Pearson BTEC National Applied Psychology: Revision Guide

AO3 Evaluation There’s a type of bias that could cause you problems in the exam if you’re not careful. It happens when you see one word in a question that you ‘grab onto’ without giving enough thought to the rest of the question. You think, ‘I recognise that word from my revision,’ and then you launch into your answer immediately, relieved that you’ve found something you know about. So firstly, make sure you cover all the concepts, theories, etc. for each topic. Basically, if it’s on a spread in this guide, you need to know it. Secondly, in the exam, take time to read the question carefully before even thinking about answering it. And read the accompanying scenarios carefully too. REVISION BOOSTER Key concept 6: Cognitive biases A1: Cognitive approach Sasha supports a lower-league football club. All of her friends are also supporters and she is part of a supporters’ Facebook group. When her team wins, she likes to read posts about the matches. But she prefers not to bother when they lose. A group of supporters were drinking in a pub before a match. The brother of one of her friends asked Sasha how the team were doing. Sasha said ‘very well indeed’ even though the club had lost in a cup final the previous season. 1. Give one example of confirmation bias from the scenario. (1 mark) 2. Explain why confirmation bias is the most appropriate cognitive bias to understand Sasha’s behaviour. (3 marks) When her friend’s brother pointed out the team had lost the final, Sasha said this was an aggressive comment and that he should leave the pub. 3. Identify the type of cognitive bias shown by Sasha and explain why it may be a reason for her comment. (3 marks) 4. Discuss the usefulness of cognitive biases in understanding Sasha’s comment and/or behaviour. (3 marks) Apply it One strength of cognitive biases is application to real-world behaviour. For example, we can overcome confirmation bias by deliberately seeking out information that contradicts our existing views. We can do this by reading a variety of news sources and applying critical thinking skills to political parties, football teams, etc. This is useful because, by understanding cognitive biases, we can improve our decisionmaking and reduce negative effects on behaviour. Another strength is the link between hostile attribution bias and aggression. People with a strong HAB often behave aggressively. While behaving like this, they may experience a temporary increase in their hostile attributions. This is a vicious circle because the temporary increase in attributions makes further aggression even more likely (Tuente et al.). This shows the central role of a HAB in aggressive behaviour, and also a potential way of tackling it (by turning hostile attributions into neutral ones). One weakness is that the FAE only exists in some cultures. In individualist cultures (e.g. USA), people generally value individual needs above the needs of the wider community. So, behaviour tends to be attributed to individual characteristics. However, in collectivist cultures (e.g. China) the group or community is prioritised over individual needs. So, people tend to attribute behaviour to situational factors rather than to personality. This suggests the FAE may not be a ‘fundamental’ feature of human information processing after all. 23 Is it a ‘6’ or a ‘9’? We can reduce confirmation bias by exposing ourselves to a variety of different views. Copyright: Sample material