Quantitative Methods in Psychology

Quantitative Methods in Psychology

Quantitative Methods in Psychology

Quantitative Methods in Psychology

Excerpt

This book was prepared as a text for a graduate-level course at the State University of Iowa, taken principally by students of experimental psychology. The course, carrying the same title and having about the same scope as the book, was an outgrowth of the common observation that most graduate students of psychology are initially unable to digest theoretical and experimental papers containing anything beyond the most elementary of mathematical formulations. Those with a background of one or two semesters of calculus usually fare better than those who terminated formal training after algebra and trigonometry, but the difficulty does not stem entirely from a shortage of courses in mathematics. Graduate students of psychology, with or without college training in mathematics, and ingenious as they may otherwise prove themselves to be, usually have not formed habits of thinking clearly and consistently in quantitative (functional) terms, and they do not acquire such habits until they have been tutored intensively in the use of mathematics as a tool of scientific inquiry.

The book began, in the late 1930s, as a heterogeneous assortment of handout materials--explanatory notes, derivations of standard formulas, curve-fitting problems based on behavioral data, solutions of double integrals, etc.--which served to supplement the text for the course, Mathematical Preparation for Physical Chemistry byFarrington Daniels. These materials, extended and systematized, had some of the earmarks of a publishable manuscript by 1942. A lithoprinted edition was issued in 1948. Five small printings of it were made prior to 1956 when work leading to the present version was seriously begun.

The initial impetus to prepare a text for the course developed, not because of any shortcomings of Professor Daniels' book for teaching curve-fitting procedures and the essentials of calculus to beginners in science, but mainly because my students voiced a strong preference for studying quantitative methodologies in the general framework of psychological experimentation and theorizing. There was a desire, also, for an extension of the coverage to include the derivation and analysis of familiar distribution and probability functions.

The book, although loaded with mathematical proofs, rules, and . . .

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