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Causality: conducting experiments and using the data

As you’ve learned, the only way to establish that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables is to conduct a scientific experiment . Experiment has a different meaning in the scientific context than in everyday life. In everyday conversation, we often use it to describe trying something for the first time, such as experimenting with a new hair style or a new food. However, in the scientific context, an experiment has precise requirements for design and implementation.

The experimental hypothesis

In order to conduct an experiment, a researcher must have a specific hypothesis    to be tested. As you’ve learned, hypotheses can be formulated either through direct observation of the real world or after careful review of previous research. For example, if you think that children should not be allowed to watch violent programming on television because doing so would cause them to behave more violently, then you have basically formulated a hypothesis—namely, that watching violent television programs causes children to behave more violently. How might you have arrived at this particular hypothesis? You may have younger relatives who watch cartoons featuring characters using martial arts to save the world from evildoers, with an impressive array of punching, kicking, and defensive postures. You notice that after watching these programs for a while, your young relatives mimic the fighting behavior of the characters portrayed in the cartoon ( [link] ).

A photograph shows a child pointing a toy gun.
Seeing behavior like this right after a child watches violent television programming might lead you to hypothesize that viewing violent television programming leads to an increase in the display of violent behaviors. (credit: Emran Kassim)

These sorts of personal observations are what often lead us to formulate a specific hypothesis, but we cannot use limited personal observations and anecdotal evidence to rigorously test our hypothesis. Instead, to find out if real-world data supports our hypothesis, we have to conduct an experiment.

Designing an experiment

The most basic experimental design involves two groups: the experimental group and the control group. The two groups are designed to be the same except for one difference— experimental manipulation. The experimental group    gets the experimental manipulation—that is, the treatment or variable being tested (in this case, violent TV images)—and the control group    does not. Since experimental manipulation is the only difference between the experimental and control groups, we can be sure that any differences between the two are due to experimental manipulation rather than chance.

In our example of how violent television programming might affect violent behavior in children, we have the experimental group view violent television programming for a specified time and then measure their violent behavior. We measure the violent behavior in our control group after they watch nonviolent television programming for the same amount of time. It is important for the control group to be treated similarly to the experimental group, with the exception that the control group does not receive the experimental manipulation. Therefore, we have the control group watch non-violent television programming for the same amount of time as the experimental group.

Questions & Answers

when young children speak in short phrases using verbs and nouns,what it is referred to
Simran Reply
how old? generally that's how kids talk isn't it?
Ezra
especially shy ones
Ezra
slang
Emma
what are the social psychology concepts
MICOT Reply
their are about seven main theories... hope someone could help out with main one and their characteristic
Neelkanth
the self concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes.
Deepa
what is different between psychoanalysis, psychopathology?
salma
when do children form oppions
Tasha Reply
they sit in home and play home toys
muhammad
oppions?
Grace
How to know other person
RAGHAV Reply
what is the nature and scope of biopsychology?
Pratibha Reply
working along with neurologists and doctors closely on the field related to brain and nerves
devesh
How can one over come a sleep debt
Andy Reply
how does an algorithm save you time and energy when solving a problem
john Reply
by directing your attention or misdirecting your attention to a particular topic
frederick
can an obsession with blood and Gore be caused by psychological trauma
Dalton Reply
psychological trauma is a bit of a wild card in the case of long term effects. everyone has their own unique experience and I dont see why the example in your question couldn't be a possible manifestation.
Elle
it would be a bigger possibility of this resulting from trauma if this began after you witnessed a violent or gory event. however this often comes from the amount of violence and gore we are exposed to through social media, the news, and fictional material like books, movies and video games.
andrina
how can the bipolar and mood disorder can prevent?
Shana Reply
Control stress. Stress is a major bipolar trigger. ... If you would control stress you will simply feel good ....if you want to know more about this DM @shana mae
KhaLid
That brings us to the next question.. How do we actually control stress in an effective way?
Looney
well for me mindfulness meditation techniques are very much effective for coping with stress ....
KhaLid
please what are the major things I need to know now in psychology,because I'm a new student of psychology.
Godwin
Godwin if it is your begining in this field you should first clear some concepts like what is psychology it's etymology , structuralism,functionalism , behaviourism and many other perspectives .....
KhaLid
first of all are you studying in psychology or working as a psychologist
muhammad
studying Sir
Godwin
Thank you Sir Khalid.
Godwin
Muhammad Akram Both ☺️
KhaLid
Far too often, you can't control stress just like that on your own . And it will affect you On subconscious level . When it comes to meditation it's something to take seriously and best to be taught by professional.
Kira
I know there are many other ways but I found this one at my own Kira Emerala!
KhaLid
Hi friends
RAJABU
it can't be extracted I'll tell u that much
Shawnte
someone who study psychology here need help ? anyone ?
khawla
Can I ask for tips when you have no motivation and can't focus with your studies?
Jhea
For Shana, I'm sorry, I can't answer your concern at the moment, because I'm still studying about the basics of psychology 😬
Daydreaming
do meditation, start learning few pages initially n understand before moving to another topic
mini
play a sport of your choice for half an hour or listen to your fav music, develop your positive outlook towards life
mini
learn to balance work play study
mini
n health
mini
I'm struggling with BPD cptsd major anxiety disorders and going to college for a psychology degree. trying to maintain motivation is difficult. what can I do?
Sarah
I already meditate take my meds use biofeedback and several other things
Sarah
As a student, it is normal to lose motivation during college life but look at the long term goal. What do you want to achieve at the end? Divide it into small achieveable goals. Once you achieve it, focus on 2nd small goal. Last thing, it's okay to ask for help when needed. We are all in a journey.
mehdi
what's your friend's circle
muhammad
khawla saadouni yes how can I help you ?
KhaLid
Sarah you need CBT it will be effective on that what you are experiencing !!
KhaLid
implicit memory are those type of memories which can be written without any unconsciousness
Aayu Reply
m interested in this research...
Arnav
me too plz I am suffering from depression so v forgetful which has ruined my life
Sins
yes plank youth
Shawnte
0rayers poracles a d majik
Shawnte
cuffed truthfullcreatibeclarity
Shawnte
sins saintly do you need any help regarding how to cope up ?
KhaLid
nebieiluvrue
Shawnte
yes
Shawnte
what do you mean by sensory memory
Aayu Reply
sensory memory simply is an automatic response, not under conscious control. It deals with the input from the senses. 
KhaLid
what is the name of a person who introduction the techniques of factors analysis in intelligence
JobJoy Reply
what is associated with the developmental
JobJoy
lifelong spiritual advice
Zach Reply
Can you define spiritual Zach?
Emely
Are teeth part of our minds?
Kamil
who introduced the technique of factor analysis in intelligence
JobJoy Reply
Spearman's (1904)
Stephen
apart from Spearmans 1904 who again
JobJoy
Howard Garner
Komal
what scattered and worn triage has created upon resisting the internal anabalistic instinct to kill and conquer
Shawnte Reply
can anyone please recommend me some good psychology books?
Fareha
Id love to help but i would need to know about you.
Shawnte
Hahahahaha
Zain
Hey, I'm a 2nd year college student doing majors in psychology, i really love to read about different psychological concepts that effect us today's world, it would be great if you could recommend any books, thanks.
Fareha
lol @zain its ok i hope i get some books recommend too now
Fareha
anything related to the today's worlds issues and its factors related to the psychological effects
Fareha
obviously psychological concepts that effect about us today related to that @mujtaba
KhaLid
fareha Fatima have you ever read any book related to emotional intelligence?
KhaLid
@Khalid yes i did a few you can recommend me any book anyways
Fareha
thank you @Mujtaba i just downloaded the pdf.
Fareha
interesting emotional intelligence?
Sheila
interpretation of dreams sigmund frued behaviourism by JB Watson the ego and the Id by Sigmund frued
KhaLid
emotional waring made me mick bravery to even introduce my superiority complex without hiding...
Shawnte
yes especially by Daniel Goleman@sheila Henderson
KhaLid
how do i determine if im schizo because the voices i somtimes hear/feel are real.. it dosnt help my borderline personality disorder
Edward
Edward those types of labels are just words trying to capture the equation of some phenomenal behavioristic traits some have been both cursed and blessed with.
Shawnte
@Fareha erich fromm is very interesting
Mal
@Fareha read about personality by Sigmund Frued, Albert Adler & Eric Fromm..... & read about School of thoughts of Psychology...
Zain
electric field lines never cross why?
Hejab

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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