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Thinking Critically With Psychological Science PowerPoint® Presentation by Jim Foley © 2013 Worth Publishers
Thinking Critically With Psychological Science PowerPoint® Presentation by Jim Foley © 2013 Worth Publishers

Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

PowerPoint®

Presentation

by Jim Foley

Thinking Critically With Psychological Science PowerPoint® Presentation by Jim Foley © 2013 Worth Publishers

© 2013 Worth Publishers

Module 2: Research Strategies: How Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions

Module 2: Research Strategies: How Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions
Module 2: Research Strategies: How Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions

Topics To Study

Thinking flaws to overcome:

Hindsight bias Seeing meaning in coincidences Overconfidence error The Scientific attitude:

Curious, skeptical, humble Critical Thinking Frequently Asked Questions:

Experiments vs. real life Culture and gender How do we ethically study Value judgments

Scientific Method:

Theories and Hypotheses

Gathering Psych Data: Description, Correlation, and Experimentation/ Causation

Describing Psych Data: Significant Differences

Psychological Science:

Overview

Typical errors in hindsight, overconfidence, and coincidence The scientific attitude and critical thinking The scientific method: theories and hypotheses Gathering psychological data: description, correlation, and experimentation/causation Describing data: significant differences

Issues in psychology: laboratory vs. life, culture and gender, values and ethics

When our natural thinking style fails:

Hindsight bias: “I knew it all along.”
Hindsight
bias:
“I knew it all
along.”
Overconfid ence error: “I am sure I am correct.”
Overconfid
ence error:
“I am sure I
am correct.”

The coincidence error, or mistakenly

perceiving order in

random events:

“The dice must be fixed because you rolled three sixes in a

row.”

Hindsight Bias

Classic example:

after watching a competition (sports, cooking), if you When you see most results of don’t make
after watching a
competition
(sports,
cooking), if you
When you see
most results of
don’t make a
You were accepted into
I knew this would
prediction ahead
psychological
this college/university
happen…
research, you
of time, you
might say, “that
might make a
“postdiction”: “I
was obvious…”
figured that
team/person
would win
because…”

Hindsight bias is like a crystal ball that we use to predict… the past.

Absence makes the heart

Out of sight, out of

grow fonder

mind

You can’t teach an old dog

You’re never too old

new tricks

Good fences make good

to learn

No [wo]man is an

neighbors

island

Birds of a feather flock

Seek and ye

Opposites attract

But then why

together

uriosity killed the cat

shall find

These sayings all

do these

seem to make

other phrases

sense, in hindsight,

also seem to

after we read them.

make sense?

Look before you leap

S/He who hesitates

is lost

The pen is mightier than

Actions speak louder than

the sword

words

The grass is always greener on the other side

of the fence

There’s no place like home

Hindsight “Bias”

Why call it

“bias”?

Hindsight “Bias” Why call it “bias”? The mind builds its current wisdom around what we have
Hindsight “Bias” Why call it “bias”? The mind builds its current wisdom around what we have

The mind builds its current wisdom around what we have already been told. We are “biased” in favor of old information.

For example, we may stay in a bad relationship because it has lasted this far and thus was “meant to be.”

Overconfidence

Error:

Predicting performance

We overestimate our

performance, our rate of

work, our skills, and our

degree of self-control.

Test for this: “how

long do you think it

takes you to…” (e.g.

“just finish this one

thing I’m doing on the

How fast can you

computer before I get

to work”)?

unscramble words?

Guess, then try these:

HEGOUN ERSEGA

vercon ce Error:

When stating that

en

Judging our

we “know”

something, our level

accuracy

of confidence is

usually much higher

than our level of

accuracy.

Overconfidence is a

problem in preparing

for tests. Familiarity

is not understanding

If you feel

confident that you

know a concept, try

explaining it to

someone else.

Example: The coin tosses that “look wrong” if there are five heads in a row. Result
Example:
The coin
tosses
that “look
wrong” if
there are
five heads
in a row.
Result of

this error:

reacting

to

coinciden

ce as if it

has

meaning

Perceiving order in random events:

Danger: thinking you can

make a prediction from a

random series.

If there have been five heads

in a row, you can not predict

Why this error happens:

that “it’s time for tails” on the

because we have the wrong

next flip

idea about what

randomness looks like.

Example: The coin tosses that “look wrong” if there are five heads in a row. Result
Example: The coin tosses that “look wrong” if there are five heads in a row. Result

If one poker

player at a

table got

pocket aces

twice in a row,

is the game

rigged?

Making our ideas more accurate by being scientific

What did “Amazing

Randi” do about the

claim of seeing auras?

He developed a testable

prediction, which would

Which it did

support the theory if it

not.

succeeded.

The aura-readers were

unable to locate the

aura around Randi’s

body without seeing

Randi’s body itself, so

their claim was not

Scientific Attitude Part 1: Curiosity

Definition:

always asking new

questions

“That behavior I’m noticing in that guy… is that common to all people? Or is it more common when under stress? Or only common for males?”

Hypothesis:

Curiosity, if

not guided by

caution, can

lead to the

death of

Scientific Attitude Part 2:

Skepticism

Definition: not accepting a ‘fact’ as true without challenging it; seeing if ‘facts’ can withstand attempts
Definition:
not accepting a ‘fact’ as true
without challenging it; seeing
if ‘facts’ can withstand
attempts to disprove them
Scientific Attitude Part 2: Skepticism Definition: not accepting a ‘fact’ as true without challenging it; seeing

Skepticism, like curiosity, generates questions: “Is there another explanation for the behavior I am seeing? Is there a problem with how I measured it, or how I set up my experiment? Do I need to change my theory to fit the evidence?”

Scientific Attitude Part 3:

Humility

Humility refers to

seeking the truth rather than trying to be right; a scientist needs to be able to accept being wrong.

“What

matters is

not my

opinion or

yours, but

the truth

nature

“Think critically” with psychological science…

does this mean “criticize”?

Critical thinking refers

to a more careful style of

forming and evaluating

knowledge than simply

“Think critically” with psychological science… does this mean “criticize”? Critical thinking refers to a more careful

using intuition.

Along with the scientific

method, critical thinking will

help us develop more

effective and accurate ways

to figure out what makes

people do, think, and feel the

things they do.

Why do I need

to work on my

thinking? Can’t

you just tell me

facts about

psychology?

The brain is

designed for

surviving and

reproducing,

but it is not the

best tool for

seeing ‘reality’

clearly.

Look for hidden Consider if Look for assumpti there are hidden ons and other bias, decide
Look for
hidden
Consider if
Look for
assumpti
there are
hidden
ons and
other
bias,
decide if
possible
politics,
you agree.
explanati
values, or
Critical
ons for
personal
thinking:
the facts
connectio
analyzing
or results.
ns.
information,
arguments, and
Put aside
See if
conclusions, to
your own
there was
decide if they
assumptio
a flaw in
make sense,
ns and
how the
rather than
biases,
informatio
simply
and look
n was
accepting it.
at the
collected.
evidence.

How Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions:

The Scientific Method

The scientific method is the

Gather information related to our predictions. If the data doesn’t fit our ideas, then we modify
Gather
information
related to our
predictions.
If the data doesn’t fit our ideas, then we
modify our hypotheses, set up a study or
experiment, and try again to see if the
world fits our predictions.

process of testing our ideas

about the world by:

Turning our theories into testable predictions.

analyzing whether the data fits with our ideas.

Some research findings revealed by the scientific method:

The brain can recover

from massive early

childhood brain

damage.

Sleepwalkers are not

acting out dreams.

Our brains do not

have accurate

memories locked

inside like video files.

Scientific

Method: Tools

The basics:

and Goals

Theory

Hypothesis

Operational

Definitions

Research

Replication

goals/types:

Description

Correlation

Prediction

Theory: the big picture

A theory, in

the language of

science, is a set of principles, built on observations and other verifiable facts, that explains some
science, is a set
of principles,
built on
observations
and other
verifiable facts,
that explains
some
phenomenon

and predicts its

Example of a

theory: “All

ADHD symptoms

are a reaction to

eating sugar.”

future behavior.

Hypotheses: informed predictions

A hypothesis is a testable prediction consistent with our theory.
A
hypothesis
is a testable
prediction
consistent
with our
theory.

the hypothesis is

“Testable” means that

stated in a way that

we could make

observations to find

out if it is true.

What would be a

prediction from

the “All ADHD is

about sugar”

theory?

One hypothesis: “If a kid gets sugar, the kid will

act more distracted, impulsive, and hyper.”

To test the “All” part of the theory: “ADHD

symptoms will continue for some kids even

after sugar is removed from the diet.”

Danger when testing hypotheses:

u

e

useful

or ma

observations:

How can we

ng

theories can bias our observations

measure “ADHD

We might select only the data, or the interpretations of the data, that support what we already believe. There are safeguards against this:

Danger when testing hypotheses: u e useful or ma observations:  How can we ng theories

Hypotheses designed to disconfirm

symptoms” in the

previous example

in observable

terms?

Impulsivity =

#

of times/hour

calling out

without raising

hand.

Operational definitions

Hyperactivity =

# of times/hour

out of seat

Inattention =

minutes

#

The next/final step in the scientific method:

Replication

The next/final step in the scientific method: Replication Replicating research means trying the methods of a

Replicating

research means

trying the methods of a study again, but with different participants or situations, to see if
trying the methods
of a study again, but
with different
participants or
situations, to see if

the same results

You could introduce a small change in the

happen.

study, e.g. trying the ADHD/sugar test on

college students instead of elementary

students.

Research Process: an example

Scientific Method: Tools The basics: and Goals  Theory  Hypothesis  Operational Definitions  Replication
Scientific
Method: Tools
The basics:
and Goals
 Theory
 Hypothesis
 Operational Definitions
 Replication
Research goals/types:
 Description
 Correlation
 Prediction
 Causation
 Experiments

Now that we’ve covered

this

We can move on to this

this information:

Case Study:

Research goal and strategy:

Descriptiv

Description e research is a systematic, objective observatio n of clear,
Description
e
research
is a
systematic,
objective
observatio
n of
clear,

The goal is

to provide a

people.

accurate

observing and

gathering

information to

compile an in-depth

study of one

individual

Naturalistic

Observation:

gathering data about

picture of

people’s

behavior; watching

but not intervening

behaviors,

Surveys and

thoughts,

and

Interviews: having

other people report

individual in depth

Case Study

Benefit: can be a

source of ideas

about human nature

in general

Example: cases of

brain damage have

suggested the

function of different

parts of the brain

(e.g. Phineas Gage

seen here)

Danger:

overgeneralization

from one example;

Observing

Naturalistic Observation

“natural”

 Observing Naturalistic Observation “natural”  behavior means just watching (and taking notes), and not trying
 Observing Naturalistic Observation “natural”  behavior means just watching (and taking notes), and not trying

behavior means

just watching

(and taking

notes), and not

trying to change

anything.

This method can

be used to study

more than one

individual, and

to find truths

that apply to a

broader

o ulation

method of gathering

The Survey

information about many people’s thoughts or behaviors through self-report rather than observation.

Keys to getting useful information:

Be careful about the wording of questions

Only question

effects

the results you

get from a

survey can be

changed by your

word selection.

Example:

Q: Do you

have

motivation to

study hard for

this course?

Q: Do you feel

a desire to

study hard for

this course?

psychology science mistake was made here?

Hint #1: Harry Truman won.

Hint #2: The Chicago Tribune interviewe d people about Hint #3: whom in 1948. they Hint
Hint #2:
The
Chicago
Tribune
interviewe
d people
about
Hint #3:
whom
in 1948.
they
Hint
would
#4:
vote for.
by
phon

e.

Random Sampling

If you want to find out

something about men,

you can’t interview

every single man on

earth.

Sampling saves time.

Random sampling

You can find the ratio

is a technique for

of colors in this jar by

making sure that

making sure they are

every individual in a

well mixed

population has an

Random Sampling • If you want to find out something about men, you can’t interview every

populatio

Random Sampling • If you want to find out something about men, you can’t interview every

sampl

“Random”

e

n

means that

your selection

of participants

is driven only

by chance, not

by any

characteristic.

Random Sampling • If you want to find out something about men, you can’t interview every

(randomized) and then

equal chance of

taking a sample.

being in your

A possible result of many descriptive studies:

discovering a correlation

Correlation

General

Definition: an

observation that

two traits or

attributes are

related to each

A possible result of many descriptive studies: discovering a correlation Correlation General Definition: a n observation
A possible result of many descriptive studies: discovering a correlation Correlation General Definition: a n observation

other (thus, they

are “co”-related)

Scientific

definition: a

A possible result of many descriptive studies: discovering a correlation Correlation General Definition: a n observation

measure of how

In a case study:

The fewer hours

the boy was

allowed to sleep,

the more

episodes of

aggression he

In a

displayed.

naturalistic

observation:

Children in a

classroom who

were dressed in

heavier clothes

were more likely

In a survey:

to fall asleep

The greater the

number of

than those

wearing lighter

Facebook

Correlation Coefficient

The correlation coefficient is a number representing how closely and in what way two variables correlate (change together).

The direction of the correlation can be positive (direct relationship; both variables increase together) or negative (inverse relationship: as one increases, the other decreases).

The strength of the relationship, how tightly, predictably they vary together, is measured in a number that varies from 0.00 to +/- 1.00.

Guess the Correlation Coefficients

Years in

Height

school vs.

years in jail

vs.

intelligen

ce

Height vs.

shoe size

Close to

Close to

Close to

+1.0

(strong

positive

-1.0

(strong

negative

0.0

(no

relationship,

no

correlation)

If we find a correlation, what conclusions can we draw from it?

Let’s say we find the following result:

there is a positive correlation between two variables, ice cream sales, and rates of violent crime

If we find a correlation, what conclusions can we draw from it? Let’s say we find

Correlation is not Causation!

“People who floss more regularly have less risk of heart disease.”

“People with bigger feet tend to be taller.”

Correlation is not Causation! “People who floss more regularly have less risk of heart disease.” “People

If this data is

from a survey,

can we

conclude that

flossing might

prevent heart

disease? Or that

Correlation is not Causation! “People who floss more regularly have less risk of heart disease.” “People

people with

Does that

heart-healthy

mean having

habits also floss

bigger feet

regularly?

causes

height?

If self-esteem correlates with depression,

there are still numerous possible causal links:

If self-esteem correlates with depression, there are still numerous possible causal links:
If self-esteem correlates with depression, there are still numerous possible causal links:

Testing the

theory that

So how do we find out about causation?

By experimentation

Experimenta tion: manipulating one factor in a situation to determine its effect
Experimenta
tion:
manipulating
one factor in
a situation to
determine its
effect

ADHD = sugar:

removing sugar

from the diet of

children with

ADHD to see if it

makes a

difference

The

depression/self-

esteem

example: trying

interventions that

improve self-

esteem to see if

The Control Group

If we manipulate a variable in an experimental group of people, and then we see an effect, how do we know the change wouldn’t have happened anyway?

We solve this problem by comparing this group to a control group, a group that is the same in every way except the one variable we are changing.

By using

Example: two groups of children have ADHD, but

How do make

only one group stops eating refined sugar.

random

sure the

control group

is really

identical in

every way to

the

experimental

group?

assignment: randomly selecting some study participants to be assigned to the control group or the
assignment:
randomly
selecting some
study
participants to
be assigned to
the control
group or the

ex erimental

To clarify two similar-

Random

Random

sounding terms…

sampling is

assignment

how you get a pool of research participants that represents the population you’re trying
how you get
a pool of
research
participants
that
represents
the
population
you’re trying

to learn

of participants to control or experiment al groups is how you control all variables except the
of
participants
to control or
experiment
al groups is
how you
control all
variables
except the

one you’re

First you sample,

then you sort

about.

(assign)

manipulating.

Placebo effect

How do we make sure that the experimental group doesn’t experience an effect because they expect to experience it?

How can we make sure both groups expect to get better, but only one gets the real intervention being

studied?

Placebo effect:

experimental effects that are

caused by

expectations

about the intervention

be given a placebo

an inactive

substance or other

fake treatment in

place of the

experimental

treatment.

The control group

is ideally “blind”

to whether they

are getting real or

fake treatment.

Many studies are

double-blind

neither

participants nor

research staff

knows which

Naming the variables

The variable we are able to manipulate

independently of what the other variables

are doing is called the independent

variable (IV).

The variable we expect to experience a

change which depends on the

manipulation we’re doing is called the

dependent variable (DV).

If we test the ADHD/sugar hypothesis:

Sugar = Cause = Independent Variable

ADHD = Effect = Dependent Variable

The other variables that might have an

effect on the dependent variable are

confounding variables.

Did more hyper kids get to choose to be in the

sugar group? Then their preference for sugar

would be a confoundin

variable ( reventin

Filling in our definition of experimentation

An experiment is a type

of research in which the

researcher carefully

manipulates a limited

number of factors (IVs)

and measures the impact

on other factors (DVs).

*in psychology,

you would be

looking at the

effect of the

experimental

change (IV) on a

Correlation vs. causation:

the breastfeeding/intelligence question

Studies have found that children who were breastfed score higher on intelligence tests, on average, than those who were bottle-fed.

Can we conclude that breast feeding CAUSES higher intelligence?

Not necessarily. There is at least one confounding variable:

genes. The intelligence test scores of the mothers might be higher in those who choose breastfeeding.

So how do we deal with this confounding variable? Hint:

experiment.

Correlation vs. causation: the breastfeeding/intelligence question • Studies have found that children who were breastfed score
Correlation vs. causation: the breastfeeding/intelligence question • Studies have found that children who were breastfed score

Ruling out confounding variables:

experiment with random

assignment

An actual study in the text: women were

randomly selected to be in a group in

which breastfeeding was promoted

Ruling out confounding variables: experiment with random An actual study in the text: women were randomly
Ruling out confounding variables: experiment with random An actual study in the text: women were randomly

Summary of the types of Research

Comparing Research Methods

Research

Basic

How

What is

Method

Descriptiv

e

Purpose

To observe and

record

Conducte

Perform

d

case

Manipula

Nothing

ted

 

behavior

studies,

 

Correlation

To detect

surveys, or

Compute

naturalistic

Nothing

al

naturally

statistical

observation

 

occurring

association,

s

 

sometimes

relationships;

to assess how

among

Experimen

To well explore one

Manipulate survey

The

tal

cause-effect variable

one responses or

independe

predicts

more

nt

another

factors;

variable(s

randomly

)

 

assign

some to

Weaknesses

No control of

variables;

single cases

may be

Does not

misleading

specify cause-

effect; one

variable

predicts

another Sometimes but not

this possible does for not

mean practical one or

causes ethical the

other reasons;

results may

not generalize

Drawing conclusions from data:

are the results useful?

After finding a

pattern in our data

that shows a

How to achieve reliability:

Nonbiased sampling: Make

difference between

one group and

Drawing conclusions from data: are the results useful? After finding a pattern in our data that

another, we can

ask more

sure the sample that you studied

is a good representation of the

population you are trying to learn

about.

questions.

Is the difference

Drawing conclusions from data: are the results useful? After finding a pattern in our data that

reliable: can we

use this result to

generalize or to

predict the

future behavior

of the broader

Consistency: Check that the

data (responses, observations) is

not too widely varied to show

When have you found statistically

a clear pattern.

significant difference (e.g.

Many data points: Don’t try to

between experimental and control

generalize from just a few cases,

groups)?

instances, or responses.

When your data is reliable AND

When the difference between the

FAQ about Psychology

Laboratory

vs. Life

Question: How can a result from an

experiment, possibly simplified and

performed in a laboratory, give us any

Answer: By isolating variables and

insight into real life?

studying them carefully, we can

discover general principles that might

Diversity

apply to all people.

Question: Do the insights from

research really apply to all people, or

do the factors of culture and gender

override these “general” principles of

behavior? Answer: Research can discover human

universals AND study how culture and

gender influence behavior. However, we

must be careful not to generalize too

much from studies done with subjects

FAQ about Psychology

Ethics

Question: Why study animals? Is it

possible to protect the safety and

dignity of animal research subjects?

Answer: Sometimes, biologically

related creatures are less complex than

humans and thus easier to study. In

some cases, harm to animals generates

important insights to help all creatures.

Ethics

The value of animal research remains

Question: How do we protect the

extremely controversial.

safety and dignity of human subjects?

Answer: People in experiments may

experience discomfort; deceiving

people sometimes yields insights into

human behavior. Human research

subjects are supposedly protected by

guidelines for non-harmful

FAQ about Psychology

The impact

of Values

Question: How do the values of

psychologists affect their work? Is it

possible to perform value-free

Answer: Researchers’ values affect

research?

their choices of topics, their

interpretations, their labels for what

they see, and the advice they generate

from their results. Value-free research

remains an impossible ideal.