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Academic Report on Psychological Reserch

  • 14 Pages
  • Published On: 24-11-2023
Introduction

If an authority figure ordered an individual to deliver a 450- Volt electrical shock on another person, would the individual follow the orders? Undoubtedly, most individuals would reply with an adamant “no.” However, in the onset of 1960s, Stanley Milgram- Yale Social psychologist- undertook a series of research that intended to find out the effects of punishment on learning in which his obedience study purposed to prove otherwise. The results from the study were surprising as they revealed that a higher proportion of the participants (over 60%), proceeded with administering the electric shocks as they adhered to the experimenter’s commands to proceed (Perlstadt 2013, 53). Therefore, in line with psychological research, the current report will have four sections whereby Section one will detail what “the scientific method” means, Section two will outline the two research methods (experimental and non-experimental), Section 3 will analyze the case of the 13-year old teenager with aggressive behavior, and Section four will explore the ethical guidelines relating to psychological research and whether the 1968 Pygmalion Effect study was ethical.

Section 1

According to Allen and Anderson (2017, 12) the scientific method in psychology is fundamentally a step-by-step process followed by researchers in finding out whether there is a correlation between two or more variables. Social scientists and psychologists often have proposals for human behavior whereby on a more informal aspect, individuals make judgements regarding motivations, actions and actions of others every now and then. Therefore, while the day to day judgments people regarding human behavior are anecdotal and subjective, researchers apply the scientific method in studying psychology in a systematic and objective way (Jarde et al. 2012, 619). Thus, the two primary essential concepts in the scientific approach are “theory” and “hypothesis.” A theory is applied in coming up with predictions concerning future observations while a hypothesis is a prediction subject to testing and is logically arrived at from a theory in which the study involves sampling to derive results. A sampling method in psychology is a procedure by which the researcher acquires the participants that will participate in the research. Concisely, a sample, is a representation of the entire target population with some of the sampling methods inclusive of opportunity sampling, random sample, volunteer sample, stratified sample and systematic sample (Chang 2011, 198). Whatsapp Therefore, from the step-by-step process, the independent measures design comprises of variant participants for each of the experiment’s condition. The merit of the independent measures is that order effects do not exist which is why the participants act differently arising from the order of the performed conditions (such as fatigue and boredom) (Bleske-Rechek et al. 2015, 51). For instance, in the Milgram experiment, Milgram varied the fundamental procedure by changing the independent variable (IV); whereby, by doing this, he was able to identify the factors that affect obedience- the dependent variable (DV). On a different note, the repeated measures design comprises of testing the same participants based on two or higher conditions. The advantage that comes with the repeated measures design is that the variances between participants are scrapped off as potentials for confounding variables (Heyes 2012, 193).

Section 2

In psychology, experimental research is the kind of research that applies a scientific approach in manipulation of one or more control variables in addition to measurement of their defects on the dependent variables (Jarde et al. 2012, 621). Some of the merits of experimental research are but not limited to; it avails the researchers high control levels as the variables can be manipulated; the researchers are capable of using more variations, and; better and excellent results can be derived. However, the research method has some shortfalls such as; it could lead to artificial situations as researchers manipulate variables in order to be a replication of real-world scenarios; costly and time consuming especially if an array of studies has to be undertaken in testing each variable, and; higher probabilities of errors that cannot be predicted (Reidy et al. 2011, 523). On another note, in non-experimental research, it is impossible for the researcher to manipulate or control the independent variable but rather depends on observation and interpretation to make conclusions (Akers 2011, n.p). There appears to be only demerits of non-experimental research as; it is impossible to find cause-and-effect links in the method; impossible to manipulate the predictor variable, and; the study methods are mostly correlation or case studies (Baumrind 2013, 16). According to Rendell et al. (2011, 69) there are three kinds of experimental methods; Lab, field, and natural experiment; but the current report will major on the lab experiment. A laboratory experiment is that which is undertaken in a highly regulated condition where there is a possibility of accurate results- does not necessarily have to be conducted in a laboratory (Jarde et al. 2012, 621). The researcher is the determinant of the place, time and viable participants for the research. The Milgram’s study on obedience is a good illustration of a lab experiment; whereby, the participants were randomly allocated to each independent variable. Comparatively, non-experimental methods are better than the experimental methods. Further, the former method has a greater and viable ecological validity as the researcher can observe the flow of behaviors in the chosen setting. However, both methods are fundamental in undertaking psychological research.

Section 3

As argued by Rendell et al. (2011, 73) there is a plethora of reasons as to why teenagers might be acting violently or aggressive. Human aggression is by a major proportion, shaped and driven by anger and the acquisition, development and prolonging of aggressiveness among teenagers can be comprehended in terms of cognitive social information processing. Some teenagers might act out as they are agitated by an occurrence of something at home or in school. Luke might by upset probably by the splitting of his parents (Allen & Anderson 2017, 14). The cognitive approach has a primary advantage as is practical and has useful applications but unfortunately, it does not observe the supposed reasons of behavior. Additionally, there is a correlation between stronger links on environmental cues and appetitive stimuli in addition to weaker associations in aversive stimuli in youth and adults. Therefore, an attention system propelled in prioritizing stimulus-driven attention alongside powerful associative learning is a primary contribution in shaping patterns of adolescent behaviors (Reidy et al. 2011, 515). Argued from the point of the social learning theory that was expounded by Albert Bandura in the 1970s, the theory suggests that children learn exhibiting aggressive behaviors after observation from others acting aggressively (Barchia & Bussey 2011, 291). Hence, Luke might be replicating what he has witnessed others do regardless of whether the behaviors are positively or negatively reinforced. Further, as Bandura asserts in the theory, Luke could be imitating adult’s aggressive actions observed in contrived social settings. Further, considering that Luke is a teenager, more aggressive behavior with instances of violence is a common phenomenon in early stages of adolescence (Akers 2011, n.p). Moreover, the increase in masculinity and probable adoption of weapons might also be the reason empowering Luke to display greater propensity in directing aggressiveness towards the mother or authority figures in school (Stein et al. 2020, 129). The aggressiveness is due to its modelling or reinforcement over time. Hence, if Luke’s mother or father has been violent on Luke, there is a higher likelihood that the teenager might act aggressively or violent in return as he contemplates violence is an acceptable response to disagreements or stress (Chang 2011, 199). Argumentatively, Luke’s peers might also be the influence behind his aggressive behavior as the peer relationships happen to play a significant role towards adolescent’s aggressiveness. Wester (2011, 305) argues that displaying aggression might be a way in gaining high social status or popularity through power and control demonstration. Therefore, the peers might lead to Luke’s display of aggressive behavior for fear of loss of social standing or isolation. Both the cognitive approach and the social learning theory focus on the situational context. Moreover, both approaches hypothesize that classical and operant conditioning are open facets to behavior. However, behaviorism emphasizes on learning via conditioning whereas the social approach focuses on the influence other individuals have on another someone’s behavior. Additionally, the cognitive approach asserts that dysfunctional behavior originates from the faulty thinking patterns of individuals.

Section 4

Normally, in psychological research, deception is allowed on condition that the effects are minimal and the participants are debriefed afterwards. However, was the 1968 Pygmalion Effect study by Rosenthal and Jacobson was unethical? As documented by Stein et al. (2020, 132), past research on the children’s learning abilities reveals that they are like sponges in the early schooling years. Therefore, it is a critical stage in learning certain aspects. Argumentatively, from the 1968 study, the children that failed to be branded as bloomers were not granted as much attention as they were supposed to which then affected their overall performance (Barchia & Bussey 2011, 292). Therefore, though the study was a major contributor in the field of psychology, it was unethical for the researchers to compromise the learning capabilities of the young children for a whole school year. What constitutes ethics in psychological research? In the 1960s, Dr. Lauretta Bender performed the “Electroshock therapy on children,” in the Creedmore Hospital in the New York (Stein et al. 2020, 138). More than 100 children were subjected to electroshock pressure on a child’s head and any child that moved with the pressure, Bender asserted that the child was revealing early signs of schizophrenia and she never demonstrated any kind of sympathy towards the children under her care (Griggs et al. 2020, n.p). But the question remains, was the study ethical? Absolutely not! Hence, when undertaking a psychology research, it is crucial that the researchers observe the necessary correct rules of conduct in which they further have a moral responsibility of protecting research participants from harm (Heyes 2012, 193). Moreover, the basic ethical facets are inclusive of but not limited to; (1) Informed consent- the participants are need to be briefed on the entire process and know what they are agreeing to; (2) Debrief- after the study is over, the psychologist should discuss the procedure and the study’s findings; (3) Protection of the participants- researchers need to be aware that the research does not cause distress to the participants; (4) Deception- the participants should not be misled or wrongly informed on the research’s aims; (5) Confidentiality- gathered data regarding the participants be kept anonymous; (6) Withdrawal from investigation- participants should be allowed to leave the study any time they wish (Baumrind 2013, 16).

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Conclusion and recommendations

Basing on the mid-20th Century, argumentatively, Milgram demonstrated that once individuals have accepted the authority figure to control them and direct their actions, the individuals relinquish responsibility to the authority figure (Allen & Anderson 2017, 9). Further, the people allow the authority figure to define for them what is right and what is wrong. However, that should not be the case and there is need for future research to investigate how individuals can stand by what is morally right in addition to questioning the legitimacy of the authority regardless of whether the authority figure dictates otherwise. Moreover, the current report detailed the two research methods in psychology; experimental and non-experimental with a further analysis on laboratory experiment and naturalistic observation derived from experimental and non-experimental research methods respectively. Further as discussed in the report, aggressive behavior among teenagers might arise from numerous factors inclusive of cognitive development in adolescence stage, peer pressure influence, or even frustrations from a recent occurrence during the teenager’s life. Notably, violent behavior among teenagers can be mitigated through cognitive-behavioral interventions that emphasize on perception and processing of aversive instances, fostering of pro-social skills and enhancement of anger self-regulation (Rendell et al. 2011, 69). When conducting research on human behavior, it is fundamental for the scientists and psychologists to follow the five-step scientific method of; (1) Making the observation- through appropriately choosing a study topic; (2) Formulation of hypothesis between two or further variables; (3) Testing the hypothesis and data collection; (4) Results examination and drawing of conclusions; (5) Lastly, the researcher needs to appropriately report the results of the study- can be achieved by publishing an article in a professional or academic journal.

References

Akers, R.L., 2011. Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Transaction Publishers.

Allen, J.J. and Anderson, C.A., 2017. General aggression model. The international encyclopedia of media effects, pp.1-15.

Barchia, K. and Bussey, K., 2011. Predictors of student defenders of peer aggression victims: Empathy and social cognitive factors. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35(4), pp.289-297.

Baumrind, D., 2013. Is Milgram's deceptive research ethically acceptable?. Theoretical & Applied Ethics, 2(2), pp.1-18.

Bleske-Rechek, A., Morrison, K.M. and Heidtke, L.D., 2015. Causal inference from descriptions of experimental and non-experimental research: Public understanding of correlation-versus-causation. The Journal of general psychology, 142(1), pp.48-70.

Chang, J., 2011. A Case Study of the" Pygmalion Effect": Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement. International education studies, 4(1), pp.198-201.

Griggs, R.A., Blyler, J. and Jackson, S.L., 2020. Using research ethics as a springboard for teaching Milgram’s obedience study as a contentious classic. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.

Heyes, C., 2012. What's social about social learning?. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126(2), p.193.

Jarde, A., Losilla, J.M. and Vives, J., 2012. Methodological quality assessment tools of non-experimental studies: a systematic review. Ann Psychol, 28(2), pp.617-628.

Perlstadt, H., 2013. Milgram's obedience to authority: Its origins, controversies, and replications. Theoretical & Applied Ethics, 2(2), pp.53-77.

Reidy, D.E., Shelley-Tremblay, J.F. and Lilienfeld, S.O., 2011. Psychopathy, reactive aggression, and precarious proclamations: A review of behavioral, cognitive, and biological research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16(6), pp.512-524.

Rendell, L., Fogarty, L., Hoppitt, W.J., Morgan, T.J., Webster, M.M. and Laland, K.N., 2011. Cognitive culture: theoretical and empirical insights into social learning strategies. Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(2), pp.68-76.

Stein, A.L., Sacks, S.M., Roth, J.R., Habis, M., Saltz, S.B. and Chen, C., 2020. Anesthetic Management During Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children: A Systematic Review of the Available Literature. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 130(1), pp.126-140.

Wester, K.L., 2011. Publishing ethical research: A step‐by‐step overview. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(3), pp.301-307.

Bibliography

Akers, R.L., 2011. Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Transaction Publishers.

Allen, J.J. and Anderson, C.A., 2017. General aggression model. The international encyclopedia of media effects, pp.1-15.

Barchia, K. and Bussey, K., 2011. Predictors of student defenders of peer aggression victims: Empathy and social cognitive factors. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35(4), pp.289-297.

Baumrind, D., 2013. Is Milgram's deceptive research ethically acceptable?. Theoretical & Applied Ethics, 2(2), pp.1-18.

Bleske-Rechek, A., Morrison, K.M. and Heidtke, L.D., 2015. Causal inference from descriptions of experimental and non-experimental research: Public understanding of correlation-versus-causation. The Journal of general psychology, 142(1), pp.48-70.

Chang, J., 2011. A Case Study of the" Pygmalion Effect": Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement. International education studies, 4(1), pp.198-201.

Collins, M.H., Hair, Jr, J.F. and Rocco, T.S., 2009. The older‐worker‐younger‐supervisor dyad: A test of the Reverse Pygmalion effect. Human resource development quarterly, 20(1), pp.21-41.

Goodwin, C.J. and Goodwin, K.A., 2016. Research in psychology methods and design. John Wiley & Sons.

Goodwin, C.J. and Goodwin, K.A., 2016. Research in psychology methods and design. John Wiley & Sons.

Griggs, R.A., Blyler, J. and Jackson, S.L., 2020. Using research ethics as a springboard for teaching Milgram’s obedience study as a contentious classic. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.

Heyes, C., 2012. What's social about social learning?. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126(2), p.193.

Jarde, A., Losilla, J.M. and Vives, J., 2012. Methodological quality assessment tools of non-experimental studies: a systematic review. Ann Psychol, 28(2), pp.617-628.

Perlstadt, H., 2013. Milgram's obedience to authority: Its origins, controversies, and replications. Theoretical & Applied Ethics, 2(2), pp.53-77.

Reidy, D.E., Shelley-Tremblay, J.F. and Lilienfeld, S.O., 2011. Psychopathy, reactive aggression, and precarious proclamations: A review of behavioral, cognitive, and biological research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16(6), pp.512-524.

Rendell, L., Fogarty, L., Hoppitt, W.J., Morgan, T.J., Webster, M.M. and Laland, K.N., 2011. Cognitive culture: theoretical and empirical insights into social learning strategies. Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(2), pp.68-76.

Rumjaun, A. and Narod, F., 2020. Social Learning Theory—Albert Bandura. In Science Education in Theory and Practice (pp. 85-99). Springer, Cham.

Stein, A.L., Sacks, S.M., Roth, J.R., Habis, M., Saltz, S.B. and Chen, C., 2020. Anesthetic Management During Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children: A Systematic Review of the Available Literature. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 130(1), pp.126-140.

Walter, G., Robertson, M., Rey, J.M., Soh, N. and Malhi, G.S., 2010. Electroconvulsive therapy in young people and the pioneering spirit of Lauretta Bender. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 22(5), pp.253-254.

Wester, K.L., 2011. Publishing ethical research: A step‐by‐step overview. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(3), pp.301-307.

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