Fun Psychological Facts

Jun 13

Heuristics: Mental Shortcuts to Make Decisions

Representative Heuristic - when probabilities are evaluated by the degree to which one thing is representative of (or similar to) another. This leads to base-rate neglect, where the relative frequency of an event within a population is ignored.
For example, after given a description of someone’s personality, and then asked what job he comes from, you base your decision on how the personality is an accurate representation of the type of person in each career. Research has found that the probability of the person being in one career, is the same as the degree of similarity between the description and the career, and people fail to consider how many people are in that profession in the occupation. 
For instance, even if the description matched that of a typical astronaut, if we looked at the base-rate of astronauts in the population, the chances of him being one are very low. 


The Availability Heuristic - probabilities are evaluated by the ease with which instances and occurrences are brought to mind (how easy it is to think of examples.)
For example, it is a lot easier to think of words that begin with r, than have r at the third position, however, there are actually more words with r at the third position. 
Another example, is if you are presented with an equal amount of male and female names, and most of the female names are of famous people, you will recall that there were more female names presented because they are easier to retrieve from memory. This is an example of a retrievability bias
A final example, is for events that are more imaginable are perceived as having a higher probability of occuring than they actually do, such as shark bites and plane crashes. This is an example of an imagineability bias.


The anchoring heuristic - probabilities are evaluated by starting from an initial anchor that is adjusted to yield the final answer. 
This explains the human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information received (the ‘anchor’). Once that anchor is placed, other judgements are biased by interpreting other information around that anchor, leading to a huge bias towards initial information.

Jun 13

Continued Influence of Misinformation Effect

When jurors, or other decision makers, are presented with tainted evidence or misinformation that is subsequently retracted, they continue to use the information anyway. This is an example of the continued influence of misinformation effect, where the original information that people are given is wrong, and then they are told that the information is wrong, so they need to remove the wrong information and not use it; but they don’t. 

Evidence to prove this is: When there’s no confession (control group) 19% of the time these people are still ruled ‘guilty.’
Voluntary confessions ruled admissable  (63%) vs. Coerced confessions ruled admissable (50%) - showing that coerced/forced confessions are less believable than voluntary coerced confessions.
However, when there’s a forced confession and judges are told to disregard the information (Admonish to disregard), the number of people ruled guilty SHOULD drop to the control condition, because they’re stating that the confession didn’t influence them. However, it was found that 43% of people were ruled guilty, which is way above the 19% control.

One explanation for this is because when information is retracted, it leaves gaps in the memory of an event. So when asked questions, people tend to use the information anyway, because they prefer an incorrect model than an incomplete model of an event.

However, there are a few circumstances in which it is easier for people to remove information that has been retracted.
Firstly, if you provide the person with an alternative explanation, the retraction is more likely to be successful. Alternative explanations fill the gaps that retractions create.
Secondly, if the person is suspicious of a person’s ulterior motives, they are better able to discount misinformation
Researchers studied this topic. The control condition were given no information, the pretrial publicity were given inflammatory articles about the accused person (e.g. he tortured animals as a child), and the suspicion condition were given the same articles, but they were followed by a suggestion that the prosecutor had placed them (made suspicious of original info.) Participants were asked to rate the verdict as guilty or not, based purely on evidence provided in the court transcript (not the prior info presented in the inflammatory articles). Looking at conviction rates, those in the pretrial publicity condition rose above the control condition, and those who were made suspicious of the authenticity of the original information dropped below the control condition.

People continued to use misinformation when they were not given an alternative explanation, and when they were given an extensive explanation for why the information was ruled inadmissable. 
This was shown in a study where people were given information ruled admissable, ruled inadmissable with simple explanation, ruled inadmissable with extensive lawful explanation. 
The final condition with an extensive explanation for why the information was ruled inadmissable and they should not use it actually led to the highest conviction rate. This demonstrates reactance, where the instruction to disregard evidence can backfire, and they do the exact opposite, in an attempt to retain control. 

Jun 13

The Process Dissociation Procedure Alleviates Conscious Contamination

Implicit memory tests are supposed to measure memory that is there, that you’re NOT consciously aware of. 
Conscious contamination occurs when conscious recollection acts on implicit memory tests.
For example, after studying a list of words, a standard implicit memory test would ask you to “recall the first word that comes to mind” when completing a stem completion task, where you are presented with the first few letters of a word. But how do you know that what you’ve retrieved is actually unconscious recollection?
The process dissociation procedure gives a more process-pure measure of implicit memory, by dissociating between conscious and unconscious recollection, removing any conscious contamination. 

There are two conditions:
1. The Inclusion Condition, including conscious recollection (R) and unconscious recollection (U). For example, in this condition they are asked to “Use the studied word, or if that fails, use any word.”
2. The Exclusion Condition, only including unconscious recollection (U), where participants are asked to “use a new word NOT studied previously.” So if they remembered that a word 

Then we measure the completion rate with the studied word. 
In the Inclusion condition, there are two situations where a studied word may arise. They may remember the word, and use it through conscious recollection. Or they may not remember the word, but unconsciously recollect it. 
In the exclusion condition, there is only one situation where a studied word may arise. If they remember the word, they are told NOT to use it.  However, if they don’t remember a word, they may still use it due to unconscious recollection. 

So then we can get a pure measure of conscious recollection (R) by subtracting the exclusion rate from the inclusion rate. 
R = Inclusion - Exclusion

After we have a pure measure of explicit memory, we can then get a pure measure of implicit memory.
U = Exclusion / (1-R)

Jun 13

Exams have arrived: Welcome!

So, my first exam is tomorrow. For Cognitive Psychology. 
I’ve revised the whole unit, so now I’m going to do some practice questions, to tell tumblr my answer!
(Sorry if it bores you)

May 01
I learnt about this in my psychology units :)

I learnt about this in my psychology units :)

May 31
May 26
May 26
That’s why I write better poetry at night :)

That’s why I write better poetry at night :)

May 26

Smiling: Natural Happiness Drug

Whether you’re sad, irritated, angry, frustrated, or miserable - try smiling. 
Because seriously, smiling makes you feel better. Well, it does for me, anyway. 

There’s science behind it, too! When you smile the muscles in your face get pulled - even if the smile is fake - and this muscular activity triggers something in the brain that releases endorphins, which make you feel better. Sometimes the smile may start off forced, but it’ll turn into a natural smile when the endorphins kick in.

Some days I walk around with a smile on my face all day, and it’s on those days that nothing phases me - nothing can bring me down.

Seriously, I dare you to try it.  
At least once. 

May 19
metalhearted:

FACT : your pupils dilate when you see the person you are attracted to.
Because the nervous system controls the muscles of the irises, the response of the nervous system to different stimuli results in involuntary pupil dilation. Another commonly cited reason the pupils dilate is in response to excitement or sexual arousal. When a person sees something or someone he finds very attractive, his eyes may dilate.

metalhearted:

FACT : your pupils dilate when you see the person you are attracted to.

Because the nervous system controls the muscles of the irises, the response of the nervous system to different stimuli results in involuntary pupil dilation. Another commonly cited reason the pupils dilate is in response to excitement or sexual arousal. When a person sees something or someone he finds very attractive, his eyes may dilate.