Notes: Psychology Research

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Questions 1. What did psychology researchers in the 1950's determine about bias and perception? In the 1950's psychology researchers found that ordinary citizens' reaction to scientific evidence is based on societal risks. After viewing a football games with a series of controversial officiating decisions students from each institution were asked to make their own assessments. Students who attended the offending team's college reported seeing half as many illegal plays as did students from the opposing institution. Researchers concluded group ties unconsciously motivate people to view reality in a manner that reinforces those group ties. 2. How do group identity and commitment shape people's opinions? People endorse whichever position reinforces their connection to others with whom they share important commitments. 3. Why is public controversy over scientific topics unlikely to simply be due to the complexity of the issues? If complexity of the issues were to be the cause of controversy over scientific topics it would be expected that beliefs about issues beliefs about issues such as environmental risk, public health, and crime control would be distributed randomly or according to levels of education, not by moral outlook. Cognitive biases distort people's perception of risk, but they do not explain why people who subscribe to competing moral outlooks react differently to scientific data. 4. What process is causing polarization over scientific issues
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