Psychology 100 Notes

Topics: Brain, Neuron, Nervous system Pages: 36 (6808 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Why psychology?
know yourself
figure other ppl out
manipulate others

Psychology – scientific study of behavior and mental processes Science that studies behavior and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it, and the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems

Key ideas
-behavior and internal processes
-level of analysis

Great debates in psychology
* free will determinism
To what extent do we choose behaviors or are they determined by factors beyond our control or awareness? Mind-body
Chemical reactions in the brain (monism) or a soul that determines behavior (dualism)? Nature-nurture
Both, but to what extent are there differences among people because of genes versus how they were raised? Or a combination?
Gene-Environment Interactions
Artificial breeding of rats
Breed maze bright with maze brights, and maze dull and maze dulls But environment influenced genes were expressed
Dull rats still made more errors than bright rats in normal environment Restricted environment – both made same number of errors
Enriched environment – dull rats made slightly more errors Environment & people affect who one becomes
* Confirmation bias
Tendency to seek out evidence that supports our hypothesis
And tendency to negate or alter evidence that fails to support our hypothesis We like to be right
Often not aware we’re doing it
Can lead us astray from the truth
Scientific humility – ok to be wrong
Belief perserverance
Tendency to stick to initial beliefs even when evidence disconfirms them Psychology is a science, can’t rely on intuition
Scientific method sets the standard for what is considered evidence Goal to avoid biases that are common in human thinking
Best Definition of Science
An approach to evidence
Toolbox of skills and methods to prevent us from fooling ourselves Communalism – willingness to share findings
Disinterestedness – not interested in the outcome unless truth, objectivity Cumulative – theory hypothesis, replications
6 flags of scientific thinking
Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence
Falsifiability – capable of being disproven
Occam’s Razor – parsimony, simpler theory is most correct, Replicability
Ruling out rival hypothesis
Correlation vs. Causation – correlation does not imply causation FORCER – Falsifiability, Occam’s Razor, Replicability, Correvlation vs. Causation, Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, Ruling out rival hypothesis 7 deadly sins of Pseudoscience

Ad hoc immunizing hypothesis
loophole or exception for negative findings
Lack of self-correction
* Exaggerated claims
Overreliance on anecdotes (e.g., testimonials)
* Anecdotes are often not representative
* Can’t tell us about cause and effect
Difficult to verify
Evasion of peer review
Absence of connectivity – findings don’t build upon prior scientific findings Psychobabble

Homework – September 14th
Example of Pseudoscience

Astrology is a pseudoscience that is easily accepted by people due to their confirmation bias. They forgive aspects of their horoscope description that are incorrect but confirm the aspects that are accurate. Astrology is difficult to verify and does not tell us about cause and effect. It’s claim that one’s personality can be defined based on their birth date in relation to the planet’s position to the stars does not have enough evidence to support such an extraordinary claim.

The more 7 deadly sins being committed the more likely its pseudoscience.


Our brains make sense out of nonsense
Perceive meaning in meaningless stimuli
We find meaning in everything
Meaning in coincidences

Memory Illusion: a false but convincing memory
Memory is reconstructive

Our memories are amazingly good sometimes, amazingly bad other times They are subject to
Bias, suggestion, mistakes, fading, blocks, persistence,...
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