INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCHBasic Introductions to Psychological Research - High School level:
- Logical Fallacies in Psychology: 22 Types
- 10 Fallacies in Psychological Assessment
- 21 Ethical Fallacies: Cognitive Strategies To Justify Unethical Behavior
With reference to childhood abuse and neglect researchLet me recommend a paper by Lee and colleagues (2012), for a discussion of some of the relevant issues. Thesse researchers found that childhood trauma in adults with personality disorder is associated with blunted cortisol and ACTH secretion following DEX/CRH challenge. These effects are independent of depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. Previous work would suggest that blunted pituitary-adrenal response is related to elevated central CRH drive. Corroborating this, CSF CRH levels were significantly and negatively correlated with peak level and AUC of both cortisol and ACTH. Methodologically, this paper briefly discusses the important difference between prospective and retrospective designs
- prospective designs -- examining an effect in a group of subjects chosen before developmental processes have occurred)
- retrospective designs -- examining the presumed effect of developmental processes after they have occurred<
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN INTERPRETING RESEARCHKey questions that need to be addressed when considering psychological research include:
- Is this relevant to MY people of interest? (MY patients) -- what differences might there be between the different groups?
- What comparison group was used? Is this a valid, and clinically significant difference between the groups -- a comparison group of troubled University students is quite different to a waiting list of patients in a community practice setting? (likely differences include: age, education level, socioeconomic background, available alternative or prior treatments, possible seriousness of condition);
- Is the difference found clinically, or "only" significantly different?
- What other factors could account for the differences found?
- Are the results found in line with otheer research, if not, why not? -- these issues are of key importance in evaluating different treatments, and their relevance to evaluating drug treatments, for depression say, is discussed by
I also have an interest in forensic psychology, and couldn't helpo being reminded of recent discussion on a professional list of an early study (Macdonald, 1963), supposedly finding that childhood enuresis, firesetting, and cruelty to animals were predictive of future "dangerousness" but it still appears cited as research on programs like Criminal Minds, and locally Nigel Latta's comments on Beyond the Darklands, are reminiscent of this ignorance. A single replication (Hellman, D. S., & Blackman, N. (1966). Enuresis, firesetting, and cruelty to animals: A triad predictive of adult crime. American Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 1431-1435.)but there have been no subsequent replications. -- Replication is VERY important, but not the whole story -- a lax psychologist's recent report citing a particular offender's history had these three features resulted in that offender receiving a sentence of 25 years, w(hich was reduced to five years on appeal, when the lack of replication was noted. Importantly, the three factors, taken together, are signs of possibly being abused during childhood, and the majority of offenders have been abused (Franklin, May 2, 2012) -- the link in Karen's article is wrong, but see here for the Abstract of Korri's thesis.
For this website, I most certainly welcome contributions from those aware of relevant research I seem unaware of, especially your own published or unpublished research. No one area or type of abuse will be highlighted, for research has shown that different forms of abuse and neglect often occur together (Pears, Kim, & Fisher, 2008). Research studies will be cited in the style of the Sixth Edition of the American Psychological Association (reflecting my experience as a psych).