Doing and Communicating Psychological Research B

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Doing and Communicating Psychological Research B

In addition to learning about specific topics such as social psychology or perception, it is a good idea to develop a more general understanding of how psychology is done and what it may be useful for. Therefore, ten lectures – five in each Psychology 2A and Psychology 2B – are dedicated to a range of topics that cover different approaches to doing science, searching and summarizing psychological research findings, research ethics and science communication.

Lecture 32: Doing psychological research: Experimental approaches
Virtually all of our detailed understanding of mechanisms in the mind comes from research which seeks to reach the level of "experiment". This hour will be spent learning how this is perhaps the most valuable skill or "mind-app" you will install while learning with us, and how much trouble it can get you into. Well-conducted experimental studies can tell which theory to prefer, and which to discard. Experiments can test causal predictions, and validate (or invalidate) mechanisms by which we claim to be able to change behaviour. Around the half the hour will focus on pit-falls and failures to experiment, and some valuable lessons in humility. Tim Bates.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 15 January, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 33: General principles of designing and programming experiments
So you've got an experimental idea (and you've avoided some common pitfalls): This lecture focuses on the practicalities of getting an experiment running and collecting responses, whether you are using pencil and paper or whether a computer will collect your data. In the second half of the lecture we'll work through an example experiment, going from design to plan for implementation. Martin Corley.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 17 January, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 46: Psychology and the world
This lecture will explore the implications of psychology for society and researchers' role in engaging with society about their research. Madeleine Beveridge
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 14 February, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 47: Doing psychological research: Computational approaches
The hallmark of a good theory is that it can be specified with mathematical precision: A theory allows us to write down (or draw, or formulate) exact predictions about behaviour. Moreover, it specifies what happens within the mind at a computational level. That is, we should be able to write a computer program or mathematical specification of each mental system the theory claims underlies behaviour. The theory should specify not only what the relevant inputs and behavioural outputs are, but also what information processing will be done on stimuli and what behaviours will be emitted. These can be verified at least in very stripped-down controlled situations. Theory which reaches the computational level should also predict what kinds of person (or patient) we should see in cases of breakdown: For instance a theory of reading should predict all the observable forms of reading disorder. If it gets this wrong, it is falsified. Only the best theories in psychology meet this standard. We will spend the hour looking at two. Tim Bates.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 26 February, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 48: Communicating with non-experts about psychological research
Building on the Psychology and the World lecture, this lecture will help you develop skills for communicating effectively about psychological research if you are writing for or giving presentations to people who do not have an academic background in psychology. Madeleine Beveridge.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 28 February, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of Psychology 2B, students know about some of the most popular general approaches to carrying out psychological research along with their rationales, strengths and pitfalls, main ethical issues in research and publishing, and some possible ways how the findings of psychological research can be usefully communicated outside academia. Also, students can efficiently identify most relevant literature on particular research topics and summarize the findings, know the basic principles of designing experiments, and they can prepare short presentations for lay audiences. Students will benefit the most if they have taken both Psychology 2A and Psychology 2B, but the content of this section of Psychology 2B does not necessarily depend on that of Psychology 2A.


There is no specific reading to go with these lectures.