Undergrad/Postbacc Module 2

Last module, you learned about assorted helpful things about finding/consuming scientific literature, and the Triarchic Model. This module, you’re going to watch two videos, which are like ‘crash courses’ on psychological scientific research and about human neuroscience. Next, you’ll read a paper by Scott Lilienfeld about why some people view psychological research as unscientific. The takeaways I want you to have from this are 2-fold. First, as you’re reading, you may discover that you’ve been led to believe some of these misconceptions about psychological science. If so, that’s okay! We all have different backgrounds and levels of knowledge about psychology, and we’re all wrong sometimes. Secondly, I want you to be aware of some of the pitfalls of psychological scientific research. There are numerous bad practices psychologists engage in that can hurt the quality of their work, and we want you to be aware of those from the start of your research career so that you can avoid them.

Next, we’re going to bring you up to speed on the two most common dimensions of psychopathology research - the internalizing and externalizing spectra. Bob Krueger published an enormously important paper in 1999 on the structure of common mental disorders. The main takeaway here is that psychopathology has an intelligible, replicable structure - psychological disorders are not totally distinct units, but rather, they commonly co-occur with one another in certain types of ways. One thing to notice is that while internalizing and externalizing disorders do not necessarily cohere together in a “structural model” (you’ll learn about this more in a future module about more advanced statistics), they still correlate with each other ~.5. This means that processes most implicated in one are not unrelated to the other. And this makes sense if you think about it - one type of psychological dysfunction is bound to be related to other types of psychological dysfunction too. Internalizing disorders are further defined by two subgroupings - “fear” and “distress” disorders. Externalizing disorders are a little different, and the last article for this module dives into the externalizing spectrum more. Don’t get bogged down in the statistics in the method and results sections of the articles; it’s okay to be a little confused with them at this point. But make sure to understand the importance of what the introduction and discussion say - psychological disorders co-occur in certain ways, and the reason for the co-occurrence is due to shared heritable liability factors that confers risk for psychopathology in distinct ways.