vishn010: April 2012 Archives

I think the main thing that I will remember five years from now that we have learned in psychology is the difference between correlation and causation. Many newspapers and other sources often get these confused and use them interchangeably. This can cause people to believe that those crazy correlations that we see in the news stories are actually causations. For example, if there is a correlation between playing more video games and a higher grade point average, people who are misinformed will think that all they have to do is play more video games and their grades will increase. It is very difficult to actually prove that one thing causes another thing mainly because it is tough to eliminate other variables that can have an effect on the process. After learning this in the introductory psychology course, I will be better informed and educated for when I am reading stories and articles in the future and it will help me avoid the correlation vs. causation trap that so many people fall into without even knowing it. I learned a lot in this class, but I think this is what I will remember the most.
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Polygraphs tests, or commonly known as a "lie detector" test, are often seen used in movies, television shows, and in real life. This produces the misconception that this test is a foolproof method to see if someone is lying. This test rests on the assumption that bodily reactions supposedly give them away whenever they lie. The test measures physiological signals that often reflect anxiety like blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductance. While this test usually does better than chance for detecting lies, it also comes with a high rate of false positives. False positives potentially put innocent people in jail, which is unacceptable. I think this is something that must be changed as we can't put innocent people in jail because some test, that is only occasionally right, said that they were guilty. This makes me question why the polygraph test is still in use at all because of its inaccuracy. The book mentioned that they use it to get confessions out of victims who think they got caught because the polygraph said they were lying. However, the book also mentioned that when people do not confess but the polygraph came out that they lied, everyone assumes they are guilty. I think this is something that needs to be eliminated from our justice system because of its inaccuracy.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by vishn010 in April 2012.

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