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Psychology Chapter 1

hindsight bias the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it critical thinking thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions theory an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events hypothesis a testable prediction, often implied by a theory operational definition a statement of procedures (operations) used to define research variables. (For Example, human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures replication repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances case study an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles survey a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group population all the cases in a group being studied, from which samples may be drawn random sample a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion naturalistic observation observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation correlation a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other correlation coefficient a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to +1) scatterplot a graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables. The amount of scatter suggests the strength of the correlation (little scatter indicates high correlation) illusory correlation the perception of a relationship where none exists experiment a research method in which a investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to control other relevant factors Random assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between those assigned to the different groups

double-blind procedure an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Commonly used in drug-evaluation studies placebo effect experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which the recipient assumes is an active agent experimental group in an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable control group in an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment independent variable the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied confounding variable a factor other than the independent variable that might produce an effect in an experiment dependent variable the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to the manipulations of the independent variable mode the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to the manipulations of the independent variable mean the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores median the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it range the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution standard deviation computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score normal curve a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many types of data; most scores fall near the mean (68 percent fall within one standard deviation of it) and fewer and fewer near the extremes statistical significance a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained results occurred by chance culture enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next informed consent an ethical principle that research participants be told enough to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate debriefing the post-experimental explanation of a study, including its purpose and any deceptions, to its participants

The Scientific Attitude

Scientific approach that is skeptical and open-minded

To shift away from illusions to reality, one must use Smart thinking or critical thinking: thinking that does not blindly accept things, but approaches with skepticism and examines the evidence carefully; Ask how did they know, on guts and instinct? Are the evidence biased? However, must remember to have humility as too extreme would be stubbornness

The Limits of Intuition and Common Sense

Intuition often ends up nowhere Tend to use a lot hindsight bias: tendency to believe that one would have known it after the results are shown; Seems like common sense; The answer was right there and look how obvious it was Experience it usually when looking back on history; eg. Glen Clark and the fast ferries Humans tend to be overconfident, think we know more than we actually do (probably result of self-serving bias) Hindsight causes us to be overconfident as we believe we would have picked the answer when the results are in front of us

The Scientific Method

Scientific theory: explanation using set of principles to organise/predict observations No matter how good theory sounds, must put it to test Must imply testable prediction = hypothesis Beware of bias when testing Good experiment can be replicated: the experiment can be repeated and would yield constant results; done with a different group of people or by a different person ending with constant results Theory useful if: 1. 2. effectively organises range of observations implies clear predictions

Case study: research method where one person is studied in depth to find universal principles (things that apply to all) Drawback is that the individual being studied could be atypical, results not universally contained Survey: research method to get the self-reported attitudes/behaviours of people Looks at cases less depth and wording of question affects the response given (framing)Tend to hang around group similar to us so using them as study is wrong False consensus effect: tendency to overestimate others agreement with us; eg. Vegetarians believe larger amount of pop. is vegetarian than meat-eaters

Population: all the cases in the group being studied To make a good sample, use random sampling: sample that gives each case a good chance of being studied to ensure results within range Naturalistic observation: observing and recording behaviour in natural settings with any control on situation Like case study & survey, doesnt explain behaviour When finding a trait that accompanies another, not resulting effect, but correlation: the way 2 factors vary together and how well one predicts the other Positive correlation: direct relationship where factors increase or decrease together Negative correlation: inverse relationship where one factor goes up while one goes down Does not explain cause, simply show relationship between factors Illusory correlation: perceiving correlation when none exist; Notice random coincidences as not random, rather as correlated


To isolate cause & effect, conduct experiments Experimental condition: condition that exposes subjects to treatment Control condition: condition that serves as a comparison to see effects of treatment on experimental condition subjects Use random assignment: assigning subjects to experimental/control groups randomly to ensure no bias Independent variable: experimental factor being manipulated and studied (by itself, alone, no need to depend on something) * x-axis Dependent variable: experimental factor that depends on independent variable and changes in response to it * y- axis Placebo: an inert substance/condition that maybe administered instead of a presumed active agent Double-blind procedure: procedure in which the experimenter and the subject noth don't know which treatment is given