Psychology and Case Study Methods

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Punishment Pages: 5 (1632 words) Published: May 22, 2012
Final Project: Introduction to Psychology

Kaplan University

The correlational method suggests that there is a relationship between two variables. The correlational method seems to be the rational method to use in the investigation of the relationship between alcohol and violence. The problem with the correlation method is while this study can suggests that there is a relationship between alcohol and violence, this study cannot prove that one causes a change in the other. The correlation method cannot show if alcohol increases or decreases violence or if violence decreases or increases the use of alcohol. If the purpose of the study is only to prove that there is some sort of relationship between the two variables, the correlation method makes sense. If the purpose of the study is to actually prove the relationship and answer questions about how the two variables relate, another method may be more appropriate. I would prefer to investigate the relationship between alcohol and violence using the case study method. The case study method of research is used by psychologist to investigate in detail into a specific situation. Experiments, interviews, questionnaires, observations, diaries, and psychometric test can all be used within a case study. Detailed results can be easily obtained and offer more concrete proof of the research using the case study method. There are two kinds of case study; retrospective and longitudinal. A retrospective case study involves deep research into the history a person or a group of people. The past violent behavior and alcohol use of the patient as well as their medical and family history is used in the study. A longitudinal case study means that the psychologist would be investigating the future and the consequences of a specific event or situation that has happened. Based on a previous event or situation, the psychologist can make a prediction about the use of alcohol and violence on the subject. I think the case study offers the opportunity for more information because of the use of a combination of techniques to gather research. Interviewing and observing the subject in their environment as well as creating an experiment offers the researcher a vast array of options in gathering detailed data. Some of the ethical concerns relating to the case method include how data is acquired, recorded and stored during and after the study is complete. Recorded research data must be maintained in confidence and only available to scientific researchers. Subjects of any research must be informed of how their personal data will be used and stored and how their identity will be protected. Protecting the patient or subject involved in the research is very important as well as insuring the safety and human rights of the individual. Negative reinforcement is a form of operant conditioning that encourages a certain positive behavior by taking away a negative stimulus. This type of conditioning can be used in a number of situations, including in the home, classroom, and when training animals. A good example of negative reinforcement is of an animal in a cage. When the animal is placed in the cage, it receives a small electric shock, when the animal presses a small lever, the electric shock stops. The electric shock is the negative stimulus, when the lever is repeatedly pressed the negative stimulus is removed. The animal learned through negative reinforcement to press the lever in order to stop the shocks. My daughter has Autism and when she was very young, she would wake in the middle of the night and unlock the front door of our home and go out. An alarm was electronically placed on the door for one week. When my daughter woke in the night and tried to unlock the front door, I would cause the very loud and unpleasant alarm to go off. When my daughter stopped touching the door, the sound of the alarm stopped. My daughter did not like the sound of the alarm and stopped touching the door locks in...
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