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Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science

2. Theories

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about one of the two powerful tools outlined in the previous lecture – theories, focusing in particular on: (i) a walk through the history of memory theory, describing how theories seemingly evolved from Hermann Ebbinghaus’ initial findings into Frederic Bartlett’s much later studies; (ii) bringing this together into an explanation containing the differences between learning facts and learning skills to differentiate episodic and semantic memory; (iii) this story as a demonstration of what could have been considered an evolution, but was actually two theories which complement one another and have been built upon to construct our modern understanding of memory.

Course

In this course, Dr Paterson (University of Glasgow) walks through the method and construction of psychological research, looking to understand psychology as a science. In the first lecture, we focus on hypotheses as an initial step in developing a research study, contextualising them into the three primary goals of science – to make new knowledge, to explain phenomena, and to predict what will happen next. In the second lecture, we take a powerful tool in the hands of researchers – theories, providing a history lesson on the development of memory theories by Ebbinghaus and Bartlett. The importance of understanding theories is highlighted here, demonstrating with this example that seemingly contradictory theories can complement one another and inform the development of a more comprehensive theory. In the third and fourth lectures, we look at the mechanics of the scientific method and how it informs a researcher’s ability to accept or reject their null hypothesis, through finding evidence for their theory. Next, we lead on from the latter part of lecture four’s discussion of replication, by discussing ‘the day science broke’; exploring reasons why classic studies have not been able to be replicated with matching results. In the sixth and final lecture, we expand on this by looking at some other potential failings of the scientific method.

Lecturer

Dr Helena Paterson is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Glasgow, responsible for teaching both research methods and social psychology. Dr Paterson’s research interests lie in the development of dynamic social events. One focus of this is understanding how human qualities are represented by the human cognitive system and, by extension, how we develop representations of social events and the accompanying stereotypes/biases. Dr Paterson is an advocate of open science, incorporating its principles into her research and teaching. Some of Dr Paterson’s recent publications include ‘Open-source tutorials benefit the field’ (2022) and ‘Data visualization using R for researchers who do not use R’ (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Paterson, H. (2021, November 15). Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science - Theories [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/understanding-psychology-as-a-science/theories

MLA style

Paterson, H. "Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science – Theories." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/understanding-psychology-as-a-science/theories

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