation due to the limited number of accountable variables, and if a new observation is organized with an intentional change in variable, then a genuine experiment has been conducted. Analog experiments unfortunately cannot be readily applied to the real world. Observations made in an environment without coercion are natural observations, and have higher external validity than analog observations, but lack in internal validity. Observations generate hypotheses.
5. EXPERIMENTATION- A controlled study where variables are manipulated to observe the effects on other variables. A good experiment should rule out all confounds, variables that are not being controlled. There is an independent variable, which can be manipulated by the scientist, and the dependent variable, which is expected to change as the independent is manipulated. A control group is used to represent the null hypothesis by not exposing it to the independent variable. (Medications, lasers, unshaved monkeys…) The...