01 Cognitive Psychology: Module 2




Scarince, Collin

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Module 2: Introduction to Psychology Research Methods Cognitive Psychology, like other psychology disciplines, relies heavily on the scientific method - the process of using careful observation of the world to develop and test hypotheses. Cognitive psychologists typically use experiments to develop theories and test hypotheses. In an experiment, researchers manipulate, or cause changes, in the independent variable, and observe or measure any impact of those changes in the dependent variable. The independent variable (or variables) is a variable under the experimenter’s control, or the variable that is intentionally altered between groups. In the case of a memory experiment, an independent variable might be the amount of time a participant has to study a list of 30 words they later need to recall. For this example, let's say one group of participants can study the list for 1 minutes, and another can study it for 5 minutes. The dependent variable is the variable that is not manipulated at all, or the one where the effect happens. One way to help remember this is that the dependent variable “depends” on what happens to the independent variable. Continuing with the memory example, the proportion of words a participant might recall (the dependent variable) depends on how long the participant could study the list (the independent variable). Thus, any observed changes or group differences in recall can be attributed to the time spent studying.



open educational resources, cognitive psychology, scientific method



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