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Psychology: The science dealing with the study of mental processes and behavior in man and animals.
 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

Ethics in Psychology Research

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

When a researcher finds an interesting topic to study such as aggression, the goal is often to study it in a way that is as true to life as possible. However, researchers must act in an ethical manner.  To do this, they must balance their research goals with the best interests of the participants. Ethics often enter into the planning process when researchers identify all of the ways they can manipulate or measure a variable, but then make their final decision based on how they should manipulate or measure a variable. After receiving a poor grade on a test or paper, a college student may appear to take it out on (i.e., act in an aggressive manner toward) their roommates by being mean or nasty, screaming, throwing things, or even becoming physically violent. Aggression is an important human behavior to study and understand due to the implications it has for interpersonal violence. However, for safety reasons, a study cannot expose participants to the risk that serious types of violence presents. As a result, researchers must identify similar but benign behaviors that can help us understand more aggressive behaviors without harming participants.

 Science Education: Essentials of Cognitive Psychology

Perspectives on Cognitive Psychology

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratory of Jonathan Flombaum—Johns Hopkins University

As an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University, I teach Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. This large class primarily consists of freshman and sophomores majoring in related fields, like Psychology, Neuroscience, or Cognitive Science. One of the challenges I face in the classroom is teaching students to appreciate how data are obtained in the process of performing experiments. Students have difficulty in appreciating the chronology of experiments as they unfold in time. This JoVE collection in Cognitive Psychology makes the experimental timeline absolutely clear and encourages students to understand the trajectory and not just jump to conclusions. The videos also present experiments as paradigms—to illustrate how researchers can implement tasks in different ways—depending on the questions at hand. Most of these questions translate to the real world and the limits of our cognition. For example, the video Measuring Verbal Working Memory Span demonstrates our limited memory capacity, which explains the difficulty in remembering long shopping lists. These JoVE videos in Cognitive Psychology provide a perfect place fo

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

Perspectives on Experimental Psychology

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

As the Department Chair of Psychology at Monmouth University, I teach primarily upper level undergraduate students who are interested in Experimental Methods. These classes don’t have the same inherent appeal to students. This JoVE Psychology collection will help students vicariously watch the experiments being performed from start to finish, allowing them to gain exposure to over a dozen topics that they may not experience otherwise. Importantly, the videos provide a context for seeing the experiments embedded in their natural states—in the actual research process. A few projects in this Science Education collection stand out. First, I consider the Ethics in Psychological Research video to be very useful in teaching, as it demonstrates how sensitive topics, such as interpersonal violence, can be studied in creative ways. Furthermore, students learn better with topics that they care about and can conceptualize in their personal lives. For example, Observational Research delves into the factors that go into homesickness, going beyond questionnaires and examining the relationship to what individuals actually leave around in their rooms. This design al

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

Reliability in Psychology Experiments

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

In order to study something scientifically, a researcher needs to determine a way to quantify it. However, psychological constructs can be challenging to measure and quantify. This video examines reliability in the context of content analysis.  A recent study in the journal Pediatrics reported that 4-year-olds who watched a fast-paced cartoon had worse performance on cognitive tasks, such as following rules in a game, listening to direction from an adult, and delaying gratification, compared to other children who watched a slower paced cartoon.1 In addition to the pace of the cartoon, the content of the cartoon may also have deleterious effects on its young viewers. This video uses a simple two-group design, to exemplify the issue of reliability, in examining the question of whether the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants has more inappropriate content than does the cartoon Caillou.

 JoVE Behavior

Design and Implementation of an fMRI Study Examining Thought Suppression in Young Women with, and At-risk, for Depression

1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, 2McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery and Study, McMaster University, 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, 4Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University


JoVE 52061

 Science Education: Essentials of Cognitive Psychology

Measuring Reaction Time and Donders' Method of Subtraction

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratory of Jonathan Flombaum—Johns Hopkins University

The ambition of experimental psychology is to characterize the mental events that support the human ability to solve problems, perceive the world, and turn thoughts into words and sentences. But people cannot see or feel those mental events; they cannot be weighed, combined in test tubes, or grown in a dish. Wanting to study mental life, nonetheless, Franciscus Donders, a Dutch ophthalmologist in the early 1800s, came up with a property that he could measure—even back then: he measured the time it took for human subjects to perform simple tasks, reasoning that he could treat those measurements as proxies for the time it takes to complete the unobservable mental operations involved. In fact, Donders went one step further, developing a basic experimental paradigm known as the Method of Subtraction. It simply asks a researcher to design two tasks that are identical in nearly every way, excepting a mental operation hypothesized to be involved in one of the tasks and omitted in the other. The researcher then measures the time it takes to complete each task, and by subtracting the outcomes, he extracts an estimate of the time it takes to execute the one mental operation of interest. In this way, the method allows a researcher

 JoVE Neuroscience

Simultaneous Detection of c-Fos Activation from Mesolimbic and Mesocortical Dopamine Reward Sites Following Naive Sugar and Fat Ingestion in Rats

1Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Cluster, Psychology Doctoral Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY, 2Department of Psychology, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY, 3Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Cluster, Psychology Doctoral Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY, Flushing, NY


JoVE 53897

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

From Theory to Design: The Role of Creativity in Designing Experiments

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

Research studies come into being when a researcher speculates about human thought, emotions, or behavior, and has a theory that offers a potential explanation. Often the researcher’s theory is firmly situated in everyday common experiences that may not naturally lend themselves to direct empirical study. For example, researchers speculated that perception of a person on Facebook is influenced by the appearances and comments of the person’s Facebook friends.1 It is difficult to test this theory using real-life Facebook profiles. Instead, researchers must use their creativity to design a study—in this case, using fake profiles that look highly realistic—to test their theory.  This video demonstrates how researchers test a central tenet of a popular social psychology theory. Specifically, this video shows a test of whether engaging in a self-expanding activity leads a person to feel a greater sense of self-efficacy.2 Psychological studies often use higher sample sizes than studies in other sciences. A large number

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

The Factorial Experiment

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

A factorial design is a common type of experiment where there are two or more independent variables. This video demonstrates a 2 x 2 factorial design used to explore how self-awareness and self-esteem may influence the ability to decipher nonverbal signals. This video leads students through the basics of a factorial design including, the nature of a factorial design and what distinguishes it from other designs, the benefits of factorial design, the importance and nature of interactions, main effect and interaction hypotheses, and how to conduct a factorial experiment.

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

Self-report vs. Behavioral Measures of Recycling

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

One of the challenges in measuring an experimental variable is identifying the technique that will produce the more accurate measurement. The most common way to measure a dependent variable is self-report—asking the participant to describe his/her feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Yet, people may not be honest. To truly know something about a participant, it may be necessary to see what they actually do in a situation. This video uses a multi-group experiment to see if feeling close to others results in more favorable attitudes toward environmental consciousness measured both by self-report and behavioral observation. Psychological studies often use higher sample sizes than studies in other sciences. A large number of participants helps to better ensure that the population under study is better represented, i.e., the margin of error accompanied by studying human behavior is sufficiently accounted for. In this video, we demonstrate this experiment using just one participant. However, as represented in the results, we used a total of 186 participants to reach the experiment’s conclusions.

 Science Education: Essentials of Experimental Psychology

Experimentation using a Confederate

JoVE Science Education

Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University

When orchestrating an experiment, it is important that the experience elicits the most natural reactions from the participants as possible. Researchers accomplish much of this through their creation of the experimental settings. Many research projects focus on interactions between two or more people.  In these situations the environment or setting must often be less natural; often only one person can be a true participant and others in the study need to be “confederates,” that is, allegedly unbiased participants whom, in actuality, act according to the researcher’s directions. This video uses a two-group experiment to see if participants are more likely to imitate a person with more power versus similar power compared to the participant.  The video also highlights the use of research confederates. Psychological studies often use higher sample sizes than studies in other sciences.  A large number of participants helps to better ensure that the population under study is better represented, i.e. the margin of error accompanied by studying human behavior is sufficiently accou

 JoVE Neuroscience

Creating Objects and Object Categories for Studying Perception and Perceptual Learning

1Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University, 2Vision Discovery Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University, 3Department of Opthalmology, Georgia Health Sciences University, 4Intelligent Systems Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center, 5Pattern Recognition Systems, Palo Alto Research Center, 6Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota


JoVE 3358

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