NSLC 2014 Session 2 : Critical Thinking in Psychology

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NSLC 2014 Session 2 : Critical Thinking in Psychology

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  • A discussion about what Critical Thinking is and how it can provide support for ALL subjects. It’s a way of thinking not a ‘thing’ to learn.
    If wanted there is a 5 minute video introducing critical thinking here: http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/ct.php - not too sure if you will have the time though.
  • It takes an entire civilization to build a toaster. Designer Thomas Thwaites found out the hard way, by attempting to build one from scratch: mining ore for steel, deriving plastic from oil ... it's frankly amazing he got as far as he got. A parable of our interconnected society, for designers and consumers alike.
    Discuss the phrase “it takes an entire civilization to build a toaster” and then watch the TED video (10 minutes long) http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_thwaites_how_i_built_a_toaster_from_scratch.html
  • This tendency to perceive something as obvious or unavoidable, after learning of the outcome is called the “hindsight bias”, or the “I knew it all along phenomena”
    Indeed, almost any conceivable result of a psychology experiment can seem like commonsense- AFTER you know the result.
    This bias was tested in a study by Teigen, who gave participant a set of proverbs, either the actual proverbs, like “Fear is stronger than love.” or it’s opposite “Love is stronger than fear”, other proverbs include, DESCRIBE.
    Participants were asked to rate how truthful they thought each statement was. Results showed that participants rated the actual and opposite proverbs equally as true. Each of them made a certain amount of sense– not surprising considering we humans come equipped to make sense out of things– that’s an example of the adapatability/fallability trade-off.
    Digression: Hindsight bias can be especially problematic for many psychology students. Picture yourself reading your text– some of the ideas might be surprising, (i.e., that bronze medal winners take more joy in their achievement than do silver medalists), more often thought when you read the result of and experiment, the material makes sense, or is even obvious. When later you take a multiple choice test, in which you must choose among several plausible conclusions, this task can be quite difficult. You might think “I don’t know what happened. I thought I knew the material.” So, be aware of this phenomena when studying for exams either in this class or in other classes, lest you fool yourself into thinking that you know the material better than you actually do.
    (Other consequences of hindsight bias outcomes seem as if they should have been forseeable– like September 11th. Also relevant for your own personal life– looking back we forget what is obvious to us know was not obvious to us then.
    (Physicians told both the symptoms and the diagnosis wonder how an incorrect diagnosis could possibly be made. Physicians told just the symptoms don’t find the diagnosis nearly so obvious.)
  • NSLC 2014 Session 2 : Critical Thinking in Psychology

    1. 1. Session 2 Paperclips and Toasters: Critical Thinking in Psychology. Jamie Davies How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?
    2. 2. Learning Outcomes By the end of the session participants: •Should be able to describe what critical thinking is. •Have reflected on teaching critical thinking skills. •Should be able to describe what goes into a toaster. •Have discussed strategies to embed critical thinking skills into the curriculum.
    3. 3. Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used. Carl Sagan
    4. 4. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. - Analysing arguments, claims, or evidence (Ennis, 1985; Facione, 1990; Halpern, 1998; Paul, 1992) - Making inferences using inductive or deductive reasoning (Ennis, 1985; Facione, 1990; Paul, 1992; Willingham, 2007) - Judging or evaluating (Case, 2005; Ennis, 1985; Facione, 1990; Lipman, 1988) - Making decisions or solving problems (Ennis, 1985; Halpern, 1998; Willingham, 2007). (Lai, 2011)
    5. 5. How to make a piece of toast? Now, imagine you don’t have a toaster … what would you do? How could you make the toast? In small groups you have 90 seconds to write a set of instructions as to how to make the perfect piece of toast.
    6. 6. Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it.Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless, 1992 It takes an entire civilisation to build a toaster
    7. 7. What is critical (rational) thinking in psychology?
    8. 8. “savvy consumers and producers of research” (Sternberg, 1999).
    9. 9. Correlation not Causation
    10. 10. CT| Criticisms of Psychology 1. Is psychology only common sense? 2. Do psychological theories provide new insight into the human condition or do they document the obvious? 3. Does psychology simply formalise what any amateur already knows intuitively? “Day after day social scientists go out into the world. Day after day they discover that people’s behavior is pretty much what you’d expect.” Cullen Murphy, Editor, Atlantic Monthly (1990)
    11. 11. TASK In pairs look at the conclusions from Lazarsfeld (1949) and suggest reasons for the findings of the study. What could have led to his findings? Do the conclusions make sense? [5 minutes]
    12. 12. Paul Lazarsfeld (1949) | The American Soldier - An Expository Review 1. Better educated soldiers suffered more adjustment problems than less educated soldiers. 2. Southern soldiers coped better with the hot South Sea Island climate than Northern soldiers. 3. White privates were more eager to be promoted officers than Black privates. 4. As long as the fighting continued, soldiers were more eager to return home than after the war ended.
    13. 13. Paul Lazarsfeld (1949) | The American Soldier - An Expository Review 1. Better educated soldiers suffered fewer adjustment problems than less educated soldiers. 2. Northern soldiers coped better with the hot South Sea Island climate than Southern soldiers. 3. White privates were less eager to be promoted officers than Black privates. 4. After the war ended soldiers were more eager to return home than when the fighting continued.
    14. 14. “Anything seems commonplace, once explained.” Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes Hindsight Bias 1. “I knew it all along phenomena”– the tendency to perceive something as obvious or unavoidable, after learning of the outcome. 2. Study of Hindsight bias: Teigen (1986) • Evaluate actual proverbs and their opposites Actual Proverb • Fear is stronger than love. • He that is fallen cannot help him who is down. • Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them. Opposite • Love is stronger than fear. • He that is fallen can help him who is down. • Fools make proverbs and wise men repeat them.
    15. 15. Discuss a CT class activity How could you embed critical thinking into your classroom activities?
    16. 16. What is the quality of the evidence? Could the relationship have happened by chance? Is there a control or comparison group? Is the conclusion causal using correlational data? Are there any confounding variables? Are we over generalising based on an unrepresentative sample? Are there any biases in the research or data collection methods? Can you actually falsify the theory? Is the study claiming to have found the answer?
    17. 17. “… science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices.” Popper (1963) p66.
    18. 18. TheThe ThinkingThinking Ladder.Ladder. Charlotte Russell www.resourcd.com
    19. 19. Developing opinions, judgements & decisions.Developing opinions, judgements & decisions. Critical thinking skills.Critical thinking skills. Separating a whole an examining itSeparating a whole an examining it’’ss component parts or features.component parts or features. Using facts, rules, principles and applying themUsing facts, rules, principles and applying them to examples or to solve a problem.to examples or to solve a problem. Organisation and selection of facts, informationOrganisation and selection of facts, information and knowledge.and knowledge. Combining or organising information to form aCombining or organising information to form a new whole or create something new.new whole or create something new. Identification and recall of information. AlsoIdentification and recall of information. Also known as Knowledge!known as Knowledge!
    20. 20. Thinking Ladder Tasks Bloom-ing great!
    21. 21. Why do we study the WEIRDest people? http://jamiedavies.co/weird
    22. 22. “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.” Carl Sagan “savvy consumers and producers of research” Sternberg
    23. 23. http://jamiedavies.co/nslc14 @jamiedavies Thank You

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