Back to:   Glossary - O

Object, attitude
An attitude object is any stimulus we encounter - a physical object (animate or otherwise), individuals or groups, moral issues etc.

Observational method
A non experimental design in psychology where the researcher plans, observes, and later analyses behaviours as they occur in a natural setting.

Observer bias
Observer bias is an example of a confounding variable in observational research. Observer bias can occur in that the observer, and thus their results, may be influenced by prior knowledge, or experience of the situation / subject(s) / participant(s) under investigation.

Observer effect
Observer effect is a confounding variable in observational research. An observer effect occurs where any change in the participant's behaviour is a result of the observer's presence.

Olds & Milner (1954)
Ethics concern the ‘rules’ that govern how we conduct research in psychology. There are many pieces of research in psychology that attract ethical criticisms. This is something that must be avoided by students, their teachers, and psychologists in general. An example of an experiment and observation conducted within the biological approach that attracted ethical criticism was Olds and Milner (1954). Olds and Milner were interested in investigating the pleasure and pain centres of a rat’s brain. They performed an operation on a rat where a self-stimulating electrode was attached to its hypothalamus. When the electrode, which protruded from the top of the rats skull, was attached to one part of the hypothalamus they observed the rat’s behaviour. (Via a lever in it's cage) it sent constant charges down the electrode at the rate of 100 a minute! It ignored food, water, and even the presence of rats in the cage. It only wanted to enjoy the constant buzz to what was its pleasure centre! Later, Olds and Milner moved the electrode, after another operation, to another part of the hypothalamus. This is where they thought the rat’s pain centre was. The rat sent one charge down the electrode and never electrically self-stimulated itself again!! Look at Ethics, and consider what ethical criticisms might be made of Olds and Milner (1954).

Open Questions(s)
An open question is a question that can have many different answers. An example would be, 'What is the biggest problem facing Scotland today'. If 1000 people in a survey got this you could get 1000 different answers. Concluding on what the 1000 have in common would be impossible. Open questions like this in a survey are to be avoided. They generate too much descriptive or qualitative data about which you can conclude little. To be any use data from a survey should be quantifiable. To do this psychologists and others who do surveys often use a Likert Scale of measurement.

Operant conditioning
Idea progressed by BF Skinner who said learning is influenced by reward or unpleasant consequence. This is known as reinforcement. Positive reinforcement, or reward, should encourage the repetition of behaviour. Negative reinforcement, or unpleasant consequence, makes the repletion of an associated behaviour less likely.

Oral stage
(Day 1 to 1 year). The first stage of personality development where libido is centred in a baby's mouth. It gets much satisfaction from putting all sorts of things in its mouth to satisfy libido, and thus its id demands. Which at this stage in life are oral, or mouth orientated, such as sucking, biting, and breast-feeding. . Freud said oral stimulation could lead to an oral fixation in later life. We see oral personalities all around us such as smokers, nail-biters, finger-chewers, and thumb suckers. Oral personalities engage in such oral behaviours particularly when under stress.

Piaget says organisation is an innate ability that we have that allows us to form schema about our world. Without this ability we would be overwhelmed by the stimuli that surrounds us. We would be unable to function. Schemata are crucial to thinking. When a toddler sees a bus for the first time, and points to it, Mum says 'It's a bus'. The toddler then says 'Bus, bus, bus'! That is he or she opening up the mental file or schema for 'bus. Schemata are further developed through a process called adaptation. Adaptation sees increasingly more sophisticated schema evolve. And more sophisticated thinking.

Over-simplistic computer analogy
Use of the computer analogy is a criticism often thrown at the cognitive approach. It is thought we are more than just input-processors-output. The computer analogy is too mechanistic. Humankind have emotions, humankind interacts in a social world. Computers do not. (At least not yet!!).

Overt means open, obvious, and public. Those taking part in an overt observation would be aware their behaviour was being observed. Observational measures and devices such as video cameras etc. would be clearly in evidence for all to see.
Dyslexia and Myers-Irlen
Skip to:
Report Writing Glossary
Dyslexia & Myers-Irlen syndrome

Research into dyslexia and Myers-Irlen syndrome suggests that changing the background colour upon which words are written can often benefit the reader. If you feel this applies to you please select your preferred colour from the DMI EasiReader © below.

Click here to go to the DMI EasiReader information page


Back to top
Back to top
Back to top
Area 51

[ Sign my Guestbook] - [Read my Guestbook ]