Monday, June 22, 2015

"I Knew It All Along" Phenomenon

Today is my first day at Cornell University. I woke up at 6 o'clock in the morning, and then I slept for a while, and woke up at 7 o'clock, and repeated the same pattern until I left my room at 8 o'clock. I left the room to go eat at RPCC with Melissa, Rachel, and Jessica. I really don't know why I woke up so early because my psychology course starts at 10 AM. Either way, I ate breakfast and had time to help Rachel find her class. To be honest, her class was on a pretty steep incline that I was huffing and puffing. When we finally reached the building, we walked up two flights of stairs to try to find her classroom.

After dropping her off, I went back to the dorms to find myself getting ready for class. I decided to meet Lucy at RPCC to go to Goldwin Smith Hall to room 142. When entering the room, I saw that students were already seated in the second row and beyond, yet no one sat in the first row. We walked to the back, to find Reese, who I met yesterday at the cafeteria. I remembered his name, and suggested that he should sit in the first row with us. The classroom we were in was a bit hot, and the seats were pretty crowded together. Then, Professor Gilovich entered in the classroom to set up his power point. Some people trickled into the classroom, and we waited until everyone came, or what I thought was everyone. I don't remember exactly when we started, but we started our class by introducing the teacher assistants who will be helping us, and who will be teaching us at 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. We are separated into four sections, in which one T.A. teaches the course. I am in Section 3, which means that my T.A. is Steve Strycharz. The class topic today was the study of illusory correlation . During class, Professor Gilovich showed us pictures, videos, and studies.One of our topics today was "hot hand," an illusion that seems as if basketball players have a streak shot; however, studies have proven that it is unlikely for players to have a consecutive shots in a row. For example, seeing a game of Stephen Curry's shots seems like it shows streak shooting, but that's false. Let's look at the O's and X's that show a miss and a shot, OXXXOXXXOXXOOOXOOXXOO. These shots look clustered together, but it is a 50/50 chance to  make or miss the shot. Research has proven that streak shooting is an illusion, but if the perspective was from the coach's point of view then the coach would believe that the studies are irrelevant. We also discussed how our minds like to find order, and that's why our minds try really hard to find any correlation or pattern to unrelated studies. For instance, the yearly death rate is correlated with the percentage of marriages in churches. There is no real connection, but our minds still believe that there is. He also showed us a bunch of pictures that had faces on them, or what we think were faces. It was fun to be in the class because I did learn a lot from this class. We went into more detail about seeing order in random and confusing correlation with causation, and tomorrow we will discuss confirmation bias and hidden data problem.

At 11:15 AM, we packed our bags to go to our assigned Section room. I am in Uris 262, which is a walk down the street from Goldwin Smith. There, I met students from Section 3 and 2. Section 2 was with us today because their T.A., Ethan, had his flight cancelled so they were with us for the period. Steve is a nice person, who helped me understand the purpose of the sections. The sections are meant for us to ask questions, talk about selected topics in Social Psychology, and review for the quizzes and test. The goals of taking The Individual in the Social World is to introduce us to Social Psychology and Psychology as a science, to think critically, and to help us prepare for college. Our class ended early, but it consisted of an ice breaker, a questionnaire, an introduction to psychology, and a practice problem. One topic that we learned was hindsight bias, or the "I Knew It All Along" Phenomenon. This leads to overconfidence in predictions, such as it is studied in Vallone et al(1990). This study basically asked college students if they would drop a course, vote in the upcoming election, and call their parents more than twice a week. Out of 100% of people who were confident, the actual yield was 80%. We also looked at moral dilemmas such as the train dilemma and the incest dilemma. We didn't go into detail about the train dilemma which is if you would kill one person to save five people. The incest dilemma was between to siblings who agreed to try having sex together, and agreed to never do it again or to tell anybody. The sister used the birth control pills and the guy used a condom, just to be certain that they will not have a child. Is this right, or wrong? I said that it was okay, because I am a not in their shoes. I would personally not do this with my brother, but I don't have a major problem with this situation. They are not having a child, they are not harming anybody, they agreed that it would be interesting. Some students believed this was wrong, and then Steve brought up a good point. People justify their answers through reasons and cognition; if they don't like something, or disagree with it, then they will find answers that counter questions. We ended with a practice problem, and soon went to bookstore.

I went to the bookstore with Sophie, my classmate from Section 3, Reese, and Frank. Sophie had to buy something there, so Reese and I decided to check out the store. I was planning a checklist in my mind, and decided what to get for my friends. The key chains there are really adorable, so I know that I will be giving them Cornell key chains as souvenirs. After a few minutes, Lucy texted me to ask me where I was. I replied by saying that I was at the bookstore, and she came down from Uris Hall to meet us. When she arrived, Reese, Lucy, Frank, and I decided to eat lunch at Kennedy Hall; Sophie didn't come with us because she was meeting her friend from Cornell.

Walking back from Lunch
Lunch for the weekdays are held at Kennedy Hall. The system there is that you get your food first, and then you swipe your Cornell ID to pay for it. There is a limit to how much food you can get, I believe that it is 10.10 before taxes. There are a larger variety at Kennedy Hall than at the RPCC. I enjoyed eating my burrito with the three of them, and soon we headed toward the dormitory.

At North Campus, I decided to hang out with Lucy, Frank, and Reese. We decided to a card game called "Big 2," which is a strategy game to get rid of your deck. The two of spades is the highest card, and doubles, royal flushes, and singles are allowed. We played for an hour and then started on our homework at 3:30 PM. I started working on my blog first, and I am planning to start reading my book afterwards. I have to read two chapters, and I am still nervous thinking about the quiz this Friday. Hopefully I get a good grade for this course, hopefully.

At 6 o'clock, I decided to go to the RPCC to grab a bite to eat. After eating, Chan-Law decided to come and give us a mandatory meeting. In the meeting we talked about blogging everyday, our trip to Niagara Falls or Cooperstown, and when we will meet at the RPCC at 7:15 PM. It was a very quick meeting, and I left to the dorms to finish my blogs.

As I end this blog, I will be doing work for my psychology class. It has been interesting so far, and I can't wait to learn more about social psychology as we move on in the course. I have already met more people today, and have seen old faces. I can't wait to see what impact and influence this course has when I return home.

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