Cognitive psychology is a discipline within psychology that is concerned with the scientific study of the human mind.
Upon further reflection, however, I realized that this was actually a good question, for which the usual approaches to teaching psychology provided too few answers.
During the next several years, I developed lessons and techniques to help psychology students learn how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of scientific and nonscientific kinds of evidence and to help them draw sound conclusions.
It seemed to me that learning about the quality of evidence and drawing appropriate conclusions from scientific research were central to teaching critical thinking CT in psychology.
More importantly, the techniques and approach described below are ones that are supported by scientific research. Classroom examples illustrate the use of the guidelines and how assessment can be integrated into CT skill instruction.
Overview of the Guidelines Confusion about the definition of CT has been a major obstacle to teaching and assessing it Halonen, ; Williams, One virtue of this definition is it can be applied to many thinking tasks in psychology.
Evidence can be the results of an experiment, case study, naturalistic observation study, or psychological test. Less formally, evidence can be anecdotes, introspective reports, commonsense beliefs, or statements of authority.
Many CT experts take argument analysis skills to be fundamental CT skills e. Psychology students need argument analysis skills to evaluate psychological claims in their work and in everyday discourse. Some instructors expect their students will improve CT skills like argument analysis skills by simply immersing them in challenging course work.
Others expect improvement because they use a textbook with special CT questions or modules, give lectures that critically review the literature, or have students complete written assignments. While these and other traditional techniques may help, a growing body of research suggests they are not sufficient to efficiently produce measurable changes in CT skills.
These results concur with results of an earlier review of CT programs by Chance and a recent meta-analysis by Abrami et al. Based on these and other findings, the following guidelines describe an approach to explicit instruction in which instructors can directly infuse CT skills and assessment into their courses.
With infusion, instructors can use relevant content to teach CT rules and concepts along with the subject matter.
They also resemble approaches to teaching CT proposed by AngeloBeyerand Halpern Importantly, this approach has been successful in teaching CT skills in psychology e. Directly infusing CT skill instruction can also enrich content instruction without sacrificing learning of subject matter Solon, The following seven guidelines, illustrated by CT lessons and assessments, explicate this process.
Motivate your students to think critically Critical thinking takes effort. Without proper motivation, students are less inclined to engage in it.
Therefore, it is good to arouse interest right away and foster commitment to improving CT throughout a course. One motivational strategy is to explain why CT is important to effective, professional behavior.
For example, the tragic death of year-old Candace Newmaker at the hands of her therapists practicing attachment therapy illustrates the perils of using a therapy that has not been supported by good empirical evidence Lilienfeld, Instructors can also pique interest by taking a class poll posing an interesting question on which students are likely to have an opinion.
For example, asking students how many think that the full moon can lead to increases in abnormal behavior can be used to introduce the difference between empirical fact and opinion or common sense belief.
After asking students how psychologists answer such questions, instructors might go over the meta-analysis of Rotton and Kelly Their review found that almost all of the 37 studies they reviewed showed no association between the phase of the moon and abnormal behavior with only a few, usually poorly, controlled studies supporting it.
Instructors can use this to illustrate how psychologists draw a conclusion based on the quality and quantity of research studies as opposed to what many people commonly believe. For other interesting thinking errors and misconceptions related to psychology, see Bensley ; ;HalpernRuscioStanovichand Sternberg Attitudes and dispositions can also affect motivation to think critically.
If students lack certain CT dispositions such as open-mindedness, fair-mindedness, and skepticism, they will be less likely to think critically even if they have CT skills Halpern, Instructors might point out that even great scientists noted for their powers of reasoning sometimes fail to think critically when they are not disposed to use their skills.
For example, Alfred Russel Wallace who used his considerable CT skills to help develop the concept of natural selection also believed in spiritualistic contact with the dead.False recall (proportion of critical lures recalled as being studied) and false recognition (proportion of critical lures called “old” on the recognition test) rates as a function of group (recovered, repressed, and control) and of list type (3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 semantic associates) are shown in Table 3.
It basically referred to the high confidence false recall or recognition of the critical lure. Within the study subjects were given a list of words for immediate free recall.
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This cogent, forcefully argued book presents a decidedly unpopular view —namely. Abducted by a UFO: Prevalence Applied Cognitive Psychology, Since false memories arise chiefly out of gist memories, younger children will therefore less likely report the critical lure than older children (Brainerd & Reyna, Brainerd, C.J.
and Reyna, V.F.