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Critical Thinking Good and Bad

ritical Thinking Assignments Critical thinking assignments (CTAs) are meant to encourage you to think more deeply about certain important concepts in psychology. There is no guarantee that anything you read in a psychology textbook, journal article, web site, newspaper or on television is true. In fact, it is likely that much of it is probably false. For that reason, the ability to separate the plausible and the likely from the implausible and the unlikely is an important one for an educated person to have. Objective The goal is for you to demonstrate knowledge of concepts and your ability to analyze them in the context they are presented. The critical thinking assignments involve submitting written work in Microsoft Word via the course web site. Please pay careful attention to the process and the format. Grading Criteria Each assignment is worth 25 points. CTAs will be graded on the basis of accuracy, completeness, thoughtfulness, and critical thinking skill. The work you do must be your own. You may discuss the assignments with others, but the work you turn in must be your own original thoughts. Format 1. Assignments must be submitted on time in order to receive full credit 2. Unless explicitly stated to the contrary, assignments should be word-processed, about one page, that’s approximately 400 – 500 words (not appreciably longer or shorter than that), double-spaced, in a 10- or 12- point non-decorative typeface (Times New Roman, Calibri, Ariel, etc.), with maximum 1-inch margins on all sides. 3. Your full name should be in the top left corner; underneath your name should be the assignment number (Unit 1 Assignment). You do not need a title and do not repeat the question or prompt – just begin with your reflection or reaction. 4. Your document should be saved with one of the accepted file extensions. They are: MS-Word (.doc or .docx); rich text format (.rtf); or text file (.txt). These are the only document formats you may attach you may submit with your assignment. Do NOT include any punctuation or symbols in the name of the file that you attach. Critical Thinking Assignment: Good or Bad Evidence? You are undertaking a research study because you want to know why teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention early in the morning than do younger children. Treat each of the items listed below as a different type of evidence intended to address this question. Complete the following: 1. Rank order the pieces of evidence listed below from most convincing to least convincing. By convincing I mean how well does the evidence answer the question “why do teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention early in the morning than do younger children?” 2. Explain why you ranked the different types of evidence in the order you selected. 3. Identify those pieces of evidence listed below, if any, from which you believe a conclusion can be drawn about why teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention early in the morning than do younger children. Briefly explain. Evidence: a. You have overheard many teenagers talking about why they struggle with paying attention early in the morning, so you believe you have a good understanding of why they have such difficulty. b. 30 well-designed studies published in prestigious journals have discovered that melatonin, a hormone involved in sleep, is secreted by the body of teenagers at a different point in the sleep-wake cycle than it is for young children or adults. c. A nutrition expert, appearing on Good Morning America, stated that she believes teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention than younger children because, as she learned in her interviews with students of all ages, the teenagers were more likely to skip breakfast. d. Your cousin has a hunch. e. 20 well-controlled experiments published in prestigious journals strongly suggest a cause for why teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention early in the morning than do younger children. f. After a recent airing of a story on the news show Dateline on NBC about some people being morning people and others being night people, Channel 5 asked viewers to call in the reasons they have difficulty focusing attention in the morning. Two reasons were given most frequently, and those reasons were presented on that night’s local news. g. Two well-controlled experiments published in a prestigious journal suggest a cause for why teenagers have more difficulty focusing their attention early in the morning than do younger children. (Major Hint: I am rather partial to the phrase “alternative explanations”)

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