Psychology Chapter 1

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Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

NOTE: Answer guidelines for all Chapter 1 questions begin on page 31.

Chapter 1 explains the limits of intuition and common sense in reasoning about behavior and mental processes. To counteract our human tendency toward faulty reasoning, psychologists adopt a scientific attitude that is based on curiosity, skepticism, humility, and critical thinking. Chapter 1 also explains how psychologists, using the scientific method, employ the research strategies of description, correlation, and experimentation in order to objectively describe, predict, and explain behavior. The next section discusses how statistical reasoning is used to help psychologists describe data and to generalize from instances. To describe data, psychologists often rely on measures of central tendency such as the mean, median, and mode, as well as variation measures such as the range and standard deviation. Statistical reasoning also helps psychologists determine when it is safe to generalize from a sample to the larger population. Chapter 1 concludes with a discussion of several questions people often ask about psychology, including why animal research is relevant, whether laboratory experiments are ethical, whether behavior varies with culture and gender, and whether psychology’s principles don’t have the potential for misuse. Chapter 1 introduces a number of concepts and issues that will play an important role in later chapters. Pay particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of descriptive and correlational research. In addition, make sure that you understand the method of experimentation, especially the importance of control conditions and the difference between 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.

First, skim each section, noting headings and boldface items. After you have read the section, review each objective by answering the fill-in and essay-type questions that follow it. As you proceed, evaluate your performance by consulting the answers beginning on page 31. Do not continue with the next section until you understand each answer. If you need to, review or reread the section in the textbook before continuing.

The Need for Psychological Science (pp. 19–26)
David Myers at times uses idioms that are unfamiliar to some readers. If you do not know the meaning of any of the following words, phrases, or expressions in the context in which they appear in the introduction to this chapter and in this section, refer to pages 38–40 for an explanation: to remedy their own woes; winnow sense from nonsense; dresses it in jargon; bull’s eye; “Out of sight, out of mind”; “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”; familiarity breeds contempt; drop a course; lackluster predictions; hard-headed curiosity; leap of faith; the proof is in the pudding; auras; crazy-sounding ideas; arena of competing ideas; so much the worse for our ideas; “The rat is always right”; the spectacles of our preconceived ideas; gut feelings; debunked; “play the tape”; sift reality from illusion.



Chapter 1 Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

Objective 1: Define hindsight bias, and explain how it can make research findings seem like mere common sense. 1. The tendency to perceive an outcome that has occurred as being obvious and predictable is called the . This phenomenon is (rare/common) in (children/adults/both children and adults). 2. Because it is (after the fact/usually wrong), this tendency makes a research findings seem like mere common sense. Objective 2: Describe how overconfidence contaminates our everyday judgments. 3. Our everyday thinking is also limited by in what we think we know, which occurs because of our to seek information that confirms our judgments. 4. Most people are...
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