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Psychology 242 http://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych242kp/ Under construction Why Do We Need the Scientific Method in Order to Study Psychology? The methods we tend to use are subject to severe limitations.

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psychology 242
Psychology 242
  • http://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych242kp/
    • Under construction
why do we need the scientific method in order to study psychology
Why Do We Need the Scientific Method in Order to Study Psychology?
  • The methods we tend to use are subject to severe limitations.
  • We tend to rely upon personal experience and authority in constructing our beliefs about the world.
  • What are the limitations of these methods for understanding the world?
class exercise
Class Exercise
  • In the following exercise, I will ask you to make judgments about the personality of a person named Josh.
  • I will present you with a number of brief descriptions of Josh, taken from statements made by some of his friends.
  • After you have had a chance to read each statement, I’ll ask you some questions about Josh.
  • Before we begin, we need two groups.
group 1
Group 1
  • Your goal is to answer the following question:

Is Josh an introverted individual?

group 2
Group 2
  • Your goal is to answer the following question:

Is Josh an extraverted individual?

characteristics of josh
Characteristics of Josh
  • When Josh was a child, his favorite toy was a metal Tonka truck.
  • “Cherry Garcia” is Josh’s favorite kind of ice cream.
  • Josh likes to hang out with his friends and gossip.
  • Josh is in his fourth year of graduate school at UIC.
  • Josh can be shy when he is meeting someone for the first time.
  • Josh is an “early bird,” and often gets up at dawn.
  • Josh enjoys meeting and interacting with new people.
  • Josh’s favorite meal is deep-fried eggplant and tofu.
  • Josh enjoys spending time alone in his apartment, reading or writing.
  • Josh spends too much money buying CDs.
question
Question
  • Write down as many of the statements as you can recall.
characteristics of josh8
Characteristics of Josh
  • When Josh was a child, his favorite toy was a metal Tonka truck.
  • “Cherry Garcia” is Josh’s favorite kind of ice cream.
  • Josh likes to hang out with his friends and gossip.
  • Josh is in his fourth year of graduate school at UIC.
  • Josh can be shy when he is meeting someone for the first time.
  • Josh is an “early bird,” and often gets up at dawn.
  • Josh enjoys meeting and interacting with new people.
  • Josh’s favorite meal is deep-fried eggplant and tofu.
  • Josh enjoys spending time alone in his apartment, reading or writing.
  • Josh spends too much money buying CDs.
question9
Question
  • Write down as many of the statements as you can recall.
  • How many did you get correct? (no cheating allowed)
  • Is there a pattern to the ones you forgot?
five limitations of personal experience
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem. We tend to seek out information that is consistent with our expectations and discount information that is inconsistent with those expectations.
five limitations of personal experience11
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • The class exercise demonstrates that people who are trying to answer the question “Is Josh Extraverted?” are more likely to remember information about Josh that was consistent with this assessment.
  • In the process, information that was inconsistent with that judgment was ignored or forgotten.
  • (There were two statements that were indicative of introversion and two that were indicative of extraversion. It might be most fair to say that Josh is neither highly extraverted or introverted.)
characteristics of josh12
Characteristics of Josh
  • When Josh was a child, his favorite toy was a metal Tonka truck.
  • “Cherry Garcia” is Josh’s favorite kind of ice cream.
  • Josh likes to hang out with his friends and gossip.
  • Josh is in his fourth year of graduate school at UIC.
  • Josh can be shy when he is meeting someone for the first time.
  • Josh is an “early bird,” and often gets up at dawn.
  • Josh enjoys meeting and interacting with new people.
  • Josh’s favorite meal is deep-fried eggplant and tofu.
  • Josh enjoys spending time alone in his apartment, reading or writing.
  • Josh spends too much money buying CDs.
five limitations of personal experience13
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem.
  • 2. The Limited Data Problem. We tend to make inferences on the basis of very little information
the limited data problem
The Limited Data Problem
  • In psychology, this strategy is problematic because behavior is probabilistic and multi-determined
  • Even highly extraverted or sociable people behave shyly in some circumstances. Thus, when we draw inferences based on a limited amount of information, we are impairing our ability to make the correct assessment.
five limitations of personal experience15
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem.
  • 2. The Limited Data Problem.
  • 3. The Expectations Problem. Our expectations tend to influence the way we interpret events.
young woman
Young Woman

eyelash

ear

nose

neck & necklace

orientation

older woman
Older Woman

shawl

wart

eye

(very large) nose

mouth

orientation

count the number of f s
Count the number of “F’s”

FEATURE FILMS ARE THE RE-

SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI-

FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH

THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS

slide20

Answer: 6

Most people see 3, but don’t notice the f’s on OF. It appears that we process those f’s as v’s.

FEATURE FILMS ARE THE RE-

SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI-

FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH

THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS

the dangers of chc
The Dangers of CHC
  • More than 98 percent of convicted felons have tested positive for CHC.
  • CHC is associated with all the major diseases of the body. For example, nearly all sick people have ingested CHC. The effects are obviously cumulative: 99.9% of all people who die from cancer have ingested CHC.
  • 99.7% of the people involved in auto accidents used a substance containing CHC within 6 months preceding the accident.
  • 93.1% of juvenile delinquents come from neighborhoods where CHC is used frequently.
five limitations of personal experience22
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem.
  • 2. The Limited Data Problem.
  • 3. The Expectations Problem.
  • 4. TheBaserate/Comparison Group Problem. We tend to overlook the fact that inferences about contingencies require some kind of comparison or standard.
the dangers of bread
The Dangers of Bread
  • More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
  • Bread is associated with all the major diseases of the body. For example, nearly all sick people have eaten bread. The effects are obviously cumulative: 99.9% of all people who die from cancer have eaten bread.
  • 99.7% of the people involved in auto accidents ate bread within 6 months preceding the accident.
  • 93.1% of juvenile delinquents came from homes where bread is served frequently.
example
Example
  • Does eating chicken soup decrease cold severity?
  • It is not enough to know that, for example, 7 of 10 people with a cold who had chicken soup started to feel better after 5 days.
  • Why? Maybe 7 out of 10 people with a cold who didn’t have chicken soup started to feel better after 5 days too.
slide25

7

3

7/10 felt better

Chicken Soup

No

Yes

7

Feel Better

Effect

3

Feel Same or Worse

7/10 felt better

slide26

5

5

5/10 felt better

Chicken Soup

No

Yes

7

Feel Better

Effect

3

Feel Same or Worse

7/10 felt better

slide27

1

10

1/10 felt better

Chicken Soup

No

Yes

4

Feel Better

Effect

6

Feel Same or Worse

4/10 felt better

five limitations of personal experience28
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem.
  • 2. The Limited Data Problem.
  • 3. The Expectations Problem.
  • 4. TheBaserate/Comparison Group Problem.
  • 5. The Pleasant Truth Problem. We tend to believe things that make us feel good (i.e., things that seem right).
how do these propositions feel to you
How do these propositions “feel” to you?
  • Peoples’ financial success in life is largely a function of the social status of the families they are born into and not their hard work or education per se.
  • As a parent, how you rear your children plays virtually no role in whether your children grow up to become criminals or law-abiding citizens.
  • Our conscious existence ends with physical death.
  • The chronology of creation presented in the Book of Genesis is incompatible with findings uncovered using geological dating techniques.
  • Our thoughts, emotions, personality, and sense of self can be changed by simply altering the biochemistry of the body.
  • Morality and altruism “evolved” in animals via the process of natural selection.
  • There is no “beyond the obvious” symbolism in our dreams.
slide30

Reality

False

True

Pleasant Falsehoods

Pleasant Truths

Feels Good

Feeling

Unpleasant Falsehoods

Unpleasant Truths

Feels Bad

slide31

Reality

False

True

Pleasant Falsehoods

Pleasant Truths

Feels Good

Feeling

Unpleasant Falsehoods

Unpleasant Truths

Feels Bad

What we tend to believe

slide32

Reality

False

True

Pleasant Falsehoods

Pleasant Truths

Feels Good

Feeling

Unpleasant Falsehoods

Unpleasant Truths

Feels Bad

What we need to believe to be correct

five limitations of personal experience33
Five Limitations of Personal Experience
  • 1. The Confirmation Bias and the Discounting Problem.
  • 2. The Limited Data Problem.
  • 3. The Expectations Problem.
  • 4. TheBaserate/Comparison Group Problem.
  • 5. The Pleasant Truth Problem.