PSY 166 - Psychology of Superstitions
An examination of non-critical thinking and human tendencies to believe unlikely (and impossible) claims about the human experience, with a special focus on beliefs on the fringe of serious psychology. Issues addressed in the course include popular beliefs about parapsychology, magic, alien abduction, personality testing, and the mental processes that support these beliefs. Three class hours.
Course Learning Outcomes
1. Report on the basic components underlying the human tendency to believe false conclusions, including mental processes and social factors.
2. Differentiate between scientific explanations and non-scientific and pseudo-scientific explanations of phenomena, to compare skeptical, cynical, and gullible orientations to phenomena.
3. Explain the role of science literacy in our society as it relates to the development of healthy skepticism.
4. Generate proposals to use scientific tools to analyze popular claims, and recognize when scientific tools are correctly applied or misapplied to refute or support specific claims.
Course Offered Spring only