piatok, 8. marca 2013

Errors of Attribution

What is attribution errors?

It's a psychological term for describing a process of inferring the cause of events or behavior without being aware of the underlying processes and biases that lead to those inferences.

What is Self-Serveing Bias?

 Its cognitive bias that tends to enhance the ego and self confidence of an individual, through a variety of processes. . Being aware of the processes behind it can help a person to evaluate his or her performance and progress more critically, and it will allow the person to use things like failures as learning experiences. For example if a person passes her driving test on the first try, she might say that this was due to the fact that she studied hard and is a good driver. If she fails the test, however, she might blame the examiner, the car, or the weather, rather than admitting that she did not demonstrate safe and effective driving skills.

Study based on evidence of the Self-serveing Bias -  Elizabeth Posey and Randolph A.Smith

Aim:  To investigate self-serving bias in children

Participants:  Twenty male and 16 female second graders 

Procedure: Children were paired with a partner of same gender and were asked to complete 3 minutes math worksheet as a group. But, one half of the participants was paired up with a friend while the other one was not. At the end all of them received feedback that indicated their success or failure.

Result: The people in non-friend groups were blaming the failure to their partners. When they were asked who did better job they tended to give a credit for themselves. On the contrary children who were paired up with a friend were less likely to blame others or external/situational factors for their failure.

Conclusion:  Participants who were blaming others for the failure clearly demonstrated self-serving bias. By putting the blame on their partners children wanted to protect their ego or self-esteem.

Study based on evidence of cultural differences in relation to the Self-serveing Bias

Researches suggest  there are cultural differences in the fundamental attribution error, people form individualistic cultures are more prone to the error while people from collectivism cultures commit less of it.

Study of Kashima and Triandis

Who conduced it? Kashima and Triandis in 1986.

Participants: 34 Japanese graduate students and 202 American undergraduate students 

Procedure: Participants were shown and then asked to remember 15 slides pertaining to life in Israel, Greece and Iran. Then they were given 5-minute recognition test that was based on those slides. After the test the participants were shown 5 slides pertaining to life in India. Then they were given 3-minute test based on those 5 slides about India. Participants were randomly assigned to either success or failure group. People in the success group were told they scored 12/15 while the people in the failure group were told they scored only 5/15. Then all of the participants were given an attribution questionnaire.

Result: American students tended to attribute their success to their talent or abilities. Japanese students tended to attribute their failure to lack of their abilities. Both Americans and Japanese students responded similarly when they were given situational information

štvrtok, 7. marca 2013

Biology and Techhnology

There are 3 brain imaging technologies:

Computer Tomography (CT)

 What it is?

Computer Tomography is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body. The CT computer displays these pictures as detailed images of organs, bones, and other tissues. Tomography is the process of generating a two-dimensional image of a slice or section through a 3-dimensional object

Method   - First you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. 
              - Second The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied. Each rotation of the scanner provides a picture of a thin slice of the organ on area
              - Third a dye called contrast material is used. It may be put in a vein in your arm, or into rectum or a joint to see those areas better. For some types of CT scans you drink the dye. The dye makes structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures.

What is able to be learned through the use of each?

CT can be use to: - study all parts of human body  such as the chest, belly, pelvis, arm or leg.
                           - It can take pictures of body organs, such as the liver,pancreasintestines, heart....                                                                         -It also can study blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord.

 What does the image shows?

The image shows your bones, organs, and soft tissues more clearly than standard x-rays and all at the same time. Because the picture is made by a computer, it can be enlarged to make it easier to see and interpret. It is also used by doctors to find a cancer. CT scan can be also used to guide needles into tumors for some types of cancer treatments, such as radiofrequency ablation

  Positron emission tomography

What is it?

It is is an imaging technique that uses radioactive substances injected into patients to provide images of the body using specialized scanners. These PET images provide information about the function and metabolism of the body's organs, in contrast to computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which show the body's anatomy and structure. PET is used mainly to study patients with cancer, heart disease, and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Method: The patient is given tracer, usually given through  IV, asked not to eat 4-6 before the test. After the traces is absorbed, the patient is laid on a table and put into a special tube. The tracer goes through various organs through the blood system and is visible on monitors in 3-D which help diagnose the patient.

How can be PET used to explain human behavior?

It helps to diagnose brain damage, dementia or tell the difference between Parkinson's or other movement disease. For example, PET may show the spiral way of how the brain cells die, which is symptom of Alzheimer's disease 

Functioning Magnetic Resonence Imaging (FMRI)

What is it?

It measure brain activity by monitoring changes in blood.

Method: It works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity – when a brain area is more active it consumes more oxygen and to meet this increased demand blood flow increases to the active area.

What is able to learned through the use of FMRI?

FMRI can be used to produce activation maps showing which parts of the brain are involved in a particular mental process.

How can FMRI help to explain human behavior?

Scientists are able to go as far as "read mind" of a person by showing him/her a picture while in the machine, scanning which part of the brain is activated when the person thinks of this object/how to use it/ how to hold it/ his or her experience with it, and record this data. So far, people had very similar results for the same objects.

Henri Tajfel- Social Identity Theory

What is social identity theory?

Social identity theory is the way in which you can explain group behavior. It explain how people develop a sense of membership and belonging in particular groups, and how the mechanics of intergroup discrimination work.

          Henri Tajfel

Henri Tajfel  was a British social psychologist, best known for his pioneering work on the cognitive aspects of prejudice and social identity theory.  He believed that the cognitive processes of categorization contributed strongly to the psychological dimensions of prejudice. He had seen how large numbers of Germans– not just those with particular personalities – had given their support to Nazism and had held extreme views about Jews. Nazism would not have been successful without the support of ‘ordinary’ Germans. Tajfel sought to discover whether the roots of prejudice might be found in 'ordinary' processes of thinking, rather than in 'extraordinary' personality types.

Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination  ( 1970)

Tajfel  believes that the personality approach is inadequate in explaining prejudice and he also uses a social psychological approach.  Tajfel  argue that ‘competition’ is not a sufficient condition for inter-group conflict and hostility. 

Aim: His main aim was to investigate the minimal conditions in which prejudice and discrimination can occur In addition, he demonstrate that merely putting people into groups (categorisation) is sufficient for people to discriminate in favour of their own group and against members of the other group.

Participants: There were 64 boys between 14 and 15 years old from a comprehensive school in a suburb of Bristol.

Method: They came to the laboratory in separate groups of 8. All of the boys in each of the groups were from the same house so that they knew each other well before the experiment.
At first the boys were brought together in a lecture room and were told that experimenters are interesting in the study of visual judgements.  Forty clusters of varying numbers of dots were flashed on a screen and the boys were asked to record each estimate in succession on prepared score sheets.

Procedure: After the boys had completed their estimates they were told that in judgments of this kind some people consistently overestimate the number of dots and some consistently underestimate the number. 
  After the judgments had been made they were “scored” by one of the experimenters.
vParticipants were told that researchers were interested in other decision making processes & were going to take advantage of their presence to investigate these. Participants were told they were be grouped on the basis of the visual judgements they had just made.
The experimenters were given the instructions and introduction about this experiment. The task consists of giving  others participants points which would then be converted into real money at the end of the experiment.
Participants did not knew the identity of the individuals to whom they would be assigning
Each boy went to another room on their own, and was given a booklet containing 18 pages
 On each page there were 14 boxes containing two numbers each
The numbers in the top row of the matrix were the rewards and penalties to be awarded to one person and those in the bottom row were those to be awarded to another. They were not giving money to themselves.
At the end of the task each boy were brought back into the first room and would receive the amount of money the other boys had awarded him
The value of each point they were awarding was a tenth of a penny
Each row of the matrix was labeled # of over estimators and # of under estimators
The boys were required to make three types of choice.
There were in-group choices, where both top and bottom row referred to members of the same group as the boy. (other than himself)
There were out-group choices, with both top and bottom row referred to members of the different group from the boy.
There were intergroup choices, where one row referred to the boys’ own group and one row referred to the other group.

 Result: In the intergroup choices the large majority of participants gave more money to members of their own group. When the boys had an entirely in-group (or out-group) choice to make, they tended towards the point of maximum fairness (this would be 0 and –1 in our example). 

Conclusion: Discrimination occurred as a result of simply designating in-group and out-group membership. Choices were not made to maximize everyone’s winnings but instead to maximize group profits.