1.4: Methods of Studying Personality
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Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
|Focus is on a detailed examination of unique and interesting cases. May provide a great deal of information, but due to the individual nature of the case that information may not generalize to others.
|Focus is on how variables change in relation to each other. However, since there is no control over that change, we cannot determine whether one variable affects the other, or vice versa, or even if the change is due to some unidentified outside factor.
|Experiments are usually the preferred type of research, since the control exerted over the variables involved allows the investigator to make cause-and-effect statements about the results obtained. However, ethical considerations often make experimental research with humans unacceptable.
|When individuals choose to put themselves in situations that psychologists could not ethically create, a situation arises in which the consequences can be studied as if an experiment was done. These are not true experiments, however, since the investigator cannot be sure of all the variables that led the individuals to put themselves in such situations to begin with.
|Cross-Cultural and Multicultural Research
|In an effort to control the conditions of their research, psychologists try to work with clearly defined groups. Unfortunately, that means their results may not generalize to other groups of people. Cross-cultural and multicultural psychologists remind us that, in a truly global world, we must strive to address both the differences and the similarities that characterize human nature.
Cross-Cultural Approaches to the Study of Personality