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PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals:

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study

The case study I chose for this assessment is Susan: Changing Career Goals. Susan is a single mother who works full-time in a job that isn’t going anywhere, and she deals with the burden of being solely responsible for her two children’s well-being. When she was at a restaurant, her acquaintance introduced Paul to Susan, a psychologist. His looks impressed Susan. He was merely doing well and looked to be a successful person. Susan was first inspired to emulate Dr. Paul’s achievements. Susan had always considered herself attractive, but nothing compares to Dr. Paul. Susan understood she needed to be successful like him in order to be more appealing.

Susan is continuously preoccupied with her job and her college studies, which causes her to miss valuable time with her children and friends. In this case study, Susan begins to question her professional aspirations. She believes that her long-term ambitions are unrealistic and that she will never be as successful as Paul. She thinks she’s deceiving herself about becoming a psychologist.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

With these thoughts in mind, she feels both discouraged and reassured. Her ideas assist her in adjusting her educational and career ambitions to be more achievable given her current physical appearance. Susan is aware that her friends and family will be disappointed by her shift in professional aspirations.  For now, she is still looking forward to enjoying the decreased strain of her altered aspirations.

Confirmation Bias is the social psychology term that will be employed in this case study. To recap, confirmation bias occurs when an individual sees a sort of information that helps confirm their ideas while disregarding information that contradicts those beliefs. For example, suppose you see someone walking into a high-end store dressed extremely affluent, while another person enters the same establishment dressed quite poorly.

Even if you know nothing about their financial situation, you would assume the wealthy person is affluent and the other is impoverished. According to the writers of Social Psychology and Human Nature, philosopher Francis Bacon famously observed confirmation bias, “it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives” (Baumeister & Bushman, 2017).

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

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Research Support

Research Summary

The first article in my research’s findings is headed ‘Confirmation bias and the stereotype of the black athlete’, and the researchers conducted two separate studies. These tests involved white people who resided in the United States. The first experiment in which the participants participated required them to analyze three distinct features within cultural stereotypes about black athletes.

In the second experiment, the researchers had the participants examine implicit bias from those stereotypes by reading different statements and rating how those quotes linked to stereotyped attributes among black athletes. The findings of the two trials revealed that the participants saw black athletes as missing a work ethic in their life, which is why they are athletes and do not have a “normal job”.

The second finding I discovered in my research findings is titled ‘Confirmation bias influences user perception of knee braces’. Researchers conducted a study to analyze confirmation bias with a total of 18 young adults who were walking with a knee brace. The study’s purpose was to investigate accuracy while using knee braces, despite the modern technologies available today.

In the study, participants were required to wear two identical braces, one of which was cosmetically modified; however, the participants were informed that the brace was essentially a computerized prototype that they were testing out so that researchers could adjust its stiffness for knee brace users. The study found that after the subjects began walking, there were no changes between the two braces they had to wear. The participants favored the computerized brace above the other knee brace, despite the fact that it was not computerized.

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Research Interpretation

The first article heavily relies on confirmation bias to demonstrate how white people see black athletes as a result of preconceptions and prejudice. They employed white volunteers in these tests for a reason: the researchers knew that white people were more prone to exhibit confirmation bias based on stereotypes about black people, let alone athletes. For example, the researchers in this study highlight how people stereotype black athletes but not other black or white people (Moskowitz & Carter, 2018). Confirmation bias occurs commonly when people are aware of stereotypes, particularly among minority groups in the United States.

In the second piece, the findings of the study revealed the presence of confirmation bias since the participants were informed the brace was computerized to change stiffness within the knee, which was not. The participants were told that the knee brace was computerized and could change stiffness, even though it was similar to the previous knee brace. According to the researchers in the article, in studies where devices with advanced technology are used, participants are more likely to use confirmation bias because knowledge of advanced technology will influence the study outcomes (Balsamo, Geil, Ellis, & Wu, 2018, p. 164). Confirmation bias dictates that seeing equals believing.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

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Application of Confirmation Bias

Susan’s case study shows what confirmation bias actually looks like. Confirmation bias is obvious in Susan’s case since the case study begins with Susan meeting a psychologist, Dr. Paul, who looks to be successful based on his appearance and clothing. Dr. Paul’s attractiveness inspired Susan to seek a profession as a psychologist since she, too, desires success. Susan’s ideas obsess her, and she believes that she is not qualified to be a psychologist since someone like Dr.

Paul makes it appear easy. She begins to believe that her long-term aspirations are unrealistic due to her physical appearance. As previously noted, confirmation bias occurs when an individual sees a sort of information that serves to confirm a person’s ideas while dismissing information that contradicts those beliefs. Susan feels that a person in her professional objectives will always appear successful based on their looks, but she believes that her physical appearance does not look successful based on one source of information.

Ethical Reasoning Application

Susan believes her long-term ambitions are unrealistic due to her opinions about her physical attractiveness. Her long-term plans also prevent her from spending quality time with her children and friends. She chooses to scale back her ambitions and strive to graduate from university one step at a time. Susan’s perspective allows her to utilize logic to alter her educational and professional ambitions to a more realistic setting as a result of her physical appearance.

The ethical dilemma raised in Susan’s case study is rationalization. Rationalizations are explanations that humans develop in our minds to conceal or deny genuine reasons, causes, or acts that we observe (2020). It is essentially a notion in which people fabricate excuses. Susan’s justification for not pursuing her desire is her physical appearance, which is where ethical concerns come into play.

Ethical Concept

Susan’s case study demonstrates the ethical idea of compliance bias. Conformity bias is described as an individual’s proclivity to interpret distinct indications for appropriate conduct based on the acts of others rather than their own personal judgment (2020). For example, following George Floyd’s terrible death at the hands of a police officer, the Black Lives Matter movement has lately gained global traction and protests

We witnessed, and continue to see, a large number of individuals supporting the movement, including myself. This is an excellent example of conformity bias because some people were not completely educated about the movement but opted to join because it was “trendy” this year, which is incorrect. Conformity bias is what our parents used to remark when we were kids, “So if your friend jumps off a cliff, you will as well?”

Supportive Evidence

Susan’s case study illustrates conformity bias since Dr. Paul’s looks inspired Susan to pursue a career in psychology throughout her undergraduate studies. Susan was fascinated by everything about him and chose to pursue a career in psychology since she, too, wanted to be successful like Dr. Paul. The only thing preventing her from achieving her goals is her belief that her physical appearance is not suitable for the role of a psychologist. Susan watched how others achieved success via a profession in psychology and decided she wanted the same achievement, but she was unaware of the hard work that goes with it.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

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Critical Thinking Application

Individuals with critical thinking skills can think and discover new approaches to enhance their thoughts. Susan, as we already established, has a unique worldview. She longs for a successful life as a single mother of two. Susan feels that her physical appearance does not qualify her to become a psychologist, therefore she begins to scale back her long-term aspirations. Susan’s case study raises a critical thinking challenge about point of view.

Critical Thinking Issue

Susan’s case study demonstrates a critical thinking issue: frame of view, which I previously covered. A person’s point of view may be described as the position from which they observe things. It encompasses what an individual sees and how they perceive it (Analytical Stage of Thinking). For example, suppose two persons visit an art gallery and are both staring at the same painting. According to one person, the picture represents horror and misery, while another believes it represents optimism and freedom. Two distinct individuals, each with a unique viewpoint.

Supportive Evidence

Susan’s point of view is clearly defined in this case study since it is based on two separate views. First, she sees Dr. Paul as a successful psychologist based on his physical appearance, automobile, clothing, and other factors. She utilizes this point of view to demonstrate Susan’s perception of Dr. Paul’s look or automobile, which is a sign of success. Susan’s physical appearance also inhibits her from striving to complete her long-term aspirations of becoming a psychologist, since she feels it is unrealistic from her perspective.


Analytic Stage of Thinking. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from


Balsamo, B., Geil, M. D., Ellis, R., & Wu, J. (2018). Confirmation bias affects user perception of

knee braces.Journal of Biomechanics,75, 164–170.


Baumeister, R. F., & Bushman, B. J. (2017).Social psychology and human nature(4th ed.).

Boston, MA: Cengage. Moskowitz, G. B., & Carter, D. (2018). Confirmation bias and the stereotype of the black athlete. Psychology of Sport and Exercise,36, 139–146.


PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 3 Thinking, Feeling, and Believing Case Study Susan Adjusting Career Goals

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