Methodology of Behavioral Research: Systems Approach to the Empirical Study of Behavior Regulation: Theory and Methodology



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The goal of the course is to help students develop a scientific approach to the study of human behavior: to understand that interpretation of findings from the literature is impossible without considering biological, psychological and social aspects of behavior as well as interaction of the above factors. Introductory lectures in this field will be followed by discussion of a certain topic in seminars. We aim to develop a critical approach in our students to enable them to identify possible confounding contextual factors and plan for controlling them in their empirical studies of behavior.

Fulfillment criteria: the students will be asked to develop, to present and to discuss their
research plans.

Main topics:

  • Basic characteristics of Systems Approach
  • Data collection and measures of behavior psychology: descriptive and correlational data and experimental designs for hypotheses testing. Systematic pluralism and statistical tools for data analyses
  • Contextual vs. non-contextual analysis
  • Psychological phenomena in time, space and sociocultural context
  • Molar vs. molecular analyses of behavior
  • Necessary connections between environment and behavior
  • Design and management for controlling contextual factors in empirical research
  • Ethical and socio-cognitive problems in research design
  • Artifacts and ways to control them
  • Gibson, E. J. (1991): The ecological approach: A foundation for environmental psychology, In: Downs, R. M., Liben, L. S., and Palermo, D. S. (Eds.): Visions of aesthetics, the environment and development. The Pennsylvania State University. 87-113.
  • Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T. and Rapson, N, R. L. (1994) Emotional contagion, Cambridge University Press.
  • Magnusson, D., Stattin, H. (1996): Person-context interaction theories, Reports from the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm.
  • Michelson, W.H. (1994): Everyday life in contextual perspective, In: Altman, I., and Churchman, A. (Eds.): Women and the environment, Plenum Press, New York. 17-43.
  • Rosenthal, R., Rosnow, R. L. (1991) Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis. London: McGraw-Hill, Publishing Co.