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We all have developed our own theories about human behavior based on, for example, our personal experiences, the experiences of others, and/or information we have seen or read about in the media. Psychology students new to the major often struggle with learning concepts and theories related to various behavioral phenomena due to the interference of personal theories and common preconceptions about psychological concepts. Why is the case? Studies stemming from the “critical thinking” research literature have identified several types of cognitive biases that can hinder students’ abilities to put aside their preconceived notions and in turn think critically about psychology.
There are many forms of cognitive biases that you will learn about in this week’s learning resources. These include confirmation bias, hindsight bias, availability heuristic, bandwagon effect, etcetera, and these biases can affect how new information is received and learned in the classroom. A confirmation bias, for example, is when we actively seek information to support our own personal ideas or theories while at the same time we actively ignore information that contradicts our beliefs. For instance, college students who are also parents of young children may experience the confirmation bias when they disregard research on effective parenting strategies in a Child Psychology course if the information being presented runs contrary to their own personal beliefs and experiences with child-rearing practices, and they only believe the information that confirms what they already accept. When students are not able put aside pre-existing beliefs, it will be difficult for them to learn or accept new information about differing theories. Instead, students are encouraged to try to set aside personal beliefs and objectively evaluate the information presented, which will help to minimize bias.
To learn more about this topic and to prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s readings, media, and websites related to cognitive bias and misperceptions in psychology.
With these thoughts in mind
Post a response to the following:
Note: Be sure to support the responses within your initial Discussion assignment post, and in your colleague reply, with information obtained from the assigned Learning Resources, including a Reference list for sources used. For information regarding how your Discussion assignment will be evaluated please review the Grading Rubric located in the Course Information area of the course.
Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ initial Discussion assignment postings in one or more of the following ways:
Important Note: For all Discussions in this course, you are required to complete your initial Discussion assignment post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking Submit!
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