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CHAPTER 1•I. What Is Psychological Science?A.Psychological Science Teaches Critical Thinkinga.Psychologists critically evaluate information to reach reasonable conclusionsb.Critical thinking systematically questions and evaluates information using well-supported evidence. i.A savvy consumer of scientific research practices amiable skepticismB.Psychological Reasoning Examines How People Typically Thinka.Psychological reasoning refers to using psychological research to examine how people typically think in order to understand when and why they are likely to draw erroneous conclusions. b.Critical thinking: systematically questioning and evaluating information using well-supported evidence. c.Noncritical thinking can lead to erroneous conclusions. i.Ignoring evidence (confirmation bias)ii.Failing to accurately judge source credibility iii.Misunderstanding or not using statisticsiv.Seeing relationships that do not exist v.Using relative comparaisons vi.Accepting after-the-fact explanations vii.Taking Mental shortcutsviii.Failing to see our own inadequacies (self-serving bias)C.What to Believe? Using Psychological Reasoninga.Failing to See Our Own Inadequacies: Why Are People Unaware of Their Weaknessesi.Fremdschamen: refers to times when we experience embarrassment for other people in part because they do not realize that they should be embarrassed for themselves. ii.People are often blissfully unaware of their weaknesses because they do not assess themselves objectively.iii.If people lack the skills to produce correct answers, they are also cursed with an inability to know when their answers, or anyone elses’s are right or wrong. iv.In studies of college students, Dunning and Krugerfound that people with the lowest grades rate their mastery of academic skills much higher thanevidenced by their performance. v.To make matters worse, people who are unaware of their weaknesses fail to make any efforts at
self-improvement to overcome those weaknessesvi.Kruger and Dunning have shown that teaching people specific skills helps them to be more accurate in judging their performance. vii.People may need help in identifying their weaknesses before they can fix them. b.Why are people so inaccurate in the first place?i.They generally start with extremely positive viewsabout their abilities. ii.Most people believe they are better than average in many things. II. What Are the Scientific Foundations of Psychology? A.The Nature/Nurture Debate Has a Long Historya.Ancient Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato debated the source of human psychology. b. Culture: the beliefs, values, rules, and customs that exist within a group of people who share a common language and environmentc.Nature/nurture debate: The arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education, experience, and culture.