Monday, November 24, 2014

HOW TO DEBUNK FALSEHOODS, TRIPPLE READING TASK


“Fed up with futile internet arguments, a bunch of psychologists investigated how best to correct false ideas. Tom Stafford discovers how to debunk properly”
By: To Stafford
Level of difficulty:***
Note to the student: This activity comprises three related texts, the first and second of which are easier than the third – level *** - but the last one of which is difficult. The first two texts will, however, help with the last one making it easier to tackle. The writing task is tough too but should become easier if the reading activities are properly covered.
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Why do we cling to misguided opinions?
·         How can people be persuaded to give up cherished opinions?
·         Is it possible to change convictions?
TEXT 1: HOW TO DEBUNK FALSEHOODS 
QUESTIONS:
1.       Stephen Lewandowsky and John Cook’s purpose in carrying out their experiments was to try and discover ………………………………………….(2 answers, find both)
2.       Why do people cling to wrong beliefs despite evidence to the contrary? Because of…………………..
3.       The…………you know a person, the……………the backfire effect.
4.       In saying “Beliefs don’t work like that”, the writer means we can’t get people to abandon wrong ideas by only……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
5.       Johnson and Steifert proved in their experiments that……………………………………………………………….
6.       At what point in the discussion does the plausible alternative need to be mentioned?
TEXT 2: THE BEST WAY TO WIN AN ARGUMENT
By: Tom Stafford
Level of difficulty:***
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the first paragraph of the text. What effect does this approach have?
2.       Acc. To Rozenblitt and Keil, the reason for the illusion of explanatory depth is the fact that …………………………..
3.       The cognitive miser theory holds that:
·         Our understanding of an issue may, in fact, be shallow
·         We feel it is more efficient to take mental shortcuts
·         It takes a special understanding to prove how wrong we are about our understanding
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
4.       Read Fernbach’s experiment carefully to the end. Why did those who provided reasons for their views remain sure that they were right? Because they didn’t………………………………………………….
TEXT 3: WHAT’S THE EVIDENCE ON USING RATIONAL ARGUMENT TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS?
By: Tom Stafford
Level of Difficulty: **** However, if the other two tasks, text 1 and text 2, are covered first, this will become easier.
QUESTIONS
1.       Read down as far as “Fortunately, as a cognitive scientist…” According to this section,
·         People are influenced by appearances T / F
·         There is a biological explanation for most mental activities. T / F
·         Our daily actions are similar to those of a skilled actor. T / F
·         We are rational beings. T / F
·         Personal characteristics and intuition play an important role in our lives. T / F
2.       We can surmise from the same section that the author thinks we are rational / irrational beings.
3.       Read the section on persuasion carefully. The fact that we twist arguments was verified in the capital punishment experiment because…………………………………………………………………………………….
4.       The above result proves the existence of……………………………………………………………………………………..
5.       The capital punishment experiment, the climate change experiment and others like it prove that humans are rational beings because the subjects in the said experiments are
·         Well educated and well read adults
·         Psychology students
·         Randomly selected participants with specific views
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
6.       The writer considers the fact that the views of the subjects in the experiment didn’t change to be proof of ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
7.       Richard Petty’s experiment showed that it wasn’t ………………………….but………………………….that determined whether people changed their minds. The take home point from this research is that ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
8.       What is the reason for the popularity of the Wason Selection task and similar tasks testing the power of argument?
9.       The success rate on the Wason selection task is closely linked to: mark as many as you see fit.
·         The number of members in the group
·         Collaboration
·         Time allowed
·         Cooperation
10.   Why is social loafing not observed in experiments using mathematical problems?
11.   From experiments on “illusion of explanatory depth” we understand that ……………………………..is confused with……………………………………………………………
12.   Statistical reasons have been found to be more ineffective in changing opinions because they lack……………………………………………………………………………
13.   Why do you think the explanations group was more likely to shift their position compared to the reasons group? Open ended.
14.   Both in the case of the explanations group and deliberative polling ……………………………..are impossible and people end up with less entrenched views as they are…………………………………..
15.   What does “This theory” in the phrase “This theory connects with that of another important theorist of rationality” refer to? There are two answers, find both.
16.   What conclusion does the writer himself draw from Cialdiani’s “six factors which can help persuade other people”?
17.   Read Singer’s opinions to the end. A moral argument requires objectivity because……………………
18.   Acting completely objectively to persuade others can have two possible consequences. These are: ……………………………..
19.   The writer asks a question in the conclusion. What’s his answer? How do you know?
WRITING TASK
Based on all you have read, do you think humans are rational creatures or rationalizing creatures? Write an essay in which you defend your own opinions and refute the counter arguments.

HOW TO DEBUNK FALSEHOODS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This is a relatively straight forward article yet it is vital it be covered carefully in preparation for text3, which is tough. If carefully analyzed, these three texts will lead to a very challenging essay task.
  1. A right way to correct someone when they believe something is wrong; OR, practical evidence based techniques for correcting misinformation.
  2. The backfire effect
  3. Less, greater
  4. Telling people the evidence for the truth
  5. Debunkers need to work with the fact psychological factors affect how we process information if they want the best chance of being believed.
  6. At the beginning
THE BEST WAY TO WIN AN ARGUMENT KEY
1.       The persons on the receiving end hardens their existing position
2.       We mistake our familiarity with things for the belief that we understand how something works when in fact…
3.       All of the above
4.       Explain how the policy they were advocating would work.
TEXT 3: WHAT’S THE EVIDENCE ON USING RATIONAL ARGUMENT TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS? KEY
1.       T, T, T, F, F
2.       Rational
3.       The people who had pro-death penalty views found flaws and biases in anti death penalty views and vice versa. OR, the participants in the experiments ended up with more extreme views than they started with.
4.       The biased assimilation effect
5.       1, 2
6.       Rationality
7.       The strength of the argument but the involvement of the subjects; strong arguments can be persuasive but only when people are motivated to deliberate on the issue
8.       There is a right answer
9.       Collaboration and cooperation
10.   Groups in these experiments have a common goal, trust each other and are committed to the task. Furthermore, the solutions can be demonstrated to be correct.
11.   The ease with which we interact with these systems / our own knowledge
12.   Explanations, causal reasons
13.   Possible answer: The explanations group has to think in detail as opposed to just rattling off some reasons
14.   Knee-jerk reactions/ better informed, more willing to compromise and more aware of nuances
15.   That reason evolved to convince other people in arguments; the purpose of reason is to persuade others that we are right
16.   Maybe relying on these factors to judge whether you should be persuaded can lead to irrational mistakes, but in the long term, they might help distinguish more rational from less rational arguments.
17.   You need to advance a rule that the other people can agree to
18.   It can come back to bite you; it might even lead to conclusions you didn’t expect when you first formulated them
19.   A rational animal; reason has a quiet power








Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WHO WERE THE NEANDERTHALS? DESCRIPTION


Do your research and write a descriptive essay in which you explain who exactly our Neanderthal grandfathers really were.
Extinct human species
10 Mysterious extinct human species https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwQWNpgdP6U
Warm up: Song
·         “Love Story – Neanderthal man” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGWaP7Q5vCI
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Neanderthal man”  https://prezi.com/9lgaogvwrmgc/neanderthal-man/
·         “Neanderthal man”  https://prezi.com/ajgimk-g2v63/neanderthal-man/  
Reading material to annotate:
·         “Neanderthals may have been artists too” http://www.history.com/news/neanderthals-may-have-been-artists-too
·         “What does it mean to be human? Homo Neanderthalensis” http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-neanderthalensis
Documentaries to watch and make notes on:
·         Nova: Decoding Neanderthals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTMEDQmfOLk
·         Neanderthal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_TVm2zKqJc

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE CAUSES OF SHYNESS


Shyness is a debilitating personal problem that has drastic effects on the sufferers’ relationships, social and work life causing them to miss opportunities and suffer in silence. What are the causes of this problem and how can it be tackled? Do your research and write an essay.
This task was prepared by my student Gamze Karabacak
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Shyness” https://prezi.com/elom_cyolptb/shyness/
·         “Overcoming shyness”  https://prezi.com/3wodjzpjyefj/overcoming-shyness/  
Reading material to annotate: causes
·         “Causes of Shyness” http://www.social-anxiety-shyness-info.com/shyness/causes.htm
·         “Shyness – meeting people” http://www.shyness-meeting-people.com/causes-of-shyness.html
·         “Biological / social causes behind anxiety and shyness” http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f26/biological-social-causes-behind-shyness-and-social-anxiety-28067/  
·         “Shyness” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shyness
Videos to watch and make notes on: solutions
·         “Shyness: mistake in how to overcome shyness and social anxiety” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMmlahznXPE
·         “How to overcome shyness – transform yourself into an extrovert” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMIRR_vT0Xc

·         “How to overcome shyness” http://findsocialfreedom.com/  

TELL THE HORRIFIC STORY OF THE LIVE ORCA TRADE


Killer whales, or orcas, are big business in places like sea world where millions go to watch them every day. This being the case, stocking these centers with whales is also big business. Do your research and tell the horrific story of the trade in killer whales.

Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Heart breaking real life catching of orcas” http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/orca-capture/ 

Reading material to read and make notes on:
·         “A whale of a business” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/whales/keiko/world.html
·         “ A surge in wild orca capture for killer whale shows” http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Orcas-Captured-In-the-Wild-for-Aquariums-and-Water-Parks.html
“One man’s efforts to rescue killer whales helps shift tides in orca’s favor” http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/killer-whale-captor-rescuer/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

Videos to watch and make notes on:
“2 Videos catch wild orcas at play with people” http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/2-videos-catch-wild-orcas-at-play-with-people

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TELL THE STORY OF THE INQUSITIONS


We have all heard of the infamous inquisitions of the middle ages but what exactly were they? Why were they established? Why were they allowed to continue for three hundred years? Do your research and find out; then write an essay.
We owe this interesting activity to my friend and colleague Çiğdem Dalay
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “The Inquisition – world history” https://prezi.com/urrwa6g3p0l2/the-inquisition-world-history/  
Reading material to annotate: less challenging alternatives
·         “What were the Inquisitions?” http://www.gotquestions.org/inquisitions.html
·         “The horrors of the Church and its holy Inquisition” http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican29.htm Make sure to check the links.
Reading material to annotate: more challenging alternatives
·         “A brief history of the Inquisition” http://www.ironmaidencommentary.com/?url=album10_xfactor/inquisition&lang=eng&link=albums
Documentary to watch and make notes on:

·         “Spanish Inquisition documentary” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwWXEV7MHgc

Monday, November 10, 2014

TELL THE STORY OF THE TOTEM POLE


The Totem Pole is seen as a hall mark of Indian culture but what exactly does it symbolize? Do your research and write the story of the Totem Pole.
This is a simple writing task
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Amazing Totem Poleshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=648gwElcPzU
·         An introduction to the Totem Poles at Sitka Natural History Park” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHmdDzMc_fA
Reading material to annotate:
·         “Totem Poles” http://www.indians.org/articles/totem-poles.html
·         “Totem Pole Basicshttp://users.imag.net/~sry.jkramer/nativetotems/basics.htm
Videos to watch and make notes on:

·         “Art and Story in Totem Poleshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lht4XGkk0k

TELL THE STORY OF HAMMURABI’S CODE


Societies need regulation in order to enjoy peace and prosperity and this can be provided through laws. Some of the first written laws were produced by Hammurabi and was called Hammurabi’s code. Do your research and tell the story of this famous legal document.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Hammurabi’s Code of Law” https://prezi.com/mrbk-5i-x-j4/hammurabis-code-of-law/ 
·         “Hammurabi’s Code” https://prezi.com/2snxuicfjbvd/hammurabis-code/
·         “Hammurabi’s Code” https://prezi.com/vpv4av8bw5ol/hammurabis-code/   
Reading material to annotate
·         “8 Things you may not know about Hammurabi’s Code” http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-hammurabis-code
·         “Hammurabi of Babylon: Code, Summary, Stele” http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/hammurabi-of-babylon-code-summary-stele.html#lesson
·         “Hammurabi” http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/hammurabi
·         “Hammurabi’s code: an eye for an eye” http://www.ushistory.org/civ/4c.asp 
Videos to watch and annotate:
·         “Turning points in history – Hammurabi’s code of law” This video can be used to help write the introduction and conclusion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDALXORbtR4
  • Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications

Thursday, November 6, 2014

TELL THE STORY OF THE ROMAN GLADIATORS


You have watched the Oscar winning film “Gladiator” and are familiar with the famous Asterix comics where you got to know the gladiators but what is there real story? Do your research and separate fact from fiction in an essay where you tell their story.
Introduction:
·         “The Roman gladiators” https://prezi.com/r0a5idkrct1z/the-roman-gladiators/   
·         “The Roman gladiators” https://prezi.com/lructpjiz0tw/the-roman-gladiators/  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Facts about gladiators” http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/gladiators/facts-about-gladiators.htm
Reading material to annotate:
·         “10 Things you may not know about Roman gladiators” http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-roman-gladiators
·         “The Roman Gladiator” http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/gladiators/gladiators.html This is a more challenging text.
·         “Roman Gladiators” http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/romans/games/circus.htm This is pre intermediate level
·         “Roman gladiators”  http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/romeslavery/p/Gladiators.htm This pre intermediate in level
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Coliseum - A Gladiator's Storyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0fRqc_pChY This is a BBC production.
  Gladiator games – The Roman blood sport” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcakhIXwDc

TELL THE STORY OF THE PRAETORIAN GUARDS


This is a simple and straightforward writing task
The Praetorian Guards were an elite unit in the Roman army charged with very special duties. Do your research and find out who exactly they were and what duties they performed.
Familiarize yourself with the subject:
·         “Copy of the Praetorian Guard” https://prezi.com/qp2tmxyu_7mg/copy-of-the-praetorian-guard/  
Reading material to annotate:
·         “8 Things you may not know about The Praetorian Guards” http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-praetorian-guard
·         “Praetorian Guard” http://www.unrv.com/military/praetorian-guard.php

·         “Praetorian Guard” http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-army/praetorian-guard.htm

TELL THE STORY OF THE MING DYNASTY OF CHINA


The Ming Dynasty is responsible for some incredible achievements in Chinese history but who were they? What exactly did they achieve? Do your research and tell their story.
Reading material to annotate: history
·         “7 Things you may not know about the Ming dynasty” http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-ming-dynasty
·         “Ming Dynasty” http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/ming.htm Pay special attention to the table at the end.
Familiarize yourself with the achievements:
·         “Ming dynasty achievements” https://prezi.com/b1wqqly6tp6y/ming-dynasty-achievements/ 
Reading material to annotate: achievements
·         “Ming dynasty achievements” http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/ming.htm Simple
·         “Ming Dynasty” http://www.chinatour360.com/history/ming-dynasty/ Slightly harder
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “The Ming Dynasty” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T_fFz9Ow8k

·         “Chinese Civilization – The Ming Dynasty – Part 1” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DJkE3zh6RE&list=PLI2KJjJBPiGWXwugWcnMAe8T6XUHHludj  There are plenty of videos on the Ming dynasty listed here; watch as many or as few as you like.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

CREATING MORE SUSTAINABLE CITIES; PROBLEM AND SOLUTION ESSAY


For the first time in history, the majority of the world population is living in large metropolises; a trend which is expected to continue in the future. This being the case, the future of cities in terms of the quality of life they provide is an issue that should be addressed. Do your research and write an essay in which you highlight the possible problems and suggest solutions.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
Interactive chart
Reading material to annotate:
·         “Sustainable Cities” http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/cities.asp
·          “5 Green Cities of the Future” http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/5-green-future-cities.htm
·         “5 Propositions for Sustainable Future Cities” http://www.futurecities.ethz.ch/fclnews/propositions/
Video’s to watch and make notes on:
·         “The Shareable Future of Cities” http://www.ted.com/talks/alex_steffen  
·         Gothenburg, a Super Sustainable City.

·         “Smart Sustainable Cities” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNNHw4DJ02Y

“Dense is the new smart” http://www.theatlantic.com/video/sponsored/382021/dense-is-the-new-smart

Monday, November 3, 2014

WHAT IS VOODOO? DEFINITION ESSAY


Voodoo has been much maligned in films and television series; especially, crime dramas, action films, adventure films and horror films. Yet thousands of people adhere to its precepts. What is voodoo really all about? What is just fiction and what are the facts? Do your research and find out.
What is Voodoo?
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Voodoo” http://prezi.com/uzsu9rsi6fhw/voodoo/ 
·         “Voodoo”  http://prezi.com/tyy5d6j0egf-/voodoo/ 
Reading material to annotate:
·         What is Voodoo? Understanding a Misunderstood Religion
·         Voodoo a Legitimate Religion, Anthropologist Says
Documentaries to watch and make notes on:
·         “Voodoo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtKpkm7xYi8

There are other wonderful documentaries on voodoo which you might access but they are not for the faint hearted.