Perceptions of Belief Perseverance

Published: 2019-04-01 11:53:04
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How children reacted when threatened against playing with certain toys

There were 202 participants in the study. Of these 202 participants, 35% (n=70) were male, whereas 65% (n = 132) were female. The participants were mostly university students, and few others held college degrees.

The participants read a fictitious research study on how children reacted when threatened against playing with certain toys. In an online survey, the researchers then asked the participants which outcome was presented in the study they had read. The researchers grouped the responses into two groups: in one group, threatened children found forbidden toys less preferable whereas in another group, threatened children found forbidden toys more preferable. The researchers also asked the participants what, between forewarning non-forewarning, was the appropriate definition of belief perseverance. In addition, the researchers asked the participants how, compared to the children in the non-threat condition, the children in the threat condition would rank the forbidden toy if the study were replicated in Tampa, Florida. The researchers used frequencies and statistical tests of mean differences to analyze the responses.

From the findings, in the more category of toy preference, 75.5% of the participants (77) stated that the threatened children found the forbidden toy more preferable than the non-threatened children did, while 24.5% (25) of the participants stated that the threatened children found the forbidden toy less preferable compared to the non-threatened children. In the less category of toy preference, 20.6% of the participants (20) stated that the threatened children found the forbidden toy more preferable than did the non-threatened children. Eighty participants (76.2%) in the less category indicated that the threatened children found the forbidden toy more preferable than compared to the non-threatened children. The Chi square test of significance of the mean difference of two groups shows that the responses in the more and less categories of toy preference were significantly different.

There do not seem significant differences in what the participants considered the appropriate definition of belief perseverance: forewarned had a mean of 1.22, with a standard deviation of 0.540, whereas non-forewarning had a mean of 1.24, with a standard deviation of 0.493. The results of the independent samples test affirm the apparent absence of a difference in how the participants defined belief perseverance; the significance value of the test statistic is 0.786, which is way above the 0.05 significance level at which the hypothesis was tested. One hundred and sixty five (81.7%) of the participants agreed that belief perseverance connotes how people stick to certain beliefs even after they have received new information discrediting those beliefs, while 28 (13.8%) participants thought belief perseverance is people's tendency to consider their beliefs as truth when ample evidence exists.

Few others (4.5%) thought belief perseverance is accepting the truth of a statement or the existence of something. From the findings, it does not seem that forewarning has a significant impact on how the children in the non-threat condition would rank the forbidden toy were the researchers to conduct the study in Tampa, Florida. The test of between-subjects effects on how toy preferences interacts with forewarning shows a non-significant interaction effect; the test statistic has a significance value of 0.814. Considering the researchers tested the between-subject effects at the 0.05 significance level, the hypothesis of a significant interaction effect does not hold because the test statistic's significance value substantively exceeds 0.05.

sheldon

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