Anomalistic Psychology (Part 4)

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  • Created by: Natalie
  • Created on: 09-06-14 19:33
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  • Anomalistic Psychology (4)
    • Superstition
      • Behavioural explanation
        • Superstitious behaviour is learned through operant conditioning
        • Accidental stimulus-response link is learned and maintained through negative reinforcement
        • When superstitious behaviour is performed, anxiety is reduced
          • Superstitious behaviour is reinforced
        • Positives
          • Provides a reason why superstitions are so persistent
          • Good theory in relation to humans
          • Matute
            • Study conducted in a library
            • Computer made a lot of noise and p's had to stop it by pressing lots of buttons
            • When the noise happened again, p's pressed the same button which stopped it the first time
          • Skinner
            • Found certain random behaviours that preceded food pellets being released were reinforced
            • Pigeons study
        • Negatives
          • Staddon and Simmelhag (1997)
            • Replicated Skinner and the pigeons
            • Found the same behaviour but the ritual behaviours performed by the pigeons were unrelated to the food reward
      • Evolutionary Explanation
        • Unjustified causal links that stem from making type 1 errors
        • Causal thinking evolved because it allows people to understand and control their environment
        • It's adaptive behaviour because it's better to see more links than are there, than miss the ones that are there (false positive)
        • Positives
          • Support from superstition being common universally
          • If causal thinking has evolved because its beneficial to us this has implications for understanding mental health
        • Negatives
          • Criticise superstitions being 'adaptive' as they are often not positive and can mean taking part in lengthy rituals
      • Illusion of control
        • Whitson and Galinsky (2008)
          • Showed people given a reduced sense of control were more likely to be superstitious
          • Benefit as it prepares us for unpredictable situations rather than withdraw from them
          • No real basis for the superstition but it may help people deal with challenges
    • Magical Thinking (MT)
      • Psychodynamic Explanation
        • Freud (1913)
          • Identified MT as childlike thought where children project their inner feelings on the outer world
            • When adults show this behaviour it's a defence mechanism
        • Pronin (2006)
          • P's asked to stick pins in voodoo dolls felt more responsible for the supposed headache of a confederate if they saw their intended victim acting stupidly beforehand
          • Two events weren't related but p's awareness of the pin pushing led them to assume their thoughts had been the cause
          • Supports psychodynamic as p's thought they could influence someone else just by thought
      • Law of Contagion
        • Nemeroff and Rozin (1994)
          • May be due to our evolved fear of germs and contagion
          • Adaptive to avoid touching something that had been in contact with an ill person
        • Rozin (1986)
          • People wouldn't drink from a glass marked Cyanide, even though they knew it was sugar
      • Benefits of MT
        • MT may lead people to deal with their environment more confidently as they expect good things to happen because of their thought and actions
        • Self-efficacy (belief in your own abilities)
        • Placebo effect - MT acts like a placebo creating a positive opinion and this accounts for improvements
        • Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968)
          • Showed children's IQ scores increased over a year as their teachers were lead to expect them to do better
          • Self-fulfilling prophecy - things turn out as we expect because of our expectation
      • Lack of MT and Costs of MT
        • People who are depressed generally show less MT - depressed realism
          • Suggests a fully accurate assessment of your own abilities may not be good for you
        • Mohr et al. (2005)
          • Linked lack of MT to low levels of dopamine
            • Dopamine is high in both schizophrenics and believers
        • Youlmaz et al. (2011)
          • MT is linked to mental disorders
        • Weinberger and Harrison (2011)
          • MT is a characteristic of schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia

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