Psychology 343
Statistical Methods in Psychological Science

   

info & policies | updates | schedule & notes

Instructor
R. Chris Fraley, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB)
Office: 1050 "A" Office hours: M, W 10:00 - 11:00
E-mail: fraley@uic.edu

Teaching Assistants
Mike Marks | mjmarks@uic.edu | Office hours: Tues, 1-3, 1049 BSB

Tim Miura | tmiura1@uic.edu

Location
Statistical Methods in Psychological Science |CRN 96403

209 Burnham Hall (BH) | Lecture: Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00 am - 9:50 am

There will be a weekly lab section to accompany the course. Each student should register (if you have not done so already) for one of the following sections:

Lab section
CRN
When
Where
1
96412
Fri, 8:00 - 8:50
2019 BSB
2
96351
Fri, 9:00 - 9:50
2019 BSB
3
96429
Fri, 10:00 - 10:50
2019 BSB

Labs will begin the second week of class (Sept. 2). Lab attendance is mandatory.

Class webpage: http://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych343f/

Books & Materials

Moore, D. Statistics: Concepts and Controversies. (5th Edition). New York, NY: W. H. Freeman. [Required] [http://www.whfreeman.com/scc/index.htm]
All of the reading assignments listed below come from the Moore text.

Phillips, J. L. (1999). How to think about statistics (6th Ed.). New York, NY: W. H. Freeman. [Recommended, but not required reading. This book is an excellent one for people who may be feeling a bit of math anxiety.]

Please obtain an inexpensive calculator (one that allows you to do square roots easily). You will need to bring it to sections and class. If you already own a calculator, please bring it to class and lab.

Overview of Course

The objective of this class is to provide you with a better understanding of the ways in which mathematics and statistics can be used to deepen our understanding of psychological phenomena.

The lectures will primarily focus on the concepts and ideas underlying quantitative methods in psychology. The lab/discussion sections will give you the opportunity to gain "hands-on" experience in working through specific quantitative problems.

Important Notes Regarding the Class Webpage

I will post lecture overheads on the class web page within the hour following each lecture. I plan to post the overheads online because I want you to spend your class time listening and thinking carefully, not copying notes from the board or overhead. If class attendance begins to decline, I will discontinue web notes. You will be able to access the lecture overheads by clicking on the links in the lecture schedule below. If you have PowerPoint on your computer, you can download the actual PowerPoint file from which the overheads originate by right-clicking the PowerPoint link and "saving target as" to your computer.

I realize that it would probably be more useful to you if the overheads were available before lecture. Unfortunately, I often revise my lectures right up to the last minute, so I won't be able to post the notes before class. I have used the "after class" approach in the past, however, and students seem to find it useful to take very brief notes (e.g., key words, questions, reminders) during the actual lecture, and then supplement those notes by printing and rereading the overheads after class.

You should treat the class web page as your primary syllabus. I will post reading assignments, lecture notes, practice test questions, answers to exams you've taken, and exam grades to date on the class web page.

If you do not have Internet access at home, please visit one of the many student computer facilities on campus on a regular basis.

Grading & My Teaching Philosophy

Statistics courses are often dreaded by psychology majors. As a general rule, many students decide to major in psychology because they are not attracted to the quantitative demands of other sciences.

I suspect that one reason why many students are turned off by mathematics and statistics is that that they have never had the opportunity to think critically and intuitively about mathematics. It is not uncommon for students to have learned math in a context in which they were forced to memorize equations or solve math problems incessantly. In this course, my goal is to help you appreciate the kinds of theoretical and applied problems that certain mathematical and statistical tools are designed to solve. By approaching the topic in this manner, I hope to give you a better understanding of how the techniques work, what they mean, and why the study of mathematics and statistics can be exciting. ;-)

There will be four required exams over the course of the semester. These exams will not be cumulative in the strict sense of the term, but the subject matter will build on itself, so mastering material for the second exam, for example, may require that you keep yourself refreshed on earlier material.

If you are unhappy with one of your four exam grades, you can take the optional final and use that grade as a substitute for your lowest of the required four exams. The final exam, however, will be cumulative in the strict sense of the term; I will ask you about anything that has been covered in the course. You will be allowed to substitute the optional final exam score for only one of your exams.

Why do I have this "optional final exam" policy? I allow this because emergencies (e.g., death in the family, oversleeping on exam day, traffic problems) will crop up at some point during the semester, and you might have to miss an exam. I do not give traditional make-up exams under any circumstances; the fact that you can take the optional final and use that grade for your lowest of the four required exams covers all make-up exam situations.

In light of this policy, your best strategy is to plan to study hard for each exam and hope nothing bad happens. Then, if something bad does happen along the way (e.g., decapitation in a cooking accident), you'll know that you can take the optional final and substitute that grade for your missed exam. If you oversleep for exam 1 and then a relative dies for exam 2, you can use the optional final as a substitute for only one of your two zero's. (If you have a genuine medical emergency, the university will sometimes allow for make-up exams. In such an event, it is necessary that you provide me with a copy of your medical bill. A simple doctor's note will not be accepted.)

The exam schedule for the semester is posted on the class webpage. It will not be changed, so please determine as soon as possible whether your schedule will prohibit you from making it to certain exams. It might be wise for you to drop the class (or change to another section) if you can foresee possible problems in scheduling from Day 1.

Your four exam scores will be averaged, and that average will account for 90% of your grade. The remaining 10% of your grade will come from quizzes and homeworks.

Note: I do not "curve" exam scores. I use the standard "10% rule" for assigning letter grades (e.g., A = 90% - 100%, B = 80% - 89%). It is possible for everyone to earn an A in my class, but it won't be easy. If everyone does earn an A in my class, I will be thrilled and eat cake for a week.

Students with disabilities who require accommodations for access and participation in this course must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Please contact ODS at 312/413-2103 or 312/413-0123.

Updates

Updates will be posted here.

Sept 4, 2002
Discussion sections begin this week and will be held in room 2019 BSB (not 2057 BSB, as originally listed in the course book).

Sept 11, 2002
Here is the homework assignment that is due on Friday. Please bring two copies of your homework to discussion section. You will need to turn in one version of the homework; the other one you'll keep and use in class. In that class, the TA will go over the homework problems and answer any questions you may have.

Sept 16, 2002
The first exam will be this Wed., Sept. 18. The exam will be composed largely of short answer questions, similar to your last homework. I have revised the reading list for the first exam, removing two chapters that we haven't covered yet. Please see the schedule below for the final list of chapters. It is okay to bring a calculator to the exam, but you will need to show your work.

On Thursday, Sept 19th, 5:00 p.m | Lecture, & Discussion: Positive Psychology, "The Science of Happiness: Its Causes and Benefits" Lecturer, psychologist Ed Diener. Presented by Psi Chi, Psychology Student Honorary Society, and the UIC Unity Month Committee. BSB Room 250, 1007 W. Harrison Free, For information: 996-4464

Sept 26, 2002
Here is the SPSS data set that you'll need for your lab meeting on Friday: dataset1. As your TA will explain, once you're in the lab you'll need to right-click on the link and select the option that says "save target as." A new window will appear, and the computer will prompt you to save the data file to your computer. Change the "save as type" option to "all files" and change the name to "dataset1.sav". Also, be sure to save the file to the desktop. Mike and Tim will walk you through this process.

The dataset contains two variables, X and Y. Your assignment will be to use SPSS to (a) find the mean for both variables, (b) find the variance and standard deviation for both variables, (c) create a histogram for both variables, (d) create a scatterplot depicting the relationship between the two variables and, (e) find the covariance between the two variables. With the exception of the plots/graphs, you should write down the answers to each of these problems and turn them into your TA at the end of the lab section.

October 9, 2002
Homework is due on Friday in your discussion section. As before, please bring two copies of your homework: one to turn in at the beginning of section, and the other to correct and study during the section discussion.

October 14, 2002
Exam 2 will focus largely on ideas and concepts discussed in lecture. (If you did not attend lecture, please obtain the notes from someone who did; not everything that we discuss in class is listed on-line.)

Here are some basic concepts you should review carefully:

  • standardized scores
  • covariance (what is it, how do you interpret it, what are the limitations of it)
  • correlation (what is it, how do you interpret it, why is it easier to interpret than a covariance?)
  • mathematical functions, and how they relate to theoretical hypotheses about the relationships among variables
  • least-squares estimation for the simple linear model
  • evaluating model fit and R-squared
  • using R-squared to compare alternative models

There will be some computations involved, so please bring a calculator.

October 22, 2002
Homework is due on Friday in your discussion section. As before, please bring two copies of your homework: one to turn in at the beginning of section, and the other to correct and study during the section discussion.

November 7, 2002
I made an error on two of my overheads for Lecture 16. I have corrected the error and re-posted those overheads. Please be sure to print the updated version.

November 20, 2002
Homework is due on Friday in your discussion section. As before, please bring two copies of your homework: one to turn in at the beginning of section, and the other to correct and study during the section discussion.

December 6, 2002
The exam scores for exam 4 have been posted here.
I have posted all of your grades, as recorded to date. Please examine your grades carefully and make sure what we have posted agrees with your records. After Tuesday, we will not be updating these records, so you have until Tuesday to notice and point out to us any errors in your grade.

December 10, 2002
The final grades for the class have been posted.
Please examine your grades carefully and make sure what we have posted agrees with your records. After Dec 11, we will not be updating these records, so you have until then to notice and point out to us any errors in your grade. Have a nice vacation everyone!

info & policies | updates | schedule & notes

 

   

Schedule of Readings, Lectures, and Exams

Part 1

Quantitative Methods for Measurement and the Description of Distributions
How can we use mathematics and statistics to measure psychological phenomena? How can we summarize the properties of our measurements in an intuitive and efficient manner?

Lecture 1 (August 28, 2002): The Use of Mathematics and Statistics to Understand Natural Systems
[PowerPoint download]

September 2, 2002 - Labor Day; no classes

Lecture 2 (September 4, 2002): Quantification and Scales of Measurement
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 3 (September 9, 2002): Visually Summarizing Score Distributions
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 4 (September 11, 2002): Quantifying the Central Tendency of Score Distributions
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 5 (September 16, 2002): Quantifying the Spread or Dispersion of Scores
[PowerPoint download]

Readings: Chapters 1, 11, 12,
Exam 1: September 18, 2002
(The exam will cover all lecture and reading material.)

Lecture 6 (September 23, 2002): Comparing Scores Across Different Variables: Standardization and Z-Scores
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 7 (September 25, 2002): Quantifiying the Association Between Two Variables: Covariance
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 8 (September 30, 2002): Quantifiying the Association Between Two Variables: Correlation
[PowerPoint download]


Part 2

Quantitative Methods for Theoretical Modeling
Many theoretical models can be formalized mathematically. In this section, we will discuss how to formulate simple mathematical-statistical models of psychological processes and estimate the parameters of those models.

Lecture 9 (October 2, 2002): Theoretical Models: Quantifying the Mathematical Relationship Between Two or More Variables
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 10 (October 7, 2002): Least-Squares: Estimating the Parameters of Simple Linear Models
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 11 (October 9, 2002): Evaluating Model Fit: R-Squared
[PowerPoint download]

Exam 2: October 16, 2002 | grades are posted here
The average score on exam 2 was 56% (SD = 23%). The lowest score was 14% and the highest score was 100%.

Readings: Chapters 13, 14, 15

Part 3

Using Quantitative Methods to Test and Evaluate Theoretical Models
How do we determine whether a theoretical model provides an adequate account of a psychological process? In this section we will discuss quantitative methods for evaluating and testing theoretical models. We will focus on three reasons why a theoretical model may not fit the data: (a) errors in measurement, (b) sampling errors, and (c) errors in the model itself. Moreover, we will discuss classic techniques for handling the problem of sampling error (i.e., null hypothesis significance tests), their limitations, and modern solutions.

Lecture 12 (October 21, 2002): Comparing Alternative Models and Residual Variance
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 13 (October 23, 2002): Explaining Residual Variance: Errors in Models and Errors in Measurement Precision
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 14 (October 28, 2002): The Problem of Sampling Error: An Intuitive Exploration of the Problem
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 15 (October 30, 2002): Quantifying Sampling Error: The Standard Error of the Mean
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 16 (Nov 4, 2002): Quantifying Sampling Error: Confidence Intervals and Forward and Backward Inference
[PowerPoint download] | note: I updated these notes on Nov. 7, 2002 to correct an error


Exam 3: November 6, 2002
Readings: Chapters 20, 2, 3, 8, 25
click here to see exam scores

Lecture 17 (Nov 11, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: Using Sampling Distributions to Make Decisions about Sampling Error
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 18 (Nov 13, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: t-tests
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 19 (Nov 18, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 20 (Nov 20, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)--A Computational Example
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 21 (Nov 25, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: Chi-Square
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 22 (Nov 27, 2002): Null Hypothesis Significance Tests: Decision Errors, Statistical Power, and Controlling the Error Rate
[PowerPoint download]

Lecture 23 (Dec 2, 2002): Common Misunderstandings Concerning Significance Tests, Debates about the Meaning of Probability, and Ways to Improve the Research
[PowerPoint download]

Exam 4: December 4, 2002
Readings: Chapters 21, 22, 23, 24
click here to see exam scores

Final Exam: Tuesday Dec 10, 10:30 - 12:30 in room 209 Burnham Hall [click here to see final grades]

info & policies | updates | schedule & notes