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Chapter 4

PSY 2110 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, Eating DisorderPremium

3 pages95 viewsFall 2018

Course Code
PSY 2110
Marie Lyne Laliberté

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Social Cognition (Lecture 5)
Article 7: Some Systematic Biases of Everyday Judgement
Daily judgement and reasoning are biased in predictable ways
3 common problems lead to judgement by bias:
o “Compared to what” problem
o The “seek and ye shall find” problem
o The selective memory problem
Two types of explanations offered for the dubious beliefs:
o Motivational causes:
Some beliefs are comforting, so people embrace that comfort and
convince themselves that a questionable proposition is true
Many religious beliefs are often explained this way
o Cognitive causes:
Faulty processes of reasoning and judgement that lead people to
misevaluate the evidence of their everyday experience
Skeptics often cite thinkers, like Francis Bacon, Bertrand Russell and John Stuart Mill
“Compared to What?” Problem
o People often overly impressed with an absolute statistic without recognizing that
its true import can only be assessed by comparison to some relevant baseline
o The problem of failing to invoke a relevant baseline of comparison is particularly
common when the class of data that required inspection is inherently difficult to
o Ex. Airplane
Exits when there’s a plane crash and most people will have an exit route
already mapped out
“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Problem
o People do not assess hypotheses even-handedly
o They tend to seek out confirmatory evidence for what they suspect to be true,
which is tendency that has the effect of the problem
o A biased search for confirmatory information frequently turns up more apparent
support for hypothesis than is justified
o Example: Custody Battle
Custody battle for a child, most people award custody to the “mixed bag
parent” who offers advantages and disadvantages
o Result is usually paradoxical, unless one considers people’s tendencies to seek
out informing information
Selective Memory Problem
o People are more inclined to remember information that fits their expectations
than information at variance with their expectation
o Memory research has shown that often people have the easiest time recalling
information that is inconsistent with their expectations or preferences
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