You are on page 1of 26

1: Thinking Critically With

Psychological Science

CHAPTER OVERVIEW NOTE: Answer guidelines for all Chapter 1 questions

begin on page 31.
Chapter 1 explains the limits of intuition and com-
mon sense in reasoning about behavior and mental CHAPTER REVIEW
processes. To counteract our human tendency toward
faulty reasoning, psychologists adopt a scientific atti- First, skim each section, noting headings and boldface
tude that is based on curiosity, skepticism, humility, items. After you have read the section, review each
and critical thinking. Chapter 1 also explains how objective by answering the fill-in and essay-type
psychologists, using the scientific method, employ questions that follow it. As you proceed, evaluate
the research strategies of description, correlation, and your performance by consulting the answers begin-
experimentation in order to objectively describe, pre- ning on page 31. Do not continue with the next sec-
dict, and explain behavior. tion until you understand each answer. If you need
The next section discusses how statistical reason- to, review or reread the section in the textbook before
ing is used to help psychologists describe data and to continuing.
generalize from instances. To describe data, psycholo-
gists often rely on measures of central tendency such The Need for Psychological Science (pp. 19–26)
as the mean, median, and mode, as well as variation
measures such as the range and standard deviation. David Myers at times uses idioms that are un-
Statistical reasoning also helps psychologists deter- familiar to some readers. If you do not know
mine when it is safe to generalize from a sample to the meaning of any of the following words,
the larger population. phrases, or expressions in the context in which
Chapter 1 concludes with a discussion of several they appear in the introduction to this chapter
questions people often ask about psychology, includ- and in this section, refer to pages 38–40 for an
ing why animal research is relevant, whether labora- explanation: to remedy their own woes; winnow
tory experiments are ethical, whether behavior varies sense from nonsense; dresses it in jargon; bull’s eye;
with culture and gender, and whether psychology’s “Out of sight, out of mind”; “Absence makes the
principles don’t have the potential for misuse. heart grow fonder”; familiarity breeds contempt;
Chapter 1 introduces a number of concepts and drop a course; lackluster predictions; hard-headed
issues that will play an important role in later chap- curiosity; leap of faith; the proof is in the pudding;
ters. Pay particular attention to the strengths and auras; crazy-sounding ideas; arena of competing
weaknesses of descriptive and correlational research. ideas; so much the worse for our ideas; “The rat is
In addition, make sure that you understand the always right”; the spectacles of our preconceived
method of experimentation, especially the importance ideas; gut feelings; debunked; “play the tape”; sift
of control conditions and the difference between reality from illusion.
independent and dependent variables. Finally, you
should be able to discuss three important principles
concerning populations and samples, as well as the
concept of significance in testing difference.

18 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

Objective 1: Define hindsight bias, and explain how it 8. An explanation using an integrated set of princi-
can make research findings seem like mere common ples that organizes and predicts behaviors or
events is a . Testable pre-
1. The tendency to perceive an outcome that has dictions that allow a scientist to evaluate a theory
occurred as being obvious and predictable is are called . These predic-
called the tions give direction to .
. This phenomenon is 9. In order to prevent theoretical biases from influ-
(rare/common) in encing scientific observations, research must be
(children/adults/both reported precisely—using clear
children and adults). of all concepts—so that
others can the findings.
2. Because it is (after the
fact/usually wrong), this tendency makes a 10. The test of a useful theory is the extent to which it
research findings seem like mere common sense. effectively observations
and implies clear .
Objective 2: Describe how overconfidence contami- 11. Psychologists conduct research using
nates our everyday judgments.
3. Our everyday thinking is also limited by , and
in what we think we know, methods.
which occurs because of our
Description (pp. 26–30)
to seek information that confirms our judgments.
4. Most people are If you do not know the meaning of any of the
following words, phrases, or expressions in the
(better/worse/equally wrong) in predicting their
context in which they appear in the text, refer
social behavior. to page 40 for an explanation: Numbers are
numbing; Anecdotes are often more startling; a
Objective 3: Explain how the scientific attitude thimbleful; snapshot of the opinions.
encourages critical thinking.

5. The scientific approach is characterized by the Objective 5: Identify an advantage and a disadvan-
attitudes of , tage of using case studies to study behavior and men-
, and . tal processes.

6. Scientific inquiry thus encourages reasoning that 1. The research strategy in which one or more indi-
examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, viduals is studied in depth in order to reveal uni-
evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions, versal principles of behavior is the
which is called .
. 2. Although case studies can suggest
for further study, a poten-
Objective 4: Describe how psychological theories
guide scientific research. tial problem with this method is that any given
individual may be .
7. Psychologists use the
to guide their study of Objective 6: Identify the advantages and disadvan-
tages of using surveys to study behavior and mental
behavior and mental processes. They make
processes, and explain the importance of wording
and form effects and random sampling.
, which are
based on new 3. The method in which a group of people is ques-
. tioned about their attitudes or behavior is the
Correlation 19

4. An important factor in the validity of survey 1. When changes in one factor are accompanied by
research is the of questions. changes in another, the two factors are said to be
5. The tendency to overestimate others’ agreement , and one is thus able to
with us is the the other. The mathemati-
. cal expression of this relationship is called a
6. Surveys try to obtain a .
sample, one that will be representative of the 2. Graphs called are often
being studied. In such a used to depict the relationship between two sets
sample, every person of scores.
(does/does not) have a chance of being included.
3. If two factors increase or decrease together, they
7. Large, representative samples are .
(are/are not) better than small ones.
If, however, one decreases as the other increases,
8. We are more likely to overgeneralize from select they are .
samples that are especially . Another way to state the latter is that the two

Objective 7: Identify an advantage and a disadvan- variables relate .

tage of using naturalistic observation to study behav- 4. A negative correlation between two variables
ior and mental processes.
does not indicate the or
9. The research method in which people or animals of the relationship. Nor
are directly observed in their natural environ- does correlation prove ;
ments is called rather, it merely indicates the possibility of a
. -
10. Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observa- relationship.
tion do not explain behavior; they simply If your level of test anxiety goes down as your time
it. spent studying for the exam goes up, would you say
these events are positively or negatively correlated?
11. Using naturalistic observation, researchers have
Explain your reasoning.
found that people are more likely to laugh in
situations than in
situations. Also, using
observations of walking speed and the accuracy
of public clocks, researchers have concluded that
the pace of life (varies/
does not vary) from one culture to another.

Correlation (pp. 30–36)

If you do not know the meaning of any of the
following words, phrases, or expressions in the Objective 9: Explain why correlational research fails
context in which they appear in the text, refer to provide evidence of cause-effect relationships.
to page 40 for an explanation: naked eye; flipped a
coin; “cold hands” . . . “hot hands.”
5. A correlation between two events or behaviors
means only that one event can be
Objective 8: Describe positive and negative correla- from the other.
tions, and explain how correlational measures can aid
the process of prediction.
20 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

6. Because two events may both be caused by some infants who are bottle-fed with cow’s milk. To
other , a correlation does study cause-effect relationships, psychologists
not mean that one the conduct . Using this
other. For this reason, correlation thus does not method, a researcher the
enable . factor of interest, while
other factors.
Objective 10: Describe how people form illusory cor-
relations. 3. If a changes when an
factor is varied, the
7. A perceived correlation that does not really exist researcher knows the factor is having an
is an .
8. People are more likely to notice and recall events Objective 13: Explain why the double-blind proce-
that their beliefs. This error dure and random assignment build confidence in
research findings.
in thinking helps explain many
4. Researchers sometimes give certain participants a
Objective 11: Explain the human tendency to per- pseudotreatment, called a ,
ceive order in random sequences. and compare their behavior with that of partici-
pants who receive the actual treatment. When
9. Another common tendency is to perceive order in
merely thinking that one is receiving a treatment
produces results, a
10. Patterns and streaks in random sequences occur is said to occur.
(more/less) often than peo-
5. When neither the subjects nor the person collect-
ple expect, and they (do/
ing the data knows which condition a subject is
do not) appear random.
in, the researcher is making use of the
Experimentation (pp. 36–39) -
If you do not know the meaning of the follow-
ing word in the context in which it appears in 6. An experiment must involve at least two condi-
the text, refer to page 40 for an explanation: tions: the condition, in
recap. which the experimental treatment is present, and
the condition, in which it is
Objective 12: Explain how experiments help absent.
researchers isolate cause and effect.
7. Experimenters rely on the
of individuals to the experi-
1. To isolate and
mental conditions.
, researchers
control for other
. Objective 14: Explain the difference between an inde-
pendent and a dependent variable.
2. Research studies have found that breast-fed
infants (do/do not) grow 8. The factor that is being manipulated in an experi-
up with higher intelligence scores than those of ment is called the variable.
Statistical Reasoning 21

The measurable factor that may change as a result Objective 17: Describe the three measures of central
of these manipulations is called the tendency, and tell which is most affected by extreme
9. The aim of an experiment is to 3. The three measures of central tendency are the
a(n) variable, , the ,
the variable, and and the .
all other .
4. The most frequently occurring score in a distribu-
Explain at least one advantage of the experiment as a tion is called the .
research method.
5. The mean is computed as the
of all the scores divided by
the of scores.
6. The median is the score at the
7. When a distribution is lopsided, or
, the
(mean/median/mode) can be biased by a few
Statistical Reasoning (pp. 39–44) extreme scores.
If you do not know the meaning of any of the Objective 18: Describe two measures of variation.
following words, phrases, or expressions in the
context in which they appear in the text, refer to
pages 40–41 for an explanation: Off the top-of- 8. Averages derived from scores with
the-head estimates; national income cake; gauges; (high/low) variability are more reliable than
data are “noisy.”
those with (high/low)
Objective 15: Explain the importance of statistical 9. The measures of variation include the
principles, and give an example of their use in every-
day life. and the
1. Researchers use to help 10. The range is computed as the
them see and interpret their observations. .
11. The range provides a(n)
Objective 16: Explain how bar graphs can misrepre-
sent data. (crude/accurate) estimate of variation because it
(is/is not) influenced by
2. Once researchers have gathered their extreme scores.
, they must 12. The standard deviation is a
them. One simple way of (more accurate/less accurate) measure of varia-
visually representing data is to use a tion than the range. Unlike the range, the stan-
. It is dard deviation (takes/does
important to read the not take) into consideration information from
and note the each score in the distribution.
to avoid being mislead by
misrepresented data.
22 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

Objective 19: Identify three principles of making gen- flexibly cope with stresses
eralizations from samples. also cope flexibly with
13. It is safer to generalize from a
2. Psychologists conduct experiments on simplified
sample than from a sample.
behaviors in a laboratory environment in order to
14. Averages are more reliable when they are based gain over the many vari-
on scores with (high/low) ables present in the “real world.” In doing so,
variability. they are able to test
15. Small samples provide a of behavior that also oper-
(more/less) reliable basis for generalizing than ate in the real world.
large samples.
Objective 22: Discuss whether psychological research
Objective 20: Explain how psychologists decide can be generalized across cultures and genders.
whether differences are meaningful.
3. Culture refers to shared ,
16. Tests of statistical are used , , and
to estimate whether observed differences are that one generation passes
real—that is, to make sure that they are not sim- on to the next.
ply the result of variation. 4. Although specific attitudes and behaviors vary
The differences are probably real if the sample across cultures, the underlying
averages are and the differ- are the same. For instance, throughout the world
ence between them is (rela- people diagnosed with
tively small/relatively large). exhibit the same malfunc-
17. Statistical significance does not necessarily indi- tion. Likewise, similarities between the
cate the importance or sig- far outweigh differences.
nificance of a difference or result.
Objective 23: Explain why psychologists study ani-
Frequently Asked Questions About mals, and discuss the ethics of experimentation with
Psychology (pp. 44–50) both animals and humans.

5. Many psychologists study animals because they

If you do not know the meaning of any of the
following words, phrases, or expressions in the are fascinating. More important, they study ani-
context in which they appear in the text, refer to mals because of the (simi-
page 41 for an explanation: plunge in; To under-
larities/differences) between humans and other
stand how a combustion engine works . . . .; screen;
color “the facts.” animals. These studies have led to treatments for
human and to a better
Objective 21: Explain the value of simplified labora- understanding of human functioning.
tory conditions in discovering general principles of 6. Some people question whether experiments with
animals are . They wonder
whether it is right to place the
1. In laboratory experiments, psychologists’ concern
of humans over those of animals.
is not with specific behaviors but with the under-
7. Opposition to animal experimentation also raises
lying theoretical . As an
the question of what should
example, researchers have found that people who
protect the well-being of animals.
Progress Test 1 23

Describe the goals of the ethical guidelines for psy- PROGRESS TEST 1
chological research.
Multiple-Choice Questions
Circle your answers to the following questions and
check them with the answers beginning on page 33. If
your answer is incorrect, read the explanation for
why it is incorrect and then consult the appropriate
pages of the text (in parentheses following the correct

1. After detailed study of a gunshot wound victim,

a psychologist concludes that the brain region
Objective 24: Describe how personal values can influ- destroyed is likely to be important for memory
ence psychologists’ research and its application, and functions. Which type of research did the psy-
discuss psychology’s potential to manipulate people. chologist use to deduce this?
a. the case study c. correlation
8. Psychologists’ values (do/ b. a survey d. experimentation
do not) influence their theories, observations, and 2. In an experiment to determine the effects of exer-
professional advice. cise on motivation, exercise is the:
9. Although psychology a. control condition.
b. intervening variable.
(can/cannot) be used to manipulate people, its c. independent variable.
purpose is to . d. dependent variable.
10. (Thinking Critically) The viewpoint called 3. In order to determine the effects of a new drug on
questions scientific objec- memory, one group of people is given a pill that
tivity, arguing that most scientific concepts are contains the drug. A second group is given a
sugar pill that does not contain the drug. This
merely constructs. second group constitutes the:
Psychological scientists a. random sample. c. control group.
(agree/disagree) on whether there is, in fact, a b. experimental group. d. test group.
“real world” of psychological principles that
4. Theories are defined as:
science can reveal. a. testable propositions.
11. (Thinking Critically) People who serve on juries b. factors that may change in response to
in capital punishment cases
c. statistical indexes.
(do/do not) represent the greater population. d. principles that help to organize, predict, and
They are (more/less) likely explain facts.
to be minorities and women. 5. A psychologist studies the play behavior of third-
12. (Thinking Critically) States with a death penalty grade children by watching groups during recess
at school. Which type of research is being used?
(have/do not have) lower
a. correlation
homicide rates. b. case study
c. experimentation
d. naturalistic observation
24 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

6. To ensure that other researchers can repeat their 13. What is the mean of the following distribution of
work, psychologists use: scores: 2, 3, 7, 6, 1, 4, 9, 5, 8, 2?
a. control groups. a. 5 c. 4.7
b. random assignment. b. 4 d. 3.7
c. double-blind procedures.
d. operational definitions. 14. What is the median of the following distribution
of scores: 1, 3, 7, 7, 2, 8, 4?
7. The scientific attitude of skepticism is based on a. 1 c. 3
the belief that: b. 2 d. 4
a. people are rarely candid in revealing their
thoughts. 15. What is the mode of the following distribution: 8,
b. mental processes can’t be studied objectively. 2, 1, 1, 3, 7, 6, 2, 0, 2?
c. the scientist’s intuition about behavior is usu- a. 1 c. 3
ally correct. b. 2 d. 7
d. ideas need to be tested against observable evi-
dence. 16. In generalizing from a sample to the population,
it is important that:
8. Which of the following is not a basic research a. the sample is representative of the population.
technique used by psychologists? b. the sample is large.
a. description c. the scores in the sample have low variability.
b. replication d. all of the above are observed.
c. experimentation
17. When a difference between two groups is “statis-
d. correlation
tically significant,” this means that:
9. Psychologists’ personal values: a. the difference is statistically real but of little
a. have little influence on how their experiments practical significance.
are conducted. b. the difference is probably the result of sam-
b. do not influence the interpretation of experi- pling variation.
mental results because of the use of statistical c. the difference is not likely to be due to chance
techniques that guard against subjective bias. variation.
c. can bias both scientific observation and inter- d. all of the above are true.
pretation of data.
18. A lopsided set of scores that includes a number of
d. have little influence on investigative methods
extreme or unusual values is said to be:
but a significant effect on interpretation.
a. symmetrical. c. skewed.
10. If shoe size and IQ are negatively correlated, b. normal. d. dispersed.
which of the following is true?
19. Juwan eagerly opened an online trading account,
a. People with large feet tend to have high IQs. believing that his market savvy would allow him
b. People with small feet tend to have high IQs. to pick stocks that would make him a rich day
c. People with small feet tend to have low IQs. trader. This belief best illustrates:
d. IQ is unpredictable based on a person’s shoe
a. the false consensus effect.
b. illusory correlation.
11. Which of the following would be best for deter- c. hindsight bias.
mining whether alcohol impairs memory? d. overconfidence.
a. case study c. survey 20. Which of the following is the measure of central
b. naturalistic observation d. experiment tendency that would be most affected by a few
12. Well-done surveys measure attitudes in a repre- extreme scores?
sentative subset, or , of an a. mean c. median
entire group, or . b. range d. mode
a. population; random sample
b. control group; experimental group
c. experimental group; control group
d. random sample; population
Progress Test 2 25

Matching Items
Match each term and concept with its definition or

Terms Definitions or Descriptions

1. culture a. the mean, median, and mode
2. median b. the difference between the highest and lowest
3. placebo effect scores
4. hindsight bias c. the arithmetic average of a set of scores
5. mode d. the range and standard deviation
6. range e. the most frequently occurring score
7. standard deviation f. the middle score in a distribution
8. scatterplot g. a graphed cluster of dots depicting the values of
9. mean two variables
10. measures of central tendency h. a measure of variation based on every score
11. measures of variation i. shared ideas and behaviors passed from one gen-
12. false consensus effect eration to the next
13. critical thinking j. “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon
14. illusory correlation k. reasoning that does not blindly accept arguments
l. experimental results caused by expectations alone
m. overestimating others’ agreement with us
n. false perception of a relationship between two

PROGRESS TEST 2 3. Which statement about the ethics of experimenta-

tion with people and animals is false?
Progress Test 2 should be completed during a final a. Only a small percentage of animal experi-
chapter review. Answer the following questions after ments use shock.
you thoroughly understand the correct answers for b. Allegations that psychologists routinely sub-
the section reviews and Progress Test 1. ject animals to pain, starvation, and other in-
humane conditions have been proven untrue.
Multiple-Choice Questions c. The American Psychological Association and
1. Which of the following research methods does the British Psychological Society have set
not belong with the others? strict guidelines for the care and treatment of
a. case study c. naturalistic observation human and animal subjects.
b. survey d. experiment d. Animals are used in psychological research
more often than they are killed by humane
2. To prevent the possibility that a placebo effect or animal shelters.
researchers’ expectations will influence a study’s 4. In an experiment to determine the effects of atten-
results, scientists employ: tion on memory, memory is the:
a. control groups. a. control condition.
b. experimental groups. b. intervening variable.
c. random assignment. c. independent variable.
d. the double-blind procedure. d. dependent variable.
26 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

5. One reason researchers base their findings on 11. Which of the following is true, according to the
representative samples is to avoid the false con- text?
sensus effect, which refers to our tendency to: a. Because laboratory experiments are artificial,
a. overestimate the extent to which others share any principles discovered cannot be applied
our belief. to everyday behaviors.
b. falsely perceive a relationship between two b. No psychological theory can be considered a
events when none exists. good one until it produces testable predic-
c. underestimate errors in our judgment. tions.
d. make all of the above reasoning errors. c. Psychology’s theories reflect common sense.
d. Psychology has few ties to other disciplines.
6. Which of the following best describes the hind-
sight bias? 12. Which type of research would allow you to deter-
a. Events seem more predictable before they mine whether students’ college grades accurately
have occurred. predict later income?
b. Events seem more predictable after they have a. case study c. experimentation
occurred. b. naturalistic observation d. correlation
c. A person’s intuition is usually correct.
d. A person’s intuition is usually not correct. 13. In a test of the effects of air pollution, groups of
students performed a reaction-time task in a pol-
7. The procedure designed to ensure that the experi- luted or an unpolluted room. To what condition
mental and control groups do not differ in any were students in the unpolluted room exposed?
way that might affect the experiment’s results is a. experimental c. randomly assigned
called: b. control d. dependent
a. variable controlling.
b. random assignment. 14. In order to study the effects of lighting on mood,
c. representative sampling. Dr. Cooper had students fill out questionnaires in
d. stratification. brightly lit or dimly lit rooms. In this study, the
independent variable consisted of:
8. Illusory correlation refers to: a. the number of students assigned to each
a. the perception that two negatively correlated group.
variables are positively correlated. b. the students’ responses to the questionnaire.
b. the perception of a correlation where there is c. the room lighting.
none. d. the subject matter of the questions asked.
c. an insignificant correlation.
d. a correlation that equals –1.0. 15. What is the mode of the following distribution of
scores: 2, 2, 4, 4, 4, 14?
9. In generalizing from a sample to the population, a. 2 c. 5
it is important that: b. 4 d. 6
a. the sample be representative.
b. the sample be nonrandom. 16. What is the mean of the following distribution of
c. the sample not be too large. scores: 2, 5, 8, 10, 11, 4, 6, 9, 1, 4?
d. all of the above be true. a. 2 c. 6
b. 10 d. 15
10. The strength of the relationship between two
vivid events will most likely be: 17. What is the median of the following distribution:
a. significant. 10, 7, 5, 11, 8, 6, 9?
b. positive. a. 6 c. 8
c. negative. b. 7 d. 9
d. overestimated.
18. Which of the following is the measure of varia-
tion that is most affected by extreme scores?
a. mean c. mode
b. standard deviation d. range
Psychology Applied 27

19. The set of scores that would likely be most repre- 20. If a difference between two samples is not statisti-
sentative of the population from which it was cally significant, which of the following can be
drawn would be a sample with a relatively: concluded?
a. large standard deviation. a. The difference is probably not a true one.
b. small standard deviation. b. The difference is probably not reliable.
c. large range. c. The difference could be due to sampling vari-
d. small range. ation.
d. All of the above can be concluded.

Matching Items
Match each term with its definition or description.

Terms Definitions or Descriptions

1. hypothesis a. an in-depth observational study of one person

2. theory b. the variable being manipulated in an experiment
3. independent variable c. the variable being measured in an experiment
4. dependent variable d. the “treatment-absent” condition in an experi-
5. experimental condition ment
6. control condition e. testable proposition
7. case study f. repeating an experiment to see whether the same
8. survey results are obtained
9. replication g. the process in which research participants are
10. random assignment selected by chance for different groups in an
11. experiment experiment
12. double-blind h. an explanation using an integrated set of princi-
ples that organizes and predicts observations
i. the research strategy in which the effects of one
or more variables on behavior are tested
j. the “treatment-present” condition in an experi-
k. the research strategy in which a representative
sample of individuals is questioned
l. experimental procedure in which neither the
research participant nor the experimenter knows
which condition the participant is in

PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED a. hypothesis; theory

b. theory; hypothesis
Answer these questions the day before an exam as a c. independent variable; dependent variable
final check on your understanding of the chapter’s d. dependent variable; independent variable
terms and concepts.
2. Your roommate is conducting a survey to learn
Multiple-Choice Questions how many hours the typical college student stud-
ies each day. She plans to pass out her question-
1. You decide to test your belief that men drink naire to the members of her sorority. You point
more soft drinks than women by finding out out that her findings will be flawed because:
whether more soft drinks are consumed per day a. she has not specified an independent variable.
in the men’s dorm than in the women’s dorm. b. she has not specified a dependent variable.
Your belief is a(n) , and your research c. the sample will probably not be representative
prediction is a(n) . of the population of interest.
d. of all the above reasons.
28 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

3. The concept of control is important in psychologi- 7. A professor constructs a questionnaire to deter-

cal research because: mine how students at the university feel about
a. without control over independent and depen- nuclear disarmament. Which of the following
dent variables, researchers cannot describe, techniques should be used in order to survey a
predict, or explain behavior. random sample of the student body?
b. experimental control allows researchers to a. Every student should be sent the question-
study the influence of one or two independent naire.
variables on a dependent variable while hold- b. Only students majoring in psychology should
ing other potential influences constant. be asked to complete the questionnaire.
c. without experimental control, results cannot c. Only students living on campus should be
be generalized from a sample to a population. asked to complete the questionnaire.
d. of all the above reasons. d. From an alphabetical listing of all students,
every tenth (or fifteenth, e.g.) student should
4. Martina believes that high doses of caffeine slow be asked to complete the questionnaire.
a person’s reaction time. In order to test this
belief, she has five friends each drink three 8- 8. If eating saturated fat and the likelihood of con-
ounce cups of coffee and then measures their tracting cancer are positively correlated, which of
reaction time on a learning task. What is wrong the following is true?
with Martina’s research strategy? a. Saturated fat causes cancer.
a. No independent variable is specified. b. People who are prone to develop cancer pre-
b. No dependent variable is specified. fer foods containing saturated fat.
c. There is no control condition. c. A separate factor links the consumption of sat-
d. There is no provision for replication of the urated fat to cancer.
findings. d. None of the above is necessarily true.

5. A researcher was interested in determining 9. To say that “psychology is a science” means that:
whether her students’ test performance could be a. psychologists study only observable behav-
predicted from their proximity to the front of the iors.
classroom. So she matched her students’ scores b. psychologists study thoughts and actions with
on a math test with their seating position. This an attitude of skepticism and derive their con-
study is an example of: clusions from direct observations.
a. experimentation. c. psychological research should be free of value
b. correlational research. judgments.
c. a survey. d. all of the above are true.
d. naturalistic observation.
10. Rashad, who is participating in a psychology
experiment on the effects of alcohol on percep-
6. Your best friend criticizes psychological research
tion, is truthfully told by the experimenter that he
for being artificial and having no relevance to
has been assigned to the “high-dose condition.”
behavior in real life. In defense of psychology’s
What is wrong with this experiment?
use of laboratory experiments you point out that:
a. There is no control condition.
a. psychologists make every attempt to avoid
b. Rashad’s expectations concerning the effects
artificiality by setting up experiments that
of “high doses” of alcohol on perception may
closely simulate real-world environments.
influence his performance.
b. psychologists who conduct basic research are
c. Knowing that Rashad is in the “high-dose”
not concerned with the applicability of their
condition may influence the experimenter’s
findings to the real world.
interpretations of Rashad’s results.
c. most psychological research is not conducted
d. Both b. and c. are correct.
in a laboratory environment.
d. psychologists intentionally study behavior in
simplified environments in order to gain
greater control over variables and to test gen-
eral principles that help to explain many
Psychology Applied 29

11. A friend majoring in anthropology is critical of 16. Joe believes that his basketball game is always
psychological research because it often ignores best when he wears his old gray athletic socks.
the influence of culture on thoughts and actions. Joe is a victim of the phenomenon called:
You point out that: a. statistical significance.
a. there is very little evidence that cultural diver- b. overconfidence.
sity has a significant effect on specific behav- c. illusory correlation.
iors and attitudes. d. hindsight bias.
b. most researchers assign participants to experi-
mental and control conditions in such a way 17. Esteban refuses to be persuaded by an advertis-
as to fairly represent the cultural diversity of er’s claim that people using their brand of gaso-
the population under study. line average 50 miles per gallon. His decision
c. it is impossible for psychologists to control for probably is based on:
every possible variable that might influence a. the possibility that the average is the mean,
research participants. which could be artificially inflated by a few
d. even when specific thoughts and actions vary extreme scores.
across cultures, as they often do, the underly- b. the absence of information about the size of
ing processes are much the same. the sample studied.
c. the absence of information about the variation
12. The scientific attitude of humility is based on the in sample scores.
idea that: d. all of the above.
a. researchers must evaluate new ideas and the-
ories objectively rather than accept them 18. Bob scored 43 out of 70 points on his psychology
blindly. exam. He was worried until he discovered that
b. scientific theories must be testable. most of the class earned the same score. Bob’s
c. simple explanations of behavior make better score was equal to the:
theories than do complex explanations. a. mean. c. mode.
d. researchers must be prepared to reject their b. median. d. range.
own ideas in the face of conflicting evidence.
19. The four families on your block all have annual
13. Which of the following procedures is an example household incomes of $25,000. If a new family
of the use of a placebo? with an annual income of $75,000 moved in,
a. In a test of the effects of a drug on memory, a which measure of central tendency would be
participant is led to believe that a harmless most affected?
pill actually contains an active drug. a. mean c. mode
b. A participant in an experiment is led to b. median d. standard deviation
believe that a pill, which actually contains an
20. Dr. Salazar recently completed an experiment in
active drug, is harmless.
which she compared reasoning ability in a sam-
c. Participants in an experiment are not told
ple of females and a sample of males. The means
which treatment condition is in effect.
of the female and male samples equaled 21 and
d. Neither the participants nor the experimenter
19, respectively, on a 25-point scale. A statistical
knows which treatment condition is in effect.
test revealed that her results were not statistically
14. If height and body weight are positively correlat- significant. What can Dr. Salazar conclude?
ed, which of the following is true? a. Females have superior reasoning ability.
a. There is a cause-effect relationship between b. The difference in the means of the two sam-
height and weight. ples is probably due to chance variation.
b. As height increases, weight decreases. c. The difference in the means of the two sam-
c. Knowing a person’s height, one can predict ples is reliable.
his or her weight. d. None of the above is true.
d. All of the above are true.

15. The football team’s punter wants to determine

how consistent his punting distances have been
during the past season. He should compute the:
a. mean. c. mode.
b. median. d. standard deviation.
30 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

Essay Question KEY TERMS

Elio has a theory that regular exercise can improve
thinking. Help him design an experiment evaluating Writing Definitions
this theory. (Use the space below to list the points you Using your own words, on a separate piece of paper
want to make, and organize them. Then write the write a brief definition or explanation of each of the
essay on a separate piece of paper.) following.
1. hindsight bias
2. critical thinking
3. theory
4. hypothesis
5. operational definition
6. replication
7. case study
8. survey
9. false consensus effect
10. population
11. random sample
12. naturalistic observation
13. correlation
14. scatterplot
15. illusory correlation
16. experiment
17. double-blind procedure
18. placebo effect
19. experimental condition
20. control condition
21. random assignment
22. independent variable
23. dependent variable
24. mode
25. mean
26. median
27. range
28. standard deviation
29. statistical significance
30. culture
Answers 31

Cross-Check 1 2 3 4 5

As you learned in the Prologue, 6

reviewing and overlearning of 7 8
material are important to the
9 10
learning process. After you have
written the definitions of the key 11
terms in this chapter, you should 12
complete the crossword puzzle to
13 14
ensure that you can reverse the
process—recognize the term,
given the definition. 15
1. Score that falls at the 50th per-
centile, cutting a distribution
in half.
7. Explanation using an integrat- 16 17
ed set of principles that orga-
nizes and predicts behaviors
or events. 19
9. Most frequently occurring
score in a distribution.
14. Descriptive research strategy 20

in which one person is stud-

ied in great depth. 21
15. Measure of variation comput-
ed as the difference between 22

the highest and lowest scores

in a distribution. 8. The bias in which we believe, after learning an
16. Measure of central tendency computed by adding outcome, that we could have foreseen it.
the scores in a distribution and dividing by the 10. Our tendency to overestimate the extent to which
number of scores. others share our beliefs and behaviors.
19. Perception of a correlation between two events 11. Control procedure in which neither the experi-
where none exists. menter nor the research participants are aware of
20. Descriptive research technique in which a repre- which condition is in effect.
sentative, random sample of people is questioned 12. Testable prediction, often implied by a theory.
about their attitudes or behaviors. 13. Measure that indicates the extent to which one
21. Depiction of the relationship between two sets of factor predicts another factor.
scores by means of a graphed cluster of dots. 17. Experimental condition in which the treatment of
22. Sample in which every member of the population interest is withheld.
has an equal chance of being included. 18. When a research participant’s expectations
produce the results of an experiment, it is called a
2. Experimental condition in which research
participants are exposed to the independent
variable being studied. ANSWERS
3. In an experiment, the variable being manipulated
and tested by the investigator. Chapter Review
4. Research method in which behavior is observed
and recorded in naturally occurring situations The Need for Psychological Science
without any manipulation or control.
1. hindsight bias; common; both children and adults
5. A precise definition of the procedures used to
identify a variable. 2. after the fact
6. Careful reasoning that examines assumptions, 3. overconfidence; bias
discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and 4. equally wrong
assesses conclusions.
5. curiosity; skepticism; humility
32 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

6. critical thinking 8. independent; dependent

7. scientific method; observations; theories; revised; 9. manipulate; independent; measure; dependent;
observations control; variables
8. theory; hypotheses; research Experimentation has the advantage of increasing the
9. operational definitions; replicate investigator’s control of both relevant and irrelevant
variables that might influence behavior. Experiments
10. organizes; predictions
also permit the investigator to go beyond observation
11. descriptive; correlation; experimental and description to uncover cause-effect relationships
in behavior.
1. case study Statistical Reasoning
2. hypotheses; atypical 1. statistics
3. survey 2. data; organize; bar graph; scale labels; range
4. wording 3. mode; median; mean
5. false consensus effect 4. mode
6. random; population; does 5. total sum; number
7. are 6. 50th
8. vivid 7. skewed; mean
9. naturalistic observation 8. low; high
10. describe 9. range; standard deviation
11. social; solitary; varies 10. difference between the lowest and highest scores
11. crude; is
Correlation 12. more accurate; takes
1. correlated; predict; correlation coefficient 13. representative
2. scatterplots 14. low
3. positively correlated; negatively correlated; 15. less
inversely 16. significance; chance; reliable; relatively large
4. strength; weakness; causation; cause-effect 17. practical
This is an example of a negative correlation. As one
factor (time spent studying) increases, the other factor Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology
(anxiety level) decreases. 1. principles; laboratory; stress in their marriages
5. predicted
2. control; general principles
6. event; caused; explanation
3. ideas; behaviors; attitudes; traditions
7. illusory correlation
4. principles or processes; dyslexia; brain; genders
8. confirm; superstitious
5. similarities; diseases
9. random events
6. ethical; well-being
10. more; do
7. safeguards
Experimentation Ethical guidelines require investigators to (1) obtain
1. cause; effect; statistically; factors informed consent from potential participants, (2) pro-
tect them from harm and discomfort, (3) treat infor-
2. do; experiments; manipulates; holding constant
mation obtained from participants confidentially, and
(4) fully explain the research afterward.
3. behavior; experimental; effect
8. do
4. placebo; placebo effect
9. can; enlighten
5. double-blind procedure
10. postmodernism; social; agree
6. experimental; control
11. do not; less
7. random assignment
12. do not have
Answers 33

Progress Test 1 6. d. is the answer. (p. 25)

7. d. is the answer. (p. 23)
Multiple-Choice Questions 8. b. is the answer. Replication is the repetition of an
1. a. is the answer. In a case study one subject is experiment in order to determine whether its
studied in depth. (p. 26) findings are reliable. It is not a research method.
b. In survey research a group of people is inter- (p. 25)
viewed. 9. c. is the answer. (p. 48)
c. Correlations identify whether two factors are a., b., & d. Psychologists’ personal values can
related. influence all of these.
d. In an experiment an investigator manipulates 10. b. is the answer. (p. 31)
one variable to observe its effect on another. a. & c. These answers would have been correct
2. c. is the answer. Exercise is the variable being had the question stated that there is a positive cor-
manipulated in the experiment. (p. 38) relation between shoe size and IQ. Actually, there
a. A control condition for this experiment would is probably no correlation at all!
be a group of people not permitted to exercise. 11. d. is the answer. In an experiment, it would be
b. An intervening variable is a variable other than possible to manipulate alcohol consumption and
those being manipulated that may influence observe the effects, if any, on memory. (p. 36)
behavior. a., b., & c. These answers are incorrect because
d. The dependent variable is the behavior mea- only by directly controlling the variables of inter-
sured by the experimenter—in this case, the est can a researcher uncover cause-effect relation-
effects of exercise. ships.
3. c. is the answer. The control condition is that for 12. d. is the answer. (p. 28)
which the experimental treatment (the new drug) a. A sample is a subset of a population.
is absent. (p. 37) b. & c. Control and experimental groups are used
a. A random sample is a subset of a population in in experimentation, not in survey research.
which every person has an equal chance of being 13. c. is the answer. The mean is the sum of scores
selected. divided by the number of scores. [(2 + 3 + 7 + 6
b. The experimental condition is the group for + 1 + 4 + 9 + 5 + 8 + 2)/10 = 4.7.] (p. 41)
which the experimental treatment (the new drug) 14. d. is the answer. When the scores are put in order
is present. (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 7, 8), 4 is at the 50th percentile, split-
d. “Test group” is an ambiguous term; both the ting the distribution in half. (p. 41)
experimental and control group are tested.
15. b. is the answer. The mode is the most frequently
4. d. is the answer. (p. 24) occurring score. Because there are more “twos”
a. Hypotheses are testable propositions. than any other number in the distribution, 2 is the
b. Dependent variables are factors that may mode. (p. 41)
change in response to manipulated independent
16. d. is the answer. (pp. 42–43)
c. Statistical indexes may be used to test specific 17. c. is the answer. (p. 43)
hypotheses (and therefore as indirect tests of the- a. A statistically significant difference may or
ories), but they are merely mathematical tools, may not be of practical importance.
not general principles, as are theories. b. This is often the case when a difference is not
statistically significant.
5. d. is the answer. In this case, the children are be-
18. c. is the answer. (p. 41)
ing observed in their normal environment rather
than in a laboratory. (p. 29) 19. d. is the answer. (p. 22)
a. Correlational research measures relationships a. This is the tendency to overestimate the extent
between two factors. The psychologist may later to which others share our beliefs.
want to determine whether there are correlations b. This is the false perception of a relationship
between the variables studied under natural con- between two events.
ditions. c. This is the tendency to believe, after learning an
b. In a case study, one subject is studied in depth. outcome, that one could have foreseen it.
c. This is not an experiment because the psycholo- 20. a. is the answer. As an average, calculated by
gist is not directly controlling the variables being adding all scores and dividing by the number of
studied. scores, the mean could easily be affected by the
inclusion of a few extreme scores. (p. 41)
34 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

b. The range is not a measure of central tendency. 8. b. is the answer. (p. 33)
c. & d. The median and mode give equal weight
9. a. is the answer. (p. 42)
to all scores; each counts only once and its
b. & c. Large, random samples are more likely to
numerical value is unimportant.
be representative of the populations from which
they are drawn.
Matching Items
10. d. is the answer. Because we are sensitive to dra-
1. i (p. 45) 6. b (p. 42) 11. d (p. 41) matic or unusual events, we are especially likely
2. f (p. 41) 7. h (p. 42) 12. m (p. 28) to perceive a relationship between them. (p. 34)
3. l (p. 37) 8. g (p. 31) 13. k (p. 24) a., b., & c. The relationship between vivid events
4. j (p. 20) 9. c (p. 41) 14. n (p. 33) is no more likely to be significant, positive, or
5. e (p. 41) 10. a (p. 41) negative than that between less dramatic events.
11. b. is the answer. (p. 25)
Progress Test 2 a. In fact, the artificiality of experiments is part of
an intentional attempt to create a controlled envi-
Multiple-Choice Questions ronment in which to test theoretical principles
that are applicable to all behaviors.
1. d. is the answer. Only experiments can reveal c. Some psychological theories go against what
cause-effect relationships; the other methods can we consider common sense; furthermore, on
only describe relationships. (p. 36) many issues that psychology addresses, it’s far
2. d. is the answer. (p. 37) from clear what the “common sense” position is.
a., & b. The double-blind procedure is one way to d. Psychology has always had ties to other disci-
create experimental and control groups. plines, and in recent times, these ties have been
c. Research participants are randomly assigned to increasing.
either an experimental or a control group.
12. d. is the answer. Correlations show how well one
3. d. is the answer. Animal shelters are forced to kill factor can be predicted from another. (p. 30)
50 times as many dogs and cats as are used in a. Because a case study focuses in great detail on
research. (p. 47) the behavior of an individual, it’s probably not
4. d. is the answer. (p. 38) useful in showing whether predictions are
a. The control condition is the comparison group, possible.
in which the experimental treatment (the treat- b. Naturalistic observation is a method of describ-
ment of interest) is absent. ing, rather than predicting, behavior.
b. Memory is a directly observed and measured c. In experimental research the effects of manip-
dependent variable in this experiment. ulated independent variables on dependent
c. Attention is the independent variable, which is variables are measured. It is not clear how an ex-
being manipulated. periment could help determine whether IQ tests
predict academic success.
5. a. is the answer. (p. 28)
b. This refers to illusory correlation. 13. b. is the answer. The control condition is the one
c. This refers to overconfidence. in which the treatment—in this case, pollution—
is absent. (p. 37)
6. b. is the answer. (p. 20) a. Students in the polluted room would be in the
a. The phenomenon is related to hindsight rather experimental condition.
than foresight. c. Presumably, all students in both conditions
c. & d. The phenomenon doesn’t involve whether were randomly assigned to their groups. Random
or not the intuitions are correct but rather peo- assignment is a method for establishing groups,
ple’s attitude that they had the correct intuition. rather than a condition.
7. b. is the answer. If enough subjects are used in an d. The word dependent refers to a kind of variable
experiment and they are randomly assigned to in experiments; conditions are either experimen-
the two groups, any differences that emerge tal or control.
between the groups should stem from the experi- 14. c. is the answer. The lighting is the factor being
ment itself. (p. 39) manipulated. (p. 38)
a., c., & d. None of these terms describes precau- a. & d. These answers are incorrect because they
tions taken in setting up groups for experiments. involve aspects of the experiment other than the
Answers 35

b. This answer is the dependent, not the indepen- pendent variables. In a sense, survey questions
dent, variable. are independent variables, and the answers, de-
15. b. is the answer. (p. 41) pendent variables.
16. c. is the answer. The mean is the sum of the 3. b. is the answer. (p. 38)
scores divided by the number of scores (60/10 = a. Although the descriptive methods of case stud-
6). (p. 41) ies, surveys, naturalistic observation, and correla-
tional research do not involve control of vari-
17. c. is the answer. When the scores are put in order
ables, they nevertheless enable researchers to
(5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), 8 is at the 50th percentile,
describe and predict behavior.
splitting the distribution in half. (p. 41)
c. Whether or not a sample is representative of a
18. d. is the answer. Since the range is the difference population, rather than control over variables,
between the highest and lowest scores, it is by determines whether results can be generalized
definition affected by extreme scores. (p. 41) from a sample to a population.
a. & c. The mean and mode are measures of cen-
4. c. is the answer. In order to determine the effects
tral tendency, not of variation.
of caffeine on reaction time, Martina needs to
b. The standard deviation is less affected than the
measure reaction time in a control, or compari-
range because, when it is calculated, the devia-
son, group that does not receive caffeine. (p. 37)
tion of every score from the mean is computed.
a. Caffeine is the independent variable.
19. b. is the answer. Averages derived from scores b. Reaction time is the dependent variable.
with low variability tend to be more reliable esti- d. Whether or not Martina’s experiment can be
mates of the populations from which they are replicated is determined by the precision with
drawn. Thus, a. and c. are incorrect. Because the which she reports her procedures, which is not an
standard deviation is a more accurate estimate of aspect of research strategy.
variability than the range, d. is incorrect. (p. 43)
5. b. is the answer. (pp. 30–31)
20. d. is the answer. A difference that is statistically a. This is not an experiment because the re-
significant is a true difference, rather than an searcher is not manipulating the independent
apparent difference due to factors such as sam- variable (seating position); she is merely measur-
pling variation, and it is reliable. (p. 43) ing whether variation in this factor predicts test
Matching Items c. If the study were based entirely on students’
1. e (p. 25) 5. j (p. 37) 9. f (p. 25) self-reported responses, this would be a survey.
2. h (p. 24) 6. d (p. 37) 10. g (p. 37) d. This study goes beyond naturalistic observa-
3. b (p. 38) 7. a (p. 26) 11. i (p. 36) tion, which merely describes behavior as it
4. c (p. 38) 8. k (p. 27) 12. l (p. 37) occurs, to determine if test scores can be predict-
ed from students’ seating position.
6. d. is the answer. (p. 45)
Psychology Applied 7. d. is the answer. Selecting every tenth person
Multiple-Choice Questions would probably result in a representative sample
of the entire population of students at the univer-
1. b. is the answer. A general belief such as this one sity. (p. 28)
is a theory; it helps organize, explain, and gener- a. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to sur-
ate testable predictions (called hypotheses) such vey every student on campus.
as “men drink more soft drinks than women.” b. Psychology students are not representative of
(pp. 24, 25) the entire student population.
c. & d. Independent and dependent variables are c. This answer is incorrect for the same reason as
experimental treatments and behaviors, respec- (b.). This would constitute a biased sample.
tively. Beliefs and predictions may involve such
8. d. is the answer. (pp. 30–32)
variables, but are not themselves those variables.
a. Correlation does not imply causality.
2. c. is the answer. The members of one sorority are b. Again, a positive correlation simply means that
likely to share more interests, traits, and attitudes two factors tend to increase or decrease together;
than will the members of a random sample of col- further relationships are not implied.
lege students. (p. 28) c. A separate factor may or may not be involved.
a. & b. Unlike experiments, surveys do not speci- That the two factors are correlated does not imply
fy or directly manipulate independent and de- a separate factor. There may, for example, be a
36 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

direct causal relationship between the two factors a. Statistical significance is a statement of how
themselves. likely it is that an obtained result occurred by
9. b. is the answer. Psychology is a science because chance.
psychologists use the scientific method and b. Overconfidence is the tendency to think we are
approach the study of behavior and mental more right than we actually are.
processes with attitudes of curiosity, skepticism, d. Hindsight bias is the tendency to believe, after
and humility. (p. 23) learning an outcome, that one would have fore-
a. Psychologists study both overt (observable) seen it.
behaviors and covert thoughts and feelings. 17. d. is the answer. (pp. 41, 42)
c. Psychologists’ values definitely do influence 18. c. is the answer. (p. 41)
their research. a. The mean is computed as the sum of the scores
10. d. is the answer. (p. 37) divided by the number of scores.
a. The low-dose comparison group is the control b. The median is the midmost score in a distribu-
group. tion.
d. The range is the difference between the highest
11. d. is the answer. (p. 46)
and lowest scores in a distribution.
a. In fact, just the opposite is true.
b. Actually, psychological experiments tend to 19. a. is the answer. The mean is strongly influenced
use the most readily available people, often white by extreme scores. In this example, the mean
North American college students. would change from $25,000 to (75,000 + 25,000 +
c. Although this may be true, psychological 25,000 + 25,000 + 25,000)/5 = $35,000. (p. 41)
experiments remain important because they help b. & c. Both the median and the mode would
explain underlying processes of human behavior remain $25,000, even with the addition of the fifth
everywhere. Therefore, d. is a much better re- family’s income.
sponse than c. d. The standard deviation is a measure of varia-
tion, not central tendency.
12. d. is the answer. (p. 23)
a. This follows from the attitude of skepticism, 20. b. is the answer. (p. 43)
rather than humility. a. If the difference between the sample means is
b. & c. Although both of these are true of the sci- not significant, then the groups probably do not
entific method, neither has anything to do with differ in the measured ability.
humility. c. When a result is not significant it means that
the observed difference is unreliable.
13. a. is the answer. (p. 37)
b. Use of a placebo tests whether the behavior of
Essay Question
a research participant, who mistakenly believes
that a treatment (such as a drug) is in effect, is the Elio’s hypothesis is that daily aerobic exercise for one
same as it would be if the treatment were actually month will improve memory. Exercise is the indepen-
present. dent variable. The dependent variable is memory.
c. & d. These are examples of blind and Exercise could be manipulated by having people in
double-blind control procedures. an experimental group jog for 30 minutes each day.
14. c. is the answer. If height and weight are positive- Memory could be measured by comparing the num-
ly correlated, increased height is associated with ber of words they recall from a test list studied before
increased weight. Thus, one can predict a per- the exercise experiment begins, and again afterward.
son’s weight from his or her height. (p. 30) A control group that does not exercise is needed so
a. Correlation does not imply causality. that any improvement in the experimental group’s
b. This situation depicts a negative correlation memory can be attributed to exercise, and not to
between height and weight. some other factor, such as the passage of one month’s
time or familiarity with the memory test. The control
15. d. is the answer. A small or large standard devia-
group should engage in some nonexercise activity for
tion indicates whether a distribution is homoge-
the same amount of time each day that the experi-
neous or variable. (p. 42)
mental group exercises. The participants should be
a., b., & c. These statistics would not give any
randomly selected from the population at large, and
information regarding the consistency of perfor-
then randomly assigned to the experimental and con-
trol groups.
16. c. is the answer. A correlation that is perceived
but doesn’t actually exist, as in the example, is
known as an illusory correlation. (p. 33)
Answers 37

Key Terms coefficient is a statistical measure of the relation-

ship; it can be positive or negative. (p. 30)
Writing Definitions Example: If there is a positive correlation between
air temperature and ice cream sales, the warmer
1. Hindsight bias refers to the tendency to believe,
(higher) it is, the more ice cream is sold. If there is
after learning an outcome, that one would have
a negative correlation between air temperature
foreseen it; also called the I-knew-it-all-along phe-
and sales of cocoa, the cooler (lower) it is, the
nomenon. (p. 20)
more cocoa is sold.
2. Critical thinking is careful reasoning that exam-
ines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evalu- 14. A scatterplot is a depiction of the relationship
ates evidence, and assesses conclusions. (p. 24) between two variables by means of a graphed
3. A theory is an explanation using an integrated set cluster of dots. (p. 31)
of principles that organizes and predicts behav- 15. Illusory correlation is the perception of a rela-
iors or events. (p. 24) tionship where none exists. (p. 33)
4. A hypothesis is a testable prediction, often im- 16. An experiment is a research method in which a
plied by a theory; testing the hypothesis helps sci- researcher directly manipulates one or more fac-
entists to test the theory. (p. 25) tors (independent variables) in order to observe
Example: In order to test his theory of why people their effect on some behavior or mental process
conform, Solomon Asch formulated the testable (the dependent variable); experiments therefore
hypothesis that an individual would be more make it possible to establish cause-effect relation-
likely to go along with the majority opinion of a ships. (p. 36)
large group than with that of a smaller group. 17. A double-blind procedure is an experimental
5. An operational definition is a precise statement procedure in which neither the experimenter nor
of the procedures (operations) used to define the research participants are aware of which con-
research variables. (p. 25) dition is in effect. It is used to prevent experi-
6. Replication is the process of repeating an experi- menters’ and participants’ expectations from
ment, often with different participants and in dif- influencing the results of an experiment. (p. 37)
ferent situations, to see whether the basic finding 18. The placebo effect occurs when the results of an
generalizes to other people and circumstances. (p. experiment are caused by a participant’s expecta-
25) tions about what is really going on. (p. 37)
7. The case study is an observation technique in 19. The experimental condition of an experiment is
which one person is studied in great depth, often one in which participants are exposed to the inde-
with the intention of revealing universal princi- pendent variable being studied. (p. 37)
ples. (p. 26) Example: In the study of the effects of a new
8. The survey is a technique for ascertaining the drug on reaction time, participants in the experi-
self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a represen- mental condition would actually receive the
tative, random sample of people. (p. 27) drug being tested.
9. The false consensus effect is the tendency to 20. The control condition of an experiment is one in
overestimate the extent to which others share our which the treatment of interest, or independent
beliefs and behaviors. (p. 28) variable, is withheld so that comparison to the
experimental condition can be made. (p. 37)
10. A population consists of all the members of a
group being studied. (p. 28) Example: The control condition for an experiment
testing the effects of a new drug on reaction time
11. A random sample is one that is representative
would be a group of participants given a placebo
because every member of the population has an
(inactive drug or sugar pill) instead of the drug
equal chance of being included. (p. 28)
being tested.
12. Naturalistic observation involves observing and 21. Random assignment is the procedure of assign-
recording behavior in naturally occurring situa- ing participants to the experimental and control
tions without trying to manipulate and control conditions by chance in order to minimize preex-
the situation. (p. 29) isting differences between those assigned to the
13. Correlation is a measure of the extent to which different groups. (p. 37)
two factors vary together, and thus of how well
either factor predicts the other. The correlation
38 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

22. The independent variable of an experiment is the the mean. Because it is based on every score in
factor being manipulated and tested by the inves- the distribution, it is a more precise measure of
tigator. (p. 38) variation than the range. (p. 42)
Example: In the study of the effects of a new drug 29. Statistical significance means that an obtained
on reaction time, the drug is the independent result, such as the difference between the aver-
variable. ages for two samples, very likely reflects a real
23. The dependent variable of an experiment is the difference rather than sampling variation or
factor being measured by the investigator. (p. 38) chance factors. Tests of statistical significance
help researchers decide when they can justifiably
Example: In the study of the effects of a new drug
generalize from an observed instance. (p. 43)
on reaction time, the participants’ reaction time is
the dependent variable. 30. Culture is the enduring behaviors, ideas, atti-
tudes, and traditions shared by a large group of
24. The mode is the most frequently occurring score
people and transmitted from one generation to
in a distribution; it is the simplest measure of cen-
the next. (p. 45)
tral tendency to determine. (p. 41)
25. The mean is the arithmetic average, the measure
of central tendency computed by adding the Cross-Check
scores in a distribution and dividing by the num- ACROSS DOWN
ber of scores. (p. 41) 1. median 2. experimental
26. The median, another measure of central tenden- 7. theory 3. independent
cy, is the score that falls at the 50th percentile, 9. mode 4. naturalistic
cutting a distribution in half. (p. 41) 14. case study 5. operational
Example: When the mean of a distribution is 15. range 6. critical thinking
affected by a few extreme scores, the median 16. mean 8. hindsight
is the more appropriate measure of central ten- 19. illusory 10. false consensus
dency. 20. survey 11. double-blind
21. scatterplot 12. hypothesis
27. The range is a measure of variation computed as
22. random 13. correlation
the difference between the highest and lowest
17. control
scores in a distribution. (p. 42)
18. placebo
28. The standard deviation is a computed measure of
how much scores in a distribution deviate around

FOCUS ON VOCABULARY AND LANGUAGE obvious to everyone. Instead of stating something

plainly, the critics suggest, psychology translates the
Page 19: . . . to remedy their own woes, millions turn to information into the specialized and obscure vocab-
“psychology.” In order to alleviate or fix (remedy) ulary of the discipline (dresses it up in jargon). Myers
their misery, anxiety, grief, pain, and suffering makes it very clear with some good examples that
(woes), people seek help from “psychology.” this criticism is not justified and points out that our
(Psychology is in quotes because Myers wants to intuitions about reality can often be very mistaken
point out that not everything you think of as “psy- (they can lead us astray).
chology” is part of scientific psychology.)
Page 20: How easy it is to seem astute when drawing
the bull’s eye after the arrow has struck. In the sport of
The Need for Psychological Science archery the task is to shoot the arrow at the red cir-
Page 19: . . . helps winnow sense from nonsense. cle in the center of the target (the bull’s eye). If we
Winnow means to separate out and was originally first shoot an arrow, then draw the target so that the
used to describe the separation of chaff (dust, etc.) arrow is in the center (in the bull’s eye), we can
from the grains of wheat. The scientific method appear to be very accurate. Myers uses this analogy
helps sort out, or separate (winnow), good ideas from to illustrate how the hindsight bias (or the I-knew-it
bad ones. all-along phenomenon) can lead us to believe that we
are shrewd (astute) and would have been able to
Page 19: Some people think psychology merely docu- predict outcomes that we have learned after-the-fact.
ments what people already know and dresses it in jar-
gon. Some people criticize psychology, saying that it Page 20: “Out of sight, out of mind” and “Absence
simply reports (documents) common sense, or what’s makes the heart grow fonder.” These two sayings, or
Focus on Vocabulary and Language 39

expressions, about romantic love have opposite it (eating). Likewise, many questions, even if they
meanings. The first one suggests that when couples appear to make little sense (crazy-sounding ideas), can
are apart (out of sight) they are less likely to think be tested using the scientific method.
about each other (out of mind) than when they are
Page 23: . . . auras . . . An aura is a bright glow sur-
together. The second saying makes the point that
rounding a figure or an object. Some believe that
being separated (absence) increases the feelings of
humans have auras which only those with extrasen-
love the couple shares (makes the heart grow fonder).
sory abilities can see. The magician James Randi
People who are told that the results of a study sup-
proposed a simple test of this claim, but nobody
port the first expression (out of sight, out of mind) see
who is alleged to have this magical power (aura-seer)
this as mere common sense. People told that the
has taken the test.
results support the second expression (absence makes
the heart grow fonder) also say this is obviously true. Page 23: More often, science relegates crazy-sounding
There is clearly a problem here; relying on common ideas to the mountain of forgotten claims. . . . The use
sense can lead to opposite conclusions. of scientific inquiry can get rid of or dispose of
(relegate) non-sensible concepts (crazy-sounding ideas)
Page 21: . . . our intuition may tell us that familiarity
to the large stack or pile (mountain) of ridiculous
breeds contempt. . . . This expression and others are
claims no longer remembered.
based on many casual observations but are often
wrong. For example, is it true that the better you Page 23: In the arena of competing ideas . . . An arena
know someone (familiarity), the more likely it is that is an area where games, sports, and competitions
you will dislike the person (have contempt)? In fact, take place. Myers is suggesting that in an area
research shows that the opposite is probably true. (arena) where there is a contest between ideas (com-
(Your text, again and again, will emphasize the fact peting ideas), skeptical testing can help discover the
that our common sense and intuition do not always truth.
provide us with reliable evidence.) Page 23: . . . then so much the worse for our ideas. This
Page 22: . . . drop a course . . . This means to stop means that we have to give up, or get rid of, our
going to class and to have your name removed from ideas if they are shown to be wrong (so much the
the class list. worse for them). We have to be humble (i.e., have
Page 22: . . . . lackluster predictions . . . Lackluster origi-
nally meant to be deficient in brightness or to be Page 23: “The rat is always right.” This early motto (a
dull. Lackluster predictions are forecasts that are usu- phrase used as a maxim or guiding principle) comes
ally wrong. As Myers notes, those who made them from the fact that for most of the first half of the
(those who erred) tended to be overconfident about twentieth century psychology used animals in its
their ability to foretell the future. Along with hind- research (especially in the study of learning). The rat
sight bias, this overconfidence often leads us to became a symbol of this research, and its behavior
overestimate our intuitions. or performance in experiments demonstrated the
truth. If the truth, as shown by the rat, is contrary to
Page 23: Underlying all science is, first, a hard-headed the prediction or hypothesis, then one has to be
curiosity . . . Hard-headed here means to be practical, humble about it and try another way.
uncompromising, realistic, or unswayed by senti-
ment. All science, including psychology, is guided Page 24: We all view nature through the spectacles of
by this realistic desire to know (curiosity) about our preconceived ideas. This means that what we
nature and life. already believe (our preconceived ideas) influences,
and to some extent determines, what we look for
Page 23: . . . leap of faith. This is a belief in something and actually see or discover in nature. It’s as though
in the absence of demonstrated proof. Some ques- the type of eyeglasses (spectacles) we wear limits
tions—about the existence of God or life after death, what we can see.
for example—cannot be answered by science and
cannot be scientifically proved or disproved; if a Page 24: . . . gut feelings . . . This refers to basic intu-
person believes, then it is on the basis of trust and itive reactions or responses. Critical thinking re-
confidence alone (leap of faith). quires determining whether a conclusion is based
simply on a subjective opinion (gut feeling) or anec-
Page 23: . . . the proof is in the pudding. This comes dote (a story someone tells) or on reliable scientific
from the expression “the proof of the pudding is in the evidence.
eating.” A pudding is a sweet dessert. We can test (or
prove) the quality of the dessert (pudding) by trying Page 24: . . . debunked . . . This means to remove
40 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

glamour or credibility from established ideas, per- (naked) eye might not see. As Myers notes, we some-
sons, and traditions. Myers points out that scientific times need statistical illumination to see what is in
evidence and critical inquiry have indeed discredit- front of us.
ed (debunked) many popular presumptions.
Page 34: If someone flipped a coin six times, which of
Page 24: . . . one cannot simply “play the tape” and the following sequences of heads (H) and tails (T)
relive long-buried or repressed memories. . . . This is would be most likely: HHHTTT or HTTHTH or
an example of a discredited (debunked) idea that hid- HHHHHH? Flipping a coin means throwing or toss-
den (repressed) memories can be accurately and reli- ing the coin into the air and observing which side is
ably retrieved (brought back) intact and complete in facing up when it lands. (The side of the coin that
the same way that playing a tape on a VCR allows us usually has the imprint of the face of a famous per-
to watch exactly the same show over and over again. son on it—e.g., the president or the queen—is called
Page 26: . . . a scientific approach helps us sift reality heads (H) and the other side is called tails (T).) By the
from illusion. A scientific (or empirical) attitude can way, all of the above sequences are equally likely,
separate (sift) what’s real from what is not and take but most people pick HTTHTH. Likewise, any series
us beyond the constraints (limits) of our beliefs, of five playing cards (e.g., a bridge or poker hand in
experience, intuition, and common sense. a game of cards) is just as likely as any other hand.

Page 35: “cold hands” . . . “hot hands” . . . In this con-

text, “hot” and “cold” do not refer to temperature.
Page 27: Numbers can be numbing . . . and Anecdotes Here, being hot (or having “hot hands”) means doing
are often more startling. We are often overwhelmed well, and doing well consistently is having a hot
and our senses deadened (numbed) by the sometimes streak. Having a run of poor luck is a cold streak.
inappropriate use of statistics and numbers. We are The crucial point, however, is that our intuition
also alarmed or frightened (startled) by the strange about sequences of events (streaks or streaky pat-
stories people tell (anecdotes). terns) often deceives us. True random sequences
Page 27: As psychologist Gordon Allport (1954, p. 9) often are not what we think they should be, and
said, “Given a thimbleful of [dramatic] facts we rush thus, they don’'t appear to be really random. When
to make generalizations as large as a tub.” A thimble is we think we’re doing well (“hot hands”), we’re very
a small metal container which fits over the top of the often not; we are merely noting or overinterpreting
thumb or finger and is used while sewing to push certain sequences (streaks) found in any random
the needle through the material, and a tub is a very data.
large container (e.g., a bathtub). Allport is saying that
given a small amount of information (a thimbleful), Experimentation
we tend to make very big assumptions (generaliza- Page 39: Let’s Recap. Recap is an abbreviation of reca-
tions as large as a tub). pitulate, which means to repeat or go over briefly, to
Page 29: . . . 1500 randomly sampled people, drawn summarize. Myers summarizes (recaps) the impor-
from all areas of a country, provide a remarkably tant points in each section of the chapter.
accurate snapshot of the opinions of a nation. A snap-
Statistical Reasoning
shot is a picture taken with a camera, and it captures
what people are doing at a given moment in time. A Page 40: Off the top-of-the head estimates often misread
good survey (1500 randomly selected representative reality and then mislead the public. Without knowing
people) gives an accurate picture (snapshot) of the actual data and numbers (statistics), people may
opinions of the whole population of interest (the tar- guess at the figures (they make top-of-the-head esti-
get group). mates), and these guesses do not represent the true
nature of things (they often misread reality) and con-
Correlation sequently can deceive (mislead) the public. The fig-
Page 31: Statistics can help us see what the naked eye ures generated in this manner are often easy to artic-
sometimes misses. When looking at an array of data ulate, such as 10 percent or 50 percent (big round
consisting of different measures (e.g., height and numbers) and, when repeated (echoed) by others, may
temperament) for many subjects, it is very difficult eventually be believed to be true by most people
to discern what, if any, relationships exist. Statistical (they become public misinformation).
tools, such as the correlation coefficient and the scat- Page 41: Because the bottom half of British income
terplot, can help us see clearly what the unaided earners receive only a quarter of the national income
Focus on Vocabulary and Language 41

cake, most British people, like most people every- (have low variability), and (c) a large number of sub-
where, make less than the mean. Incomes are not jects or observations are included. If these principles
normally distributed (they do not follow a bell- are followed, we can confidently make inferences
shaped curve when plotted as a frequency distribu- about the differences between groups.
tion), so a better measure of central tendency than
Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology
the mean (arithmetic average) is either the median
(the score in the middle) or the mode (the most fre- Page 45: . . . plunge in. In this context, plunge in means
quently occurring score). In Myers’ example, half to move ahead quickly with the discussion. (Simi-
the people account for 25 percent of all the money larly, when you dive into a swimming pool [plunge
earned in the country (national income cake); in this in], you do so quickly.) Before going on with the dis-
uneven (skewed) distribution, therefore, most people cussion of psychology (plunging in), Myers address-
earn below-average wages. es some important issues and questions.
Page 42: It [standard deviation] better gauges Page 46: To understand how a combustion engine
whether scores are packed together or dispersed, works, you would do better to study a lawn mower’s
because it uses information from each score (Table engine than a Mercedes’. A Mercedes is a very complex
1.4). The most commonly used statistic for measur- luxury car, and a lawn mower (a machine for cutting
ing (gauging) how much scores differ from one grass in the garden) has a very simple engine. To
another (their variation) is the standard deviation understand the principles underlying both
(SD). Using this formula, each score is compared to machines, it is easier to study the simpler one. Like-
the mean; the result is an index of how spread out wise, when trying to understand the nervous sys-
(dispersed) the scores are. A relatively small SD indi- tem, it is better to study a simple one (e.g., a sea
cates that most of the scores are close to the average; slug) than a complex one (a human).
a relatively large SD indicates that they are much
Page 48: . . . most universities today screen research
more variable.
proposals through an ethics committee. . . . Ethics com-
Page 44: Data are “noisy.” Differences between mittees (groups of people concerned with moral
groups may simply be due to random (chance) varia- behavior and acceptable standards of conduct) sub-
tions (fluctuations) in those particular samples. When ject research proposals to rigorous tests (screen them)
data have a great deal of variability, they are said to to ensure that they are fair and reasonable and that
be “noisy,” which may limit our ability to generalize they do not harm the participants’ well-being.
from them to the larger population. In order to Page 48: Values can also color “the facts.” Our values
determine if differences are reliable, we should be (what we believe is right and true) can influence
sure that (a) samples are random and representative, (color) our observations, interpretations, and conclu-
(b) scores in the sample are similar to each other sions (“the facts”).