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Assignment !- Psychology - Google Docs

Written Assignment #1
Jordan Blackburn
The study in scenario B violates Correlation vs. causation because it concludes
that smells can cause good first impressions of other people. “This conclusion is a
fallacy because the fact that two variables are correlated doesn’t necessarily mean that
one causes the other.''(Lilienfeld et al. 2011) The results are in fact not causal. There
are too many other variables that can affect our first impressions and surveys are not
good at showing causal relations(Hayward lecture, 2019). Instead researchers should
create an experiment and fill the room with a scent while each subject rates the
photographs. This style of information gathering would provide a more valid assessment
of causation(Hayward lecture, 2019).
Because the study is poorly designed the researchers will have a hard time
replicating the study. Every participant has their own preferences in smell and facial
impressions. Replicating the results with other participants would be difficult.
“Replicability means that the study findings can be duplicated consistently. If they can’t
be duplicated, it increases the odds that the original findings were due to
chance.”(Lilienfeld et al. 2011) There are too many other variables affecting the result
to be replicated reliably. The scenario also mentions that many studies have found
aromatherapy doesn’t work and although aromatherapy contains a much broader focus,
the way smell affects our relationships should be part of that.
Scenario B does a bad job of ruling out rival hypotheses. The study makes
notable claims based on their findings suggesting smells in our environment and around
us affect first impressions. But then claim that meeting romantic partners and mending
broken friendships would be as well. “Whenever we evaluate a psychological claim, we
should ask ourselves whether we’ve excluded other plausible explanations for
it.”(Lilienfeld et al. 2011) There are too many other explanations for improved
relationships, mood and confidence level among many. The researchers should make
conservitive claims like, if you smell good your first impressions will be better. More
research needs to be done in order to make assertions about smell and interpersonal
relations(Lilienfeld et al. 2011).
This Scenario exploits overreliance on anecdotes. “Anecdotes don’t tell us
anything about cause and effect… [they] don’t tell us anything about how representative
the cases are… [and] anecdotes are often difficult to verify. ”(Lilienfeld et al. 2011) For
instance does aromatherapy help with how attractive other people find you or are there
other factors that contribute to scent? Who are the clients that Jean Smythe asked?
Would more of her clients corroborate her assertions in an unbiased way? We can not
interpret this as valid evidence(Lilienfeld et al. 2011).
Hayward, D.A. (2019, date). Studying Behaviour Scientifically, Introduction to
Psychology. Edmonton, AB.
Lilienfeld, S. O., Crammer, K. M., Namy, L. L., Lynn, S. J., Woolf, N. J., & Schmaltz, R.
(2011). Psychology--from inquiry to understanding, 2nd Canadian edition
Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, Woolf, Cramer, Schmaltz. Toronto: Pearson.