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Psychology100- Chapter One- Psychology and Scientific Thinking

by: Obioma Azie

Psychology100- Chapter One- Psychology and Scientific Thinking Psychology 100

Marketplace > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign > Psychology (PSYC) > Psychology 100 > Psychology100 Chapter One Psychology and Scientific Thinking
Obioma Azie
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Topics Covered: Psychology and Levels of Analysis What Makes Psychology Distinctive—and Fascinating Why We Can’t Always Trust Our Common Sense Psychology as a Science Metaphysical Claims: The ...
Psychology 100-Introduction to Psychology
Megan Davis
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Popular in Psychology 100-Introduction to Psychology

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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Obioma Azie on Saturday September 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psychology 100 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign taught by Megan Davis in Winter 2016 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Psychology 100-Introduction to Psychology in Psychology (PSYC) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Date Created: 09/03/16
Chapter One­ Psychology and Scientific Thinking (Source: Psychology: From Understanding to Inquiry (13th Edition)) Topics Covered:  Psychology and Levels of Analysis  What Makes Psychology Distinctive—and Fascinating  Why We Can’t Always Trust Our Common Sense  Psychology as a Science  Metaphysical Claims: The Boundaries of Science  Recognizing That We Might Be Wrong  Scientific Skepticism  The Basic Framework for Scientific Thinking What is psychology?  Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, brain and behavior.  Psychological scientists study mind, brain, and behavior.  Psychology spans many levels of analysis o These levels go from biological influences to social influences.  The lower levels of analysis are more associated with the brain, while the  higher levels of analysis are more associated with the mind.  Mind vs Brain  The mind is the brain in action  The Levels of Psychological Analysis  Molecular Level  Neurochemical Level  Neurological/ Physiological  Level  Mental Level  Behavioral Level  Social Level What makes psychology challenging and fascinating?  All the challenges of psychology are what make psychology such a fascinating field of  study.  There are 5 key reasons why psychology is a fascinating discipline(a(1),  b(2),c(3),d(4),e(5)). o Human behavior is unpredictable.  Why?  All behaviors are multiply determined(produced by many factors).  All behavior roots from an agglomeration of various  factors. o Psychological influences are almost always interdependent  of one another.  How is this a challenge?  It is hard to identify what factor or factors are operating. o Individual differences( Thinking, emotion, personality, and  behavior)  Why?  It is hard to formulate explanations of behavior that can be applied  to everyone. o We influence one another’s behavior.  Reciprocal Determinism  We mutually influence each other’s behavior.  This makes it hard to determine what is causing what. o One’s behavior is often shaped by his/her culture.  Like our individual differences, our cultural differences limit the extent to  which generalizations can be made about human nature.  Social scientists who focus on cross­cultural psychology use etic and emic approaches to attain a better understanding of the influence of culture on  human behavior.  Etic Approach  Study a culture from the perspective of an outsider  Emic Approach  Study culture from the perspective of a native  It is of the utmost importance that one develops a good  understanding of these challenges.  o Doing so will help us to better predict and understand  behavior. Why can’t we always trust our common sense?  Common Sense o An individual’s assumptions about the world  We use common sense very often make assessments of others and their behavior.  Our intuitive understanding of the world around us is often faulty. o We often fall victim to naive realism  Naive Realism  What is it?  The belief that we see the world exactly how it is.  Naive realism can trip us up when it comes to assessing ourselves  and others.  It serves us pretty well in the real­world.  Example  You see a bicyclist heading right in your direction,  so you use common sense to make the decision to  move out of the way.  What should our big takeaway be from this?  Even though our perceptions are often  accurate, we cannot  always trust them to provide us with a flawless picture of  the world.  Our tendencies towards naive realism can lead us to  drawing faulty conclusions about human nature.  Believing is seeing in many cases.  Our beliefs shape our perceptions of the world , often in  ways we do not realize. When is our common sense right?  Our tuition can guide us to the truth.  Common sense can be a helpful guide for generating hypotheses, that can later be tested  by scientists in investigations.  There are some everyday psychological notions that are correct. o Example  Happy employees tend to be more productive than unhappy employees.  What should we take away from this? o We must learn when and when not to use common sense, in order to think  scientifically.  What will this do?  Make us better consumers of popular psychology  Help us to make better real­world decisions The Science of Psychology  What is a science? o Science is a systematic approach to evidence.  Science consists of a set of attitudes and skills designed to prevent us  fooling ourselves  Science begins with empiricism. o Empiricism  The premise that knowledge should initially be acquired through  observation.  What does science do? o Science refines our initial observations, by subjecting them to stringent tests to  determine whether or not they are accurate.  Observations that make it through rigorous examination are retained; those that don’t are revised or discarded. What is scientific theory?  A scientific theory is an explanation for a large number of findings in the natural  world(including the psychological world). o It provides an account that ties multiple findings together.  God scientific theories generate predictions regarding new data that we have not yet  observed.  What must a theory be to be scientific? o A scientific theory must generate novel predictions that can be tested by  researchers.  Hypotheses are specific predictions derived from theories  All scientific explanations of the world are theories.  All scientific theories cannot be proven. o Why?  There is always a better chance that a better explanation may appear one  day.  Consistency with numerous lines of evidence is essential in establishing the validity or  credibility of a theory.  Not all theories are created equally. o Why?  Bias can influence our interpretation of data. Bias  Science is a safeguard against bias.  We are all prone to self­deception.  Confirmation Bias o The tendency to seek out evidence that supports our beliefs, and deny, dismiss or  distort evidence that contradicts them.  Our preconceptions often cause us to focus more on evidence that supports our beliefs, than evidence that does not.  What does this result in?  Psychological tunnel vision o To protect themselves from confirmation bias, good  scientists adopt procedural safeguards against errors,  especially errors that could work in their favor. o What are tools for overcoming confirmation bias?  Scientific methods o What makes confirmation bias  so important is that it  extends to several areas of everyday life.  Examples  Friendship  Romance   Politics o We can think of confirmation bias as the mother of all  biases.  Why?  It is the bias that can fool us the most easily into seeing what we  want to see. o Confirmation bias is the most crucial bias that  psychologists must counteract. Psychological Scientists vs. Non­Scientists  Psychological scientists develop systematic safeguards to protect against confirmation  bias. Belief Perseverance  What is belief perseverance? o Belief perseverance is the tendency to stick to initial beliefs, even in the face of  evidence that contradicts them.  Confirmation bias predisposes us to belief perseverance. Metaphysical Claims  What are metaphysical claims? o Metaphysical claims are assertions about the world that we cannot test.  Scientific Claims vs Metaphysical claims o Scientific claims can be tested using scientific methods.  This does not mean that metaphysical claims are all wrong or unimportant.  It is not all questions that can be answered with science.  Examples of metaphysical claims  o The existence of God o The afterlife o The soul  Science has its limits; thus, science must respect religion and other  metaphysical domains. Recognizing That We Might Be Wrong  Scientific information is almost always tentative and potentially open to revision  “The fact that science is a process of continually revising and updating findings lends its  strengths as a method of inquiry.”  We usually acquire knowledge slowly and in small bits.  Science forces us to: o Ferret out mistakes in our belief systems  Attend to data that is not to our liking, both when we want to, and when  we don’t want to. Scientific Thinking: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction  The scientific skeptic evaluates all claims with an open mind but insists on persuasive  Carl Sagan said that for one to be a scientific skeptic one must: o Be willing to keep an open mind to all claims o Be willing to accept all claims only after researchers have subjected them to  careful scientific tests      Another feature of scientific skepticism is an unwillingness to accept claims on the basis  of authority alone. A Basic Framework for Scientific Thinking  The hallmark of scientific skepticism o Critical thinking  There are 6 scientific thinking principles o 1) Ruling out rival hypotheses  Have important alternative explanations for the findings been excluded? o 2) Correlation vs Causation  Can we be sure that A causes B?  Correlation is not causation. o 3) Falsifiability  Can the claim be disproved? o 4) Replicability  Can the results be duplicated in other studies?  The finding should not be due to chance. o 5) Extraordinary Claims  Is the evidence as strong as the claim?  The evidence must be as extraordinary as the the claim. o 6) Occam’s Razor  Does a simpler explanation fit the data as well?  Scientists of a romantic persuasion refer to this ideas as the  principle of KISS(Keep It Simple Stupid).              


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