Midterm 2 Study Guide, Psych 330

Will cover CT Chs. 10-19; EI Chs. 1-14 & Appendices A-C; lectures weeks 4-7.

From the Critical Thinking textbook:

Chapter 10: Correlation does not prove causation: Confusing what with why

Correlation: statement about the relationship between two or more variables. Correlation does not equal causation.

Superstitions, Magical Thinking, and the Contiguity-Causation Error:

Contiguity-causation error: The erroneous conclusion that a causal relationship exists between two events solely on the basis of temporal contiguity.

Temporal contiguity: The occurrence of one event immediately after or immediately before another event

Parataxic reasoning: Inferring a causal relationship between events that are actually independent; a kind of magical thinking often responsible for superstitious behaviors.

Chapter 11: Bi-directional causation: Causal loops

Causal relationships are often bi-directional, such that variables influence one another to create a type of vicious (or virtuous) cycle.

Chapter 12: Multiple causation: Not either/or, but both/and

An effect may be due to several different causes operating together. Most behaviors have many different causes. When trying to explain events, explore multiple causes. When presented with a question, problem, or issue that is phrased in terms of either/or, replace these with both/and.

Clinical applications: Gestalt psychotherapists commonly ask their clients to replace the word "but" with "and."

Advanced applications: Linear and non-linear combinations

Linear: each cause is sufficient to produce the effect. Additive

Non-linear: each cause is necessary but not sufficient to produce the effect. Multiplicative

Statistical interactions are, by definition, nonlinear

Chapter 13: Degrees of causation: Not all causes are created equal

Causes may vary in how much they contribute to the effect. But this does not mean that a cause with less weight is not responsible for the effect. This relates to the issue of personal and legal responsibility.

Application: Causation is not a dichotomous variable. Always try to assess the amount that each cause contributes to the result. Do not disregard those causes with less weight compared to other causes.

Chapter 14: Multiple pathways of causation: Different causes, same effects

Several different conditions may create the same outcome. For example, vitamin deficiency, illness, or a biological predisposition may each cause depression. There are also multiple pathways of treatment. For example, depression may be treated by prescription drugs, exercise, or psychotherapy.

Never assume similar outcomes are due to similar causes. Always search for alternative causes when trying to determine the cause of an event.

Chapter 15: The Fundamental Attribution Error: Underestimating the impact of external influences

Fundamental Attribution Error: A bias in assigning the causes of people's behavior, in which we overestimate the influence of people's dispositions and underestimate the influence of situational causes.

Dispositional attributions: Assigning the cause of a person's behavior to something internal to them, such as their personality.

Situational attributions: Assigning the cause of a person's behavior to something external to them, such as environmental influences.

Actor-Observer Bias: The tendency for a person perceiving his or her own behavior to overestimate the influence of situational factors, but for an observer to overestimate the influence of dispositional factors.

Two main biases are responsible for attributional errors:

Cognitive Biases: Systematic errors in attribution due to limited cognitive capacity.

Perceptually-salient stimuli grab our attention, and thus we often believe these stimuli caused a given result. Because a person's behavior is salient, we often assume that the person's disposition caused the result. Because our environment is salient to us, we tend to attribute the cause of our own behavior to the situation.

Motivational Biases: Systematic errors in attribution due to people's attempts to satisfy their own personal needs. Due to our strong need for control, we tend to believe that we have control over many aspects of our lives. By believing that a person's disposition caused a given result, then we create the illusion that we, too, can control certain outcomes. The tendency to make person attributions can lead to "blaming the victim."

Chapter 16: The Intervention-Causation Fallacy: The cure doesn't prove the cause

Intervention-Causation Fallacy: The erroneous belief that one's ability to change an event proves what originally caused the event.

Treatment-Etiology Fallacy: The erroneous belief that a favorable response to medical treatment proves that a medical disease existed.

Emotional and mental disorders do have biological correlates, but this does not prove that these phenomena are caused by biological diseases.

Chapter 17: The Consequence-Intentionality Fallacy: The effect doesn't prove the intent

People often assume that the consequences of a behavior reflects intent. But consequences do not prove intent. Do not confuse consequences with intentionality.

Consequence-Intentionality Fallacy: The erroneous belief that the effect of a person's behavior proves the intent of the behavior.

Chapter 18: The "If I feel it, it must be true" Fallacy: The truth hurts; but so do lies

To determine whether or not an event is true, we rely on our subjective perceptions of the event. But how we feel about an event does not prove the truth about the event. Feelings and truth are independent of each other.

There are comfortable truths (e.g., accurate favorable evaluations), comfortable falsehoods (e.g., delusions), uncomfortable truths (e.g., painful truths), and uncomfortable falsehoods (e.g., false accusations). Thus, feelings alone are not accurate indicators of truth.

Chapter 19: The Spectacular Explanation Fallacy: Extraordinary events do not require extraordinary causes

Spectacular Explanation Fallacy: The erroneous belief that extraordinary events must be due to extraordinary causes.

When we experience an extraordinary event, we tend to search for extraordinary causes. But extraordinary events can be due to ordinary causes.

From the Emotional Intelligence book (Chs. 1-14):

Chs. 1-2:

The physiological counterparts of seven emotions and the usefulness of the physical changes are described in Ch. 1. Be able to match up the emotion with the description of the physiology.

Be prepared to describe the neural pathway that is responsible for emotional hijacking, according to Goleman. Be able to identify the specific brain structures involved in this phenomenon.

Be prepared to discuss the role of the amygdala in emotions and emotional understanding, and know the effects of damage to the amygdala.

Chs. 3-4

Understand and be prepared to discuss Salovey's five domains of emotional intelligence.

Know Mayer's three styles for dealing with emotions.

Know what alexithymia and somaticizing are.

Chs. 5-6

Be prepared to list and discuss the strategies that, according to Goleman, are effective for decreasing anger, and the strategies that are effective for improving a mildy depressed mood. Know what strategies are not effective for managing anger or mild depression.

Know the relationship between hope and optimism and grades in college.

Be able to describe the "Flow" state, two ways to enter flow deliberately, and what brain state corresponds to flow.

Chs. 7-8

Know the four abilities that make up interpersonal intelligence according to Hatch & Gardner.

What are some implications of life without empathy? Identify three differences in physiological response between psychopaths and normally empathic people.

Chs. 9-10

Know the signs that indicate a marriage is in serious trouble, according to Goleman. Also be able to recognize the features of a "good fight" conducted by people in a healthy relationship.

Know the XYZ formula, and what it is for.

Which strategy is most effective for managing diversity in the workplace? What are some strategies that are unlikely to work, or that may backfire, making things worse?

Chs. 11-12

Know what helps to improve cancer patients' survival rates after initial treatment.

Which emotions have been linked to heart disease, and what are the differences for men and women?

What are the three most "unhealthy" emotions, according to Goleman?

Describe three emotionally inept parenting styles identified by Goleman.

Chs. 13-14

Understand what PTSD is, what the effects are on a person's emotions. What strategies do children spontaneously use to overcome the emotional damage of PTSD and reeducate their neural circuitry? What are the three stages of recovery for adults, identified by Herman?

What is a good strategy for helping a timid child become more outgoing? What is a poor strategy?

From Lecture (see lecture notes on web, handouts):


Know the different lobes of the brain (frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal), be able to pick out their locations, and understand their primary functions. What connects the two hemispheres?

Know the lateralization tendencies for linguistic, musical, and spatial-visual. Know what percentage of people the "normal pattern" applies to, and know the exceptions to these patterns.

Understand the seven intelligences and how they map to the different brain structures (see lecture notes on web).

Be sure to know the specific brain areas associated with linguistic and interpersonal/intrapersonal intelligences and the brain areas involved. Understand what functions and abilities are lost when a person experiences damage to these different brain areas.

Be able to list the three types of evidence used to discover which brain areas are associated with what kinds of thinking and intelligence.


Be able to analyze a set of graphs and identify problems (missing information, misleading presentation) in the visual representation of data.


Know what nodes, arcs, and ties are, and how they are used to diagram a set of connections among people.