PSYC 212.001

Behavioral Statistics

Spring, 2006

10:00-11:45 MW in PY 304


Prerequisite course: Math 111 or higher except Math 204.If you have not taken the prerequisite course, it is your responsibility to drop the course.


Dr. Justin Buckingham

426 Psychology Building

Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1-1:50; Tuesdays 3:20-4:10


Phone: 410-704-3217



Required Materials:

††††††††††† Aron, Aron, & Coups (2004). Statistics for the behavioral and social sciences. A brief course. (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall.

††††††††††† Nolan (2004). Study guide and computer workbook. Prentice Hall.

††††††††††† You will also need a basic calculator.


Course content:

††††††††††† This course is an introduction to how social scientists organize and interpret data.Descriptive and inferential statistics will be covered.

††††††††††† Unlike most of your other classes, this is a ďhow toĒ class.You will learn how to organize statistical information in a meaningful way, how to use statistics to test hypotheses, and how to interpret the outcomes of statistical tests.Furthermore, you will learn how to compute some of todayís most commonly used statistics with a calculator and with computerized statistical software. More importantly, you will learn how to explain statistical information to others.


Course format: Homework will be assigned for each class. Class time will be devoted to lecture, going over the homework problems, demonstrations, in-class exercises, and computer lab work.††


Why are you here?

This course will:


Course Objectives

Students will learn:

        The major concepts of statistics including conceptual knowledge of various statistical procedures and when it is appropriate to use each one.

        To use descriptive statistics to organize, simplify, and summarize data.

        To compute and interpret various inferential statistics (including t, r, and F).

        To read, interpret, and critically evaluate the results and conclusions of statistics as reported in research articles and the popular press.

        The role of statistical software (e.g., SPSS) in statistics.

Strategies for success in this course (and others):

  1. Adopt a positive attitude. I firmly believe that how you approach this course is a key determinant of what youíll get out of it. If you adopt the approach that youíve been forced to take this course and youíre just going to do what it takes to get through, you may struggle to do so. Youíll be better off if you accept that this course is required because itís actually quite valuable to your education.
  2. Set goals for yourself. Generally speaking, setting specific, challenging goals helps people perform better. You should set short-term goals (e.g., learn how to calculate standard deviations) as well as long-term goals (e.g., pass the course).
  3. Have faith in your ability to master statistics. This will keep you going even when you experience obstacles.
  4. Keep up with the material by reading the assigned pages before class. If youíve never tried this before, youíll be surprised at how much it helps.
  5. Complete the assigned homework and hand it in on time. How do you get to be good at statistics? Practice, practice, practice! You cannot just passively learn about statistics; you need to practice it frequently: Thatís why I assign the homework.
  6. Donít be embarrassed to ask for help. I donít expect statistics to make sense to all students at first, so let me know when you need me to explain something more clearly.
  7. Tailor your study strategies to the type of material you are trying to learn. To learn definitions of terms, testing yourself with flashcards may help. For problem solving, do as many practice problems as possible. Also, remember that this course is not just a math course: Itís about understanding and being able to use statistics.


Basis of Evaluation:


Grade scale:

††††††††††† ††††††††††† A 94-100%†† A- 90-93%

B+ 87-89%††††††††††† B 84-86%†††† B- 80-83%

C+ 77-79%††††††††††† C 70-76%††††

D+ 67-69%††††††††††† D 60-66%†††† F 0-59%


How to figure out your grade:


Average of 4 exam scores†††† ††††††††††† ____________ X .80 =____________

Homework grade††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ____________ X .20 =____________


††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Total††† †††††††††† =____________ (Final grade)


About the Exams:

The mid-term exams will test you on material covered since the previous exam. However, the exams are naturally cumulative because new material builds on preceding concepts. Therefore, it is essential that you keep up with the material. If you do poorly on an exam, it is important to review the relevant chapters in the book and complete practice problems until you have mastered the material.

Exams 1 and 3 include take-home sections that will be handed out in class 1 week before the in-class exam and collected at the beginning of the in-class exam.

The final exam covers the new material introduced after Exam 3 and cumulative material from throughout the entire course.

To take the exams you must arrive before the first person to finish leaves the room.Make-up exams will only be given for students with University approved excuses (e.g., athletic participation, illness, death of family member) and proof thereof.


About the Homework:

Homework assignments should be completed prior to the start of each class.

Assignments must be written neatly and show all work. Pencil or pen is fine.

I will collect homework at the beginning of class on randomly selected days throughout the semester.

One and only one late assignment will be allowed as long as the assignment is handed in by the start of the next class.

Collected homework will be graded on a 0-2 scale. 0 means the homework was not handed in, 1 means the homework was incomplete or poorly done, 2 means the homework was done at a satisfactory level.


Knowledge of mathematics:

The emphasis in this course is on understanding the logic of statistics. However, understanding statistics involves learning how statistics are calculated. The calculations require nothing more than elementary high-school algebra.



You are encouraged to use a calculator for doing assignments and completing exams. A simple, inexpensive calculator that adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, and takes square roots is all you need. Since you must show all your work on all assignments and exams, calculators that do statistical calculations for you will not be of much help.

You are not allowed to use cell phones or computers during the exams.


Extra credit: You may earn up to 8 points of extra credit by participating in psychological studies. Two percentage points will be added to your lowest exam score for each credit earned on the researchpool system.

Sign-ups for research studies are now listed exclusively on the website. To sign-up for studies, you will need to create an account. Please go to the psychology departmentís research participation webpage for more instructions: (This page is also available via the Psychology Department Homepage).


Cheating and plagiarism: Donít do it!I will follow university procedures as described in the student academic integrity policy.

For this course, the most important behaviors to avoid are the following:

Copying from another studentís paper (for homework or exams)

Knowingly allowing another student to copy from oneís paper (for homework or exams).

Using books, notes, or other devices when these are not authorized (i.e., on an exam).


Behavioral Statistics

Schedule of Topics MW section




Reading in Aron & Aron

Assignment due on this date

In-class computer exercises (pages refer to the Study Guide and Computer Workbook)



Chapter 1




Displaying data, measures of central tendency

Ch 1, Ch 2: 29-35




Measures of variability, Z scores

Ch. 2: 36-53

Ch 1: 12, 13, 19, 23; Ch 2:





Ch 3

Ch 2: 17, 18, 21, 22, 24




Ch 3

Ch 3: 12, 16, 19

Introduction to SPSS (pp. 181-188); Using SPSS to do descriptive stats (pp. 8-12; pp. 21-25; pp. 37-43).







Exam 1 (Covers Ch 1-3)


Take-home section of exam.



Normal distribution

Ch 4: 107-117




Probability & intro to hypothesis testing

Ch 4: 117-126

Ch 5: 132-140

Ch 4: 13, 16, 17, 19



Hypothesis testing

Ch 5: 140-147


Ch 4: 20, 23

Ch 5: 12 (a-c)



Hypothesis testing with means

Ch 6: 154-163


Ch 5: 13, 15, 8



Hypothesis testing with means

Ch 6: 164-177

Ch 6: 1, 14, 19a



Power & Effect size

Ch 7: 185-199

Ch 6: 20 a,c,d; 21 a,b



Power & Effect size

Ch 7: 199-212

Ch 7: 10a, 11, 14-18








Exam 2 (Covers Ch 4-7)







Reading in Aron & Aron

Assignment Due

In-class computer exercises (pages refer to the Study Guide and Computer Workbook)


One sample t-test

Ch 8: 217-228




Dependent means t-test

Ch 8: 228-245

Ch 8: 12, 14a,c

SPSS lab on dependent t (pp. 98-101).


Independent means t-test

Ch 9: 256-271

Ch 8: 17a,c; 19a,b; 20a,b; 21a,b; 24



Independent means t-test

Ch 9: 272-278

Ch 9: 13, 16, 17

SPSS lab on independent t (pp. 114-119).


One-way ANOVA

Ch 10: 289-305

Ch 9: 19a,b; 21, 23




Ch 10: 306-311

Ch 10: 15a,c; 16a,c

SPSS lab on ANOVA (pp. 132-137).




Ch 10: 17, 18a,b; 19a,b



Exam 3 (Covers Ch 8-10)


Take-home section of exam.



Factorial ANOVA

Ch 10: 312-321




Chi-square tests

Ch 11: 333-341

Ch 10: 20i and ii, 21i, 23



Chi-square tests


Ch 11: 341-353

Ch 11: 14

SPSS lab on Chi-Square (pp. 152-159).


Hypothesis testing with correlations

Ch 3: 104-106

Ch 11: 16, 17a,b; 18c,d; 19a,b

SPSS lab on correlation (pp. 37-43).


Discussion of Research Article, Review




Monday 5/2210:15-12:15

Final Exam (Cumulative)





Note: On 5/15 we will discuss the following research article. You will need to print a copy of the article, which is available on the Psycinfo database:


Rozin, P., Kabnick, K., Pete, E., Fischler, C., & Shields, C. (2003). The ecology of eating: Smaller portion sizes in France than in the United States help explain the French paradox. Psychological Science, 14, 450-454.