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{Module 2} Thinking Critically with Psychological Science

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

PSYC 1010 {Module 2} Thinking Critically with Psychological Science Sept 12th, 2012 How can we best use psychology to understand why people think, feel, and act as they do? The Need for Psychological Science  How do hindsight bias, overconfidence, and the tendency to perceive order in random events illustrate why science-based answers are more valid than those based on intuition and common sense? o Three phenomena, illustrating why we cannot rely solely on intuition and common sense The limits of intuition  Personnel interviews tend to be overconfident of their gut feelings about job applicants. Their confidence stems partly from their recalling cases where their favorable impression proved right, and partly from their ignorance about rejected applicants who succeeded elsewhere.  “Those who trust their own wits are fools” Hindsight bias: tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it (I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon) Such errors in our recollections and explanations show why we need psychological research. Overconfidence  We tend to think we know more than we do Perceiving order in random events  Rage for order  Sequences that are random often don’t appear random o “When you’re hot, you’re hot” Scientific inquiry can help us sift reality from illusion. The scientific attitude: curious, skeptical, and humble As scientists, psychologists approach the world of behavior with a curious skepticism, persistently asking two questions: What do you mean? How do you know? Critical thinking: thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions The scientific attitude prepares us to think smarter; smart thinking, called critical thinking. PSYC 1010 {Module 2} Thinking Critically with Psychological Science Sept 12th, 2012  Critical thinkers consider the credibility of sources, looking at evidence, recognizing multiple perspectives, exposing themselves to news sources that challenge their preconceived ideas How does the scientific attitude contribute to critical thinking? Answer: the scientific attitude combines 1) curiosity of the world around us, 2) skepticism toward various claims and ideas, and 3) humility about one’s own understanding. Evaluation evidence, assessing conclusions, and examining our own assumptions are essential parts of critical thinking FAQs about psychology 1) Can laboratory experiments illuminate everyday life?  The experimenter intends the laboratory environment to be a simplified reality; one that simulates and controls important features of everyday life  An experiment’s purpose is to test theoretical principles o It is the resulting principles, not the specific findings, that help explain everyday behaviors o Many investigations show that principles derived in the laboratory do typically
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