Ch1 thinking critically

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    • Chapter 1
  • Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
  • James A. McCubbin, PhD
  • Clemson University
  • Worth Publishers

2. Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinking does not accept arguments and conclusions blindly.
  • It examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence and assesses conclusions.

The Amazing Randi Courtesy of the James Randi Education Foundation 3. Limits of Intuition and Common Sense

  • Hindsight Bias
    • tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it
    • the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon
  • Overconfidence
    • we tend to think we know more than we do

4. Limits of Intuition

  • Personal interviewers may rely too much on their gut feelings when meeting with job applicants.

Taxi/ Getty Images 5. How Do Psychologists Ask & Answer Questions?

  • Psychologists, like all scientists, use the scientific method to construct theories that organize, summarize and simplify observations.

6. The Scientific Method 7.

  • Atheoryis an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts behavior or events.
  • For example, low self-esteem contributes to depression.

Theory 8.

  • Ahypothesisis 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.

Hypothesis 9.

  • Researchwould require us to administer tests of self-esteem and depression. Individuals who score low on a self-esteem test and high on a depression test would confirm our hypothesis.

Research Observations 10. Research Process 11. Scientific Methods

  • Descriptive Method describes something that is occurring (case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation)
  • Correlational Method
    • gives information on whether there is a relationship between two (or more) things
    • Can NOT establish causation
  • Experimental Method manipulates one variable to see if the change effects another variable
    • Can establish causation

12. Description Methods

  • Case Study

A technique in which one person is studied in depth to reveal underlying behavioral principles. Is language uniquely human? Susan Kuklin/ Photo Researchers 13. Survey

  • A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions or behaviors of people usually done by questioning a representative, random sample of people. 14. Survey

  • Wording Effects
    • Can change the results of a survey
    • Should cigarette ads and pornography be allowed on television? (not allowed vs. forbid)
  • False Consensus Effect
    • tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors

15. Survey

  • If each member of a population has an equal chance of inclusion into a sample, it is called a random sample (unbiased). If the survey sample is biased, its results are not valid.

Random Sampling The fastest way to know about the marble color ratio is to blindly transfer a few into a smaller jar and count them. 16. Naturalistic Observation

  • Observing and recording the behavior of animals in the wild and recording self-seating patterns in a multiracial school lunch room constitute naturalistic observation.

Courtesy of Gilda Morelli 17. Research Strategies

  • Correlation Coefficient
    • a statistical measure of the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well either factor predicts the other

Correlationcoefficient Indicates direction of relationship (positive or negative) Indicates strength of relationship (0.00 to 1.00) r = +.37 18. Scatterplots Perfect positive correlation (+1.00) No relationship (0.00) Perfect negative correlation (-1.00) 19. Data Data showing height and temperament in people. 20. Scatterplot The Scatterplot below shows the relationship between height and temperament in people.There isa moderate positive correlation of +0.63. 21. Illusory Correlation

  • The perception of a relationship where no relationship actually exists.Parents conceive children after adoption.

Michael Newman Jr./ Photo Edit Confirming evidence Disconfirming evidence Do not adopt Disconfirming evidence Confirming evidence Adopt Do not conceive Conceive 22. Random Sequences

  • Your chances of being dealt either of these hands is precisely the same:1 in 2,598,960.

23. Research Strategies

  • Three Possible Cause-Effect Relationships

(1) Low self-esteem Depression (2) Depression Low self-esteem Low self-esteem Depression (3) Distressing events or biological predisposition could cause could cause could cause or or and 24. Experimental Method

  • Like other sciences, experimentation is the backbone of psychological research.Experiments isolate causes and their effects.

Exploring Cause and Effect 25.

  • Many factors influence our behavior. Experiments(1) manipulatefactors that interest us, while other factors are kept under(2) control .
  • Effects generated by manipulated factors isolate cause and effect relationships.

Exploring Cause & Effect 26. Research Strategies

  • Operational Definition
    • a statement of procedures (operations) used to define research variables
    • Example-
      • intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures

27. Research Strategies

  • Replication
    • repeating the essence ofa research study to see whether the basic finding generalizes to other subjects and circumstances
    • usually with different subjects in different situations

28. Research Strategies

  • Population
    • all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study
  • Random Sample
    • a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion

29. Research Strategies

  • Experiment
    • the investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe their effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable) while controlling other relevant factors by random assignment of subjects
    • by random assignment of participants the experiment controls other relevant factors

30. Research Strategies

  • Double-blind Procedure
    • both the subject and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the subject has received the treatment or a placebo
    • commonly used in drug-evaluation studies
  • Placebo
    • an inert substance or condition that may be administered instead of a presumed active agent, such as a drug, to see if it triggers the effects believed to characterize the active agent

31. Research Strategies

  • Experimental Condition
    • the condition of an experiment that exposes subjects to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable
  • Control Condition
    • the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental treatment
    • serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment

32. Research Strategies

  • Random Assignment
    • assigning subjects to experimental and control conditions by chance
    • minimizes pre-existing differences between those assigned to the different groups


  • Anindependent variableis 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 breast feeding upon intelligence,breast feedingis the independent variable.

Independent Variable 34.

  • Adependent variableis 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 breast feeding upon intelligence,intelligenceis the dependent variable.

Dependent Variable 35. Comparison Below is a comparison of different research methods. 36. Statistical Reasoning Statistical procedures analyze and interpret data allowing us to see what the unaided eye misses. Composition of ethnicity in urban locales 37. Describing Data A meaningful description of data is important in research. Misrepresentation may lead to incorrect conclusions. 38. Statistical Reasoning

  • Mode
    • th