Can you give an example of the kind of research that can be done in the field of psychology and explain how those address the theories being developed or investigated?
Research in the field of psychology has become increasingly diverse and more interdisciplinary by nature. Current studies in cognitive neuroscience can investigate the influence of the body's biology on the functioning of various neurological and ultimately psychological systems. For example, a popular area of research investigates the influence of fitness on a variety of tests designed to assess the major parameters of cognition. These can include working memory, episodic memory, attention, and speed of processing. This sort of research helps show the world that fitness not only changes your body physically, but as a result of those physical changes, psychological ones follow. As a whole, psychology as a field requires that psychologists not only know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of different theories, but that they develop skills in programming, statistics, biology, engineering, and neuroscience to ultimately facilitate the understanding of or development of current psychological theories.
Could you explain the difference between measures of dispersion and measures of central tendency?
Measures of central tendency are different means by which to calculate a value that best represents the set of observations it is referring to (the observations that were used to calculate that particular value). They consist of the mean, median, and mode. Often courses also discuss the range (difference between the largest and smallest value of the observations) when teaching about measures of central tendency. The mean is the sum of all values in a set of observations divided by the number of observations. The median is the value that is literally in the center of the set of observed values when listed from smallest to largest. If there are an odd number of observations this is more clear. However, when the set of observed values consists of an even number of observations the two middle values must then be summed and divided by two to determine the average between the two. The mode is the value most frequently recorded. Measures of dispersion, on the other hand, describe the spread or characterize the nature of the distribution of the observed values in a data set. These can be the variance, standard deviation, or interquartile range. These calculations are a bit more complex but ultimately describe the spread of the recorded/observed values.
Can you explain how theories of long term memory help explain how memory and learning occur?
Theories of long term memory and different types of memory mechanics help explain the potential ways for how the brain organizes, stores, and utilizes information. Learning and memory work in conjunction with one another since learning must be done in such a way to promote consolidation in long term memory. Different models throughout history have been developed in conjunction with the current topic of interest in mind and continue to change as paradigms shift with the development of new information. More detailed information on the models would require a lengthier explanation but could also provide some useful information here.