behavioral science
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Colleen M. Seifert ◽  
Michael Harrington ◽  
Audrey L. Michal ◽  
Priti Shah

AbstractWhen reasoning about science studies, people often make causal theory errors by inferring or accepting a causal claim based on correlational evidence. While humans naturally think in terms of causal relationships, reasoning about science findings requires understanding how evidence supports—or fails to support—a causal claim. This study investigated college students’ thinking about causal claims presented in brief media reports describing behavioral science findings. How do science students reason about causal claims from correlational evidence? And can their reasoning be improved through instruction clarifying the nature of causal theory error? We examined these questions through a series of written reasoning exercises given to advanced college students over three weeks within a psychology methods course. In a pretest session, students critiqued study quality and support for a causal claim from a brief media report  suggesting an association between two variables. Then, they created diagrams depicting possible alternative causal theories. At the beginning of the second session, an instructional intervention introduced students to an extended example of a causal theory error through guided questions about possible alternative causes. Then, they completed the same two tasks with new science reports immediately and again 1 week later. The results show students’ reasoning included fewer causal theory errors after the intervention, and this improvement was maintained a week later. Our findings suggest that interventions aimed at addressing reasoning about causal claims in correlational studies are needed even for advanced science students, and that training on considering alternative causal theories may be successful in reducing casual theory error.

2022 ◽  
Raea Rasmussen ◽  
David Levari ◽  
Muna Akhtar ◽  
Chelsea Crittle ◽  
Megan Gately ◽  

Norton and Sommers (2011) assessed Black and White Americans’ perceptions of anti-Black and anti-White bias across the previous six decades—from the 1950s to the 2000s. They presented two key findings: White (but not Black) respondents perceived decreases in anti-Black bias to be associated with increases in anti-White bias, signaling the perception that racism is a zero-sum game; White respondents rated anti-White bias as more pronounced than anti-Black bias in the 2000s, signaling the perception that they were losing the zero-sum game. We collected new data to examine whether the key findings would be evident nearly a decade later, and whether political ideology would moderate perceptions. Liberal, moderate, and conservative White (but not Black) Americans alike believed that racism is a zero-sum game. Liberal White Americans saw racism as a zero-sum game they were winning by a lot, moderate White Americans saw it as a game they were winning by only a little, and conservative White Americans saw it as a game they were losing. This work has clear implications for public policy and behavioral science, and lays the groundwork for future research that examines to what extent racial differences in perceptions of racism by political ideology are changing over time.

2022 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
pp. 233372142110573
Mary L. Greaney ◽  
Zachary J. Kunicki ◽  
Meghan M. Drohan ◽  
Caitlin C. Nash ◽  
Steven A. Cohen

Sleep is an integral component of health. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep quality among informal caregivers, individuals who provide unpaid care or assistance to family members or friends, assisting older adults is not well understood. Therefore, informal caregivers in the United States providing care for individuals aged 50+ were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online platform for enrolling study participants into social and behavioral science research, to complete an online survey. The sample of informal caregivers ( n = 835) was 69% male and 55% non-Hispanic. Multivariable linear regression models were constructed to assess the associations between sleep disturbance scores (SDS) and sleep-related impairment scores (SIS) and caregiving-related measures (hours caregiving/week, length of time spent caregiving, and caregiver burden), demographics, and region of the United States. The analysis determined that Black (β = 2.6, 95% CI [−4.3, −0.9]) and Asian informal caregivers (β = −1.8, 95% CI [−3.4, −0.3]) had lower mean SIS than White caregivers, the referent group. In addition, increasing caregiver burden was associated with increased SDS (β = 0.8, 95% CI [0.6, 1.0]) and SIS (β = 1.3, 95% CI [0.7, 1.6]). In conclusion, higher caregiver burden was associated with higher SIS and SDS, suggesting that informal caregivers' sleep should be assessed, and when needed interventions should be offered.

2022 ◽  
Vol 9 (1) ◽  
pp. 1-7
Pham et al. ◽  

Human sexual behavior research is a multidisciplinary endeavor that seeks to comprehend one of the most vital and complex aspects of our behavioral science. This study aimed to investigate Vietnamese university students' perception of sexual knowledge as well as the relationship between gender, academic year, and sexual orientation. The questionnaire was sent to 666 Vietnamese undergraduate students in four universities which 418 respondents were considered valid for research purposes. The study results showed that there was a significant difference among the four study groups of different (1) academic year; (2) sexual orientations; (3) gender and academic year level; (4) academic year and sexual orientation; (5) gender, academic year, and sexual orientation level when considered jointly on the variables of the three aspects of the Sex knowledge and Attitude Questionnaire II. However, there was no reciprocal relationship between (6) gender; (7) gender, and sexual orientation level. The findings of this study will have implications for school policies that attempt to promote and maintain a positive school climate in an effort to address the issue of sexuality education, including sexual knowledge.

Jane Howe ◽  
Alex Henderson ◽  
Jennifer Nachshen ◽  
Sarah Reid

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