You are the commissioner of a state lottery system that sponsors daily and weekly drawings. Lottery tickets have not been selling well over the past few months. Describe at least two ways you could take advantage of people’s use of the availability heuristic to boost sales. Explain why you would judge your tactics to be fair or unfair to your customers. After returning from a shopping trip with his mother, little Tommy reported, “I goed to the store and eated candy.” Why might a behaviorist such as B. F. Skinner have had some difficulty explaining Tommy’s incorrect grammatical construction? What sort of theory could explain the errors? What would that explanation be? Latisha’s history teacher asked her why so many German people complied with Hitler’s orders to systematically slaughter millions of innocent Jews and others. Latisha suggested that the atrocities were committed because the Germans had become unusually cruel, sadistic people with abnormal twisted personalities. Use your knowledge of the fundamental attribution error to highlight the weaknesses of Latisha’s reasoning and then propose an alternative explanation.
Abraham Maslow suggested that “a person who is lacking food, love, and self-esteem would most likely hunger for food more strongly than anything else.” Conversely, the novelist Dostoyevski wrote, “without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live even if surrounded with bread.” What evidence from the field of psychology might support each statement. Andy, a high school sophomore, lacks self-discipline, fails to plan ahead, and is excessively anxious. He is quickly frustrated by challenging tasks and frequently becomes overly critical of others. Use the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and social-cognitive perspectives to give three contrasting explanations of Andy’s behavior. Geraldo, a second-year college student, is so fearful of medical procedures that he has avoided routine dental checkups for over three years. He has recently decided to seek help in overcoming his fear. Compare and contrast (what are the similarities and differences) the methods that would be used by (a) a behavior therapist and (b) a psychoanalytic therapist.