The goal of this exercise is to provide a real-life demonstration of how important and difficult it can be to define a behavioral construct. You will also practice coding behavior from a short film clip and use your data to examine reliability with your classmates.
Part I: Defining
Imagine that you are a psychology researcher who conducts studies in the area of aggressive behavior. Perhaps you are interested in the effects of aggressive media on behavior in teenagers. Specifically, you are concerned that viewing aggressive behavior in the media may trigger the early onset of antisocial personality disorder. Before you begin your research study, you must decide how you will define and measure aggressive behavior. In other words, what is your operational definition for this construct?
Form an operational definition of aggressive behavior.
Part II. Data Collection
We are going to view a fight scene from a movie:
Your goal in this part of the activity is to independently quantify the number of instances of aggressive behavior that you observe Harry (blond hair) use in the film clip. Important, you should only count Harry’s behaviors that match your operational definition above.
How many instances of aggressive behavior did you observe?
Improve your operational definition of aggression so that it is easier for you to measure aggression. Give your new operational definition.
Now watch it again. How many behaviors did you measure this time?
Were your numbers the same or different, if they were different, explain why they were different.
Explain do not copy what the importance of an operational definition is to empirical research.
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