Discuss How and Why Particular Research Methods Are Used at the Biological Level of Analysis
Discuss How and Why Particular Research Methods Are Used at the Biological Discuss how and why particular research method are used at the biological level of analysis. The biological level of analysis in psychology refers to the study of how human behaviour, thoughts and emotions can be affected and affect the biological factors/ physiology of human body. Laboratory experiments, case studies and correlation studies are the three main research methods applied in supporting the principles of the biological of analysis in psychology. First, laboratory experiments.
Laboratory experiments are research methods that help to establish cause-effect relationship between two variables.They are applied for developing the casual relationship of manipulated variables which help to increase psychological knowledge such as evolution, development, maintenance, alteration, control or biological significance of behaviour mostly through clear scientific purposes and might or might not benefit health and welfare of human or animals. Laboratory experiments are applied through the process of creating clear operational definition and mostly quantifiable independent variable, dependent variable and controlled variables.Researchers often manipulate the independent variable for figuring out the change in the dependent variable when there is a change in the independent variable while the controlled variables such as laboratory environments remain constant. Researchers often maintain a population of animals such as rats, fruit flies and pigeons as laboratory experiments often involve animal experiments since limited number of human-beings are willing to present their informed consent due to the possibility of harm and injury caused by the experiment.One of the classic research examples which was held through the research method of laboratory experiment was known as Daneau 1969 monkey trials.
This aim of the research as to test whether non-human primates would voluntarily initiate self-administration to drugs through provided monkeys free access to variety drugs of abuse. This piece of research informs us the validity and reliability of researches when the research method of laboratory experiment is applied.Laboratory experiment results low external validity as research samplings and data gained might not represent the entire population which results in inability to generalize research data on similar contexts in psychology. On the other hand, the laboratory environment also results in unrealistic environment causing low ecological validity. Full information of the nature of the experiment given to participants might also causes Placebo effect in which participants are not reacting to the specific treatment received which results low internal validity.
However, laboratory experiments generally has high reliability as the clear details of research method and operational definition results high replicability and the since they can be easily replicated, similar results could be found in most cases resulting high test-retest reliability. In addition, limited subjectivity will be presented in laboratory level of research method as research data are sometimes quantifiable (not in all cases) in which results absolute numerical values. Second, case study.Case study is a research method for studying naturally occurring irregularities without changing participants’ physiology for obtaining detail information of participants’ condition. It is applied for inferring cause and effect relationships and establish relationships between two variables.
In most contexts, researcher find existing of research related examples and then observe and test their behaviour, emotions and thoughts for developing a relationship based conclusion on the research topic.It is widely applied in biological level of analysis especially in the context of medicine as it is a descriptive based research method and results little to no harm to participants. Phineas P. Gage (1823-1860) is a research example in which the research method of case study was applied. He was an American man who has a rob through his head due to explosion.
He was later being investigated for studying brain localization. This research shows that case study has high validity as it is appropriate to apply study results to intended population with high ecological validity.However, it has low reliability as it can be retested resulting low test-retest reliability. Different researcher might also have different observations under controlled environment on the participants’ behaviour resulting low inter-rater reliability. Third, correlation study.
Correlation study is the record of the scores on two or more measures for establishing a relationship between them. The process of correlation study does not necessary involves in manipulating independent variables which might damage the participant.Correlation study is applied widely as it is important for developing the link between genetics and behaviour, especially in the context of studying the frequency of the second family member having a particular characteristic proven that his/her family has it. It also contributes widely on establishing the relationship between brain activity and behaviour or the relationship between cognition and emotion. Take note that no causation is established in this level of research method.Heston, 1966 is a research held through correlation study research method for the purpose of discovering the relationship between schizophrenia and genetic information transmitted from parents.
During the research process, researcher focused on investigating the percentage of adopted children with biological mothers proven to have schizophrenia performing symptoms of schizophrenia. The research is considered as a strong evidence that schizophrenia has a genetic component.It also demonstrates that correlation study has high reliability as it could be re-tested and replicated easily with similar results established. It also has high external validity has results can be applied on intended population. However, full understanding of the nature of the research might results demand characteristics in which researcher should pay attention on controlling the procedures of correlation study.
Learning outcome: Discuss ethical considerations related to research at biological level of analysis.Deneau 1969 monkey drug trials is a research conducted through laboratory experiment leading to ethical considerations. In 1969, Deneau provided monkeys free access to variety drugs of abuse for investigating whether non-human primates would voluntarily initiate self-administration to these substances. The monkeys were so effected by the drugs that some even broke their arms, desperately trying to escape from the torment. Others broke their fingers due to hallucinations.However, does the study of drugs worth for the sacrifices of these lively and beautiful creatures? We cannot even prove that animals have lower conscious than human, or less pain received during stimuli than human, so how is it appropriate to apply drugs that might results harm and injuries on monkeys? If psychologists feel like it is morally incorrect to carry out similar research on human-beings, how is that appropriate to carry it out on animals?This research also doesn’t have a clear scientific purpose which will benefit health and welfare of human or animals.
During the procedure, researcher had not test all painful stimuli on himself before carrying it out on animals. In addition, it was also not specified in the research that whether the animals were euthanized as soon as possible after the research or not. Therefore, psychologists should consider the guidelines developed by BPS and APA before carrying out researches for preventing unjustified harm or ill treatments to animals.Phineas P. Gage (1823-1860) is a research that demonstrates case study research method.
Mr. Gage was an American man being investigated for studying brain localization as an explosion sent a rod through his head, which changed his personality dramatically–rude and little restraint. While Heston, 1996 is a schizophrenia genetic research conducted through the research method of correlation study. Ethical problems of protection of participants’ identity, fabrication of data and deception are presented in the above researches.