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Discussion 1 Research Study Activity
In each of the following cases, identify which experimental design was used and why the researcher may have chosen that design.

  1. In order to compare the effectiveness of two different types of therapy for depression, depressed patients were assigned to receive either cognitive therapy or behavior therapy for a 12-week period. The researchers attempted to ensure that the patients in the two groups had a similar severity of depressed symptoms by administering a standardized test of depression to each participant, then pairing them according to the severity of their symptoms.
  2. To assess the difference in reading comprehension between 7 and 9-year-olds, a researcher recruited a group of each from a local primary school. They were given the same passage of text to read, and then asked a series of questions to assess their understanding.
  3. To assess the effectiveness of two different ways of teaching reading, a group of 5-year-olds were recruited from a primary school. Their level of reading ability was assessed, and then they were taught using scheme one for 20 weeks. At the end of this period, their reading was reassessed, and a reading improvement score was calculated. They were then taught using scheme two for a further 20 weeks and another reading improvement score for this period was calculated. The reading improvement scores for each child were then compared.
  4. In order to assess the effect of organization on recall, a researcher randomly assigned student volunteers to two conditions. Condition one attempted to recall a list of words that were organized into meaningful categories; condition two attempted to recall the same words, randomly grouped on the page.

Discussion 2 Conducting Research Activity

Pick one research topic and answer the following questions.

Research Topic #1: The relationship between audience members' opinions of a movie and their mood.
Research Topic #2: The relationship between the amount of time couples spend together and their relationship satisfaction.
Research Topic #3: The relationship between self-esteem and test performance.
Research Topic #4: The relationship between time spent listening to Heavy/Speed Metal music and aggression.


  • Design a correlational study to investigate the relationship between these two variables. What is your hypothesis? How will you operationally define and measure the two variables?
  • How will you obtain a random sample of participants?
  • Assume that your study produces a correlation of .56 between the two variables (between liking the movie and audience members’ happiness). What are at least three possible causal explanations for this relationship?
  • Now design an experimental study to investigate these variables. What is your hypothesis? What type of hypotheses does the experimental method allow you to test that the correlational method does not?
  • What is your independent variable? What is your dependent variable?
  • How will you make sure that the study has high internal validity? Will you use random assignment to conditions?
  • Do any ethical concerns about the treatment of participants emerge from your experimental design?

Discussion 3  Research Study Discussion


Much of today’s research in Psychology comes from colleges and universities. Research your college or a near-by state institution and identify one current study that is under way. Provide a brief overview of the research and whether or not the findings of that research would be of value to you someday.

Discussion 4  Personality Disorder Activity


The traits associated with personality disorders are often prototypes of characters in book, movies, and television. Pick three characters from a book, a movie, TV show or a video game with personality disorders. For each, complete the following:

Describe the character, the situation and the disorder.
Describe the traits of that disorder.
Identify the traits of what the character does or says that indicates the disorder

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