Chapter 1: Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
- Definition: Science. Cognition, emotion, motivation, behaviors. Think feel behave
- Scope: therapy (small fraction) every single thing of live (large)
Iraq war, q advertisement agent, lecture in congress. Magnify in media.
I. The need for psychological science
1. Limits of Intuition. Accurate (violently abused people) and misleading (science:
bullet shooting in high speed and a bullet dropping from the same height reach the
ground at the same time)
2. Limits of Common Sense. Only common sense after we learned or experienced.
-Hindsight bias: I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon
Natural tendency: after knowing all the facts in a situation, including the conclusion.
Have the feeling that I could have easily predicted the outcome.
Ex. I could have told you so
3. Overconfidence. Tendency to overestimate how accurate our knowledge is.
Ex. President of a computer company: there is no reason for anyone to have a
computer in their home
Ex. Tetlock, study experts. After the situation and go back to study the experts
opinion. Experts are 40% accurate.
4. Illusory Correlation. Tendency to see the relationship between variables when there
are no relationships.
Cognitive effects: pay attention that supports our belief, disregard the ones that
5. Perceiving order in random events. Uncertainty make us uncomfortable, spend a lot
of time looking for explanations or patterns.
Ex. Picking lottery numbers, 7-12-29-32-42-6, 1-2-3-4-5-6.
B. The scientific attitude
2. Open-mindedness: not too gullible
3. Skepticism: not cynical
4. Awareness of
5. Humility - respect other minds, you’re not the most brilliant mind
- no matter how smart or prepared, mistakes might happen
- cautious on how to present results
- results will probably not be the truth, will be challenged someday
C. The Scientific method: a subject can only be considered a science if only they follow
1. Observation: start with casual observation and then systematic observation
- Help organize countless observations and predicts behaviors or events.
- Is not a fact, only a hypothesis. It’s a tentative explanation to the observation
3. Hypothesis testing
- A good theory will produce testable predictions
- Test to reject or revise a theory
- The testing may be bias, so we introduce operational definition
- Operational definition: researcher must precisely state how he measures the
variables, and should allow other researchers to replicate the original
4. Replication: when other researchers retest the theory, they should be able to get
5. Generate or refine questions
II. Types of research studies
A. Descriptive Research
- Observe and describe
- Do systematic observation to answer where what when how
- Why can only be answered by experiments
2. Case study
- Study an individual or small group of people in depth
a. Most in depth
b. It’s a great first step, introduce to further studies and show what can
c. Can document rare cases
- Disadvantages: a. Researcher Bias: important to video tape the whole observation
b. Sample size is too small and may be hard to generalize a theory
c. May be misleading if an individual case is atypical
3. Survey (also for correlational research)
- Random Sampling
a. Every single person in the population has the same chance of being part in
b. Representative sample: for a survey to have a scientific value, the sample
must be able to mirror the characteristic of the general population
c. If no random sampling, systematic bias is introduced
- Wording effect
a. Subtle changes in the order or wording of a question can have a major
b. Ex. Not allowing and forbidding
a. Easy to survey
b. Can do large samples
c. Can include people disclude from other research like calling people at home
d. Sometimes the only way to get information
a. Dishonesty toward the question
b. Some people have no insight in themselves
c. Effect of wordings and person asking the question will affect the answers
4. Naturalistic Observations (also for correlational research)
- Leave the lab and get into the real world to do the observations, cant interfere
or manipulate the variables
- Like case study and survey, it doesn’t explain, it describe.
a. Sometimes the only way to study something.
b. Reality re