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PSY421 Fall 2013 Day 1

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Nancy Frye

on 4 August 2013

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Transcript of PSY421 Fall 2013 Day 1

Katharine Hepburn
Why use data?
Other ways of finding out about the world
Heuristic = rule of thumb
Thinking about heuristics
Pros and cons?
What's needed
**Systematic** way of examining data
One part of this class
Which country is happiest?
Confirmation bias
I have a rule about numbers in my head
one set of numbers that follows the rule is 1, 3, 5
give me other sequences to test what you think the rule might be
Representativeness heuristic
There is a room of 30 skydivers and 70 lawyers
One person steps out of the room -- is that person more likely to be a lawyer or a skydiver?
Confirmation bias
Jim is from the room with 30 skydivers and 70 lawyers
He likes to drive his motorcycle as quickly as possible. He likes to play poker and gamble.
Is it more likely that Jim is a skydiver or a lawyer?
Representativeness heuristic
base-rates are ignored
people decide whether someone seems "representative" of a particular group
Illusory correlation

Craig helped a friend move.

Pete is recognized as an excellent musician.

William rarely washes his car.

Norman often tailgates when he is driving

Scott received a promotion at work.

Colin works out to keep himself in good shape.

Keith organized a birthday party for a friend.

Richard yelled at a boy who bumped into him.

Ted ran a red light.

Mark learned how to fly an airplane.

Devin donated his clothes to charity.

Fred gave blood to the Red Cross.

David converses easily with people he doesn’t know well.

Bruce never returns library books on time.

Davis read a story to his daughter.

Josh finished his homework on time.

Nathan took neighborhood kids swimming.

Tom shared his lunch with a co-worker.

Allen dented the fender of a parked car and didn’t leave his name.

A Classroom Demonstration

Forming Impressions of Others:

The Illusory correlation may be one reason individuals become prejudiced.
Research has shown that White Americans overestimate the arrest rate of African Americans (Hamilton & Sherman, 1996).
African Americans = minority
Arrest Rate = distinctive event

It always rains on the week-end
It always rains after you wash the car
The phone always rings when you are in the shower
Librarians are quiet
Doctors are wealthy

Illusory Correlation

The ratio of positive and negative events was exactly the same for Group A and Group B!

Which group is nicer?
Group Ratings

Roger repaired his neighbor’s lawnmower.

Don took a hurt stray dog to the vet.

Eliot sings in the church choir.

Robert talks with food in his mouth.

Vincent forgot about his job interview.

Eric drove his elderly neighbor to the grocery store.

Jeff volunteered to tutor needy students.

Gary earned an “A” on his research paper.

Alex kicked a dog.

Ken helped a lost child in a supermarket.

Ron made prank phone calls to his teacher.

Lane is well-like by his colleagues.

Chad always talks about himself and his problems.

John is considered a very dependable co-worker.

Henry went out of his way to return a lost wallet to the owner.

Alan planted seedlings in a park.

Scott cheated on an exam.

Bob helped a child.

Bill is rarely late for work.

You will see a series of statements, each describing a person performing some type of behavior.
Each person belongs to either Group A or Group B.
After all statements have been presented, you will respond with your impressions.

This demonstration was created by Jackson (2000) and is based on an actual study by Hamilton and Gifford (1979).


Group B (n = 13 members)
9 positive statements
4 negative statements
9:4 ratio of positive to negative statements

Group A (n = 26 members)
18 positive statements
8 negative statements
9:4 ratio of positive to negative statements


John visited a friend in the hospital.

What happened? (or happens when this demo works)
We tend to give more weight to rarer things -- to rarer groups, and to more negative events
we start to think that these rare things to together
illusory correlation
seeing patterns of association between variables whether or not those associations really exist
Availability heuristic
Meryl Streep
John Davis
Joe Dornisch
Natalie Portman
Steve Richards
Dan Seiler
Diane Keaton
Sigourney Weaver
Chad Neidigh
Were there more male or female names?
availability heuristic
tendency to think that things that are easier to think of or remember are more common
will examine this question using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Will work in groups and have a debate during our third FTF meeting
--> Figure out groups of 3-4, think about how happiness could be measured
Full transcript