PSY 2010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Order Theory, Uri Geller, Pseudoscience

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4 Dec 2016
Chapter 4 discussion Questions
1. What was wrong with the birth order “theory” presented at the beginning of the chapter?
The theory is constructed so that no observations can disconfirm it. Dr. Pontificate uses
case studies as proof when a case study or testimonial is essentially worthless.
2. What does the Stanovich say is the usefulness of case studies? When are they not useful?
The usefulness of case studies is strongly determined by how far scientific investigation has
advanced in a certain area. As evidence to prove a theory.
3. What does Stanovich say is the goal of experimental designs?
He says that the goals of experimental designs are to structure events so that support of one
particular explanation simultaneously disconfirms other explanations.
4. What is the placebo effect?
The placebo effect is the tendency of people to report that any treatment has helped them,
regardless of whether it has a real therapeutic element.
5. What is the percentage of placebo effects for the treatment of major depression?
29 percent
6. What else along with placebo effects (and the actual therapy) affects individual reporting of
improvement in therapy?
I don’t understand what this is asking
7. What is the biggest concern regarding placebo effects and testimonials in treatment?
That there really is no improvement. Just that people think they are improving.
8. What is the vividness effect? What was your favorite example of this in the chapter? Why do
you think we so quickly accept this information and ignore the actual statistics?
When faced with a problem-solving or decision-making situation, people retrieve from
memory the information that seems relevant to the situation at hand. I liked the “car X”
example because this happened to me. My dad doesn’t like Dodges and because of that I
decided to not buy a Dodge when that was what I wanted. I think this is because we trust
people we know.
9. How does Stanovich fight vividness with vividness? What was your favorite example(s) of the
Amazing Randi’s fraud exposures?
To hoist testimonials on their own petard! To let testimonials devour themselves with their
own absurdity. I like the Uri Geller example because I feel that stuff should be known by
the public.
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