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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 Psychology and Scientific Thinking Psychology and Levels of Analysis Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior o It spans multiple levels of analysis What Makes Psychology Challengingand Fascinating The Five challenges that makes psychology complicated: o Almost all actions are multiply determined or produced by many factors Single-variable explanations of behavior is widespread in popular psychology, and we must be skeptical of this o Second, psychological influences are rarely independent of each other This makes it difficult to pin down which cause or causes are operating o Third, people differ from each other in thinking, emotion, personality, and behavior Called individual differences o Fourth, people often influence each other, making psychology unimaginably more complicated than disciplines like chemistry Behavior of others might have a feed back effect on increasing your personality tendencies Called reciprocal determinism o Fifth, peoples behavior is often shaped by culture Cultural differences, like individual differences, place limits on the generalizations that psychologists can draw about human nature Psychologists can take an emic approach which is the perspective of the insider (native), and etic being from the outsider Why We Cant Always Trust Our Common Sense We tend to use our common sense to understand why others act as they do, because this type of thinking is more self-evident than say physics, chemistry, or biology Our common sense can lead us to believe two things that cant both be true simultaneously o Birds of a feather flock together vs. Opposites attract We trust our common sense largely because were prone to nave realism o The belief that we see the world precisely as it is o We assume that seeing is believing and trust our intuitive perceptions of the world and ourselves, and this serves us well in daily life. o Yet appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and nave realism can trip us up when it comes to evaluating ourselves and others Psychology as a Science Science is not a body of knowledge, but an approach to evidence o It begins with empiricism , or the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation o But because of nave realism and its potential effects on our interpretations of these observations, science refines these observations via rigorous examination A scientific theory is an explanation for a large number of findings in the natural world o They also generate predictions that researchers can test o A testable prediction is a hypothesis o In other worlds, a theory is a general explanation, and a hypothesis is a specific prediction derived from this explanation Scientific methods are tools for overcoming confirmation bias : the tendency to seek out evidence that supports our beliefs and deny, dismiss, or distort evidence that contradicts them o Because of this bias, our preconceptions often lead us to focus on evidence that supports...
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This note was uploaded on 03/21/2012 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 10 taught by Professor Tom during the Winter '10 term at UCLA.
- Winter '10