Psychology in Action

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If time allows, the student's self-understanding is enhanced by having them complete the following sentences on half sheets of paper: "I learned that...;" "I was surprised that...;" and "I was pleased that..." Do NOT have them put their name on the paper. Collect the papers and redistribute them and then go around the room having students read from the most interesting responses. Instructor’s Resource Guide                 Chapter 3 Page  104            
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Critical Thinking Exercise 3.2 - Making Sound Decisions: Recognizing the Role of Personal Values in Conflict Resolution Most of us can readily supply examples of approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance and approach- avoidance conflicts in our lives and tell how we resolved the problem. In some cases, when faced with a conflict, we turned to others for advice. Although others' opinions are valuable, critical thinkers recognize that ultimately, any decision must be guided by the decision maker's own personal values and goals. Good decision makers take full responsibility for their own future. They realize that they are the only ones who can truly evaluate the merits of each alternative. A critical thinker also recognizes that decisions are often stressful, but that they cannot be avoided. Avoiding a decision is, in fact, making one without the benefit of a careful analysis of the problem. To improve your decision-making skills, we offer the following chart that may help to clarify some of your current conflicts (adapted from Seech, 1987). 1. At the top of the chart, identify your specific conflict as approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, and approach-avoidance. 2. On the lines in the left-hand column, list all possible alternatives or possible courses of action. Although the wording of the "approach-approach" discussion may imply only two choices, most conflicts involve several options or alternatives. Identifying all your options will require a good deal of homework. Read up on your problem. Talk to as many people as you can. 3. Now list the logical outcome or consequence of each alternative, regardless of whether the consequence is significant or insignificant and regardless of whether it is a certain or a possible outcome. 4. Next assess both the probability and significance of each outcome. Using a 0 to 5 rating scale (0 = won't occur and 5 = certain to occur), assign a numerical rating for the likelihood that each consequence will actually occur. Using a similar 0 to 5 rating scale (0 = no significance and 5 = high significance), assess the importance you place on each consequence. 5. Now review the chart. In some cases, you may find it helpful to multiply your probability and significance ratings and then compare your results for the various alternatives. In other cases, you will find it difficult to assign numerical values to complex issues and feelings. Even in the most difficult decisions, however, the thinking and evaluation elicited by this chart may provide useful insights to your conflict. Also note the feelings you associate with each alternative. Careful decision making tries to integrate feelings and
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