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Lecture 2

PSYCH 2800 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Pluralistic Ignorance, Pareidolia, List Of Muppets

Course Code
PSYCH 2800
Tom Gilovich

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Lecture 2: Psychology of Questionable Belief
How We Know What Isn’t So
Seeing order in randomness.
The hidden data problem - when forming our beliefs, we base them on information
gathered from the world. However the world hides some information and reveals or
distorts others, so hard to know our beliefs are well founded.
Airline safety magazine articles -- knowing where exits are and rehearsing how to
get to there increases chances of moving from casualty to survival. 90% of
survivors mapped out plan. However, unable to interview nonsurvivors so no way
to know what they were thinking.
Pluralistic ignorance: most of our information about other people come from other
people. People are not entirely honest, lie to themselves, etc. People tend to take social
cues from society, and act accordingly; if everyone is doing this without believing in it,
then everyone is just doing this without actually believing it due to the chain reaction.
Princeton students and assumptions about attitudes towards alcohol. Assumes
that more people are for alcohol and drink regularly than actually do; adjust
behavior according to the average/norm, which may be based on false info or
Can’t let anyone know about your own self-doubt -- everyone misleads each
other about their self assuredness.
Imposter phenomenon - achieving a level of success, but feeling out of place in
that success because the surrounding peers all seem so confident and settled.
Feeling like an imposter.
College admission: The four quad grid, trying to figure out who did as well as expected,
etc. However, no way of knowing if we short changed people who weren’t admitted and
are still achieving because they weren’t admitted. Instead, only see one side of the grid -
- see more successful admitted than unsuccessful admitted, so assume good selection
Does adoption by infertile couples lead to better conception rates? May look like it, but
no, still a 3:1 ratio. (12:4 looks more positive and true compared to 3:1.)
Feature positive effect: See all of the positive examples and want to have “yes”
positive response.
Hidden data effect: The story that you want to share is about the yes-yes
couples, that’s the advice you pass on to other people -- not the yes-no couples.
Therefore neglecting to pass on full scale of data.
Phenomena of seeing patterns in random data - the human inclination to assume that
randomness does not repeat as much as it actually does. Or to see patterns where one
doesn’t exist.
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