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1: Thinking Critically

I. The Need for Psychological Science
1. The tendency to perceive an outcome that has occurred as being obvious and predictable is called the hindsight bias 2. Our everyday thinking is also limited by overconfidence in what we think we know. 3. The scientific approach is characterized by the attitudes of curiosity, skepticism, and humility 4. Reasoning that examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions is called critical thinking. 5. An explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observable behaviors or events is a theory. Testable predictions that allow a scientist to evaluate a theory are called hypothesis. 6. In order to prevent theoretical biases from influencing scientific observations, research must be reported precisely-using clear operational definitions of all concepts-so that others can replicate the findings. 7. The three basic research strategies in psychology are descriptive, correlational and experimental methods.

II. Description
1. The research strategy in which one or more individuals is studied in depth in order to reveal universal principles of behavior is the case study. A potential problem with the method is that any given individual may be atypical. 2. The method in which a group of people is questioned about their attitudes or behavior is the survey method. 3. An important factor in the validity of survey research is the wording of questions. 4. The tendency to overestimate others’ agreement with us in the false consensus effect. 5. Surveys try to obtain a random sample, one that will be representative of the population, every person does have a chance of being included. 6. Large, representative samples are better than small ones. 7. We are more likely to overgeneralize from select samples that are

especially vivid. Graphs called scatterplots are often used to depict the relationship between two sets of scores. while holding constant other factors. Basketball players and fans mistakenly believe that players are more likely to score after having just made the last two or three shots. Experimentation 1. Researchers have also found that people are more likely to laugh in social situations than in solitary situations. 9. and naturalistic observation do not explain behavior. however. 6. III. 8. A negative correlation between two variables does not indicate the strength or weakness of the relationship. A perceived correlation that does not really exist is an illusory correlation. they simply describe it. the two factors are said to be correlated. Correlation 1. our intuition often misleads us. it merely indicates the possibility of a cause-effect relationship. they are positively correlated. and one is thus able to predict the other. psychologists conduct experiments. researchers have concluded that the pace of life varies from one culture to another. Another common tendency is to perceive order in random events.Using naturalistic observation of walking speed and the accuracy of public clocks. 5. they are negatively correlated. one decreases as the other increases. 3. 10. However. Case studies. 2. If the factors increase or decrease together. surveys. . The research strategy in which people or animals are directly observed in their natural environments is called naturalistic observation. This error in thinking helps explain many superstitious beliefs. rather. If. To study cause-effect relationships. When changes in one factor are accompanied by changes in another. 4. IV. a researcher manipulates the factor of interest. Nor does correlation prove causation. Research studies have found that breast-fed infants do grow up with higher intelligence scores than those of infants who are bottle-fed with cow’s milk. Using this method.

and compare their behavior with that of subjects who receive the actual treatment. 6. When a distribution is lopsided. 4. called a placebo. Experimenters rely on the random assignment of individuals to experimental and control groups. The median is the score at the 50th percentile. 3.The standard deviation is a more accurate measure of variation than the range. in which the experimental treatment is absent. 3. the mean can be biased by a few extreme scores. 8. the standard deviation takes into consideration information from each score in the distribution. When merely thinking that one is receiving a treatment produces results. The range provides a crude estimate of variation because it is influenced by extreme scores. the researcher is making use of the double-blind procedure. in which it is present. . a placebo effect is said to occur.2. 4. or skewed. An experiment must involve at least two conditions: the control condition. The range is computed as the gap between the lowest and the highest scores. Averages derived from scores with low variability are more reliable than those with high variability. and the mean. The mean is computed as the total sum of all the scores divided by the number of scores. 6. and the experimental condition. The factor that is being manipulated in an experiment is called the independent variable. 10. Statistical Reasoning 1. The measurable factor that may change as a result of these manipulations is called the dependent variable. The measure of variation include the range and the standard deviation. 7. the median. 5. 5. The three measures of central tendency are the mode. The most frequently occurring score in a distribution is called the mode. V. When neither the subjects nor the person collecting the data knows which condition a subject is in. 9. Unlike the range. 2. Researchers sometimes give certain participants a pseudo-treatment.

. 13. 12. 14. The differences are probably real if the sample averages are reliable and the difference between them is relatively large.It is safer to generalize from a representative sample than from a biased sample. to make sure that they are not simply the result of chance variation.Small samples provide a less reliable basis for generalizing than large samples.11.Tests of statistical significance are used to estimate whether observed differences are real-that is.Averages are more reliable when they are based on scores with low variability.