BackgroundOne of the most fascinating aspects of psychology is that it is about

BackgroundOne of the most fascinating aspects of psychology is that it is about “us.” It explores human behavior from perspectives as disparate as neural transmission to memory processes to social interactions. While it certainly doesn’t provide all the answers for why we behave as we do, it can offer us insight into some of our most perplexing and least understood behaviors.At the end of last year, Americans were excited about the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.These vaccines promised to bring an end to the awful pandemic that was ravaging the U.S. While there was an encouraging drop in infections/deaths during the first half of 2021, COVID-19 is now surging again. Some public health experts are saying it could even surpass its peak levels of last winter. Ironically, while the COVID-19 vaccines are readily available and have proven to be tremendously successful in fighting the virus, estimates are that approximately 30% of adults have yet to be vaccinated. The question is, if the vaccines could help us bring an end to the suffering and death caused by the pandemic, why has a significant percentage of the population decided not to receive the shot. This “vaccine hesitancy” is a behavioral choice, and the psychology subdiscipline of cognitive psychology (particularly, decision making) can offer some insights into answering this question. Although we’ll study cognitive psychology in greater detail during the semester, the purpose of this activity is to have you explore how cognitive psychology can be applied to help us understand a human behavior that is front and center in today’s world. One final point: it is not the purpose of this exercise to place value judgments on vaccine hesitancy – i.e., whether it is right or wrong. The goal is to see how this behavioral choice can be explained using psychological principles.Questions and Tasks 1. (3 points) Research the cognitive psychology concept of omission bias. Once you have done so, write a short definition of the term. Next, construct a 1-3 sentence “quote” from a vaccine hesitant person that clearly illustrates the usage of omission bias to reconcile their decision not to receive the vaccine.2. (3 points) Research the cognitive psychology concept of confirmation bias. Once you have done so, write a short definition of the term. Next, construct a 1-3 sentence “quote” from a vaccine hesitant person that clearly illustrates the usage of confirmation bias to reconcile their decision not to receive the vaccine.3. (3 points) Research the cognitive psychology concept of the availability heuristic. Once you have done so, write a short definition of the term. Next, construct a 1-3 sentence “quote” from a vaccine hesitant person that clearly illustrates the usage of the availability heuristic to reconcile their decision not to receive the vaccine.4. (2 points) While the three concepts above have been studied for many years, they have taken on significant importance in our current world, where social media have increased the amount, availability and accessibility of information (and disinformation). Pick one of the three concepts and explain how its impact has been heightened through the popularity of social media.
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