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University of Ottawa

Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological ScienceHindsight Bias Iknewitallalong phenomenon the tendency to believe after learning an outcome that one would have foreseen it Common sense more easily describes what has happen than what will happen Humans are often overconfident When asked to predict at the beginning of the school year whether they would drop a course call their parents etc College students were overconfident Overconfidence often lead us to overestimate our intuition By letting the facts speak for themselves MOSES used an EMPIRICAL APPROACH Psychologists approach the world of behaviour with a curious skepticism asking 2 questions such as What do you mean How do you know Humility an awareness of our own vulnerability to error and an openness to surprises and new perspectives THREE ATTITUDES OF SCIENCE Curiosity skepticism humility Psychologist are linked to scientists by the three scientific attitudes mentioned above Critical Thinking smart thinking Thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions Ratherit examines assumptions discerns hidden values evaluates evidence and asseses conclusionCritical thinking is open to surprise findings and can convincingly debunk popular assumptions Theory an explanation through an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviours or events A good theory produces testable predictions called hypotheses Hypotheses testable prediction often implied by a theoryTo check their biases psychologists report their research with operation definitionsOperation definitions a statement of the procedures operations used to define research variables For example human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures or hunger may be operationally defined as hours without eating Replication repeating the essence of a research study usually with different participants in different situations to see whether the basic finding extends to others For example repeating the study increases our confidence in the findings A theory is useful is1 it effectively organizes a range of selfreports and observations2 it implies clear predictions that anyone can use to check the theory or derive practical applications We can test our hypotheses with descriptive methods deserves behaviours using case studies surveys or naturalistic observations correlational methods which associate different factors and experimental methods which manipulate factors to discover their effects Case study an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles It can lead to mistaken judgements and false conclusions if the person being studied is atypical Individual cases can suggest fruitful ideas Whats true of all of us can be glimpsed in any one of us But to discern the general truths that cover individual cases we must answer questions with other research methods Survey method of describingobvserving behaviour that looks at many cases in less depth A technique for ascertaining the selfreported attitudes or behaviours of a particular group usually by questioning a representative random sample of the group Asks people to report their behaviour or opinions The way questions are worded and respondents are chosen changes the answersWording effects For instance should pornography be allowed on television Should pornography be forbidden or censored on television Random sampling The best basis for generalizing is from a representative sample of cases Population all the cases in a group being studied from which samples may be drawn Random Sample a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion Randomly choosing your people for a questionnaire Before accepting survey findings think critically consider the sample you cannot compensate for an unrepresentative sample by simply adding more people Representative sample of 100 is better then unrepresentative sample of 500 Naturalistic observation observing and recording behaviour in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation Correlation a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together and thus of how well either factor predicts the other Surveys and naturalistic observation often show us that one trait is related to anyone Correlation coefficient a statistical measureindex of the relationship between two things ranges from 1 to 1 A correlation is positive if two sets of scores such as height and weight tend to rise or fall together A correlation is negative if two sets of scores tend to relate inversely that is one rises and the other falls and viceversaA weak correlation indicating little relationship has a coefficient near 0 A correlation coefficient reveals the extent to which two things relate Association does not prove causation Correlation indicates the POSSIBILITY of a causeeffect relationship but it does not PROVE the causation Knowing that two events are associated does not tell us anything about the cause ie Depression is not necessarily caused by low selfesteem low selfesteem is not necessarily caused by depression Other factors could cause either of the two Illusory correlation The perception of a relationship where none exists a perceived but nonexistent correlation When we notice random coincidences we may forrget they are random and see them as correlated Hence we can easily deceive ourselves by seeing what is not there ie sugar gets childen hyperactive getting chilled and wet causes people to catch a coldWe perceive order in random events such as flipping a coin 5 times but in reality there are no explanations needed since these are just random streaks there is no order or explanation but it is just randomExperiment a research method in which an investigator manipulated one or more factors independent variables to observe the effect on some behaviour or mental process the dependent variable By random assignment or participants the experimented aims to control other relevant factors 1 manipulating the factors of interest and 2 holding constant other factors
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