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Tips for Becoming a Consumer of Psychology
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Claims that "this worked for me, so it must work for you!"
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Tips for Becoming a Consumer of Psychology
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Hi I'm Hollie Hancock, here with About.com to give you some tips for becoming a wiser and more informed consumer of psychology. This information can also be found on the About.com website on their psychology page.Every one, at some point in their life, has been a consumer of psychology. Well you can say that I've never been to a therapist, I've never been to a counselor. Well, really you have been influenced and have been experienced in being a consumer of psychology for your whole life. So how do you, knowing that you are constantly being bombarded with information, become a more informed consumer of psychology? Where is the information concerning the research coming from? We've all been caught up in those sensational claims about a new diet, a new product or the latest get rich quick scheme.Be careful of those sensational claims of new research, and new products. Sometimes only certain aspects of the research study are reported by the news media and other outlets. Important other information is often left out, leaving consumers with only part of the information necessary to evaluate the research, or to make a decision about the product.Next, what about how the research was conducted? Were specific psychological research methods, which are very specific, employed for that study? As a consumer of psychology, understanding basic research methods is helpful in determining the validity of a research study. For example, how were the participants selected for the study? Understanding this information alone gives you great insight in to the research methods employed. Moving on, claims that "this worked for me, so it must work for you!" should be interpreted with great caution. Anecdotal stories may serve as motivation for some, and may get you off the couch to click onto the web or to pick up the phone and call and order the product but often are not indicative of sound psychological research.Finally, understanding correlation and causation in research is a great tool for the informed consumer of psychology. Correlating data is defined as a mutual relationship between two or more things being studied. For example: Studies may find a positive correlation between the severity of illness in a patient and the nutritional status of the patient. How ill the patient is correlates to their eating habits. Sounds logical, right? But is nutritional status of a patient the cause of the severity of illness in the patients? Probably not.Causation is the process of causing something to happen. While there is correlation between illness and nutritional status, nutritional status may not be the primary or sole cause of the illness. Becoming an informed consumer of psychology is a great way of understanding what information is considered valid research and what information is "just fluff." We do have to be careful about what information we take as truth and that which is just, well, embellished.
I'm Hollie Hancock with About.com. For more information, visit us online.
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