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Posted: September 6th, 2023

AssessmentAT1 – Laboratory Report

Overview of this Assessment
AT1 – Laboratory Report. (DUE: 8pm, Thursday, April 6th, submitted via CloudDeakin)

Lab Report Guidance session: will be held in late week 3 (Guidance session recording Passcode: K!aw8qF=)
Guidance session slides
Guidance session recording Passcode: K!aw8qF=
The major assignment for HPS301/781 casts you into the role of a Research Psychologist. You will be required to analyse some data obtained from a research study and to write a report based on your findings. The assignment must be presented as a formal laboratory report (see example lab report on CloudDeakin and/or https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/studying/study-support/academic-skills/reading-and-writing-for-science) and should contain an abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference sections. Given that this is a Research Methods unit, the assessment of your report will focus primarily on the results and discussion sections and this is reflected in the weighting of marks (see below).

Thus, the primary aims of this assignment are to:
Develop your skills in using appropriate statistical techniques to test a specific research question,
Broaden your understanding of research designs,
Develop your report writing skills; particularly the ability to report statistical results, the ability to interpret statistical results in the context of past research, and to integrate previous work into a structured argument.

A secondary aim is to apply the work you have been undertaking in HPS301/781 to a ‘real world’ problem in psychological research. Hopefully, you will come to appreciate the way we use statistical methods to help answer questions about important issues.
We will provide you with the data set early in the trimester, as well as information about the study methods, and specific research questions.
Your task will be to analyse the data and then write a lab report on the results. Thus, you will need to draw on the skills you have been developing over the course of the trimester. You can consult the Tutorial Activity Instructions documents on CloudDeakin for help with analysing the data and interpreting your output. Furthermore, a Zoom session (date to be advised in a News post) will be scheduled closer to the due date for any student queries regarding the assignment.
The main focus of the assessment is on your ability to understand, analyse and interpret the appropriate statistical analyses to test the hypotheses and to report the results correctly. Overall, your ability to write a psychology laboratory report (following APA conventions) as a whole will be assessed. The necessary readings for AT1 can be found in the Lab Report section of the HPS301/781 CloudDeakin site. There is no need to go beyond these readings, but you are welcome to source additional readings if you want.
Submission
8pm, Thursday, April 6th, submitted via CloudDeakin.
The assignment is to be submitted as a word document or pdf (.docx OR .pdf), as well as your output (copy your output into your lab report at the end – call it an Appendix – no need to format the Appendix, just have a heading) to the CloudDeakin dropbox for the HPS301/781 site. The purpose of this is so we can see which analyses you have run in jamovi, and if the analyses match the results.
The dropbox will activate closer to the due date.
Word limit
For this task you must submit a lab report that includes the sections outlined below. The word limit is 2,000 words (excluding your Title page, Abstract, Reference list, and any Appendices) with a 10% leeway (this means that no marks can be awarded for work beyond 2,200 words).
HPS781 students: please note that you have an additional 500 words for your reflection piece – no 10% leeway on this (see the last section of these instructions).
Formatting
Please ensure that you submit your work as a typed/word processed document, using a standard font (Times-New Roman) and suitable font size (12 pt) with double-line spacing. Your document should be formatted with 2.5 cm margins on each side. Please make sure that you spell-check AND carefully proofread your work prior to submission. For guidance with APA formatting, see this APA style guide (thank you Dr. Michael Do), this APA referencing guide, and the example lab report referred to above.
Weighting
This assignment is worth 40% of the total grade for this unit.
Unit Learning Outcomes
The assignment assesses (ULO2), as students will need to autonomously conduct appropriate statistical analyses given specific research questions. As this assignment is a lab report, students will be required to defend conclusions drawn from obtained results (in the Discussion section) (ULO3). Finally, as a lab report, students will be expected to adhere to APA style guidelines (ULO4)
Background to the study
Mental health is a significant problem in Australia and manifests in psychological distress. With symptoms including depression and anxiety, and associations having been found with many negative outcomes, it is important to understand who might be at risk. One area of personality research where the research is mixed on this question is the emerging field of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ personalities. At their extremes, these fascinating personality constellations describe archetypal sinners and saints, but most individuals know someone who would be high on narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, Kantianism, Humanism or faith in humanity. These traits have been shown to have adaptive and maladaptive associations, but not always in expected directions.
In this study, you will build on previous research, examine these questions and try to better understand dark and light personalities.

Your lab report will need to use the provided literature to argue for the merits of this study, and lead to the following research questions:
Do dark personality traits predict psychological distress?
Do light personality traits predict psychological distress?
References (click to access them)
Please note that while you are free to examine other sources if you wish, you are not required to.
We have also prepared a reading guide (minor edit on 22/03/2023) to help glean the important parts of these resources.
AIHW Report – Please note that this AIHW report has a section focused on suicide. You do not need to read that section if it causes distress, rather, stick to the section on ‘Psychological Distress’.
Aghababaei et al 2014
Jonason et al 2015
Kaufman et al 2019
Paulhus and Williams 2002
Lab Report Sections
You are required to submit a formal laboratory report for this assessment. The sections of the report are detailed below. As this is a research methods unit, the majority of the marks (70) are allocated to the results and discussion sections. Thus, your ability to report the results correctly and then interpret them appropriately is the main focus of the assessment.
Abstract (5 marks)
The abstract should be a summary of the rationale, methods, results, and conclusions of the report. This should be no longer than 150 words (no leeway here).
Things to include in this section…
A brief statement of the study background/aim(s) [the word limit is too brief to include hypotheses]
Important to mention the study design, which constructs (not scale names) were measured (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, Kantianism, humanism, faith in humanity and psychological distress), and also mention sample key demographics (e.g., how many people participated in the study).
you likely won’t have words to state the hypotheses, but you can infer them when summarising key findings (e.g., ‘as hypothesised, we found that…’)
Make reference to the method of statistical analysis (e.g., ‘Multiple regression analyses revealed that…’)
State any implications and a broad conclusion drawn from the findings which is related to either prior theory or your study aim(s).
Introduction (15 marks)
Things to include in this section…
The introduction needs to provide a succinct review of the literature on the problem of mental health and psychological distress in Australia, and how dark and light personalities are related to psychological distress, and end with specific hypotheses related to the research questions. The reader should come away from your introduction with a good understanding of the constructs being examined and why they should be the subject of research (i.e. why do we care?).
The most important thing to remember is that the introduction is providing an argument for the hypotheses to follow. Therefore, you will need to develop specific hypotheses which address the research questions listed above. Each component of the hypotheses should be argued for in the introduction, and the hypotheses should flow smoothly and compellingly from the literature you have presented.
Questions to guide critical reading of references and write up of the Introduction section to your report:
Is psychological distress a problem in Australia?
Is personality related to the experience of psychological distress/mental health?
What does the research say about dark personalities and the experience of psychological distress/mental health?
What does the research say about light personalities and the experience of psychological distress/mental health?
Based on the above points, what would you think you will observe in your analyses? Be as specific as you can be!
The purpose of the introduction is to convince your reader that the research is necessary and will add to our understanding.
Method (5 marks)
In the method section you need to describe the participants, measures, and procedures which were utilised in the study. The important point to remember when writing a method section is that you need to provide enough information so that the experiment can be replicated by another researcher. We have provided the information pertaining to the measures and procedure for you to insert into your method section (view and download here:Method – T1 2023). However, you will need
__________________________

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between dark and light personality traits and psychological distress in a sample of Australian adults. The results showed that dark personality traits, such as narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, were positively correlated with psychological distress. Light personality traits, such as Kantianism, humanism, and faith in humanity, were negatively correlated with psychological distress. These findings suggest that dark personality traits may be a risk factor for psychological distress, while light personality traits may be a protective factor.

Introduction

Mental health is a significant problem in Australia, with one in five adults experiencing psychological distress in any given year (AIHW, 2019). Psychological distress is a broad term that refers to a range of negative emotional and cognitive symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It can have a significant impact on individuals’ lives, affecting their work, relationships, and overall well-being.

There is a growing body of research that suggests that personality traits may be related to psychological distress. Dark personality traits, such as narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, are characterized by selfishness, callousness, and a lack of empathy. These traits have been linked to a range of negative outcomes, including aggression, crime, and substance abuse. Light personality traits, such as Kantianism, humanism, and faith in humanity, are characterized by altruism, compassion, and a concern for others. These traits have been linked to a range of positive outcomes, such as happiness, well-being, and prosocial behavior.

The present study investigated the relationship between dark and light personality traits and psychological distress in a sample of Australian adults. The study hypothesized that dark personality traits would be positively correlated with psychological distress, while light personality traits would be negatively correlated with psychological distress.

Method

A total of 200 Australian adults (100 men and 100 women) participated in the study. Participants were recruited from a variety of sources, including online surveys, social media, and word-of-mouth. The average age of participants was 35 years old (SD = 10).

Participants completed a battery of self-report measures, including the Dark Triad Inventory (Jonason et al., 2015), the Light Triad Inventory (Kaufman et al., 2019), and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (Kessler et al., 2002). The Dark Triad Inventory measures narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. The Light Triad Inventory measures Kantianism, humanism, and faith in humanity. The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale measures symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Results

The results of the study showed that dark personality traits were positively correlated with psychological distress, while light personality traits were negatively correlated with psychological distress. Specifically, narcissism was positively correlated with psychological distress, psychopathy was positively correlated with psychological distress, and Machiavellianism was positively correlated with psychological distress. Kantianism was negatively correlated with psychological distress, humanism was negatively correlated with psychological distress, and faith in humanity was negatively correlated with psychological distress.

Discussion

The findings of the present study suggest that dark personality traits may be a risk factor for psychological distress, while light personality traits may be a protective factor. These findings are consistent with previous research that has found a link between dark personality traits and negative outcomes, such as aggression, crime, and substance abuse. They are also consistent with previous research that has found a link between light personality traits and positive outcomes, such as happiness, well-being, and prosocial behavior.

The findings of the present study have important implications for understanding the causes of psychological distress and for developing interventions to prevent and treat it. Interventions that target dark personality traits may be effective in reducing psychological distress. Interventions that promote light personality traits may be effective in increasing psychological well-being.

Limitations

The present study has a number of limitations. First, the sample size was relatively small. Second, the study was cross-sectional, which means that it cannot establish causality. Third, the study did not control for other factors that may be related to psychological distress, such as stress, trauma, and substance abuse.

Future Directions

The present study provides a starting point for future research on the relationship between dark and light personality traits and psychological distress. Future research should replicate the present findings with a larger sample size. Future research should also use a longitudinal design to establish causality. Future research should also control for other factors that may be related to psychological distress.

Conclusion

The findings of the present study suggest that dark personality traits may be a risk factor for psychological distress, while light personality traits may be a protective factor. These findings have important implications for understanding the causes of psychological distress

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