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PSYCH 7A Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Memory, Classical Conditioning, Anxiety


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 7A
Professor
John Hagedorn
Study Guide
Final

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PSYCH 7A

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PSYCH 7A - Lecture 1 - The Science of Psychology
What is Psychology?
psyche“soul” or “mind”
logosthe study of a subject
Psychology:
The scientific study of behavior and mental processes
Behavior – anything an organism does that is directly observable
Mental Processes – the internal, private experiences we have that CANNOT be directly
observed
Psychology is a science:
systematic methods (carefully planned and conducted) to observe, describe,
explain behavior
theories must be tested
Can We Trust Our Common Sense and Intuition?
People naturally use their common sense and intuition when trying to understand
people’s behaviors
Can we trust this person?
Would this person make a good mate?
Is this person likely to be friendly or hostile?
What might this person do in this situation?
Our intuitions / common sense come from our experiences
However, the “knowledge” that comes from our experiences is not reliable
We have a limited number of experiences in any particular situation
We draw conclusions about situations where we don’t know all the
variables/information
Our intuitions and common sense can be just plain WRONG!
Critical Thinking
Critical thinking – the ability of systematically and objectively evaluate information
using well-supported evidence
Critical thinkers look for “holes” in the evidence
Can we trust the source of this “evidence”
Are there other possible explanations other than the one proposed?
Might the source of the “evidence” be biased in some way? (especially in politics
or people with a personal agenda!)
Human beings constantly try to figure out WHY things occur
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We will use ANY information we have to try to come up with the best explanation
However, we often inject biases or use “shortcuts” in our thinking when we have limited
information
These shortcuts will sometimes lead us to INCORRECT conclusions!
Confirmation Bias
Confirmation Bias – people’s tendency to place great importance on evidence
supporting their pre-existing beliefs and to downplay/disregard evidence that does not
support their pre-existing beliefs
When people hear about a study that is consistent with their pre-existing beliefs,
they tend to believe it without questioning it
When people hear about a study contradicting their pre-existing beliefs, they
tend to scrutinize the study and do their best to find flaws or problems with it
Factors that increase confirmation bias:
If we have a particular belief (e.g. a political belief), we may only visit websites
and watch TV programs that are consistent with those beliefs
If we only hear the view of the issue that is consistent with what we already
believe, of course we will become more and more convinced that we are right
and more and more likely to disregard/downplay conflicting evidence
Illusory Correlations: Seeing Relationships That Do Not Exist
Illusory Correlation – perceiving a relationship between events when no relationship
exists
We are constantly experiencing the world and trying to figure out relationships
to help us predict what will happen in the future
We often experience two things happening at the same time and have the
perception that they must be causally related – that one of those things
contributed to the occurrence of the other
Examples:
A lucky piece of clothing – something good happened when you were wearing it,
and you perceive that it contributed to that desirable event (in reality, of course,
there was no connection!)
Illusory statistical correlation: Pirates and Global Warming
Over last 200 years, number of pirates has decreased
Over same time, global temperature has increased
Perhaps the demise of pirates is responsible for global warming!
Hindsight Bias
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