Describe the situation in which you committed the error.
Social Thinking: Perceiving Persons
The key to earning a good grade is clearly explaining how your personal
experience relates to the textbook. The number of points each section is worth
can guide you in the amount of detail needed.
Go to Chapter 2 or 3.
1. Find one of the following errors that you have made: false-consensus
effect, false uniqueness effect, confirmation bias, counterfactual thinking,
illusory correlation, regression toward the average, belief perseverance,
or fundamental attribution error. If you do not use an error from that
list, you will not receive any credit!
2. Name the error. Copy, exactly as written, the definition of that error.
Enclose the definition in quotation marks. After the definition, in a
parenthesis, indicate on which page you found the definition, using APA
format: parentheses, lower case p, period, space, numbers (p. 123).
Describe the situation in which you committed the error. More details = more
points. [30 points]
Explain how your thinking and behavior in that situation relate to the
definition. (Assume the reader of your paper does not have a degree in social
psychology and needs to have that connection explained very clearly. It might
help to incorporate some the definition’s key words in your explanation.) [40
1. When were you able to correct the faulty thinking that you described in
Part 2? Did it happen right after the event, or did it take a while for you
to realize your mistake? (If you just realized it after reading this chapter
that is OK.)
2. Describe how you came to realize that you were wrong. [10 points]
Explain how this realization changed your thinking and behavior. How might
you think and act differently in the future if you were to experience a similar
situation? Do not repeat what you did in the past (Part 4). Look ahead to the
possibility that you will find yourself in a similar, but not identical, situation.
Again, not a situation exactly like the one you just described. How are you
going to use what you learned in a similar, but different, situation? [10 points]
Grammar and Spelling
Correct all spelling and grammar errors before you submit your file, or you will
lose points. Deductions ranging from 5 to 30 points will be taken for excessive
grammar and spelling errors. In extreme cases, a paper will be returned,
ungraded, for editing, subject to a late penalty. At a minimum, set the
grammar/spell checker in your word processor to its most strict level. Better
yet, online tutors can be found using the (?)Help icon on the first screen you
see after logging on. Click HCC Tutoring Resources. If you use the online
UpSwing tutors submit your file to the Psychology tutor, who will check the
content and then forward your paper to the English Department tutor for a
A brief example
Yours should be longer and more detailed than this if you want a decent grade.
Part 1: Counterfactual thinking is defined as “abc….lmn……xyz.” (p. 635).
Part 2: I didn’t start swimming competitively until the 10th grade. (At the time,
many years ago, my high school was only 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.)
During my first swimming season, my times for the 100-yard butterfly
improved greatly, dropping over 20 seconds. During my second year (11th
grade) I also experienced dramatic improvement, over 10 seconds. Therefore,
at the beginning of my senior year I truly believed that I could improve by 6 or
7 seconds, enough to win the state championship in my event. I even included
that prediction in all the college applications I sent off! Unfortunately, I barely
improved that year, less than 2 seconds. Moreover, those improvements did
not happen until the last two weeks of the season. Prior to any real
improvement, it was very common that after a disappointing swim meet, I
mentally relived the race with my time quite a bit faster than it had been! To
make matters worse, my times got slower the more stress I experienced.
Part 3: This fits the definition of counterfactual thinking because
Part 4: Just before the end of swimming season, when my coach and I
identified the flaw in my stroke that had been slowing me down, it became
clear that fantasizing about winning was not enough. Reliving those events,
with a better outcome, did not do anything to make me a faster swimmer.
Identifying the flaw in my stroke and changing my behavior made a difference.
Part 5: When I swam in college, I knew to expect to improve only a few
seconds each season. That relieved a lot of stress and my stroke did not
[This could also have been written up as regression toward the average (aka
regression to the mean) as my extreme improvements would naturally have
been followed by more conservative, lesser, improvements