Of all of the interesting, bizarre, complex, and controversial issues and concepts introduced to me this semester in my first ever psychology course, the most outstanding concept that I know I will remember and use five or even ten to twenty years down the road would be that of the six scientific thinking principles. Ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation vs. causation, falsifiability, replicability, extraordinary claims, and Occam's razor were all addressed numerous times constantly throughout the course of our book, related and applied to nearly every idea and theory that psychologists and scientists have hypothesized and thought of. These critical thinking skills to keep in mind are best used, as our book defines them, "for evaluating all claims in an open-minded and careful fashion" (Lilienfeld 21). From this definition, it is obvious that they will prove most useful well after I am done with this course and even college altogether.
For example, when I see ads in magazines or on the television that claim extreme or outlandish things, I can identify that there might not be extraordinary evidence to back up these claims nor might there be ways to falsify these claims or prove them wrong. Also, when I see a relation between two things, such as the amount of time I study and the grades I get in my classes, I need to learn that there may be other causes for the correlation between these two events, such as the amount of sleep I get every night/how rested I am for class.
The main reason why these six principles will be sure to be remembered years down the road is because of their usage in a lot of everyday activities and scenarios. Without learning these psychological strategies to assessing claims, I could fall prey to a lot of false assumptions that could be detrimental to my life in many ways, most importantly my health and reasoning abilities. For this reason, I am most grateful for learning these criticisms and being able to now apply them to situations I am faced on a day to day basis.
*Lilienfeld, Scott. Introduction to Psychology: From Introduction to Inquiry. p 21.