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Understanding Research

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The movie focuses on the research done in the field of psychology, the main principles that a researcher should follow, and different types of research. The narrator talks about the significance of the scientific method, both for practicing psychologists and common people. The effect of psychological persuasion as well as the power of the placebo is also discussed. The author mentions the importance of critical thinking and the ability to question the information presented under the guise of a research. Finally, throughout the film some of the shortcomings of research technology and strategies are talked about (“Understanding Research.”, 2001).

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One of the most fascinating points of the movie was the discussion of the placebo effect. Although one might know about the existence of this effect, yet it is difficult to believe how powerful it can be. In my opinion, this effect vividly illustrates the power of the human brain to exercise extraordinary powers of self-persuasion. It would be a remarkable skill to learn to control and use to one’s advantage. On the other hand, one has to be careful when trusting “magical” healers because by becoming persuaded of their power a person forfeits his/her ability to critically evaluate the situation. In the same way, critical thinking skills have to be applied when examining newspaper articles or following religious leaders. This is crucial as we sometimes tend to believe in things that play on our psychological inclinations rather than logic. Another educational aspect of the movie was the discussion of various ways to conduct psychological research. The one that I found especially valuable is the one where a researcher goes into the field, studies the existent behaviors, and then refines the results with every visit to that setting. This kind of research is closely connected to the real world situations and can be of great help to people. Overall, this documentary episode was rather valuable for better understanding of how psychology functions.

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