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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Fall 2003

PSY 458 • Experimental Psychology-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41210 MWF
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
SEA 2.108

Course Description

Experimental psychology is the study of the research methods used by psychologists to describe, predict, and understand human behavior. This course may be viewed as an advanced version of PSY 418. We will begin by reviewing the statistical techniques that behavioral scientists have found helpful for describing and analyzing data. We will then attempt to understand the goals of psychological research. What are researchers trying to do? We will explore this through a book, "How to Think Straight about Psychology", and by reading a number of "classic" articles. The discussion of these articles will focus on issues that arise in research such as the design of studies and the rationale for the way a study is designed, the nature and purpose of control or comparison groups, issues of internal and external validity, the appropriate analysis of research data, and ethical issues in the conduct of research. In addition, each student will conduct his or her own research project.

Grading Policy

Exams: There will be one statistics take-home exam that will contribute about 20% to the course grade. Homework assignments: There will be weekly homework assignments. Some will be statistical exercises. Some will require data collection, data analysis, and a report of a segment of a research study. Others will be analyses of the studies that we will read. These assignments, collectively, will contribute about 40% to the course grade. Semester Project: The report of your semester project will contribute about 30% to the course grade. The project grade will be based on the overall quality of the project, the appropriateness of the analyses, and the quality of the written report. Attendance and Participation and Effort: Class attendance and participation will affect the grade. Bonus points may also be given for outstanding performance on an exam, the homework assignments, and/or the semester project . The additional factors will contribute about 10% to the course grade.


Aron, A. and Aron, E.: Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences: A Brief Course. Stanovich, K.: How to Think Straight about Psychology.


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