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Chapter 1: Thinking critically with psychological science Introduction.

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1 Chapter 1: Thinking critically with psychological science Introduction

2 Fact or Falsehood 1.Human intuition is remarkable accurate and free from error. 2.Most people seem to lack confidence in the accuracy of their beliefs. 3.Case studies are particularly useful because of the similarities we all share. 4.We tend to overestimate the number of people who share our attitudes and beliefs. 5.The opinions of 1500 randomly selected people can provide a very accurate picture of the opinions of an entire nation.

3 Fact or Falsehood 6.The scientific finding that children who watch violence on television tend to be violent proves that viewing violence causes it. 7.Listening to a tape with a subliminal message suggesting that you have a good memory can actually help improve your memory. 8.The purpose of the experiment is to re-create behaviors exactly as they occur in everyday life. 9.An analysis of the research indicates that psychologists have sometimes unnecessarily caused extreme pain to animals. 10.As a science, psychology is objective and value-free.

4 Fact or Falsehood Now at the top of your paper, predict how many you think you got correct.

5 Fact or Falsehood 1.Human intuition is remarkable accurate and free from error. 2.Most people seem to lack confidence in the accuracy of their beliefs. 3.Case studies are particularly useful because of the similarities we all share. 4.We tend to overestimate the number of people who share our attitudes and beliefs. 5.The opinions of 1500 randomly selected people can provide a very accurate picture of the opinions of an entire nation. False True

6 Fact or Falsehood 6.The scientific finding that children who watch violence on television tend to be violent proves that viewing violence causes it. 7.Listening to a tape with a subliminal message suggesting that you have a good memory can actually help improve your memory. 8.The purpose of the experiment is to re-create behaviors exactly as they occur in everyday life. 9.An analysis of the research indicates that psychologists have sometimes unnecessarily caused extreme pain to animals. 10.As a science, psychology is objective and value-free. False

7 Understanding Research DISCOVERING PSYCHOLOGY

8 Why do we have to learn this stuff? Psychology is first and foremost a science. Thus it is based in research. Before we delve into how to do research, you should be aware of three hurdles that tend to skew our logic.

9 Hindsight Bias The tendency to believe, after learning the outcome, that you knew it all along. I KNEW IT ALL ALONG

10 Overconfidence We tend to think we know more than we do. 82% of U.S. drivers consider themselves to be in the top 30% of their group in terms of safety. 81% of new business owners felt they had an excellent chance of their businesses succeeding. When asked about the success of their peers, the answer was only 39%. (Now that's overconfidence!!!)

11 Overconfidence Here are some examples of overconfidence among experts. There is no reason for anyone to have a computer in their home. (Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Company, 1977) Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. (Lord Kelvin, British mathematician, physicist, and president of the British Royal Society, 1895) A severe depression like that of is outside the range of probability. (Harvard Economic Society, Weekly Letter, November 16, 1929) Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances. (Lee DeForest, inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957) Nuclear powered vacuum cleaner will probably be a reality within 10 years. (Alex Lewyt, manufactures of vacuum cleaners, 1955)

12 Overconfidence Compare your score to your predicted score. – By raise of hands, how many over predicted your score? Overconfidence is a powerful phenomenon. Overconfidence stems partly from our tendency to search for information that confirms our preconceptions.

13 The Barnum Effect It is the tendency for people to accept very general or vague characterizations of themselves and take them to be accurate.

14 Impression of Psychology 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)

15 Demonstration Glass of water and paperclips. The limits of Intuition and Common Sense – Counter to human intuition, water has a high surface tension, behaving as though is has a flexible skin. That skin pulls inward and resists breaking. The glass of water will develop a great bulge before the water flows over the edge.

16 Thinking Critically with Psychological Science The Need for Psychological Science  The limits of Intuition and Common Sense  Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature.  Intuition and common sense may aid queries, but they are not free of error.  The Scientific Attitude  The Scientific Method

17 Scientific Attitude How do we overcome the limits of our intuition, hindsight bias, and overconfidence? The scientific attitude is composed of curiosity (passion for exploration), skepticism (doubting and questioning) and humility (ability to accept responsibility when wrong).

18 The Need for Psychological Science  Critical Thinking  thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions  examines assumptions  discerns hidden values  evaluates evidence The Amazing Randi--Skeptic

19 Ch 1: thinking critically with psychological science Research Methods

20 Applied V. Basic Research Applied Research has clear, practical applications. YOU CAN USE IT!!! Basic Research explores questions that you may be curious about, but not intended to be immediately used. Studying how kissing changes when you get older is interesting…but that’s about it.

21 Terminology

22 A Theory is an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts behavior or events. For example, low self-esteem contributes to depression. Theory

23 Hypothesis Expresses a relationship between two variables. A variable is anything that can vary among participants in a study. Participating in class leads to better grades than not participating. BOOK A Hypothesis is a testable prediction, often prompted by a theory, to enable us to accept, reject or revise the theory. People with low self-esteem are apt to feel more depressed.

24 Experimental Method Looking to prove causal relationships. Cause = Effect Laboratory v. Field Experiments Smoking causes health issues.

25 Independent Variable Whatever is being manipulated in the experiment. Hopefully the independent variable brings about change. If there is a drug in an experiment, the drug is almost always the independent variable.

26 Dependent Variable The dependent variable would be the effect of the drug. Whatever is being measured in the experiment. It is dependent on the independent variable.

27 Operational Definitions Explain what you mean in your hypothesis. How will the variables be measured in “real life” terms. How you operationalize the variables will tell us if the study is valid and reliable. Let’s say your hypothesis is that chocolate causes violent behavior. What do you mean by chocolate? What do you mean by violent behavior?

28 Sampling Identify the population you want to study. The sample must be representative of the population you want to study. GET A RANDOM SAMPLE.

29 Beware of Confounding Variables If I wanted to prove that smoking causes heart issues, what are some confounding variables? The object of an experiment is to prove that A causes B. A confounding variable is anything that could cause change in B, that is not A. Lifestyle and family history may also effect the heart.

30 Random Assignment Once you have a random sample, randomly assigning them into two groups helps control for confounding variables. Experimental Group v. Control Group. Group Matching

31 Hawthorne Effect But even the control group may experience changes. Just the fact that you know you are in an experiment can cause change. Whether the lights were brighter or dimmer, production went up in the Hawthorne electric plant.

32 Experimenter Bias Another confounding variable. Not a conscious act. Double-Blind Procedure.

33 Other Confounding Variables Placebo effect Order Effects

34 Participant Bias Tendency of research subjects to respond in certain ways because they know they are being observed The subjects might try to behave in ways they believe the researcher wants them to behave Can be reduced by naturalistic observation


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