Psychology Exam Review : 1

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1. What is psychology? ::

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1. What is psychology? ::

Psychological Science is the study, through research, of the mind brain, and behavior. Mind refers to mental activity, which results from biological processes within the brain. Behavior describes the totality of observable human (or animal ) actions.

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2. What are psychological reasoning and critical thinking?::

Learning to think critically improves how people process information. Using critical thinking skills and understanding the methods of psychological science are important for evaluating research.

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What are examples of psychological reasoning? ::

Psychological reasoning refers to the cognitive processes and logical thinking used in psychology. Some examples include::

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  1. Deductive reasoning:

Drawing specific conclusions based on general principles or theories.

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  1. Inductive reasoning:

  1. :Forming general principles or theories based on specific observations or evidence.

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  1. Abductive reasoning::

  1. Making educated guesses or hypotheses based on limited information.

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  1. Analogical reasoning::

  1. Drawing conclusions by comparing similarities between different situations or objects.

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  1. Critical thinking::

  1. Evaluating and analyzing information to make informed judgments or decisions.

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  1. Problem-solving

  1. Applying logical reasoning to find solutions to complex problems.

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  1. Cognitive biases::

  1. Understanding how cognitive biases can influence reasoning and decision-making.

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3. What are levels of analysis in psychology?::

  • Biological, Individual, Social, Cultural

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  • Biological level analysis

  • deals with how the physical body contributes to mind and behavior

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Biological Examples

brain systems- ::Neuroanatomy, animal research, brain imaging

Neurochemistry-:: hormones

genetics - ::twin and adoption studies

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  • Individual level of analysis

  • focuses on individual differences in personality and in the mental process that affect how people perceive and know the world.

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Individual examples

Individual differences - ::personality, gender, age groups

Perception and cognition- ::Thinking, decision making, memory

Behavior - ::observable actions, responses, physical movements

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  • Social level of analysis

  • involves how group contexts affect the ways in which people interact and influence each other.

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Social Examples

Interpersonal Behavior - ::groups, relationships

social cognition - :: attitudes, serotypes

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  • Cultural level of analysis

  • which explores how people thoughts, feelings, and actions are similar or different across cultures.

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How is science a safeguard against bias?

Science is a safeguard against bias as it follows a systematic and evidence-based approach

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What biases does it guard against?

It guards against various biases, such as

  • confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms preconceived notions),

  • selection bias (choosing specific data that supports a particular outcome), and

  • publication bias (favoring the publication of positive results over negative ones).

By using rigorous methodologies, peer review, and replication, science aims to minimize these biases and provide objective and reliable knowledge.

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5. What is amiable skepticism? :

Amiable skeptic remains open to new ideas but is weary of new scientific findings when good evidence and sound reasoning do not seem to support them.

  • Weighs facts when deciding what to believe.

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What is critical/scientific thinking? :

Critical/scientific thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively, evaluate evidence, and make logical and informed conclusions based on empirical evidence. It involves questioning assumptions, considering alternative perspectives, and applying logical reasoning to solve problems. Critical/scientific thinking encourages skepticism, open-mindedness, and the use of evidence-based methods to reach reliable conclusions. It is a fundamental skill in scientific inquiry, research, and decision-making processes.

What is critical/scientific thinking? :

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How does psychological science help us understand biased or inaccurate thinking??:

Most of these biases occur because we are motivated to use our intelligence. We want to make since of events that involve us or happen around us. Our minds are constantly analyzing all the information we receive and trying to make sense of that information. Finding patterns can lead to misinterpretations.

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  • ignoring evidence

  • people are more likely to accept evidence that supports their beliefs and dismiss evidence that does not match their beliefs.

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  • seeing causal relationships that do not exist

  • two events that happen at the same time must be related.

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  • Accepting after the fact explanations

  • hindsight bias- Once we know the outcome we interpret and reinterpret old evidence to make since of the outcome.

    ie. red flags being seen after break ups

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  • Taking mental shortcuts- Heuristics -

  • lead to biased outcomes. availability heuristics is when something comes easier to our mind and guide our thinking. ie. hearing about abductions more often leads parent to only worry about abductions and not other things that can danger children.

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7. What is the nature/nurture debate :

Psychology now widely recognizes that nature and nurture dynamically interact in human psychology development. They are so enmeshed that they cannot be separated. The arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education, experience, and culture. For example, basketball player who is very tall (nature) and has a great coach (nurture). Player has a better chance to excel enough to become a professional compared to a player with the same talent but shorter hight.

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1. Why do we need a scientific approach to psychology?:

Using the methods of science allows psychologists to be confident that empirical results provide a true understanding of mental activity and behavior.

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a scientist, psychologists gain accurate knowledge about behavior and mental processes only by observing the world and measuring aspects of it.

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2. What are the three primary goals in science?:

description, prediction, ad explanation

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How are they related to research design?:

Psychological sciences uses research to describe what a phenomenon is, predict when are where it will occur, and explain the mechanisms behind why it occurs.

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3. What are the steps of the scientific method?:

1). Frame a research question

2). Educate yourself about what is already known about your theory.

3). Form a Hypothesis ‘

4). Design a study

5). Conduct the study

6). Analyze the data

7). Report the Results

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4. What is the descriptive method for conducting research?:

Involves observing behavior to describe that behavior objectively and systematically. Descriptive research helps psychologists achieve the scientific goals of describing human and mental life and behavior and predicting when or how behaviors might occur. Cannot achieve the goal of explanation. Used to asses many types of behavior.

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Example of descriptive method

Ex: count the number and types of behaviors that penguins engage in during their mating season.

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Identify the three designs researchers typically use in this method and explain how a researcher conducts each type of study.:

Case studies, observational studies, self reports/ interviews

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Case Studies

involves the intensive examination of an atypical person or organization. The goal is to describe the events or experiences that led up to or resulted from the exceptional feature of the person or organization. Usually one person involved - picked if someone has a rare disease, etc…

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Observational Studies -

participant observation- researcher are involved in the situation.

Naturalistic observation- the observer is passive , remains separated from the situation, makes no attempt to change or alter ongoing behavior.

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Self reports/ interviews -

surveys or questionnaires, can be used to gather data from a large number of people in a short time. Are easy to administer and cost efficient.

Interviews- another interactive method, can be used to successfully with groups that cannot be studied through surveys or questionnaires such as young children.

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5. What is correlation?

Correlation studies examine how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them or conclude that one variable causes the other.

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How is a correlational study conducted?:

A correlational study is conducted by measuring two or more variables and examining their relationship. Researchers collect data on the variables of interest from a sample of participants. Statistical analysis is then used to determine the strength and direction of the relationship between the variables. It is important to note that correlational studies cannot establish causation, but they can provide valuable insights into the association between variables.

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What is random selection?

is a method used in research to choose a sample from a population in a way that each individual has an equal chance of being selected. It helps ensure that the sample is representative of the larger population, increasing the generalizability of the findings.

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What is random selection? Why is it good?

Random selection is considered good because it minimizes bias and allows for statistical inference. It helps to reduce the impact of confounding variables and increases the likelihood of obtaining reliable and valid results.

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Why is it often not used in research?:

However, random selection is often not used in research due to practical constraints. It can be time-consuming, costly, and logistically challenging to implement. Researchers may opt for convenience sampling or other non-random methods for the sake of feasibility. While these methods have limitations, they can still provide valuable insights, albeit with a narrower scope of generalizability.

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7. Explain why natural correlations cannot be used to infer causality due to the directionality and third variable problems.:

  1. Directionality problem: Natural correlations do not provide information about the direction of causality. It is possible that the observed correlation is due to the effect of the presumed cause on the presumed effect, but it could also be the other way around. Without experimental manipulation, it is difficult to determine the causal direction.

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7. Explain why natural correlations cannot be used to infer causality due to the directionality and third variable problems.:

  1. Third variable problem: Natural correlations often involve the influence of unmeasured third variables. These variables may be responsible for the observed correlation between the presumed cause and effect. Without controlling for these third variables, it is not possible to establish a causal relationship between the variables of interest.

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Therefore, natural correlations can provide valuable insights,

but they cannot establish causality due to these inherent limitations.

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What features are required of an experiment?

  1. Control group: A group that does not receive the experimental treatment.

  2. Experimental group: A group that receives the experimental treatment.

  3. Independent variable: The variable that is manipulated by the researcher.

  4. Dependent variable: The variable that is measured or observed.

  5. Randomization: Random assignment of participants to groups to minimize bias.

  6. Replication: Repeating the experiment to ensure consistent results.

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Control group

  1. A group that does not receive the experimental treatment.

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  1. Experimental group:

  1. A group that receives the experimental treatment.

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  1. Independent variable:

  1. The variable that is manipulated by the researcher.

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  1. Dependent variable:

  1. The variable that is measured or observed.

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  1. Randomization

  1. Random assignment of participants to groups to minimize bias.

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  1. Replication

  1. Repeating the experiment to ensure consistent results.

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An experiment is conducted by:

  1. Formulating a research question or hypothesis.

  2. Designing the experiment, including selecting participants and variables.

  3. Randomly assigning participants to control and experimental groups.

  4. Applying the experimental treatment to the experimental group.

  5. Collecting data by measuring or observing the dependent variable.

  6. Analyzing the data using statistical methods.

  7. Drawing conclusions based on the results and evaluating the hypothesis.

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What is the difference between a conceptual and operational definition?:

A conceptual definition explains the abstract or theoretical meaning of a concept, while an operational definition defines how a concept is measured or observed in a specific study or experiment.

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What is the difference between independent and dependent variables?

The independent variable is the variable that is manipulated or controlled by the researcher in an experiment. The dependent variable is the variable that is measured or observed to determine the effect of the independent variable

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What are confounds?

Confounds are extraneous variables that can influence the relationship between the independent and dependent variables, leading to inaccurate or misleading results

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What is random assignment and how is it related to confounds?:

Random assignment is a technique used to assign participants to different groups in an experiment, ensuring that each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to any group. Random assignment helps to minimize the influence of confounding variables, as it helps create groups that are similar on average, reducing the likelihood of confounds affecting the results.

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11. What are the potential pitfalls in experimental design??:

selection bias, confounding variables, lack of randomization, small sample size, measurement errors, control group, ethical concerns

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selection bias

When the sample chosen for the experiment is not representative of the entire population, leading to biased results.

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confounding variables

Factors that are not controlled or accounted for in the experiment, which can influence the outcome and lead to incorrect conclusions

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Lack of randomization:

Failing to randomly assign participants to different groups can introduce bias and affect the validity of the results.

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  1. Small sample size:

  1. Insufficient sample size can limit the generalizability of the findings and increase the risk of obtaining statistically insignificant results.

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  1. Measurement errors:

  1. Errors in data collection or measurement techniques can introduce inaccuracies and affect the reliability of the results.

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  1. Inadequate control group

  1. Not having a proper control group can make it difficult to determine the true effect of the independent variable.

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  1. Experimenter bias

  1. When the experimenter's expectations or beliefs influence the outcome of the experiment, leading to biased results.

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  1. Ethical concerns:

  1. Failing to adhere to ethical guidelines, such as obtaining informed consent or ensuring participant confidentiality, can compromise the validity of the study.

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three measures of central tendency

  • Mean: It is the average of a set of numbers, calculated by summing all the values and dividing by the total count.

  • Median: It is the middle value in a sorted list of numbers. If there is an even number of values, the median is the average of the two middle values.

  • Mode: It is the value that appears most frequently in a dataset.

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one measure of variability.:

is the range. It is the difference between the maximum and minimum values in a dataset, indicating the spread of the data.

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Descriptive statistics

summarize and describe data, such as measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode) and variability (standard deviation, range).

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Inferential statistics

make inferences and draw conclusions about a population based on sample data.

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Statistical significance

refers to the likelihood that an observed difference or relationship in data is not due to chance

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Practical significance,

on the other hand, considers the real-world importance or impact of the observed difference or relationship.

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Construct validity

refers to how well a measurement or test accurately measures the theoretical construct it is intended to measure.

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Internal validity

relates to the extent to which a study's design allows for causal inferences.

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External validity

refers to the generalizability of study findings to other populations or settings.

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Identify and explain the basic principles and specific rules within psychology of ethical research using human and animal participants.:

In psychology, ethical research with human and animal participants is guided by several principles and rules. Some of the basic principles include:

informed consent, confidentiality, protection from harm, Deception and Debriefing

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  1. Informed Consent:

  1. Participants must be fully informed about the nature of the study and give their voluntary consent to participate.

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  1. Confidentiality

  1. Researchers must ensure that participants' personal information remains confidential and is not disclosed without their permission.

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  1. Protection from Harm:

  1. Participants should not be exposed to physical or psychological harm during the study. Researchers must take necessary precautions to minimize any potential risks.

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  1. Deception and Debriefing

If deception is necessary, researchers must provide a thorough debriefing after the study, explaining the true purpose and ensuring participants' understanding.

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Specific rules within ethical research include:

  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval:,

  2. Animal Welfare:

  3. Conflict of Interest:

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  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval:

  1. Researchers must obtain approval from an IRB, which reviews and monitors research involving human participants to ensure ethical standards are met.

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  1. Animal Welfare

  1. When using animals in research, researchers must follow guidelines to ensure their welfare, including proper housing, care, and minimizing any potential distress.

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  1. Conflict of Interest:

  1. Researchers must disclose any potential conflicts of interest that could influence the study's objectivity or integrity.

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the mental activity that includes thinking and the understanding that results from thinking.

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the mental manipulation of representations of knowledge about the world.

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2. What are concepts?:

Are symbolic representations

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The prototype model

a way of thinking about concepts: Within each category , there is a best example- a prototype for that category. Once you have the prototype , you categorize new objects based on how similar they are to the prototype.

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Exemplar model-

a way of thinking about concepts: All members of a category are examples; together they form the concept and determine category membership. That any concept has no single best representation.

Example : Mangalitsa Pig looks like a sheep so you think its a sheep buts its actually a pig

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What function do schemas serve?:

They help us perceive, organize, understand, and process information.

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Ex: Ok for a stranger to squeeze into a poker table, but not ok for a stranger to squeeze into a table at a restaurants.


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shortcuts used to reduce the amount of thinking that is needed to make decisions.

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What is the availability bias?:

Making a decision based on the answer that most comes easily to mind

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What is the representative heuristic?:

Placing a person or an object in a category if that person or object in a category if that person or object is similar to one’s prototype for that category.

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What type of information do we ignore when we use a heuristic?:

Specifically, heuristics often overlook complex or detailed information in favor of simpler, more easily accessible cues or patterns. This can include disregarding specific data points, statistical probabilities, or alternative perspectives that may be relevant to the decision-making process.

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4. What is affective forecasting (heuristic)? (Covered in class in the Motivation section):

The Tendency for people to overestimate how events will make them feel in the future.

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5. What is framing and how does it affect decision making?:

Is the emphasis on the potential losses or potential gains from at least one alternative.

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6. What is the paradox of choice?:

is a book that offers advice on how to make decisions:

  1. Approach the decision with the mindset of a Satisfiscer.

  2. Promise yourself that you will stick with your decisions.

  3. Have realistic expectations

  4. Practice an attitude of gratitude.

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