01. Psychology as a Science: Thinking Like a Researcher

Activity: Using Zodiac-based Personality Descriptions to Teach about Biases in Thinking

Students are given a list of personality descriptions based on the 12 signs of the zodiac and have to choose which one best describes them. We then discuss how these personality descriptions are written vague enough to apply to many people. This activity is similar to the classic Forer effect (Forer, 1949). Forer used generalized …

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Activity: Ways of Knowing There Is a Santa Claus

This activity involves students analyzing a famous editorial about the existence of Santa Claus in terms in terms of different ways of knowing (e.g., intuition, authority, logic, and the scientific method). Click here for a link to the assignment. Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Video: Misunderstanding Scientific Studies (with John Oliver)

On this short (4:05) clip from Last Week Tonight, John Oliver outlines how to be a better consumer of scientific information (e.g., don’t give too much significance to individual studies) and how communication to the public can misinterpret findings altogether.

NOBA: Why Science?

This article by Ed Diener provides a brief primer on the science of psychology. The article focuses on defining science, showing how it applies to psychology, discusses ethical considerations, and why science is so useful in psychology. In any psychology course, but especially research methods, this article would provide students with a really nice introduction …

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Investigating Claims Made by the Media

This assignment helps students practice scientific literacy and literature searches. Students find a media posting that makes a psychology-related scientific claim and a peer-reviewed research article that speaks to that claim. Students then write an essay evaluating the media claim based on the scientific conclusions. Please click here for the file.

The 5 Techniques of Science Denial

In the article “A history of FLICC: the 5 techniques of science denial” places five strategies (Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, and Conspiracy theories.) into a the acronym FLICC. This article, elaborates on many other techniques within these broad 5 categories, including examples of each. The article includes links to a three …

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