PSY 260 Discussion Question Week 1 to 7

PSY 260 Topic 1 Discussion Question 1: How are empirical journal articles different from review journal articles? How are both types different from a chapter in an edited book?

PSY 260 Topic 1 Discussion Question 2: Harlow's study of attachment in baby monkeys is an example of basic research. Brainstorm some applied research questions that this basic research study might generate. Start by identifying some of the domains to which you might apply these findings (such as education, parenting, or health care), and then give a specific (applied) research question for each domain.


PSY 260 Topic 2 Discussion Question 1: Recall the three types of claims and the four big validities. Explain which validities are most relevant for each of the three types of claims. Researchers do not usually aim to achieve all four of the big validities at once, why not?

PSY 260 Topic 2 Discussion Question 2: What is the difference between the conceptual variable and the operational definition of a variable? How might the conceptual variables "affection," "intelligence," and "stress" be operationalized by a researcher?


PSY 260 Topic 3 Discussion Question 1: Review the following websites: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Americans for Medical Progress. Answer the following questions: Do you feel it is ethical to conduct research on animals for the advancement of human knowledge? Are there any alternatives to using animals for research?

PSY 260 Topic 3 Discussion Question 2: Read the Psychology Internship case study, located at; then use the following questions to guide the forum discussion.

  1. What are your ethical responsibilities as a student intern?
  2. What are your personal feelings about the situation?
  3. How will your personal feelings affect your actions in this situation?


PSY 260 Topic 4 Discussion Question 1: Pop psychology tests are a common form of entertainment online. Find a personality or relationship quiz (try the relationship tests on or the personality tests at

Can you find any evidence for the reliability and validity of the quizzes on the websites? Choose one of these pop psychology tests and explain how you would test its reliability and validity; that is, explain the data that you would collect and state the results you would predict. You might frame your predictions in this form: "If this pop psychology scale were valid, it would be expected that it correlated with . . ." or "If this scale were reliable, it would be expected…"

PSY 260 Topic 4 Discussion Question 2: During a recent U.S. election, the news media interviewed a group of women in Florida. Although opinion polls strongly supported the liberal candidate, these conservative women were still optimistic that their own side would win. One woman said, "I don't think those polls are very good—after all, they've never called me. Have they called any of you ladies?" Is this woman's critique of polling techniques appropriate? Why or why not?


PSY 260 Topic 5 Discussion Question 1: Give examples of some questions you can ask to evaluate the external validity of a correlational study.

PSY 260 Topic 5 Discussion Question 2: Review the blog: Cell-Phones Only---Whom Should Polls Call and answer the following questions: How might an organization like Pew Research obtain an accurate estimate of the number of cell-phone only households in the first place? What kind of sample would you need to get this estimate? How would you contact this sample?


PSY 260 Topic 6 Discussion Question 1: What are two common reasons to use a factorial design? Describe why Bartholow and Heinz's word association study on alcohol and thoughts of aggression was a factorial design.

PSY 260 Topic 6 Discussion Question 2: Explain why experimenters usually prioritize internal validity over external validity when it is difficult to achieve both.


PSY 260 Topic 7 Discussion Question 1: Explain why researchers who are operating in theory-testing mode might not try using a random sample in their study. What validity are they prioritizing? What aspects of their research are they emphasizing (for now)?

PSY 260 Topic 7 Discussion Question 2: Summarize the goal of cultural psychology. What does this field suggest about working in theory-testing and generalization modes?

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