Read the two articles on experimental research in psychology. To what extent do you think the research methods used by psychologists adequately explain human behavior in the real world? Choose one of the articles that you have read for your final project and discuss how it relates to the arguments made in this week’s articles. When responding to your classmates, incorporate examples from the articles you are reading for your final project.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document (attached).

Please also respond to the following two students regarding this same topic:

student one:

Human behavior in the “real world” would be hard to record, let alone manipulate. When one thinks of explorers of new countries or field scientists who study species of animals (I personally think of Jane Goodall or Jane from Tarzan), many spent months, even years just watching the behavior of their focused study sets. Once a variable is manipulated in an environment, there is that much more to observe in order to ensure other factors are not affecting the changed variable. It seems much simpler to just ask a subject to recall how they felt or how they would feel in a situation as opposed to observing their every move. The article Psychology as the Science of Self-Reports and Finger Movements found that researchers utilized questionnaires and self reporting because of the higher cost associated with behavioral observation (Baumeister, Vohs, and Funder, 2007). Economics and logistics have made research methods, seemingly apathetic.

The article Service animals: STARS study findings about pet ownership and recovers from serious mental illness, seemed to not have enough direct observation of the participants (Wisdon, Saedi, & Green, 2009). This study evaluated 177 subjects with mental illness to see if pets assisted with their social or mental care. The information from these patients was collected via interview and none of the data collected was collected by direct observation, only what was reported by the subject. This seems to be an oversight on the researchers behalf as the study was evaluating whether or not pets help their owners with mental illness cope with social situations. I don’t believe the owner is the only one who should be relied upon to answer in this case, there should be some observable information collected as well to make this claim.

Student two:

The time of performing expensive and borderline unethical practices in psychology is no longer an option. Some of the best experiments that revealed advancements in psychology had great discoveries but also controversial. Experiments such as Stanley Milgram’s obedience test used a situation that may be unethical today because although no one sustained injuries, it may have caused psychological damage to the participants as they observed “shock” to an individual (Baumeister, Vohs & Funder, 2007). It does appear that researchers have moved away from the actual observation of behavior and focus on the internal process. Even Baumeister, Vohs and Funder suggest that a study of inner process without behavior is acceptable but it is not the same the other way around (2007).

I used the journal from Woods and Scott that focused on the outcome of social media and how it can cause poor sleep quality and eventually affect anxiety, depression, and self-esteem (2016). However, all the data the researchers obtained was in the form of self-reporting and not in an observed environment. In a different journal, Anderson, Lindsay, and Bushman suggest that lab and field have similar outcomes when they looked at aggression in the two settings (2007). This is one example of lab and field using a meta-analytic technique.

Unfortunately, I feel there are too many factors that change how people are. For example, just the other day my wife and I were in Spain when this elderly man fell. I did not see this but saw the man on the floor afterward unaware of what occurred while waiting in a crowd for a train to arrive. Only a few individuals helped with others, such as myself, watched confused by what happened. In short, if it was just the man and myself, I would have been more likely to assist but in the large crowd that I was unaware of the incident, I assumed he was under the influence or someone else in front of the crowd would assist him. Circumstances change behavior is what I am trying to convey. In a lab or field, I would differ my response to the situation. So maybe we are trying to generalize so much but we forget to focus on the actual behavior. Lastly, self-reporting is not an ideal way to obtain results. My answers differ from day-to-day depending on my mood.

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