Critical Thinking in Psychology Separating Sense from Nonsense

ISBN-10: 0534634591

ISBN-13: 9780534634599

Edition: 2nd 2006

Authors: John Ruscio

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Can your students distinguish between the true science of human thought and behavior and pop psychology? CRITICAL THINKING IN PSYCHOLOGY: SEPARATING SENSE FROM NONSENSE provides a tangible and compelling framework for making that distinction by using concrete examples of people's mistaken analysis of real-world problems. Stressing the importance of assessing the plausibility of claims, John Ruscio uses empirical research (such as the Milgram experiment) to strengthen evidence for his claims and to illustrate deception, self-deception, and psychological tricks throughout the text.
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Book details

List price: $110.95
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Wadsworth
Publication date: 7/26/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Preface
Challenging Widely Accepted Claims
Empowering Students to Evaluate Claims for Themselves
Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience
Teaching Scientific Reasoning Skills
Using Memorable Examples
Exploring Material Relevant to Many Courses
Broad Coverage Is Complemented by Electronic Resources
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Evaluating Sources Whether in Print or on the World Wide Web
Sharpening and Leveling
Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Sources
Popularity
Reviews
The Internet as a Research Tool
The Content of Web Sites
Internet Searches
Thinking for Yourself
Introduction: Pseudoscience and the Need for Clear Thinking
Separating Sense from Nonsense
Studying Human Reasoning
Systematic Errors Reveal Our Mental Shortcuts
The Pros and Cons of Relying on Shortcuts
Thinking Clearly
Applying the Tools of Clear Thinking
Ten Characteristics of Pseudoscience
Outward Appearance of Science
Absence of Skeptical Peer Review
Reliance on Personal Experience
Evasion of Risky Tests
Retreats to the Supernatural
The Mantra of Holism
Tolerance of Inconsistencies
Appeals to Authority
Promising the Impossible
Stagnation
The Plan of This Book
Deception
Self-Deception
Psychological Tricks
Decision Making and Ethics
Deception
Language: Misleading and Evasive Tactics
Weasel Words and Framing Effects
Cooperation and Conversational Maxims
Quality: The Myth of "Health Food"
Quantity: Suggestive and Leading Questions
Relation: The Irrelevant Language of "Alternative" Health Care
Manner: The Emptiness of "Holism"
Closing Thoughts: False Dichotomies and the Slippery Slope
Magic: The Allure of Exotic Rituals, Fantasy, and Mysticism
Believing in Magic
Wishful Thinking
Belief in a Vitalistic Energy
Putting the "Human Energy Field" to the Test
The Creation of Superstitions and Exotic Rituals
Superstitions as Representative Thinking
Maintenance of Superstitions
Abuses of Science in Favor of Mysticism
The Magic of Modern Technology
Authority: Appeals to Blind Obedience
Milgram's Obedience Research
Understanding Milgram's Results
When Should We Obey?
Untrustworthy Authorities
The "Ancient Wisdom" Fallacy
The Popularity Fallacy
The Fallacy of Self-Proclaimed Expertise
Political Lobbying as a Warning Flag
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act
Self-Deception
Experience: The Limitations of Testimonials as Evidence
Self-Deception
Competing Explanations
The Placebo Effect
Spontaneous Remission
The Disease Ran Its Natural Course
The Cyclical Nature of Many Diseases
Misdiagnosis
The "Worried Well"
Symptomatic Relief
Hedged Bets
Derivative Benefits
Psychological Distortion of Reality
The Bottom Line
Probabilistic General Principles
Plausibility: All Beliefs Are Not Created Equal
Magnet Therapy: Claims Versus Reality
Magnets and Water
Magnets and the Human Body
The Strength of "Therapeutic" Magnets
Homeopathy: Empty Promises
The Law of Similars
The Law of Infinitesimals
Lowering the Dilution Factor
"Water Memory"
Alien Abductions: A Modern-Day Misunderstanding
The Contamination Effect
Dull Fantasies and Contradictions
Sleep Paralysis
Association: Establishing and Interpreting Correlations
Presuming an Association Through Mere Examples
Presuming an Association Through a Lone Rate
Interpreting a Correlation
Causal Relationships Between Correlated Events
Three Conditions for Causality
Examining Patterns Across Multiple Correlations
Beware the Media
Do Horoscopes Predict Anything?
Science: Evaluating Claims to Knowledge
Scientific Reasoning
Falsifiability
Logic
Comprehensiveness
Honesty
Replicability
Sufficiency
Antiscientific Beliefs: Postmodernism and Other Fallacious Ideas
Postmodernism
The "What Works Is Different for Everybody" Fallacy
The "Probability Is Irrelevant to the Unique Individual" Fallacy
The Rejection of Science as a Pseudoscientist's Dream
Psychological Tricks
Risk: Biased Perceptions and the Media Paradox
Vividness
Availability
The Media Paradox
Falling Airplane Parts Revisited
A Radical Conjecture
Mindful Attention to Media Reports
Belief: Confirmation Bias, Post-Hockery, and Overconfidence
Discovery Versus Verification: The Importance of Prediction
The Bible Code
The "Hot Hand" in Basketball
Confirmation Bias
The Rorschach Ink Blot Test
Graphology: Handwriting Analysis
Polygraphy: The "Lie Detector" Test
Absent or Misleading Feedback
Hindsight Bias and Overconfidence
Foiling Post-Hockery
Answers to the Confidence Quiz
Schemes: The Seductiveness of Grand Conspiracy Theories
The Three Roles in a Conspiracy Theory
Conspirators
Saviors
Dupes
A Grand Conspiracy Theory: "Area 51"
The Role of the Media
Thinking Clearly About Area 51
Problems Facing Any Grand Conspiracy Theory
The "Hidden Cure" Conspiracy
Intense Competition Is Ignored
The Alleged Profit Motive Makes No Sense
Science Is Never Going to Cure All Disease
Monumental Callousness Is Presumed
Why Does the Theory of Hidden Cures Persist?
Challenging Conspiracies
Illusions: The Perception of Control
The Illusion of Control
The Certainty Effect
The Dangers of Illusions of Control
Belief in the "Just World" and the Blaming of Victims
Self-Blame
Learned Helplessness
The Downside to Mental Imagery
The "Choose to Be Healthy" Fallacy
Prayer and Religion-Motivated Medical Neglect
Decision Making and Ethics
Assessment: Classical Decision Theory
Mammograms
Classical Decision Theory
The Impact of Low Base Rates
Lie Detection
Two Different Perspectives on Accuracy
The Impact of Selection Ratios
Nutritional Scams
Validity
Base Rates
Selection Ratio
Protecting Against Professional Misconduct
Decisions: Clinical Versus Statistical Approaches
Two Approaches to Decision Making
Why Is the Statistical Approach Superior?
Validity
Units of Measurement
Reliability
Redundancy
Regression Effects
Adherence to the Clinical Approach
Knowledge Deficit
Fear of Computers
Fear of Unemployment
Belief in the Efficacy of One's Judgment
Theoretical Identifications
The "Dehumanizing" Feel of Statistical Equations
Mistaken Conception of Ethics
Embracing Statistical Decisions
Pro/Con Lists
Professional Practice
Statistics Do Apply to the Individual
Ethics: The Use and Promotion of Unverified Treatments
Overlooking the Obvious in Favor of the Unlikely
Repressed Memories and Multiple Personalities
Cost-Benefit Ratio
Skewed Projections of Benefit and Harm
The Overlooked Opportunity Costs
Truly Informed Consent and Patient Autonomy
The "Health Freedom" Fallacy
Tools: Suggestions for Clear Thinking
The Dangers of a Pseudoscientific Approach to Health Care
Thinking Clearly
Reconceptualize Issues in Multiple Ways
Beware of Wishful Thinking
Consider the Legitimacy of Authorities
Seek Risky Tests, Not Weak Confirmation
Don't Be Misled by Testimonials
Keep in Touch with Reality
Remember That Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
Beware the Media Paradox
Formulate Multiple Working Hypotheses
Ask What Can Be Predicted
Challenge Conspiracy Theories
Watch Out for Illusions of Control
Be Careful Not to Blame Victims
Consider Both Positive and Negative Consequences of a Claim
Pay Attention to Base Rates
Accept Some Mistakes in Order to Minimize Error
Take Advantage of the Power of Statistical Decision Making
Don't Misinterpret Regression Toward the Mean
Consider Both Costs and Benefits
Practice Scientific Reasoning
A Closing Thought on Wishful Thinking
References
Index
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