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Thinking Like a Psychologist… and Ethics. PSYC 200 Week #10. Agenda. Roll call Essay #2 (missing several) Intuitions Test Probability, Chance, and the Popular Image of Psychology Ethics. Intuitions Test. Probability and Chance. What is randomness / chance?.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Roll call
  • Essay #2 (missing several)
  • Intuitions Test
  • Probability, Chance, and the Popular Image of Psychology
  • Ethics
what is randomness chance
What is randomness / chance?
  • When events occur or change as a result of unpredictable forces or events.
  • Randomness plays a part in almost every single activity you do.
  • In psychological research and practice, there are always random factors at work
    • Psychological tests and measurements
    • Treatments / therapies
  • Therefore, psychologists make probabilistic statements…
the role of probability in psychology
The role of probability in psychology
  • Statements of reality are probabilistic…
    • They are true most of the time
      • Men tend to be taller than women
      • Students who do better on the SATs tend to do better in college
    • They DO NOT have to be true all of the time
  • What works for most people most of the time.
  • When we observe something, we have to determine the probability that the observation was chance
i know a person who
I know a person who…
  • A single (or even multiple) cases of individuals that seem to go against a known theory does not invalidate the theory. Theories are probabilistic.
    • Smoking and lung cancer
    • Cholesterol and heart attacks
    • Abuse and depression
    • Others?
probabilistic reasoning
Probabilistic Reasoning
  • Base-rate information
  • Sample size
  • Gambler’s fallacy
chance and psychology
Chance and Psychology
  • Humans tend to explain chance events
  • Illusory Correlation: believing that a relationship exists between 2 variables that co-occur, but a relationship does not exist
    • Looking for signs…
  • Chance events and oddmatches
    • 5 coins all heads = .03
    • 5 coins, 10o flips, all heads = .96
psychology s misrepresentation
Psychology’s misrepresentation
  • Dr. Phil
  • Oprah
  • [Insert Talk Show Host here]
  • Second-class literature
psychological literature
Psychological “literature”
  • Self-help
  • Free your mind
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • You are your own best friend
  • How to meet new people and impress them and make them love you and pay you $$ with psychological techniques
  • The REAL psychological literature is usually in the science section
the paranormal
The Paranormal
  • ESP
    • Not a fruitful area of research
    • Studied for a long time (since start of psychology)
    • 90 years of controlled studies
      • Zero (0) have provided replicable evidence of ESP under controlled conditions.
the basics
The Basics
  • Psychology focuses on the reasons for X and Y to happen together (i.e., the causes) – i.e., Basic Research
    • Why you forget where you put your keys
    • Why friendly people are more successful
    • Why watching sexy TV causes teenage pregnancy (j/k)
  • This investigatory process is far less sexy than:
    • Win friends and become a CEO
no bel
  • There is no Nobel Prize in psychology
  • Resistance to scientific psychology
    • Anything goes?
    • Not in psychology
    • Your beliefs about human behavior are testable and falsifiable by empirical means!!
  • Psychology is seen as so pervasive, it’s nowhere.
  • What is a psychologist?
    • Every person?
    • Or something more?
judging psuedoscience
Judging PsuedoScience
  • “A tendency to invoke ad hoc hypotheses as a means of immunizing claims from falsification.
  • An emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation.
  • A tendency to place the burden of proof on skeptics, not proponents, of claims.
  • Excessive reliance on anecdotal and testimonial evidence…
  • Evasion of peer review…
  • Failure to build on existing scientific knowledge.” (p. 200/203)
summary exercise
Summary Exercise
  • Empirical problems, many areas
  • Falsifiable theories
  • Definitions are operational
  • Systematic and public empiricism
  • Peer review
  • Control and manipulation
  • Multiple methods, multiple strengths, multiple weaknesses
  • Aggregation of data / observations  conclusions
  • Probabilistic statements about reality