There are patterns and similarities in the way people think. Sometimes this can be flawed, leading people to make biased judgements which can then cause problems. An understanding of these problems is one way of applying cognitive psychology to the real world, and it can enable us to improve people’s lives as it can be the first step to changing behaviours. Cognitive psychology emphasises internal, mental processes (A. Reber & E. Reber, 2001). Although there are numerous ways in which we can improve people’s lives, a crucial way is having knowledge of how one person’s thinking can impact other people’s outcomes. By looking at how people perceive risks and make jury decisions we can put in place precautions to prevent the errors in thinking happening.
Risk perception is how a person interprets a risk; “an action that jeopardizes something of value” (A. Reber & E. Reber, 2001). To improve people’s lives, risks should be controlled to the best ability, which can be done by educating people about the errors in their thinking so they can think more critically in future. Expected Utility Theory is a normative theory of how people should make decisions to ensure the best outcome. Expected Utility Theory is calculated by the probability of an outcome multiplied by the value of an outcome, thus calculating an average of all the possible outcome utilities (Briggs, 2014). In relation to risks, Expected Utility Theory can be used to allow a person to decide whether to reduce a risk, only if the benefit (reduction of risk) is higher than the costs of reducing the risk (e.g. time, money, hazards). If people abided by this way of thinking, risks could be contr...
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...ative theory could help to eliminate biases therefore improving people’s lives, by ensuring that unjust convictions are not given out, due to the jury’s errors in thinking.
To conclude, although many ways could have been discussed on how knowledge of a person’s thinking could improve people’s lives, an important way is that of how one person’s thinking and behaviour effects on another person’s outcome. Clearly, by perceiving and acting upon risks in a more logical and reasoned way lives could be saved and improved. Minimising and controlling for influences in the courtroom would lead to a fairer trial for a defendant, hence improving their lives as they should get the verdict they deserve and not due to other factors. Suggestions to improve a person’s way of thinking includes education, training and stricter procedures which further research should be focused upon.
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