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Feed Details and Statistics

## Psychology

2014-06-01T06:00:23Z

One reader writes: "I just finished taking the research methods quiz, and I think the answers to two of the questions might be wrong. On the one question, I am thinking that the weakest relationship is indicated by -0.74 (c), and not +0.10 (a) as given in the quiz answers. For the other question, I am thinking that the strongest relationship is indicated by +0.79 (b), and not -0.98 (d) as given in the quiz answers. Or maybe I am simply missing a point."

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When it comes to correlations, be careful not to equate positive with strong and negative with weak. A relationship between two variables can be negative, but that doesn't meant that the relationship isn't strong.

Remember, correlation strength is measured from -1.00 to +1.00. The correlation coefficient, often expressed as r, indicates a measure of the direction and strength of a relationship between two variables. When the r value is closer to +1 or -1, it indicates that there is a stronger linear relationship between the two variables. A correlation of -0.97 is a strong negative correlation, while a correlation of 0.10 would be a weak positive correlation. When you are thinking about correlation, just remember this handy rule: The closer the correlation is to 0, the weaker it is, while the close it is to +/-1, the stronger it is.

So, for the first question, +0.10 is indeed a weaker correlation than -0.74, and for the next question, -0.98 is a stronger correlation than +0.79.

Of course (and you've probably heard this a million times in all your psychology classes), correlation does not equal causation. Just because two variables have a relationship does not mean that changes in one variable cause changes in the other.

About.com's Guide to Statistics, Courtney Taylor, also has some great information designed to help students understand correlation and its limitations. Learn more in his overview of correlation.

Image: Spiritia / Wikimedia Commons

Questions About Correlations originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Sunday, June 1st, 2014 at 06:00:23.

How to Deal With Procrastination

2014-05-31T07:00:01Z

2014-05-30T13:01:32Z

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Have you ever wanted to learn more about psychology, but weren't quite sure where to begin? Whether you're preparing for a class, supplementing your study or simply interested in the subject, this free ten-week class can provide you with a great overview of psychology. Get started by signing up for the Psychology 101 e-course!

Sign Up for the Free Psychology 101 E-Course originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 13:01:32.

Focus On Prenatal Development

2014-05-30T07:00:56Z

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The period of time from conception to birth is full of dramatic changes that can have an impact on future growth and health. Learning more about the earliest developmental processes provides a basis for understanding later childhood development. If you have ever taken a course in developmental psychology, you can probably remember spending the first few days of class discussing prenatal development as well as issues such as inherited diseases and environmental factors that can influence fetal growth. Whether or not you plan on ever becoming a parent, understanding prenatal growth and development provides an essential foundation for further learning in developmental psychology.

In the majority of cases, prenatal development follows a fairly normal and predictable path. However, problems do sometimes occur. Learn more about some of the environmental and genetic factors that can lead to problems in prenatal development.

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Focus On Prenatal Development originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 07:00:56.

2014-05-26T06:00:41Z

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Is a Career In Counseling Right for You?

2014-05-22T06:30:35Z

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Do you enjoy working with people? While there are a wide variety of career options available to students of psychology, counseling is one area that is particularly popular. Counseling can be an exciting career path, especially for students looking for a job centered on working directly with people to help solve real-world problems. If you are thinking about pursuing a job in this area, start by checking out some of the many specialty areas that are available. While school counseling and mental health counseling might immediately come to mind, there are lots of other options including marriage and family counseling, vocational counseling and additions counseling.

While the educational requirements can vary based on the state where you plan to work and the specialty field that you choose, in most cases a minimum of a master's degree in counseling, social work or psychology is necessary. If this job area sounds appealing to you, be sure to check out this overview of counseling that includes further details on the areas of employment, educational requirements and salaries.

More Career Overviews

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Is a Career In Counseling Right for You? originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 06:30:35.

A Closer Look at Intrinsic Motivation

2014-05-19T06:00:08Z

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When was the last time you did something just for the enjoyment of the activity itself? Some examples might include painting a picture, playing a game, writing a story, and reading a book. When you pursue an activity simply for enjoyment, you are doing so doing so because you are intrinsically motivated. Your motivations for engaging in the behavior arise entirely for within rather than out of a desire to gain some type of external reward such as prizes, money, or acclaim.

Of course, that isn't to say that intrinsically motivated behaviors are without their own rewards. Instead, these rewards involve creating positive emotions within the individual. Activities can generate such feelings when they give people a sense of meaning (like participating in volunteer or church events), a sense of progress (seeing that your work is accomplishing something positive), or competence (learning something new or becoming more skilled at a task).

What do experts have to say? What factors can influence this type of motivation? Learn more about intrinsic motivation.

Image: Ariel da Silva Parreira

A Closer Look at Intrinsic Motivation originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Monday, May 19th, 2014 at 06:00:08.

How Do External Rewards Impact Your Behavior?

2014-05-15T06:00:58Z

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When you want to get someone to do something, such as getting your kids to do their homework, what is the best way to motivate them? Many people might start by offering some type of reward like a special treat or toy. This is a great example of what is known in psychology as extrinsic motivation, since the behavior is motivated by a desire to gain an external reward. Unlike intrinsic motivation, which arises from within the individual, extrinsic motivation is focused purely on outside rewards.

Extrinsic motivation can be very effective in many situations, but some researchers suggest that it is not always the best choice. In one classic study, kids who were already intrinsically motivated to play with a particular toy were then extrinsically rewarded for playing with that particular toy. What the researchers found was that after being rewarded, the kids then became less inclined to play with the toy in the future. Why? In some cases, giving excessive reinforcement for things that we already find internally rewarding can interfere with the motivation to engage in the behavior.

Of course, that doesn't mean that extrinsic motivation is a bad thing. Experts suggest that it can be particularly effective in situations where people simply have no intrinsic desire to engage in a behavior. It can also be used to help people learn new skills and gain an interest in an object or activity.

Image: Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

How Do External Rewards Impact Your Behavior? originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 06:00:58.

Help! I Don't Understand My Assignment!

2014-05-08T06:00:09Z

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Cynthia writes: "My psychology teacher has told us to write a paper, but I don't understand the topic or what she wants us to write about. I'm so confused and I'm scared that I'll mess up and get a bad grade! What should I do? Can you explain this assignment to me?"

Thanks for writing, Cynthia! Your problem is actually a very common problem for many students. I often receive requests from high school and college students asking me to interpret their teacher's instructions and tell them how to complete an assignment.

The problem, obviously, is that the only person who really knows what your instructor wants on a particular assignment is your instructor.

Call her, email her, or go visit her during her posted office hours. No matter what method you choose, get in touch with her as quickly as possible so you can get answers to your questions and get started on your assignment.

While students sometimes worry that their instructors will think that such questions are stupid, your teachers not only want to hear about your questions, they need to hear them. If you are confused about a certain aspect of an assignment, chances are good that other students in the class are also having problems. By voicing your questions, you can get the answers you need to complete the assignment correctly and on time.

Are you not quite sure how to approach your instructor with your questions? About.com's Guide to Homework / Study Tips, Grace Fleming, has some great advice that might help in her article on how to talk to teachers.

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Help! I Don't Understand My Assignment! originally appeared on About.com Psychology on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 06:00:09.

Happy Birthday Sigmund Freud!

2014-05-06T04:00:44Z