Critical Thinking Writing Assignment

There are many myths and much misunderstanding about psychology. The
purpose of this assignment is to think critically about a commonly held psychological belief that may in fact be false. 50 such myths were identified by
Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio, & Beyerstein and are listed below.
1. First, select one myth that you want to investigate from the list below.
2. Then research the claim. Find three reputable sources of information.
At least one source MUST BE a peer reviewed article from a psychology
journal. You can access NWACC’s research databases from the NWACC
Library’s website.
3. Finally, write a 3-page minimum double-spaced paper, following the
directions given below. All sources must be cited appropriately.
Address the following in your paper:
What is the myth you are looking into and why is this topic of interest?
Article Descriiptions
What does your research say about the topic related to the myth you
chose? Include a summary of each of the three sources you chose.
For the article from a psychology journal, describe the purpose of the
research described in the article. What are the authors trying to find out
(include their research hypothesis or research question(s))? How do the
authors arrive at their findings (describe research methods)? What do the
authors conclude about their study?
Critical Thinking
What did you discover about the myth from your literature research? Did
you confirm or debunk the myth? Why? Support your conclusion using
evidence from the sources you used for this essay.
Has your belief changed? Could you say there was not enough evidence to
debunk the myth or it appears as if there is some validity to the myth? If so,
support your this statement using evidence suggesting why the myth may
be valid.
Note on grading:
Papers will be graded on the content, including the depth of research, and
on evidence of critical thinking as well as on the delivery. Delivery will
include organization, an introduction and conclusion, flow, grammar,
spelling, and correct citations of sources.
Papers should be at least three
full pages of text in length.
Your paper should be written in your OWN WORDS–do not cut and paste
sections from the articles. Doing so is plagiarism and will result in a failing
grade. Information should be cited appropriately.
Psychology Myths

Myth #1 Most People Use Only 10% of Their Brain Power
Myth #2 Some People Are Left-Brained, Others Are Right-Brained
Myth #3 Extrasensory Perception (ESP) Is a Well-Established Scientific Phenomenon
Myth #4 Visual Perceptions Are Accompanied by Tiny Emissions from the Eyes
Myth #5 Subliminal Messages Can Persuade People to Purchase Products
Myth #6 Playing Mozart’s Music to Infants Boosts Their Intelligence
Myth #7 Adolescence Is Inevitably a Time of Psychological Turmoil
Myth #8 Most People Experience a Midlife Crisis in | 8 Their 40s or Early 50s
Myth #9 Old Age Is Typically Associated with Increased Dissatisfaction and Senility
Myth #10 When Dying, People Pass through a Universal Series of Psychological Stages
Myth #11 Human Memory Works like a Tape Recorder or Video Camera, and Accurate Events We’ve Experienced
Myth #12 Hypnosis Is Useful for Retrieving Memories of Forgotten Events
Myth #13 Individuals Commonly Repress the Memories of Traumatic Experiences
Myth #14 Most People with Amnesia Forget All Details of Their Earlier Lives
Myth #15 Intelligence (IQ) Tests Are Biased against Certain Groups of People
Myth #16 If You’re Unsure of Your Answer When Taking a Test, It’s Best to Stick with Your Initial Hunch
Myth #17 The Defining Feature of Dyslexia Is Reversing Letters
Myth #18 Students Learn Best When Teaching Styles Are Matched to Their Learning
Myth #19 Hypnosis Is a Unique “Trance” State that Differs in Kind from Wakefulness
Myth #20 Researchers Have Demonstrated that Dreams Possess Symbolic Meaning
Myth #21 People Can Learn Information, like New Languages, while Asleep
Myth #22 During “Out-of-Body” Experiences, People’s Consciousness Leaves Their Bodies
Myth #23 The Polygraph (“Lie Detector”) Test Is an Accurate Means of Detecting Dishonesty
Myth #24 Happiness Is Determined Mostly by Our External Circumstances
Myth #25 Ulcers Are Caused Primarily or Entirely by Stress
Myth #26 A Positive Attitude Can Stave off Cancer
Myth #27 Opposites Attract: We Are Most Romantically Attracted to People Who Differ from Us

Myth #28 There’s Safety in Numbers: The More People Present at an Emergency, the Greater the Chance that Someone Will Intervene
Myth #29 Men and Women Communicate in Completely Different Ways
Myth #30 It’s Better to Express Anger to Others than to Hold It in
Myth #31 Raising Children Similarly Leads to Similarities in Their Adult Personalities
Myth #32 The Fact that a Trait Is Heritable Means We can’t change it
Myth #33 Low Self-Esteem Is a Major Cause of Psychological Problems
Myth #34 Most People Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood Develop Severy personality Disturbances in Adulthood
Myth #35 People’s Responses to Inkblots Tell Us a Great Deal about Their Personalities
Myth #36 Our Handwriting Re veals Our Personality Traits 9
Myth #37 Psychiatric Labels Cause Harm by Stigmatizing People
Myth #38 Only Deeply Depressed People Commit Suicide
Myth #39 People with Schizophrenia Have Multiple Personalities
Myth #40 Adult Children of Alcoholics Display a Distinctive Profile of Symptoms
Myth #41 There’s Recently Been a Massive Epidemic of Infantile Autism
Myth #42 Psychiatric Hospital Admissions and Crimes Increase during Full Moons
Myth #43 Most Mentally Ill People Are Violent
Myth #44 Criminal Profiling Is Helpful in Solving Cases
Myth #45 A Large Proportion of Criminals Successfully Use the Insanity Defense
Myth #46 Virtually All People Who Confess to a Crime Are Guilty of It 11
Myth #47 Expert Judgment and Intuition Are the Best Means of Making ClinicalDecisions
Myth #48 Abstinence Is the Only Realistic Treatment Goal for Alcoholics Alcoholics
Myth #49 All Effective Psychotherapies Force People to Confront the “Root” Causes of Their Problems in Childhood

Myth #50 Electroconvulsive (“Shock”) Therapy Is a Physically Dangerous and Brutal Treatment
Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstain, B. L. (2009). 50 great myths about
popular psychology: Shattering widespread misconceptions about human behavior.
Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley & Sons, ltd., Publications. Retrieved May 26, 2016 and
downloadable from

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