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Which Of The Following Statements About Psychological Constructs Is True

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Size And Duration Of Manipulation Effects

Understanding Logical Statements 1

Although many articles established the size of a manipulations effect on the manipulation check, no manipulation checks repeatedly assessed any manipulations effect in order to estimate the timecourse of these effects. The effect of a given experimental manipulation wanes over time and its timecourse is a critical element to determine for several reasons. First, experimenters need to know if the manipulations effect is still psychologically active at the time point in which they administer their outcome measures, and its strength at that given timepoint. This would allow experimenters to identify an experimental sweet spot when the manipulations effect is strongest. Second, for ethical reasons it is crucial to ensure that the manipulations effect has adequately decayed by the time the study has ended and participants are returned to the real world. This is especially important when the manipulated process is distressing or interferes with daily functioning . We therefore recommend that whenever possible, that experimenters estimate the timecourse of their manipulations effect by repeatedly administering manipulation checks during pilot validity testing .

Prevalence And Complexity Of Experimental Manipulations

At a first glance, we find that experimental manipulation is alive and well in social psychology. A little more than two-thirds of the studies we reviewed had at least one experimental manipulation. Suggesting a preference for simplicity, over 90% of studies with manipulations employed only one or two manipulations, and a similar number of manipulations contained only two or three conditions. This prevalence of relatively simple experimental designs is promising as exceedingly complex designs undermine statistical power and inflate type I and II error rates .

Reliability And Validity Of Measurement

Learning Objectives

  • Define reliability, including the different types and how they are assessed.

  • Define validity, including the different types and how they are assessed.

  • Describe the kinds of evidence that would be relevant to assessing the reliability and validity of a particular measure.

  • Again, measurement involves assigning scores to individuals so that they represent some characteristic of the individuals. But how do researchers know that the scores actually represent the characteristic, especially when it is a construct like intelligence, self-esteem, depression, or working memory capacity? The answer is that they conduct research using the measure to confirm that the scores make sense based on their understanding of the construct being measured. This is an extremely important point. Psychologists do not simply assume that their measures work. Instead, they collect data to demonstrate that they work. If their research does not demonstrate that a measure works, they stop using it.

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    Cognitive Psychology Vs Cognitive Science

    The line between cognitive psychology and cognitive science can be blurry. Cognitive psychology is better understood as predominantly concerned with applied psychology and the understanding of psychological phenomena. Cognitive psychologists are often heavily involved in running psychological experiments involving human participants, with the goal of gathering information related to how the human mind takes in, processes, and acts upon inputs received from the outside world. The information gained in this area is then often used in the applied field of clinical psychology.

    Cognitive science is better understood as predominantly concerned with a much broader scope, with links to philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, and particularly with artificial intelligence. It could be said that cognitive science provides the corpus of information feeding the theories used by cognitive psychologists. Cognitive scientists’ research sometimes involves non-human subjects, allowing them to delve into areas which would come under ethical scrutiny if performed on human participants. I.e., they may do research implanting devices in the brains of rats to track the firing of neurons while the rat performs a particular task. Cognitive science is highly involved in the area of artificial intelligence and its application to the understanding of mental processes.

    How Personal Construct Theory Works

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    Kelly believed that we start by first developing a set of personal constructs, which are essentially mental representations that we use to interpret events. These constructs are based on our experiences and observations.

    During the early 1950s, the behavioral and psychoanalytic perspectives were still quite dominant in psychology. Kelly proposed his personal construct theory as an alternative view that departed from these two prominent points of view.

    Rather than viewing human beings as passive subjects who were at the whims of the associations, reinforcements, and punishments they encountered in their environments or their unconscious wishes and childhood experiences , Kelly believed that people take an active role in how they collect and interpret knowledge.

    Behavior is not the answer to the psychologists question it is the question, he suggested.

    As we live our lives, we perform “experiments” that put our beliefs, perceptions, and interpretations to the test. If our experiments work, they strengthen our current beliefs. When they don’t, we are able to change our views.

    What makes these constructs so important? Because according to Kelly, we experience the world through the “lens” of our constructs. These constructs are used to predict and anticipate events, which in turn determines our behaviors, feelings, and thoughts.

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    Random Assignment And The Lack Of Detail In Descriptions Of Manipulations

    Of the between-participants manipulations, a considerable number failed to mention whether participants were randomly assigned to their experimental conditions. Given that random assignment is a necessary condition for a true experimental manipulation , explicit statements of what assignment procedure was used to place participants in their given condition should be included in every report of experimental results. Furthermore, none of the manipulations that did mention random assignment to condition described precisely what procedure was used to randomize the assignment process. Without this information, it is impossible to know if condition assignment was truly randomized or perhaps the randomization procedure could have introduced a systematic bias of some kind. Relatedly, we did not learn about whether or how within-participants manipulations randomized the order of the conditions across participants. Future research would benefit from examining the prevalence of these practices and their impact on the construct validity of within-participants manipulations.

    Laboratory Vs Field Effects

    There is no question that much more could be learned about psychological phenomena if they were studied outside of artificial laboratory settings. Ideally, the first line of research would test an effect in laboratories but would then move to natural fields and real-life situations to better establish the phenomenons external validity. It remains to be seen whether most, if not all, psychological phenomena are more powerful in real world.

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    Strength Of The Effect

    Effect Size

    Switch from p-value to ES has meant embracement of higher ES values as desirable because they supposedly reflect a greater magnitude of given effects. That is, the higher ES, the stronger is the effect. Although logically tenable, the inference poses difficult questions for claiming phenomenas existence on the basis of ES . This is especially true because no theoretically and logically derived psychological effect has a zero empirical effect. The null hypothesis is never true .

    To declare a phenomenon viable, how high does ES have to be or how low can it be? Can we regard any obtained ES number as an indication of a phenomenons existence as long as the associated confidence intervals lower bound does not touch zero? If we can, we then have to accept that this determination would constitute a mathematical and statistical convention or even artifact, in principle no different than the p< 0.05 convention. In other words, a psychological phenomenon would be defined by mathematical reality, more specifically, by a simple statistic derived from subtraction of the control groups mean from that of the experimental group divided by variability among participants. Variability is, of course, directly affected by the sample size and the degree of controls within the experimental design.

    Percentage of Variance Explained

    Limitations And Future Directions

    Truth Table for Compound Statements

    This project only examined articles from JPSP and did not include a wider array of publication outlets in social psychology. It may be that our assessment of validation practices would change if we had cast a wider meta-analytic net. Future work should test whether our findings replicate in other journals and in other subfields of psychology. Other experimentally focused fields such as cognitive, developmental, and biological psychology may also vary in their approaches to the validation of their experimental manipulations. Future research is needed in these areas to see if this is the case. We also used subjective codes and definitions of the manipulation features that we coded, allowing for our own biases to have influenced our findings. We have made all of our codes publicly available so that interested parties might review them for such biases and modify the codes according to their own sensibilities and examine their effect on our results. Indeed, we do not see our findings as conclusive but that the coded dataset we have created will be a resource for other investigators to examine in the future.

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    Fifty Psychological And Psychiatric Terms To Avoid: A List Of Inaccurate Misleading Misused Ambiguous And Logically Confused Words And Phrases

    • 1Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
    • 2Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA
    • 3Binghamton University State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, USA
    • 4Department of Psychology, Sacred Heart College, Fairfield, CT, USA

    The goal of this article is to promote clear thinking and clear writing among students and teachers of psychological science by curbing terminological misinformation and confusion. To this end, we present a provisional list of 50 commonly used terms in psychology, psychiatry, and allied fields that should be avoided, or at most used sparingly and with explicit caveats. We provide corrective information for students, instructors, and researchers regarding these terms, which we organize for expository purposes into five categories: inaccurate or misleading terms, frequently misused terms, ambiguous terms, oxymorons, and pleonasms. For each term, we explain why it is problematic, delineate one or more examples of its misuse, and when pertinent, offer recommendations for preferable terms. By being more judicious in their use of terminology, psychologists and psychiatrists can foster clearer thinking in their students and the field at large regarding mental phenomena.

    If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.

    Our list of 50 terms, grouped into the five aforementioned categories and presented in alphabetical order within each category, follows.

    Construct Validity Of Psychological Manipulations

    Construct validity is not confined to psychometrics and is a crucial element in experimental psychology . Translated to an experimental setting, construct validity is present when a manifest psychological manipulation accurately and causally affects its intended latent psychological construct in the intended direction, exerts theoretically-appropriate effects upon other latent variables in that constructs nomological network, and does not affect or weakly affects confounding extraneous latent constructs . This desired pattern of effects is illustrated in a phenomenon we deem the nomological shockwave.

    The nomological shockwave.

    Schematic depiction of a hypothetical nomological shockwave elicited by a construct valid social rejection manipulation. Plus signs depict positive effects and minus signs depict negative effects. Greater numbers of plus signs and thicker arrows depict stronger associations and effects.

    Internal versus construct validity.

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    Important Next Steps In Research

    Future research holds tremendous potential for learning more about the neurophysiological processes of meditation and the benefits of long-term practice on the brain. Research on neuroplasticity may help explain the relationships among length and quality of meditation practice, developmental stages of meditators and psychotherapy outcomes. More research is needed to better understand how the benefits of meditation practice accumulate over time.

    In addition, psychologists and others need to explore other ways to increase mindfulness in addition to meditation. Given that current research does not indicate that therapists’ self-reported mindfulness enhances client outcomes, better measures of mindfulness may need to be developed or different research designs that do not rely on self-report measures need to be used. Garland and Gaylord have proposed that the next generation of mindfulness research encompass four domains: 1. performance-based measures of mindfulness, as opposed to self-reports of mindfulness 2. scientific evaluation of notions espoused by Buddhist traditions 3. neuroimaging technology to verify self-report data and 4. changes in gene expression as a result of mindfulness. Research along these lines is likely to enhance our understanding of mindfulness and its potential benefits to psychotherapy.

    Daphne M. Davis, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Mass.

    Psychology As A Science Of Subtleties In Cognition Affect And Behavior


    There are two fundamental reasons why the retraction of known psychological phenomena is not possible. One has to do with the nature of psychological phenomena and the other with scientific method itself. First, psychology is a science of subtleties in cognition, affect and behavior. Its phenomena reside in and arise from the human mind, whether conscious or non-conscious, and as a result, are not static, but instead, dynamic and changing, varying with internal and external conditions. For example, thoughts and feelings often interact, one influencing another and both affecting behavior. Complicating the matters further, attendant thoughts are simple and complex at different times, and in some situations, both simple and complex at the same time. All of this means that there are no static phenomenon particles, unlike the Higgs Boson particle in physics. There is no ego depletion particle that, after exhaustive empirical work, can be said to exist or not to exist. Thus, in the absence of absolute constants regarding psychological phenomena in general, a target phenomenon is never zero, even if it is shown to be weak under some conditions.

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    Estimating The Construct Validity Of Psychological Measures

    The process of testing the construct validity of measures is well defined . First, investigators should conduct a comprehensive literature review to define the properties of the construct, prominent theories of the construct, and its associated nomological network . This substantive portion of construct validation and research design more broadly is perhaps the most crucial aspect. Rigorous theoretical work prior to measure construction is needed to ensure that the manifestation of the measure accurately captures the full range of the construct, distinguishes it from related constructs, and includes measures of other constructs to test the constructs nomological network .

    Lack Of Empirical Support

    In the early years of cognitive psychology, behaviorist critics held that the empiricism it pursued was incompatible with the concept of internal mental states but cognitive neuroscience continues to gather evidence of direct correlations between physiological brain activity and putative mental states, endorsing the basis for cognitive psychology.

    There is however disagreement between neuropsychologists and cognitive psychologists. Cognitive psychology has produced models of cognition which are not supported by modern brain science. It is often the case that the advocates of different cognitive models form a dialectic relationship with one another thus affecting empirical research, with researchers siding with their favorite theory. For example, advocates of mental model theory have attempted to find evidence that deductive reasoning is based on image thinking, while the advocates of mental logic theory have tried to prove that it is based on verbal thinking, leading to a disorderly picture of the findings from brain imaging and brain lesion studies. When theoretical claims are put aside, the evidence shows that interaction depends on the type of task tested, whether of visuospatial or linguistical orientation but that there is also an aspect of reasoning which is not covered by either theory.

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    Lasting And Cumulative Effects

    Linear thinking would argue that the more lasting the effect, the more real is the phenomenon. There are, however, no theoretical or conceptual reasons for subscribing to this thinking because some effects are short-lived and others enduring. For example, the ego depletion effect, by definition, is temporary and transient as the self-control reserve is replenished after its exhaustion. Similarly, competition-induced stress dramatically increases the amount of cortisol in the blood stream before and during real-life contests, but equally dramatically disappears after competition , thus demonstrating the phenomenons strong but temporary effects. In contrast, effects of failure can be lasting and not easily eliminated. As a whole, all of this suggests that the lastingness and cumulativeness of effects cannot determine whether phenomena are real or unreal, although they can add to a better understanding of phenomena.

    The Effects Of Meditation On Therapists And Therapist Trainees

    Logic: Truth table for~(p^q)^(r^~q)

    While many studies have been conducted on the benefits of applying mindfulness approaches to psychotherapy clients , research on the effects of mindfulness on psychotherapists is just beginning to emerge. Specifically, research has identified these benefits for psychotherapists who practice mindfulness meditation:

    Empathy. Several studies suggest that mindfulness promotes empathy. One study, for example, looked at premedical and medical students who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training. It found that the mindfulness group had significantly higher self-reported empathy than a control group . In 2006, a qualitative study of therapists who were experienced meditators found that they believed that mindfulness meditation helped develop empathy toward clients . Along similar lines, Wang found that therapists who were experienced mindfulness meditators scored higher on measures of self-reported empathy than therapists who did not meditate.

    Better quality of life. Using qualitative and quantitative measures, nursing students reported better quality of life and a significant decrease in negative psychological symptoms following exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training . Evidence from a study of counselor trainees exposed to interpersonal mindfulness training suggests that such interventions can foster emotional intelligence and social connectedness, and reduce stress and anxiety .

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    Construct Validity Of Psychological Measures

    Construct validity is a methodological and philosophical property that largely reflects how accurately a given manifestation of a study has mapped onto a constructs latent nomological network . Conventionally, construct validity has been largely invoked in the context of psychological measurement, assessment, and tests. In this context, construct validity is present when a manifest psychological measure accurately quantifies its intended latent psychological construct, shares theoretically-appropriate associations with other latent variables in that constructs nomological network, and does not capture confounding extraneous latent constructs . According to modern standards in psychology, construct validity is not a property of a given measure or the scores derived from it, but instead such validity pertains to the uses and interpretations of the scores that are derived from the measure .

    Schematic depiction of a hypothetical nomological network surrounding the construct of rejection. Plus signs depict positive associations and minus signs depict negative associations. Greater numbers of plus signs and thicker arrows depict stronger associations and effects.

    As depicted in the above schematic, a measure of a given construct , should exhibit a pattern of associations with theoretically-linked variables and null associations with variables outside of the nomological network .

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