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Chapter 1 Research Strategies How Psychologists Ask and Answer QuestionsLimits of Intuition and Common SenseIntuition can lead us astray Imagine folding a sheet of paper on itself 100 times How thick is itHow big should a group be to have a 50 change of a birthday matchHindsight biasThe tendency to think that you would have forseen an outcome after it happenedEg Separate people in two groups and tell them 1 Separation weakens romance Out of sight out of mind 2 Separation strengthens romance Absence makes the heart grow fonderBoth groups will justify a resultIn police lineups people might be uncertain but if told they were correct after they will say There was no maybe about itSometimes intuition is wrong tooOverconfidenceWe tend to think we know more than we doeg People are given three anagrams with solutions and asked how long they think it would have taken to solveThey vastly overestimate the actual time it takes most peopleEven when our initial predictions our wrong those who were wrong often still say I was almost rightOverconfidence is hard to overcomeThe Scientific AttitudeUnderlying all science is a passion to understand or exploreScientific inquiry sometimes proves crazy ideasBut more often it shows they are unbelievablePsychologists ask two questions over and over What do you meanHow do you knowPracticing scientific attitudes requires skepticism and humility because we might have to reject our own ideasCritical thinkingexamines assumptions evaluates evidence and gives conclusionsPsychologys own critical inquiry has bee open to some surprising findingsEg massive losses of brain tissue early in life may have minimal longterm effects diverse groups have roughly comparable levels of happinessScientific MethodPsychologists use the scientific methods to observe make theories and then improve themA theory explains through a set of principles that predicts observable behaviorA good theory of depression will help organize many observations into a shorter list of principlesA good theory needs testable predictions called hypothesesOperation definitionstatement of the operations used to define research variablesA theory is useful if it 1 effectively organizes a range of observations and 2 gives clear predictions that anyone can use to checkThe Case StudyPsychologists study some individuals hoping to find broad general principles Individual cases can suggest fruitful ideas but they can sometimes be misleadingSurvey MethodCommonly used in descriptive and correlational studies looks at many cases in less depthWording Asking questions is tricky even small changes can have a major impactWe have to phrase questions carefullySampling We tend to overestimate others agreement with us the false consensus effectThe challenge is to pick a representative sampleDont generalize from a few vivid but unrepresentative casesRandom sampling works in national surveysA larger sample if not random merely gives better estimates of a misleading numberNaturalistic ObservationNaturalistic observation is recording the behavior of organisms in their natural environmentIt doesnt explain behavior but describes itIt can also be used with correlational and experimental researchCorrelation effect a statistical measure of how things are related and how one factor can predict the otherIt tells us nothing about cause and effect but it can help us see things more clearly by telling us the extent two things are relatedCorrelation and CausationCorrelation doesnt prove causationIf watching TV violence positively correlates with aggressiveness does that mean TV violence influences aggressionOr the other way aroundOr bothSame thing with negative correlation between selfesteem and depressionDoes low selfesteem cause depressionCorrelation indicates a possibility of a causeeffect relationship but it doesnt prove causationIllusory CorrelationsA perceived correlation that doesnt exist is an illusory correlationWhen we believe something we will more likely remember things that prove our belief Eg we believe infertile couples are more likely to conceive after adoptingBut this is due to overreliance on the top lefthand corner in the table belowConceiveDo not conceiveAdoptConfirming evidenceDisconfirming evidenceDo not adoptDisconfirming evidenceConfirming evidenceWe need data from all four cellsThis is why people believe myths like sugar makes children hyperactive getting cold and wet catches a coldWhen we notice random coincidences we may forget they are random and see them as correlatedPerceiving Order in Random EventsIllusory correlations come out of our eagerness to make sense of our worldWe look for patterns even among random patternsEg people think HHHHHH is less likely than HTTHTH in coin flips when they are actually equally likelyAlso in lotteries people are less likely to pick repeated numbers because they look less randomBy not recognizing random occurrences people may seek extraordinary explanations for ordinary eventsWith a large enough sample any outrageous thing is likely to happeneg people winning lotteries twiceAn event that happens to one in 1 billion people every day happens six times a day 2000 times a yearExperimentationThe best way to isolate cause and effect is thorugh experimentsThey manipulate the factors of interest while holding constant other factorsThey are different than correlational studies which try to uncover naturally occurring relationships Experiments manipulate a factor to find out its effectEvaluating TherapiesWe have a tendency to seek new remedies when were sick and it can produce misleading effectsWell think that our healing came as a result of some new thing we triedWe need to experiment to determine if something is really workingOne way to do this is through blind testing groups by giving them a placeboThis helps researchers check a treatments actual effectsPlacebo effectjust thinking one is getting a treatment can cause relaxation and symptom reliefDoubleblind procedureAn experiment where both the research participants and research staff are blind about whether someone received a placeboThe doubleblind procedure creates an experimental condition of people getting a treatment and a control condition without itAfter random assignment this can be pretty accurateThe experimental factor is the independent variable because we can vary itThen we look at the effect of an
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