Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource - would make for a great course textbook, March 19, 2009
This review is from: Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain: Separating Fact from Fiction (Paperback)
Already got Shermer's 'Why People Believe'? You need this.

I first seized upon this book upon learning that contributors included the late Barry Beyerstein, Ray Hyman, Dr Chris French and Massimo Polidoro, who are all well-known in skeptical circles for their investigations into graphology, paranormal belief, ideomotor effect and the like. This is quite recent work and draws upon several contemporary papers - also useful in terms of directing you to check out further work by the contributors.

But this is not just a valuable resource in terms of the contributors, but in the range of topics addressed (which the Amazon page doesn't really outline very well, so here's an overview). The "Mozart effect" (does listening to his work make us more intelligent?); the possibility of a "gay gene"; moon myths and behaviour; graphology; mediumship; brain-cloning; dreams and cognition; out-of-body experiences and what is intuition?

Because this Amazon site is a little limited in describing the book, the back matter says "To some, the answer to all these questions might well be a resounding 'no', but to many people these represent serious beliefs about the mind and brain - beliefs that drive their everyday behaviour, beliefs that cost them huge amounts of money. Whole industries have developed founded on these dubious claims about the mind and brain. Even major corporations... People subscribe to expensive therapies founded on beliefs rather than science, or risk their health buying books that tell them how they can conquer illness through positive thinking, perhaps at the expense of more scientifically proven treatments."

Whilst 'Tall Tales' is billed as being 'in a light-hearted and accessible style', the references and research put into each essay is extensive and relevant. An easy read doesn't necessarily mean a simplistic one. I would highly recommend this as a reference text for students who are studying about neuroscience myths, health scams or general up-to-date information regarding skeptically-minded contributions to how our minds work.
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