Introduction to psychological research essay


Introductionto psychological research

Introductionto psychological research

Abstract:&nbspInthis study, we used two people who we knew to calculate 51-mathproblem while they were beingtimed.The 51 problemsincluded addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems, and itwould have to bedonein order. The two participants had to be at least 16 years old. Wemeasured their age, their gender, the completion of time that theytook in seconds, and the number of incorrect problems that they had.As a class, we then listed our results from the participants to seethe correlation. The t-test shows the relationship from ‘task A’and ‘taskB.’ Everyday life requires frequent shifts between cognitive tasks.

Introduction(Literature Review)

Variouspsychological studies have shown that different indicators come inhandy in making people efficient at handling different tasks. Some ofthese tasks are such as mathematical problems. These problemscould include but not limited to addition, subtraction andmultiplication (Monsell, 2003). About this aspect, it is highlynormalto find two groups of people bearing different characteristics havingvaried levels of performance while handling these mathematicalproblems. As such, the process of task switching is normallyaffected, given the fact people find it easy to carry out some dutieswhile at the same time, others appear to be quite daunting for them.

Theone element that, thus, comes into play is that of voluntary control.This analogy refers to a situation where people find themselves doingthings that they did not intendto do while at the same timeend up not doing the things that they expectedto do (Rosen,Lim, Carrier, &amp Cheever, 2011).Psychologists attach this to different factors among them the levelof knowledge and information that such people have before doing suchduties (Monsell, 2003). In most instances, the more an individual isinformed regarding a given subjectthebetter such an individual will be at handling a problem related tothe same (Rosen,etal.,2011).The ability of people to carry out proper task-switching is alsorelatedto some sub-sets that are within the human brain. These are such asthe perpetual, the motoric and the semantic capabilities. Thesevariables represent the way information isstoredin the brain (Monsell, &amp Driver, 2000). To bring out a betterperspective, an individual who has a well enhanced motoric capabilitywill be good at handling arithmetic problems while the one with goodsemantic abilities will flourish in linguisticsubjects. Therefore, whereby a person who is motorically good butsemantically challenged attempts to pick on linguistictopics, he may end up performing quite dismally.

Fromthe views established, it is evident that the process of carrying outsome duties is not voluntary after all and islargely based onsome factors that could be beyond the control of people. Itis, however, important to point out thatsome people are better placed regarding their mental capabilities inthat they can handle some tasks quite well. This situation is broughtabout by the genetic make-up of such people. These people also findit quite easy to switch from one task to another with an equal rateand efficiency of performance.

Anotherfactor that influences task switching is that of sex. Mostpsychologists have come to an agreement that women are moreresponsive to task switching compared to their male counterparts((Kiesel, Steinhauser, Wendt, Falkenstein, Jost, Philipp, &amp Koch,2010). They are, therefore, able to shift from one task that requiresa given form of cognitive ability straight to another that needs anentirely different one.This variance in ability to handle different tasks in closesuccession is as a result of the difference in the make-up and use ofthe brain capacities between the two sexes. For instance, it isestablished that women use the left hemisphere of their brain whilethe males use the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the onewith the ability to provide a chance of multi-tasking amongindividuals.

Changingthe activities that people do has an advantage in that it enablesthem to have anentirely different environmentand have an opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate. Such people avoidthe boredom that isassociatedwith doing the same activity over and over again. In the long, run,the level of concentration of such people is usually well enhanced.There is, however, a problem that isassociatedwith the situation. Thisproblem is becausewhile a given group of peoplemay be found to be good at multi-tasking, they end up lacking theability to specialize and perfect their skills. As a result, malesare more prone to being experts in certain topics compared to thefemales because they end up spending longperiodsperfectingsuch activities over and over again.

Researchershave established that the one commonfeature that all people who can successfully switch from one activityto another bear is the ability to be highly attentive. This situationentails being more focused on the activitythat they are doing to a level that they can avoid any distractionsthat could affect their work performance negatively. The attention isportrayedin the time and eye-focus that such people put into the work. Thereis, is, however, a varying level of focus that people put into thework that they are doing. Those who put in more attention to theirworkend up having much better performance levels compared to those whoput in less attention.

RobertKosinski (2008) also brings in the aspect of reaction time as far astask-switching is concerned. He explains of the three reactionexperiments that psychologists have been able to come up with ina bid to assess the level ofresponse that people give to certain stimuli that make them changefrom a certain job that they are doing to another one. The first oneis the simple reaction. This reactionmeans that only one stimulus exists, and it gives rise to only onereaction. The individual is made to switch from one duty to anotherbecause of the occurrence of a single factor (Kosinski, 2008). Thesecond experiment is that of recognition. In this situation,different stimuli are presented. The person is supposed to respond tosome of them and not to respondto others. The third experiment is the one that deals with choice. Inthis instance, a person is supposed to provide a correspondingresponse to acertainspecific stimulus (Kosinski, 2008). The efficiency of aperson is establishedthrough the capability of the given individual to give out thedesired response. All the three experiments highlighted are efficientin showing individualswho are good in changing the work that they are doing using a veryshort period.

Thestudy presented in this paper entails the performance levels of twostudents to two tasks named A and B. Both of these tasks entailedthe use of cognitive abilities among the participants. They includedseries of up to 50 questions that had some subtraction, addition andmultiplication questions in them. The aim was to ascertain thestudent who would answer the questions quickly with the highestdegree of accuracy.

Theindependent variables of the research study include age and gender.It isassumedthat thesefactors will majorly determine the difference in the rates ofperformance of the students in these questions.The dependent variable in the research study includes completiontime. The more theindividualtakes timeto complete aparticulartask, the lesser that person is viewed efficiently at handlingarithmetic problems.

Thestudy is, therefore, based on several hypotheses. These are

Hypothesis1: Age and completion time

H0-There is no significant correlation between the age of an individualand the time taken to complete a task

H1-There is a significant correlation between the age of an individualand the time takento complete a task

Hypothesis2: Age and incorrect

H0-There is no significant correlation between theage of an individualand the incorrectanswers given by the person on a task

H1-There is a significant correlation between theage of an individualand the incorrectanswers givenby the personon a task

Thesehypotheses are tested by the use ofa T-test at a 0.05 significant value so as to establish whether thenull hypothesis may be rejected or fail to be rejected, depending onthe findings.


Thesampling process was random stratified in nature. This methodwas applied to as to ensure that the participants who would beincludedin the study would be quite efficient at providing data that wasrepresentative of all the population forvalidity and reliability. All the people from which the sample was tobechosenweregroupedinto sections. Same number series weregivento the people in all the groups, and those who bore the specialnumbers pre-meditated by the researcher wererecruitedfor the study. The average age of the participants slotted for task Awas 27.82 years. The average age of those who took part in Activity Bwas 28.15 years. The males for activity A were 18 while the femaleswere 15. InactivityB, the males were 17 while the females were 16.


Ina study that we conducted, there were two participants. Both of themhad to take part in both activity A and B. One of the participantswas male, and he was 22 years old. The other participantwas female and was aged 19 years. The two participantswerebriefedabout the activities that they were set to undertake. This action wasdoneso as to make them fully prepared and ensure that their performancewould be good. Activity A started at 10:00 am in the morning. Bothparticipants wereputin the same room in a bid to manage them properly.

Materialsand procedure

Thematerials that wereusedin the procedureincluded several sheets of paper where the participants would writeon, pencil, pens and calculators for each participant. The similaritybetween the two activities is that they had the same number ofarithmetic questions. The difference in the two activitieslay in the fact that the specific questionsin activity A were different from those in activity B. This situationwas so as to remove any form of a chance coming into play whileanalyzing and interpreting the findings.

Thestudy also had a control experiment which would help to ensure thatsome level of reliability would beobtained.In the controls, the questions that appeared in activity A were sameas those in activity B. The researcher ensured that both participantsfaced the same conditions so as to come up with more valid findings.Thiswouldalso ensure that none of the participantswould be at a disadvantage.

Duringthe experiment, one of the participant in Activity A raised an issuein one of the questions (question 13) which had to be reframed by theresearcher so that they would understand it. Such an occurrence had ahigh likelihood of affecting the reliability of the findings thatwould beobtained.



Inthe activity, A, the meanage of the participants was 27.82 years. The meancompletion time for the participants was 130.14 minutes. The meanfor incorrect answers was established to be 2.18. Themean age of thosewho participated in activity B was 28.15 years, the meanthat they used to complete the activity was 156.27 minutes while themeannumber of answers that were incorrect was 2. The findings show thatthe meancompletion time for activityB was much higher compared to the meancompletion time of activity A. The difference between the means isquite significant. T-test results for Activity A at an alpha of 0.5shows that age has a minor effect in the time taken to complete theactivity. The older an individual is, the lesser time such a personwould need to complete the activity. The T-test value wasgivenas -0.1257. InactivityB, it is shown that age has a positivesignificantinfluence on the time taken to complete a given task. The value wasestablished to be 0.3 The older a person is, the more time he willneed to complete a particular task (Ahad, &amp Yahaya, 2014). Fromthe findings, we determine that



Thevariables Age and completion time were not strongly correlated,r(-0.12) = p&gt.05 (Kim,2005).

Thevariables Age and Incorrect were strongly correlated, r(0.02) = p&lt.05 (Kim,2005)..


Thevariables Age and completion time were not strongly correlated,r(0.3) = p&gt.05.

Thevariables Age and Incorrect were strongly correlated, r(0.025) = p&lt.05 (Ahad, &amp Yahaya, 2014).


Theresults shown in the results section above clearly indicate thatswitching from one activity to another has a chance of making anindividual have a lower level of performance in the second activitythat he or she is about to undertake (Kiesel, et al., 2010). Thisoccurrence happensbecause the attention and focus of the person areusually reducedin a major way. However, it is established that through continuouspractice, people canperform much better. It is no wonder that those participants who hadadvanced age performed better in activity B than those who were oflower age. There is a need for new research which would help toestablish whether continuous practice could lead to desirable resultsand improved performance after switching.

Someof the things that could be changed inthe experimentto make the findings much better would be to take the participantsthrough some level of training. The limitations of the study includethe fact that a lesser number of participants wasused.Abigger sample size would produce better results.


Ahad,N. A., &amp Yahaya, S. S. S. (2014). Sensitivity analysis of Welch’st-test. In&nbspPROCEEDINGSOF THE 21ST NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (SKSM21):Germination of Mathematical Sciences Education and Research TowardsGlobal Sustainability&nbsp(Vol.1605, No. 1, pp. 888-893). AIP Publishing.

Kiesel,A., Steinhauser, M., Wendt, M., Falkenstein, M., Jost, K., Philipp,A. M., &amp Koch, I. (2010). Control and interference in taskswitching—A review.PsychologicalBulletin,&nbsp136(5),849.

Kim,T.,K(2005). Testas a parametric statistic. KoreanJournal of Anesthesiology, 6419(7563)

Kosinski,R. J. (2008). Literaturereviewson reaction time.&nbspClemsonUniversity,&nbsp10.

Monsell,S. (2003). Task switching.&nbspTrendsin cognitive sciences,&nbsp7(3),134-140.

Monsell,S., &amp Driver, J. (2000).&nbspControlof cognitive processes: Attention and performance XVIII&nbsp(Vol.18). MIT Press.

Rosen,L. D., Lim, A. F., Carrier, L. M., &amp Cheever, N. A. (2011).An empirical examination of the educational impact of textmessage-induced task switching in the classroom: Educationalimplications and strategies to enhance learning.&nbspPsicologíaEducativa,&nbsp17(2),163-177.