Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
Impressions of Psychology
With hopes of satisfying _______________, many people listen to talk-radio counselors and
_______________ to learn about others and themselves.
The Need for Psychological Science
Intuition & Common Sense: Many people believe that _______________ and common sense are
enough to bring forth answers regarding _______________ _______________. Intuition and
common sense may aid queries, but they are not free of _______________.
Limits of Intuition
Personal _______________ may rely too much on their “gut feelings” when meeting job
Errors of Common Sense
Hindsight Bias is the “______________________________” phenomenon. After learning the
_______________ of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very
outcome. We only knew the dot.com stocks would _______________ after they actually did
Overconfidence: Sometimes we think we know _______________ than we actually know.
1. How can we _______________ between uniformed opinions and examined
2. The science of psychology helps make these _______________ conclusions, which leads to
our understanding of how people feel, think, and _______________ as they do!
The Scientific Attitude
The _______________ attitude is composed of curiosity (passion for _______________),
skepticism (doubting and questioning) and _______________ (ability to accept responsibility
Critical thinking does not accept _______________ and _______________ blindly. It examines
assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence and assesses conclusions.
Psychologists, like all _______________, use the scientific _______________ to construct
theories that organize, summarize and simplify _______________.
o Theory: A _______________ is an explanation that integrates principles and
organizes and _______________behavior or events. For example: low self-
esteem contributes to depression.
o Hypothesis: A Hypothesis is a _______________ prediction, often prompted by a
theory, to enable us to accept, reject or _______________ the theory. For
example: People with low self-esteem are apt to feel more depressed.
o Research Observations: Research would require us to _______________ tests of
self-esteem and depression. Individuals who score low on a self-esteem test and
high on a _______________ test would _______________ our hypothesis.
o Research Process: Draw diagram here:
o Case Study: A technique in which one person is _______________ in depth to
reveal underlying behavioral principles.
o Clinical Study: A clinical study is a form of a _______________
_______________ in which the therapist investigates the problems associated
with a _______________.
o Survey: A technique used for ascertaining the _______________ attitudes,
opinions or behaviors of people usually done by _______________ a
representative _______________ sample of people.
1. Wording Effect: Wording can _______________the results of a survey.
Q: Should cigarette ads and pornography be allowed on television? (not
allowed v. forbid)
2. False Consensus Effect: A tendency to _______________ the extent to
which others share our beliefs and _______________.
3. Random Sampling: If each member of a population has an
_______________ chance of inclusion into a sample, it is called a random
sample (unbiased). If the survey sample is biased, the results are not
o Naturalistic Observation: Observing and recording the behavior of animals in the
wild and recording self-seating patterns in a multiracial school lunch room
constitute _______________ observation.
o Summary: Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observation describe
o Correlation: When one trait or behavior accompanies another, we say they
_______________. DRAW GRAPH
4. Scatterplots: Scatterplot is a _______________ comprised of points that
are generated by values of two _______________. The slope of the points
depicts the _______________ of the relationship.
5. Draw a positive correlation, negative correlation and no correlation
6. Correlation and Causation: Illusory Correlation is the
_______________ of a relationship where no relationship actually exists.
Ex: Parents conceive children after adoption.
o Order in Random Events: Given random data, we look for order and meaningful
_______________. Given large numbers of random outcomes, a few are likely to
Like other sciences, _______________ is the backbone of psychology research. Experiments
_______________ causes and their effects.
o Exploring Cause and effect: Many factors influence our _______________.
Experiments (1) manipulate factors that interest us, while other factors are kept
under (2) _______________. Effects generated by manipulated factors isolate
cause and effect relationships.
o Independent Variable: A IV is a factor _______________ by the
_______________. The effect of the IV is the focus on the study. For example,
when examining the effects of breast feeding upon intelligence, breast feeding is
the independent variable.
o Dependent Variable: A DV is a factor that may change in response to an
_______________ variable. In psychology, it is usually a behavior or a mental
process. For example, in our study on the effect of breast feeding upon
intelligence, intelligence is the dependent _______________.
o Evaluating Therapies:
7. Double-blind Procedure: In evaluating drug therapies, patients and
experimenter’s assistants should remain unaware of which patients had the
real treatment and which patients had the _______________ treatment.
8. Random Assignment: Assigning _______________ to experimental
(breast-fed) and control (formula-fed) conditions by random assignment
minimizes pre-existing _______________ between the two groups.
9. Experimentation: A summary of steps during experimentation.
10. Comparison: Below is a comparison of different research methods.
Statistical Reasoning: Statistical procedures analyze and interpret _______________
allowing us to see what the unaided eye misses.
Describing Data: A meaningful description of data is important in research.
Misrepresentation may lead to _______________ conclusions.
Measures of Central Tendency:
o Mode: the most _______________ occurring score in a distribution
o Mean: the arithmetic _______________ of scores in a distribution obtained by
adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores that were added
o Median: The _______________ score in a rank-ordered distribution.
Measures of Variation:
o Range: The _______________ between the highest and lowest scores in a
o Standard Deviation: A computed measure of how much scores
_______________ around the mean. COPY CHART
Making Inferences: A statistical statement of how frequently an obtained result occurred
by _______________ manipulation or by _______________.
o When is observed difference reliable?
1. Representative _______________ are better than _______________samples.
2. Less variable _______________ are more reliable than more variable ones.
3. More _______________ are better than fewer cases.
o When is a difference significant? When _______________ averages are
_______________ and the difference between them is relatively large, we say the
difference has _______________ significance.
For psychologists this difference is measured through alpha level
set at 5 percent.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can laboratory experiments illuminate everyday life?
2. Does behavior depend on one’s culture?
3. Does behavior vary with gender?
4. Why do psychologists study animals?
5. Is it ethical to experiment on animals?
6. Is it ethical to experiment on people?
7. Is psychology free of value judgments?
8. Is psychology potentially dangerous?