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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #07 (Cognitive Limits)
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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #07 (Cognitive Limits)

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In short: Human judgement is driven not simply (or at all) by logic, but rather by cognitive shortcuts and social influences

In short: Human judgement is driven not simply (or at all) by logic, but rather by cognitive shortcuts and social influences

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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #07 (Cognitive Limits) Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #07 (Cognitive Limits) Presentation Transcript

  • PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes
  • Evidentiary reasoning:Why do people believe weird things?
  • Question:If not on mathematical probability, then what do we base our judgments of likelihood on?
  • Life (Survival Rate) 75% Now Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5Surgery 90 68 51 40 35 34Radiation 100 77 44 28 23 22 A numerical representation of the choice between surgery and radiation for hypothetical sixty-year-olds with lung cancer (from McNeil et al., 1982)
  • 58% Death (Mortality Rate) Now Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5Surgery 10 32 49 60 65 66Radiation 0 23 56 72 77 78 A numerical representation of the choice between surgery and radiation for hypothetical sixty-year-olds with lung cancer (from McNeil et al., 1982)
  • Language factors58% Death (Mortality Rate) & Life (Survival Rate) 75% Now Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5Surgery 10 32 49 60 65 66 90 68 51 40 35 34Radiation 0 23 56 72 77 78 100 77 44 28 23 22 A numerical representation of the choice between surgery and radiation for hypothetical sixty-year-olds with lung cancer (from McNeil et al., 1982)
  • Confirmation biasImagine I have a pack of cards, each of which has a letter printedon one side and a number printed on the other. Imagine I show youthese four cards from the pack: EK4 7Question: Which card or cards must you turn over in order todecide whether or not the following RULE is true? Turn over as fewcards as necessary. RULE: If a card has a vowel on one side, then it must have an even number on the other.
  • Confirmation biasImagine I have a pack of cards, each of which has a letter printedon one side and a number printed on the other. Imagine I show youthese four cards from the pack: EK4 7 ×Question: Which card or cards must you turn over in order to 75%decide whether or not the following RULE is true? Turn over as fewcards as necessary. RULE: If a card has a vowel on one side, then it must have an even number on the other.
  • Confirmation biasImagine I have a pack of cards, each of which has a letter printedon one side and a number printed on the other. Imagine I show youthese four cards from the pack: EK4 7 Question: Which card or cards must you turn over in order to 10%decide whether or not the following RULE is true? Turn over as fewcards as necessary. RULE: If a card has a vowel on one side, then it must have an even number on the other.
  • Confirmation bias Tendency to focus on confirmatory information Willingness to base interpretations on partial data Tendency to fail to consider counter-examples Failure to control for base-rates
  • HeuristicsLinda is a former student activist, very intelligent, single, good with Conjunction fallacynumbers, and a philosophy graduate. (Tversky & Kahneman, 1983)Which of the following is most likely:(a) Linda is a bank teller(b) Linda is a feminist(c) Linda is a feminist bank tellerSteve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful, but with little interest Representativenessin people…A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure heuristicand a passion for detail. (Tversky & Kahnemen, 1974)Which of the following is most likely:(a) Steve is a farmer(b) Steve is a pilot(c) Steve is a doctor(d) Steve is a librarianIf a word of three letters or more, is it more likely that the word starts Availability heuristicwith “r” or has “r” as its third letter? (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974)What is the probability that you will die next year? Support theory (Tversky & Koehler,What is the probability that you will die on your next summer holiday 1994)from a disease, a sudden heart attack, an earthquake, terrorist activity, acivil war, a car accident, a plane crash, or from any other cause?
  • Heuristics Where mental shortcuts systematically undermine our judgement of probabilities May explain why rare events are seen as common, common events seen as rare, etc.
  • Social factors
  • Motivation The Lake Wobegon effect (Gilovich, 1991) where “the women are strong, the men are good- looking, and all the children are above average” Interpretation of situations in self-serving ways Personal qualities/fortunes Causal attributions e.g. athletes, students, lecturers, researchers
  • Motivation Common illusions Benefits Unrealistically positive self-regard Happiness or contentment Illusions of control Ability to care for others Unrealistic optimism Capacity for creativity/productivity
  • PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes