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Chapter 1

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University of Ottawa

Critical thinking thinking that does not blindly Experimental Psychologyaccept arguments and conclusions Rather it Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With examines assumptions discerns hidden values Psychological Scienceevaluates evidence and assesses conclusionscarried to an extreme healthy scepticism can The Need for Psychological Sciencedegenerate into a negative cynicism that scorns any The Limits of Intuition and Common Senseunproven ideaHindsight biasHindsight bias the tendency to believe after The Scientific Methodlearning an outcome that one would have Scientific method Psychologists make observations foreseen it also known as the Iknewitallalong form theories and then refine their theories in the light phenomenonof new observations Developed by psychologists Paul Slovic Theory an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts and Baruch Fischhoff 1977behaviours or events mere hunchCommon sense describes what has happened much more easily than it predicts what will It can be bias subjective observationshappen We may see what we expectThe phenomenon of hindsight bias is widespread The urge to see what we expect is an everwith some 100 studies having observed itpresent temptation for all of us hypothesis a testable prediction often implied by a Overconfidencetheory Our everyday thinking is limited not only by ourOperational definition a statement of the afterthefact common sense but also by our procedures operations used to define research human tendency to be overly confidentvariables For example human intelligence may be We tend to be more confident that correctoperationally defined as what an intelligence test Robert Vallone did a study with university measuresstudent Students were 84 confident that they This allows anyone to repeat their were right while only 71 of the time were they observationsactually erred 15 of the timeReplication repeating the essence of a research study usually with different participants in different Hindsight bias and overconfidence often situations to see whether the basic finding extends to lead is to overestimate our intuition But other participants and circumstancesscientific inquiry fed by curious Our confidence in the findings reliability growsscepticism and by humility can help usGood theories explain bysift reality from illusions1 organizing and linking observed facts2 implying hypotheses that offer testable The Scientific Attitudepredictions and sometimes practical applicationsUnderlying all science is first a hardheaded curiosity a passion to explore and understand Eventually our research will lead to a revised without misleading or being mislead Some theory that is better organizes and predicts questions require a leap of faithwhat we know about depressionThomas Jefferson dared to deviate from the conventional opinionThe amazing Randi exemplifies Descriptionscepticism tells people he will stand The starting point of any science is behind a wall and they can locate him descriptionusing his auraPsychologists approach the world of behaviour The case Studywith a curious scepticismCase study an observed technique To believe with certainty we must begin by in which one person is studied in doubtingdepth in the hopes of revealing Putting a scientific attitude into practice requires universal principles ie things that not only scepticism but also humility because we are true of us allmay have to reject our own ideas Jean Piaget taught us about childrens thinkingTruth nature reveals in response to our after carefullyobserving and questioning but a questioning few childrenAttitudes of curiosity scepticism and humility help make modern science possible
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