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Lecture 2

PSYCO104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Terror Management Theory, Emotional Reasoning, Pseudoscience

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Eric Legge

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PSYCH 104 – LECTURE #2 – Introduction to Psychology Pt. II
Why does Pseudoscience still exist?
oPeople take things at face value
oExhausting to always “critically think”
oBrains are predisposed to make order out of disorder, sense out of nonsense
oApophenia: Think there is meaningful connection for unrelated and even
random phenomena
Makes event “appear” miraculous – coincidence
Discounts other occurrences
eg. Thinking about a person and then person contacts you almost
immediately (woah!)
oPareidolia: Seeing meaningful image(s) in meaningless visual stimuli
Drawing conclusion from visual stimuli
eg. cloud shapes; the “Face on Mars”
Makes theories for random events
Terror Management Theory
Make people very paranoid about impending death, make them
believe in anything afterwards to prolong death
Believing in something too good to be true or something that gives
people hope
Antidote for Pseudoscience
oThink scientifically and critically
oBe aware of human biases
1. Emotional reasoning: If X is true, this would make me feel bad so it can’t be
eg. Children’s happiness in daycares and working parents’ guilt
2. Bandwagon: If lots of people believe X is true, it must be
3. Not me: Feeling of invincibility – cannot be affected by other’s biases
Dangers of Pseudoscience
1. Opportunity cost: Using methods that has NO scientific evidence ie. Missing out on
opportunity for proper treatment
2. Direct Harm: Causing ACTUAL physical harm
eg. Using medication that hasn’t been clinically approved
3. Blocks Scientific Thinking
6 Major Principles of Scientific Thinking
1. Ruling out rival hypotheses: Ensure other hypotheses have been considered and
ruled out
oeg. EMDR – actually nothing to do with experimenter’s fingers
2. Correlation vs. Causation: Do not infer causality with correlation evidence
oeg. ice cream and drowning have no direct connection
4. Replicability: One study NOT ENOUGH – do not accept at face value
5. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: Something appears too
good to be true probably is. It needs to be ROCK SOLID with replicability
6. Occam’s Razor (KISS – “keep it simple stupid”): Simplest explanation is the
better one
Psychology’s Perspectives
1. Social: Relating to others and personal relationships; cultural influences
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