Learning Objectives

Why scientific method?

  1. Our minds are susceptible to systematic errors of thinking, reasoning, decision making, and judgment, known as heuristic biases.
  2. To combat heuristic biases, the scientific method identifies a set of rules, procedures, and techniques that together form a unified conceptual framework—a formal way of thinking about a problem, idea, or question.
  3. Scientific questions are commonly framed in reference to a particular theory, which in turn generates a hypothesis that is tested by collecting empirical data from unbiased samples.
  4. A research study aims to measure the effects of an independent variable on a dependent variable and often includes control variables to reduce effects of unwanted confounds.
  5. Psychological research today plays a critical role in rooting out error and myth, and it is used to combat pseudoscientific beliefs. Pseudoscience preys on our naturally evolved and universal tendency for confirmatory bias.