Critical Thinking in Psychology - paperclips and toasters

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Critical Thinking in Psychology - paperclips and toasters

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Critical Thinking in Psychology - paperclips and toasters

  1. 1. How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?
  2. 2. Learning Objectives: By the end of this lesson you: • Should be able to describe (AO1) what critical thinking is. • Have reflected (AO1) on your critical thinking skills. • Should be able to describe (AO1) what goes into a toaster. • Have evaluated (AO2) the conclusion from a study we have studied.
  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 What do you know about ‘critical thinking?’ – what is it? – how can it be used?
  4. 4. What is critical thinking? Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following : – understand the logical connections between ideas – identify, construct and evaluate arguments – detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning – solve problems systematically – identify the relevance and importance of ideas – reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values
  5. 5. How to make a piece of toast? In small groups you have 2 minutes to write a set of instructions as to how to make the perfect piece of toast. Now, imagine you don’t have a toaster … what would you do? How could you make the 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. 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 they make sense? [5minutes]
  9. 9. 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. Southern Black soldiers preferred Southern to Northern White officers 5. As long as the fighting continued, soldiers were more eager to return home than after the war ended.
  10. 10. 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. Southern Black soldiers preferred Northern to Southern White officers 5. After the war ended soldiers were more eager to return home than when the fighting continued.
  11. 11. RT| 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)
  12. 12. RT | Contradictory Common Sense Question: How does separation affect bonds of affection? Common sense or “the wisdom of the ages” Answer: Separation strengthens bonds of affection (“absence makes the heart grow fonder”) Answer: Separation weakens bonds of affection (“out of sight, out of mind”) Question: How can we reduce aggression from others? Common sense or “the wisdom of the ages” Answer: By responding to aggression in kind (“an eye for an eye”) Answer: By acting in a passive, forgiving manner (“turn the other check”)
  13. 13. “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.
  14. 14. 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?
  15. 15. TASK Choose a study that we have covered over the last 6 weeks and using the evaluation framework consider the conclusions that the researcher came to. Are there any other explanations? [10 minutes]
  16. 16. Learning Objectives: By the end of this lesson you: • Should be able to describe (AO1) what critical thinking is. • Have reflected (AO1) on your critical thinking skills. • Should be able to describe (AO1) what goes into a toaster. • Have evaluated (AO2) the conclusion from a study we have studied.

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