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Chapter 1

PSYC 2030 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Psychological Science, Public Knowledge, Social Cognition

Course Code
PSYC 2030
Lisa Fiksenbaum

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Chapter One
Why take this course:
a. solid foundation for other psychology courses
- Methods course vs. other psychology course = Process and methods: method courses
teach a process of acquiring knowledge about psychological phenomena that is then
applied to all the specific content areas represented by other courses in the psychology
b. Become a more informed and critical consumer of information
c. Learning necessary skills for postgrad and future research
d. Introduces you to a particular type of thinking scientific thinking
Ways of knowing:
AUTHORITY: Validity of information form a source that we judge to be expert of
influential some way
Use of Reason
The value of a logically drawn conclusion depends on the truth of the premises, and it
takes more than logic to determine whether the premises have merit
PRIORI METHOD: a belief develops as the result of a logical argument, before a
person has direct experience with it
EMPIRICISM: the process of learning through experience or direct observation and
reflection on those experiences
“social cognition bias”
o BELIEF PERSERVERANCE: “social cognition bias” – motivated by a desire
to be certain about one’s knowledge it is a tendency to hold on doggedly to a
belief, even in the face of evidence that would convince most people that the
belief is false
o CONFIRMATION BIAS: a tendency to search out and pay special attention to
information that supports one’s beliefs, while ignoring information that
contradicts a belief
o AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC: when we experience unusual or very
memorable events and then overestimate how often such events typically occur
i.e airplane crashes glorified by the media or crime shows and amount of crime
Science as a Way of Knowing
DETERMINISM: events, including psychological ones, have causes,
DISCOVERABILITY: by using agreed upon scientific methods, these causes can be
discovered, with some degree of confidence
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