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Thinking Critically with Psychological Science

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1 Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
Critical Thinking- the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence. Critical thinkers are able to look for flaws in arguments, resist claims that lack supporting evidence, and recognize that criticizing an argument is not the same as criticizing a person.

2 Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
Eight guidelines emphasized by the text: Ask questions- Be curious and willing to ask why. Define your terms- Be clear, concrete and precise Examine the evidence- Use reliable resources and empirical evidence Analyze assumptions and biases- Analyze and test beliefs (yours and others) that may be taken for granted Avoid emotional reasoning- question your support for an argument…is it based in evidence Don’t oversimplify- gather multiple sources of supporting evidence and do not generalize Consider other interpretations- even after generating a possible explanation be willing to accept other possibilities Tolerate uncertainty- It may be difficult if not impossible to determine an absolute answer and that’s okay

3 Asking Questions…. With hopes of satisfying curiosity, many people listen to talk-radio counselors and psychics to learn about others and themselves. Dr. Crane (radio-shrink) Psychic (Ball gazing)

4 Critical Thinking Critical thinking does not accept arguments and conclusions blindly. It examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence and assesses conclusions. Courtesy of the James Randi Education Foundation The Amazing Randi From The Secrets of the Psychics

5 Critical Thinking Leads to a Scientific Attitude
The scientific attitude is composed of curiosity (passion for exploration), skepticism (doubting and questioning) and humility (ability to accept responsibility when wrong). OBJECTIVE 3| Explain how the scientific attitude encourages critical thinking. Psychology 7e in Modules

6 The Need for Psychological Science
Intuition & Common Sense have limits Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature. Psychology 7e in Modules

7 Limits of Intuition Personal interviewers may rely too much on their “gut feelings” when meeting with job applicants. Taxi/ Getty Images

8 Errors of Common Sense Try this !
Fold a piece of paper (0.1 mm thick) 100 times. How thick will it be? 800,000,000,000,000 times the distance between the sun and the earth. Psychology 7e in Modules

9 Hindsight Bias Hindsight Bias is the “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon. After learning the outcome of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very outcome. We only knew the stocks would plummet after they actually did plummet. OBJECTIVE 1| Describe hindsight bias and explain how it can make research findings seem like mere common sense. “Anything seems commonplace, once explained.” Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Two phenomena – hindsight bias and judgmental overconfidence – illustrate why we cannot rely solely on intuition and common sense. Psychology 7e in Modules

10 Overconfidence Sometimes we think we know more than we actually know. Anagram How long do you think it would take to unscramble these anagrams? WREAT WATER ETYRN ENTRY OBJECTIVE 2| Describe how overconfidence contaminates our everyday judgments. People said it would take about 10 seconds, yet on average they took about 3 minutes (Goranson, 1978). GRABE BARGE Psychology 7e in Modules

11 Psychological Science How do psychologists explain unseen mental processes? How do they differentiate between opinions and examined conclusions? By using the Scientific Method as the basis for psychological research examined conclusions can leads to a clear understanding of how people feel, think, and act as they do!

12 Scientific Method Collect Data/Make Observations
Generate an initial theory based on research OBJECTIVE 4| Describe how psychological theories guide scientific research. Psychology 7e in Modules

13 Research Process

14 Ask Questions The Scientific Method begins with wondering: What? Why? Or How? In the example of depression…the psychologist may have wondered what is the relationship between low self-esteem and depression

15 Theory A Theory is an explanation that integrates principles, organizes events and predicts behavior based on empirical evidence. For example, low self-esteem possibly contributes to depression. If we were to observe that depressed people talk about their past, present, and future in a gloomy manner, we may theorize that low-self-esteem contributes to depression. Psychology 7e in Modules

16 Hypothesis A Hypothesis is a testable prediction, often prompted by a scientific attitude, to enable us to accept, reject or revise a theory. If people have low self-esteem then they are apt to feel more depressed. (Note: The If/Then statement)

17 Research Observations
Research would require us to administer tests and make further observations to confirm or deny a hypothesis In our example…Individuals who score low on a self-esteem test and high on a depression test would confirm our hypothesis.

18 Three Types of (Basic) Psychological Research
Descriptive Correlational Experimental

19 Psychological Research
Descriptive Research The purpose of this type of study is to describe and predict behaviors.

20 Various Descriptive Methods Include:

21 Behavioral Observation:
Case Study A technique in which one person or a small group is studied in depth to reveal underlying behavioral principles. The study of this one individual may include an individual history, careful observation and/or psychological testing. OBJECTIVE 5| Identify the advantages and disadvantages of case studies in studying behavior and mental processes. Susan Kuklin/ Photo Researchers Do animals have language? Psychology 7e in Modules

22 Covert Behavioral Observation: Naturalistic Observation
Courtesy of Gilda Morelli Naturalistic observation involves the observation, recording and measurement of behavior without intrusion into the subjects natural or normal environment. Observing and recording the behavior of animals in the wild and recording self-seating patterns in a multiracial school lunch room constitute naturalistic observation. OBJECTIVE 7| Identify the advantages and disadvantages of naturalistic observation in studying behavior and mental processes. Psychology 7e in Modules

23 Overt Behavioral Observation: Laboratory Observation
Observing and recording the behavior of animals and people in a controlled environment enables the scientist to use more sophistic devices for measurement. However, this environment may lead to participants acting differently because they are in unusual surroundings. OBJECTIVE 7| Identify the advantages and disadvantages of naturalistic observation in studying behavior and mental processes. 23 Psychology 7e in Modules 23

24 Behavioral Observations: Psychological Tests or Instruments
Psychological tests, also called assessment instruments, are procedures for measuring and evaluating a wide variety human traits, emotional states and behaviors. Typically, tests require a response to a series of questions that can be scored and used for statistical analysis.

25 Principles of Test Construction
For a psychological test to be acceptable it must fulfill the following three criteria: Standardization Reliability Validity

26 Standardization Standardizing a test involves administering the test to a representative sample of test takers in order to establish a basis for meaningful comparison (a norm) and to establish appropriate test procedures that can easily be duplicated. OBJECTIVE 10| Discuss the importance of standardizing psychological tests, and describe the distribution of scores in a normal curve.

27 Reliability A test is reliable when it yields consistent results. To establish reliability researchers establish different procedures: Split-half Reliability: Dividing the test into two equal halves and assessing how consistent the scores are. Reliability using different tests: Using different forms of the test to measure consistency between them. Test-Retest Reliability: Using the same test on two occasions to measure consistency. OBJECTIVE 11| Explain what it means to say that a test is reliable.

28 Validity Reliability of a test does not ensure validity. Validity of a test refers to what the test is supposed to measure or predict. Content Validity: Refers to the extent a test measures a particular behavior or trait. Predictive Validity: Refers to the function of a test in predicting a particular behavior or trait. OBJECTIVE 12| Explain what it means to say that a test is valid, and describe two types of validity.

29 Self Reports: Survey A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions or behaviors of people. This is usually done by questioning a representative sample that is both random and proportional. OBJECTIVE 6| Identify the advantages and disadvantages of surveys in studying behavior and mental processes, and explain the importance of wording effects and random sampling. Psychology 7e in Modules

30 Representative Sample
It is impossible to survey everyone in any given population. It is necessary therefore to survey a group of individuals that accurately represents the larger population being studied. The fastest way to know about the marble color ratio is to blindly transfer a few into a smaller jar and count them.

31 Survey Random Sampling
Random Sample -ensures that everyone in the larger population has an equal chance of being selected as part of the representative sample. If the survey sample is not random it may be biased and its results would not be valid. Errors in Random Sampling Volunteer Bias- People who volunteer may feel more strongly than those who do not. Selection Bias- If selection of participants are not random…the order of selection may bias results

32 Proportional The sample must represent an accurate proportion of the variations in the larger population in order to be a true representative sample. For Example: The sample should include the same percentage of males and females as what would be found in the larger population.

33 Survey Wording Effect Wording can change the results of a survey.
Q: Should cigarette ads and pornography be allowed on television? (allowed vs. forbidden) Q: How many times in your life have you “cheated”? (Have you ever? vs. How many? And cheated vs. lied or been dishonest)

34 False Consensus Effect
Survey False Consensus Effect A tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors.

35 Psychological Research
Correlational Research Correlation and Causation Illusory Correlation Perceiving Order in Random Events

36 (positive or negative)
Correlation When one trait or behavior accompanies another, we say the two correlate. Indicates strength of relationship (0.00 to 1.00) Correlation coefficient r = + 0.37 OBJECTIVE 8| Describe positive and negative correlations and explain how correlational measures can aid the process of prediction. Correlation Coefficient is a statistical measure of the relationship between two variables. Indicates direction of relationship (positive or negative) Psychology 7e in Modules

37 Scatterplots Perfect positive correlation (+1.00) Scatterplot is a graph comprised of points that are generated by values of two variables. The slope of the points depicts the direction, while the amount of scatter depicts the strength of the relationship.

38 Scatterplots Perfect negative correlation (-1.00) No relationship (0.00) The Scatterplot on the left shows a negative correlation, while the one on the right shows no relationship between the two variables.

39 Data showing height and temperament in people.

40 Scatterplot The Scatterplot below shows the relationship between height and temperament in people. There is a moderate positive correlation of

41 Correlation and Causation
OBJECTIVE 9| Explain why correlational research fails to provide evidence of cause-effect relationships. Psychology 7e in Modules

42 Disconfirming evidence
Illusory Correlation The perception of a relationship where no relationship actually exists. Parents conceive children after adoption. Confirming evidence Disconfirming evidence Do not adopt Adopt Do not conceive Conceive OBJECTIVE 10| Describe how people form illusory correlations. Michael Newman Jr./ Photo Edit Psychology 7e in Modules

43 Given random data, we look for order and meaningful patterns.
Order in Random Events Given random data, we look for order and meaningful patterns. Your chances of being dealt either of these hands is precisely the same: 1 in 2,598,960. Psychology 7e in Modules

44 Order in Random Events Given large numbers of random outcomes, a few are likely to express order. Jerry Telfer/ San Francisco Chronicle OBJECTIVE 11| Explain the human tendency to perceive order in random events. Angelo and Maria Gallina won two California lottery games on the same day. Psychology 7e in Modules

45 Psychological Research
Experimental Research Exploring Cause and Effect Evaluating Therapies Independent and Dependent Variables

46 Exploring Cause and Effect
Experimentation Exploring Cause and Effect Like other sciences, experimentation is the backbone of psychology research. The purpose of experimental research is to isolate causes and their effects. OBJECTIVE 12| Explain how experiments help researchers isolate cause and effect.

47 Exploring Cause & Effect
Many factors influence our behavior. Experiments (1) manipulate factors that interest us, while other factors are kept under (2) control. Effects generated by factors manipulated by a researcher isolate cause and effect relationships.

48 Manipulated some factors while others are kept in control….
I manipulated whether students had candy to eat while taking a quiz. These students were the experimental group Students who did not receive a candy were the control group, because their testing condition was the same as it normally is.

49 Random Assignment Assigning participants to experimental (candy eating) and control (non-candy eating) conditions by random assignment minimizes pre-existing differences between the two groups. Students were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group based on the row in which they sat within the classroom. If a student refused the lollipop it was given to the nearest student in the next row. If I gave candy to the first 15 students who came to class or students in the front of the room, a pre-existing difference may have accounted for a difference in test scores. Sometime research participants out of enthusiasm or personal beliefs can affect the out come of an experiment. To control for such affects, a double-blind procedure is used, in which the participants and the experimenter’s assistants are not aware of which participants got real treatment and who got placebo.

50 Independent Variable An Independent Variable is a factor manipulated by the experimenter. The effect of the independent variable is the focus of the study. For example, when examining the effects of candy on test scores, candy is the independent variable. OBJECTIVE 14| Explain the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable.

51 Dependent Variable A Dependent Variable is a factor that may change in response to an independent variable. In psychology, it is usually a behavior or a mental process. For example, in our study on the effect of candy on test scores, test scores are the dependent variable. The score on the assessment is dependent on whether or not a candy was eaten

52 A summary of steps during experimentation.
Random Assignment: Students are given lollipops by row Independent Variable Dependent Variable Condition Experimental A sweet substance made primarily of sugar Scores from a 8 point memory task No sweet substance made primarily of sugar Scores from a 8 point memory task Control

53 Expectations can influence results!
Experimenter Effects Expectations can influence results! My hypothesis was clearly written on the board when students were taking the test and eating candy. Their expectation that they would or would not perform well could have influenced your actual performance. Because of this, psychologists use single blind procedures. Where the participant is unaware of the behavior being observed.

54 Single-blind Procedure
In a single blind study, participants would not know whether they are in the experimental or control group. Psychologists may use a placebo to keep participants unaware of any differences in their treatment. Placebo- an inactive substance or fake treatment used as a control in an experiment or given by a practitioner to a patient

55 Double-blind Procedure
Participants are not the only people to bring expectations to the laboratory. Experimenter Effects can have powerful results In setting up the experiment and evaluating results, the participants and the experimenter’s assistants conducting the experiment should both remain unaware of which group was the experimental group and which was the control. Think of the Russian scientists conducting the research on psychic ability. OBJECTIVE 13| Explain why random assignment and double-blind procedure build confidence in research findings.


57 Interpreting results If an experiment is repeated and consistently yields the same results, the finding can be deemed reliable. However, the best interpretation of a finding does not emerge until the hypothesis is further tested in multiple ways. So, after repeating my candy experiment several times…I may want to change the type of candy, assessment or student to see if that has an impact on my result

58 Thinking Critically … Statistical Reasoning Interpreting Results
Describing Data Making Inferences


60 Describing Data A meaningful description of data is important in research. Misrepresentation may lead to incorrect conclusions. Statistical procedures analyze and interpret data allowing us to see what the unaided eye misses. OBJECTIVE 16| Explain how graphs can misrepresent data.

61 Measures of Central Tendency A good way to summarize data is to use one of the following measures of central tendancy Mode: The most frequently occurring score in a distribution. Mean: The arithmetic average of scores in a distribution obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores that were added together. Median: The middle score in a rank-ordered distribution. OBJECTIVE 17| Describe three measures of central tendency and tell which is most affected by extreme scores.

62 Measures of Central Tendency
A Skewed Distribution

63 Experimental Research Method Candy Experiment Data Collection
Candy Rows (Experimental Condition) 10 Students 2,5,5,5,6,7,8,8,8,8 Mean 6.2/10 Median 6.5/10 Mode 8/10 Non-candy Rows (Control Condition) 16 Students 3,4,4,4,5,5,6,6,6,6,6,6,7,7,8,8 Mean 5.3/16 Median 6.5/16 Mode 6/16

64 Q4. Why do psychologists study animals?
FAQ Q4. Why do psychologists study animals? Ans: Studying animals gives us the understanding of many behaviors that may have common biology across animals and humans. OBJECTIVE 23| Explain why psychologists study animals, and discuss the ethics of experimentation with both animals and humans. D. Shapiro, © Wildlife Conservation Society

65 FAQ Q5. Is it ethical to experiment on animals? Ans: Yes. To gain insights to devastating and fatal diseases. All researchers who deal with animal research are required to follow ethical guidelines in caring for these animals.

66 FAQ Q6. Is it ethical to experiment on people? Ans: Yes. Experiments that do not involve any kind of physical or psychological harm beyond normal levels encountered in daily life may be carried out.

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