Presentation by Jim Foley
© 2013 Worth Publishers
Surveying the Chapter: Overview
Typical errors in hindsight, overconfidence, and coincidence
The scientific attitude and critical thinking
The scientific method: theories and hypotheses Gathering psychological data: description, correlation, and experimentation/causation
Describing data: significant differences
Issues in psychology: laboratory vs. life, culture and gender, values and ethics
“Think critically” with psychological science… does this mean “criticize”?
Critical thinking refers to a more careful style of forming and evaluating knowledge than simply using intuition.
In addition to the scientific method, critical thinking will help us develop more effective and accurate ways to figure out what makes people do, think, and feel the things they do.
Why do I need to work on my thinking?
Can’t you just tell me facts about psychology? •The brain is designed for surviving and reproducing, but it is not the best tool for seeing ‘reality’ clearly.
•To improve our thinking, we will learn to catch ourselves in some critical thinking errors. When our natural thinking style fails:
“I knew it all along.” The coincidence error, or mistakenly perceiving order in random events:
“The dice must be fixed because you rolled three sixes in a row.”
Overconfidence error: “I am sure I am correct.” Hindsight Bias
Classic example: after watching a competition (sports,
you see most cooking), if you don’t results of
make were a this prediction accepted
knew psychological would ahead into of time, this you research, happen… you might college/university might make a say, “that was “postdiction”:
obvious…” figured that team/person would win because…”
Hindsight bias is like a crystal ball that we use to predict… the past.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Out of sight, out of mind
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
You’re never too old to learn
Good fences make good neighbors
No [wo]man is an island
Birds of a feather flock together
Seek and ye shall find
sayings all But then why do Curiosity killed the cat seem toother make these sense, inalso hindsight, phrases seem after we read to make sense? them.
Look before you leap
S/He who hesitates is lost
The pen is mightier than the sword
Actions speak louder than words
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
There’s no place like home
Why call it “bias”?
The mind builds its current wisdom around what we have already been told.
We are “biased” in favor of old information.
For example, we may stay in a bad relationship because it has lasted this far and thus was “meant to be.”
We are much too certain in our judgments. We overestimate our performance, our rate of work, our skills, and our degree of self-control. Test for this: “how long do you think it takes you to…”
(e.g. “just finish this one thing I’m doing on the computer before I get to work”)? And your unscrambling speed?
We overestimate the accuracy of our knowledge. People are much more certain than they are accurate.
Overconfidence is a problem in eyewitness testimony. Overconfidence is also a problem on tests. If you feel confident that you know a concept, try explaining it to someone else. Perceiving order in random events:
Danger: thinking you can make a prediction from a random series. If
Example: The the ball in the roulette wheel has coin tosses landed on an even number four times that “look in a row, it does not increase the wrong” if likelihood that it will land on an odd there are five number on the next spin. heads in a
Why this error happens: because row. we have the wrong idea about what randomness looks like.
If 60 pieces of candy were randomly distributed to 55 students, what is the most