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In a Word document, evaluate three of the following scenarios:
1. Your newspaper reports the results of an experiment a student at Franklin University performed to test the effects of a special healthy diet on the cholesterol content of chicken eggs. The student obtained a total of 20 chickens from two different breeders. One half of the chickens were fed his special healthy diet while the other half were fed a diet of standard chicken feed. The student found that the eggs from the group of chickens fed the special healthy diet had lower levels of cholesterol when compared to the eggs from the other group (fed the standard diet). The student now wants to market his special healthy diet. Do you see any potential problems with this study? Please explain.
2. Imagine that you are a researcher at a major environmental science university. You are considered a leading authority on a disease that is caused by a particular environmental problem and you have been studying it for the past 25 years. Because of this, a major pharmaceutical company hires you to help them determine whether a new drug they’re developing will cure this disease. Being busy with your own research, you ask a couple of your new graduate students to devise an experiment to test the potential effectiveness of the drug. The students quickly come up with an idea: they suggest that you treat 100 patients with the drug at two different dosages, and then follow the patients for a year to see how many recover. Do you think this is a good experiment? Why or why not?
3. For years, representatives of the tobacco industry claimed that there was no proof that cigarette smoking caused cancer, despite the fact that more than 40 studies on people and numerous studies on lab animals showed a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Most of the studies on humans correct for other factors that might cause lung cancer such as exposure to cancer-causing chemical pollutants in the workplace. Why did representatives from the tobacco industry claim there was no proof that smoking caused lung cancer? How would you have responded to their assertion? Can a study be devised to prove the connection? What critical thinking attributes are helpful in evaluating this scenario?
4. Many people believe that subliminal tapes can enhance a person’s memory, self-esteem, concentration, and vocabulary. If you search the Internet, you will find what appears to be valid research that supports these beliefs. Psychologists decided to test this hypothesis. They gave one group of subjects a subliminal tape designed to improve memory. The other group received a tape that supposedly improved self-esteem. Each group was told the purpose of the tape. A month later, the researchers polled each group, and, sure enough, those who received the memory tape reported enhanced memory. Those who received the self-esteem tape reported higher self-esteem. Pretty convincing? What’s wrong with this conclusion?
5. Many people believe in ESP, extrasensory perception, the ability to perceive things by a sense outside our conventional senses (hearing, seeing, etc.). Given you are curious about ESP, you decided to learn more and went to an organization specializing in ESP. When you arrived, you happened upon an experiment already underway. The experiment asked individuals to discern the shapes another person was looking at. That person, the sender, was supposed to concentrate on the shape while the other person, the receiver, was supposed to concentrate on the sender’s forehead and attempt to “sense” what the sender was viewing. The instructor told the group to identify 25 cards; individuals should correctly identify 5 out of 25 cards by chance. That’s because there is a one in five chance of guessing each card correctly. He went on to say that anyone who identifies 7 or more cards correctly has ESP. In the present group, three people correctly identified 8 cards in the first trial. Did these people really have ESP?
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