Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide 1 of


Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide 1 of 10

Many first time college students struggle adjusting to expectations of college-level courses. One reason for this is that college-level courses require students to learn new content and apply that content to new situations. These worksheets are designed to highlight the difference between simple content knowledge and application of that knowledge. Your answers to content questions will come from your text, and classroom lectures and discussions. Your answers to application questions will come from your own thinking about the content and puzzling out the answer. To reiterate, answers to application questions are not in the text. In class, I’ll probably refer to these as

C1 (for Q1 under Content) and A1 (for Q1 under Application)…


1. What do the authors mean by “levels of explanation”?

2. Why are these different levels of explanations important in the field of psychology?

3. List three things that make the field of psychology challenging.


1. What would each of these levels look like if you were studying (a) “language development in infants” or (b) “play in chimpanzees” or “early onset Alzheimers”?

Choose one and describe what would be studied at each level.

2. Explain why these different issues make it difficult for psychologists to arrive at certain explanations of why people engage in road rage difficult?

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

7. Describe two examples from the text that illustrate why we should not trust our

“common sense.”

8. What is “naïve realism”?

9. Under what circumstances are “common sense” or “gut instinct” useful in science?

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3. Describe two examples from your own experience that illustrate that you are indeed prone to naïve realism.

4. Explain how naïve realism and belief perseverance effect are related. [Note: If we did not cover fallacies this quarter, look up the term “belief perseverance” in your text or online to answer the question.]

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

10. What is science?

11. What attitudes and/or personality traits are necessary for researchers? [In part, from class]

12. What safeguards do researchers use to protect their findings from personal bias?

13. What is a scientific theory? Include reference to the two misconceptions in your answer.

14. How does a hypothesis differ from a theory?

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5. Briefly explain why psychology is a science.

6. Choose a couple of the attitudes/personality traits discussed in the book or in class and explain why they are necessary for researchers to have.

7. A lady in front of you in line at the grocery store tells you that she has a theory about the cashier in your line. She thinks that the cashier hates men. She predicts that the cashier will treat the men rudely and the women with courtesy. Is this a scientific theory? Why or why not?

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide 4 of 10

15. What is pseudoscience?

16. From your textbook, list several examples of pseudoscience.

17. What safeguards are absent from pseudoscience?

18. Your book lists seven signs or characteristics of pseudoscience. List and describe them.

19. What reasons do your authors provide for why people fall for pseudoscientific claims?

8. Consider the seven signs or characteristics of pseudoscience. What would the legitimate scientific correlate of each of these be? Why is each of these characteristics of science necessary? [Note: You’ll probably be receiving a handout to help you organize your thoughts on this question.]

9. Looking to your own present or past, describe three or four pseudoscientific beliefs that you have had. Do not include examples from the text or lecture.

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

20. What is the difference between empirical claims and nonempirical

(metaphysical) claims?

21. What is the authors’ point in talking about different types of claims?

22. According to your authors, why can pseudoscience lead to harm?

Principles of scientific thinking:

23. What does it mean to rule out rival hypotheses?

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10. Consider the facilitated communication fiasco. Describe several different types of harm that resulted from people using facilitated communication prior to its being tested. Use specific references to people in the film. Do any of your examples of harm caused by FC fit into the three types of harm mentioned by your authors?

If so, identify them in your answer.

11. Explain how ruling out rival hypotheses relates to the notion that correlations do not indicate causal relationships. Use an example to help you make your point clear.

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

24. What does “Correlation isn’t Causation” mean?

25. What is falsifiability?

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12. What are the definitions of the terms “correlation” and “causation”?

[Yes, that does mean using a dictionary! :^)

13. Describe an example of a pseudoscientific belief, perhaps from an infomercial you have watched, that depends on people failing to acknowledge this principle.

Then explain your example using steps 1-3 on p. 20. [In case the page #s are off, this is the a -> b… set of steps]

14. Why is it crucial to scientific discovery that claims are falsifiable?

15. Explain why Doug Biklen’s position on facilitated communication was nonfalsifiable. Use quotes from the transcript to support your answer.

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

26. What is replicability?

27. Your authors say “we shouldn’t place too much stock in a psychological finding until it’s been replicated.” Why not?

28. What makes a claim extraordinary (or bold)?

29. What is the main point of principle #5?

30. What is Occam’s Razor (Principle of Parsimony)?

31. What is Wilhelm Wundt’s claim to fame? [Just a reminder to say to yourself, “Vilhelllllm Vuuunt” ;^) I will be quizzing you on punctuation.]

32. What is introspection?

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16. Why would it be critical for findings regarding a new drug used with ADHD children to be replicable?

17. In the facilitated communication fiasco, what finding was replicated?

18. How does this principle of scientific thinking relate to “Burden of proof”?

19. Explain how Doug Biklen violated Occam’s Razor in his treatment of facilitated communication. Provide evidence to support your response.

20. What characteristic of pseudoscience does introspection demonstrate? (In other words, what principle of scientific thinking does introspection violate?)

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

33. What was the primary goal of structuralism?

34. Who is associated with the school of structuralism?

35. What was the primary goal of functionalism?

36. Who is associated with the school of functionalism?

37. What was the primary goal of behaviorism?

38. Who is associated with the school of behaviorism?

39. What was the primary goal of cognitivism?

40. Who is associated with the school of cognitivism?

41. What was the primary goal of psychoanalysis?

42. Who is associated with the school of psychoanalysis?

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide

Look over Table 1.5 and be familiar with the different types of settings in which psychologists operate.

43. What is the nature/nurture debate?

44. According to your authors, how has it been resolved?

48. What is evolutionary psychology?

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21. In your review of Table 1.5, were you surprised by any of the types of psychologists? Were you a victim of any of the misconceptions? If so, which ones?

Why do you think you held these faulty beliefs?

22. Consider why little girls tend to play with dolls and like dress up, while little boys tend to like more robust, active play. What questions would arise in a discussion regarding nature and nurture? What would the current position tend to be?

23. What problems does evolutionary psychology run into when drawing conclusions? Thinking back to the principles of scientific thinking.

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Lilienfeld et al. - Psychology and Scientific Thinking Study Guide 10 of 10

49. What is basic research? (Use the definition from Shaw in class)

50. What is applied research?

23. Look at this webpage that describes the Segway scooter:

effective product?

What kind of basic research do you think was conducted in order to bring a new to market? What kinds of applied research might have been conducted to make it an

Important terms: These terms should look familiar and should appear in your answers to the study guide questions. Some terms will come from your notes from class lectures and discussions.

1 anecdote 14 correlation-causation fallacy 27 levels of explanation 40 reactivity


3 apophenia applied research

4 B. F. Skinner

5 bandwagon fallacy

6 basic research

7 behaviorism

8 belief perseverance

9 Charles Darwin

10 claim

11 cognition

12 communalism

13 confirmation bias

15 critical thinking

16 disinterestedness

17 either-or fallacy

18 emotional reasoning fallacy

19 evolutionary psychology

20 falsifiability

21 functionalism

22 hypothesis

23 individual differences

24 introspection

25 Jean Piaget

26 John B. Watson

28 logical fallacies

29 Meehl’s maxim

30 metaphysical (nonempirical) claims

31 multiply determined

32 naïve realism

33 not-me fallacy


Oberg’s dictum

35 opportunity cost

36 pathological skepticism

37 pseudoscience

38 psychoanalysis

39 psychology

41 replicability

42 rival hypothesis

43 scientific skepticism

44 scientific theory

45 scientist-practitioner gap

46 Sigmund Freud

47 single-variable explanations

48 structuralism

49 variable

50 Wilhelm Wundt

51 William James

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