Didn’t get the flu this past winter? Thank a psychologist. What? Well, it could be that a psychologist was involved in helping health care professionals to do what they know they need to do (but sometimes don’t): wash their hands. The issue here is persuasion and motivation: how to we get people to do something – and keep doing it? … Read More
In episode 183 I talked about what critical thinking is and why it’s important. Now we talk about why it’s so darn hard to teach and to use critical thinking in our everyday lives. In this episode I’ll discuss Dr. Daniel Willingham‘s advice to teachers on what they can do to effectively teach critical thinking – something that couldn’t be … Read More
Why does it concern psychologists that the Texas GOP platform recently opposed the teaching of critical thinking? Most of us have been told since we were very young that critical thinking is very important. Psychologists certainly agree and a lot of time spent in most psychology classes is spent learning how to think critically. Why is it such a central … Read More
In episode 168 I discussed reliability but the real test of a test’s “mettle” – or how confident you can be in the results – comes when you subject it to lots of validity tests. You’ll learn a lot about validity if you take a psychology class. High validity is what separates the many fun-to-take but essentially meaningless tests you’ll … Read More
Can you tell your personality from what flavor ice cream you like? There are lots and lots of so called Personality tests on the web. How do you know when you’ve come across a good one? For example, are the inner workings of your personality revealed in the playlists you have on your smartphone or mp3 device? In this episode … Read More
What’s going on with Psychology? There have been a number of reports about poorly conducted or completely fraudulent research in the field such as this one that appeared in the New York Times. Well, there’s bad research in all fields, but psychology, which has through its history struggled for scientific credibility, is particularly sensitive to this issue and many psychologists … Read More
You’ve probably heard that the so called “Lie Detector” test (the polygraph ) doesn’t actually detect when you’ve lied, but rather just takes some physiological measures from your body and these have to be interpreted by experts. Sometimes those experts make mistakes. Join me as I describe a psychological study that tested a new kind of “Lie Detector” – drawings. This study involved Agents, Missions, an Interception, and a mysterious “package”. This is psychology? You better believe it.
Are you embarrassed to take your clothes off in front of your doctor? Most of us are. Well, what if your doctor was a robot? Would this make it easier or harder to remove your clothes? Before you answer – would it matter if the robot looked like a real person or if it looked like R2-D2? That’s the question we examine this week on The Psych Files.
Here’s a fun piece of psychological research: finding out whether children use statistical information to figure out other people. We know kids are very perceptive and learn quickly. This study shows just how smart they really are.