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

Ethics in Psychology Research

JoVE 10045

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.


 Experimental Psychology

Perspectives on Cognitive Psychology

JoVE 10170

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


 Cognitive Psychology

Perspectives on Experimental Psychology

JoVE 10169

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


 Experimental Psychology

Reliability in Psychology Experiments

JoVE 10046

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.


 Experimental Psychology

Perspectives on Social Psychology

JoVE 10434

Social Psychology is a complex field—one that investigates how social contexts affect people’s actions, thoughts, and attitudes. It brings the scientific method into our everyday lives by addressing questions relevant to interactions amongst individuals near and far or even over the internet. For example, the video about ostracism details an approach to induce feelings of exclusion without direct face-to-face contact. These videos are meant to show the wide reactionary nature of human beings, which also makes the experimental process more complicated. By providing students and scientists a transparent look at the intricate research methods behind classic experiments, this collection strengthens their understanding into just how researchers manipulate contexts to elicit behaviors—some that we are not even aware of harboring. For instance, the video "Implicit Association Test" explores how to measure unconscious attitudes for sensitive topics, like racial prejudice. This collection in Social Psychology provides the perfect introduction to this subject and insight into future directions, such as integration with neuroscience and big data collected via social media outlets.


 Social Psychology

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


 Behavior

Measuring Reaction Time and Donders' Method of Subtraction

JoVE 10087

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


 Cognitive Psychology

Thinking Too Much Impairs Decision-Making

JoVE 10334

Source: Peter Mende-Siedlecki & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

When we are considering a tough choice between two or more attractive options, we often end up actively weighing the pros and cons of each alternative. By reflecting on their advantages and disadvantages, we attempt to fit a complex, subjective decision into an orderly set of criteria. However, research in psychology suggests that this sort of introspective approach might not always yield the most optimal outcomes.1 In other words, sometimes thinking hard about a problem or a choice may not produce desired results. Similar results have been demonstrated in the domains of emotion (participants who ruminated about a bad mood showed less mood improvement than participants who were merely distracted from their mood;2 and memory (verbalizing the details of a criminal’s face led to poorer recognition in a photo array of possible suspects.3 Furthermore, Wilson and colleagues observed that reflecting on the reasons behind one’s attitudes (i.e., considering “why” one feels a certain way) can disrupt the consistency between attitudes and behavior, and can even change attitudes.4 Why might this be the case? Wilson and colleagues speculate


 Social Psychology

Misattribution of Arousal and Cognitive Dissonance

JoVE 10333

Source: Peter Mende-Siedlecki & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

A host of research in psychology suggests that feelings of psychological arousal may be relatively ambiguous, and under certain circumstances, can lead us to make inaccurate conclusions about our own mental states. Much of this work flows from seminal research conducted by Stanley Schacter and and Jerome Singer. If someone experiences arousal and does not have an obvious, appropriate explanation, they may attempt to explain their arousal in terms of other aspects of the situation or social context. For example, in one classic study, participants were told they were receiving a drug called “Suproxin,” in an attempt to test their vision.1 In reality, they received shots of epinephrine, which typically increases feelings of psychological arousal. While some participants were told that the drug would have side effects similar to epinephrine, others were not informed of the side effects, others were misinformed, and others received a placebo with no arousing side effects. Participants then interacted with a confederate, who was either behaving in a euphoric or an angry manner. The authors observed that participants who had no explanation for t


 Social Psychology

Ostracism: Effects of Being Ignored Over the Internet

JoVE 10336

Source: Peter Mende-Siedlecki & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

Social ostracism is defined as being ignored and excluded in the presence of others. This experience is a pervasive and powerful social phenomenon, observed in both animals and humans, throughout all stages of human development, and across all manner of dyadic relationships, cultures, and social groups and institutions. Some have argued that ostracism serves a social regulatory function, which can enhance group cohesion and fitness by removing unwanted elements.1 As such, the feeling of ostracism can serve as a warning to alter one’s behavior, in order to rejoin with the group.2 Research in social psychology has focused extensively on the affective and behavioral consequences of social ostracism. For example, individuals who have been ostracized report feeling depressed, lonely, anxious, frustrated, and helpless,3 and while they may now evaluate the source of their ostracism more negatively, they will also often try to ingratiate themselves to them.2 Furthermore, it has been speculated that the fear of ostracism is ultimately driven by a strong need to belong and to feel included, and serves as a social pressure leading to conformity, compliance, and impression ma


 Social Psychology

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


 Neuroscience

The Other End of the Leash: An Experimental Test to Analyze How Owners Interact with Their Pet Dogs

1Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, 2Wolf Science Center, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, 3Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 4Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

JoVE 56233


 Behavior

The Implicit Association Test

JoVE 10368

Source: Julian Wills & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

One of the core constructs in social psychology is the notion of an attitude toward an object or person. Traditionally, psychologists measured attitudes by simply asking people to self-report their beliefs, opinions, or feelings. This approach has limitations, however, when measuring socially sensitive attitudes, like racial prejudice, because people are often motivated to self-report unprejudiced, egalitarian beliefs (despite harboring negative associations). In order to bypass this social-desirability bias, psychologists have developed a number of tasks that attempt to measure implicit attitudes that are less amenable to deliberate control (and potential distortion). The Implicit Association Test, or IAT, is one of the most influential measures of these unconscious attitudes. The IAT was first introduced in a 1998 paper by Anthony Greenwald and colleagues.1 This video will demonstrate how to conduct the IAT used in the final experiment, where European American participants (who report explicit egalitarian attitudes) exhibit implicit preferences for their own race.


 Social Psychology

Creating the Minimal Group Paradigm

JoVE 10310

Source: Julian Wills & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

The study of intergroup relations, such as prejudice, conflict, and discrimination, has always been a central topic in social psychology. Does discrimination stem from competition with other groups, a history of conflict, or derogatory stereotypes? Despite an abundance of real-world examples, the ingredients that lead to intergroup discrimination are often unclear. To help solve this problem, a group of psychologists created "minimal groups" to strip away confounds like monetary self-interest and a history of conflict that are normally involved in intergroup discrimination. In minimal groups, participants are randomly assigned to completely novel groups. Thus, any consequences emerging from this minimal group induction must stem from identifying with a social group and separating the social world into "us" and "them." Research using minimal groups has shown that, despite the arbitrary nature of group membership, participants willingly discriminate by favoring members of their in-group over members of the out-group. The minimal group paradigm is widely used in social psychology to study the most basic elements of intergroup relations. This method was first introduced in a 1971 paper calle


 Social Psychology

Nonconscious Mimicry Occurs when Affiliation Goals are Present

JoVE 10335

Source: Diego Reinero & Jay Van Bavel—New York University

People are social chameleons and regularly engage in nonconscious behavioral mimicry. This occurs when an individual unwittingly imitates the behaviors of another person, such as crossing one's legs moments after a person sitting adjacent does so, or adjusting one's body posture to match a conversation partner. Rapport between two people increases behavioral mimicry, just as mimicry also increases rapport. Psychologists have posited that this mimicry is attributed to a perception-behavior link;1 seeing a person engage in a behavior activates that behavioral representation, which then makes the perceiver more likely to engage in that behavior him- or herself. The following experiment expands on these previous findings by testing whether people, without intention or awareness, use mimicry to their advantage. Because goals activate behavioral strategies and plans of action that help people pursue those goals,2 Lakin and Chartrand hypothesized that individuals would mimic another person more when they have a goal to affiliate than when they do not.3


 Social Psychology

A Novel Method for Involving Women of Color at High Risk for Preterm Birth in Research Priority Setting

1School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 2UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative, University of California, San Francisco, 3School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 4San Francisco Black Infant Health Program, 5Homeless Prenatal Program

Video Coming Soon

JoVE 56220


 JoVE In-Press

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

JoVE 10047

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


 Experimental Psychology

The Factorial Experiment

JoVE 10058

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.


 Experimental Psychology

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