- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 10 edition (September 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0205914128
- ISBN-13: 978-0205914128
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 75 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Think Straight About Psychology (10th Edition) 10th Edition
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About the Author
Keith E. Stanovich is currently Emeritus Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto. He is the author of over 175 scientific articles and seven books. Stanovich is the 2012 recipient of the E. L. Thorndike Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association and the recipient of the 2010 Grawemeyer Award in Education. In 2000 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading. Stanovich is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 3, 7, 8, and 15) and the Association for Psychological Science.
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Top customer reviews
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I'm a psych professor. I've been teaching and doing scientific psychology for years. I teach research design and methods, and critical thinking, among other things. But I bought this book for myself, and I'm glad I did. I kept running into friends' and acquaintances' misconceptions about psychology, as well as some aggressively uncritical thinking. That was especially true in some of the "integrative" worlds I've been drawn to (e.g., yoga, "mindfulness," meditation, "personal growth," post-modernist "thinking"), and some of the people who inhabit them. And then there was the ever-present notion that human behavior and mental phenomena could be adequately understood through unaided common sense or reference to the non-empirical pseudosciences. Having heard enough uncritical and magical stuff, I bought this book as a sort of mental defense...
This book is well worth it. It begins by noting "the Freud problem"; the fact that most people don't have a clue about psychology or the psychologists who are central to the field. They've heard of Freud, and that's about it. The author seems frustrated by that, and I share that frustration. The book covers all sorts of issues related to critical thinking, as well as evidence-based approaches and controlled experimentation. (As much as I like to use case studies in my own research, I found the rather critical chapter on case studies to be interesting, important and... correct, IMHO). My favorite chapter was the last one, "The Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences," with its coverage of pseudoscience and the "self-help" world.
Anyway, two thumbs up!
How do we recognize pseudoscientific claims? Clinical Psychologist Scott Lilienfield (2005, p. 40) lists:
* The claim is unfalsifiable. There are no control standards and every outcome can be explained after the fact.
* An emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation
* Place the burden of proof on the buyer rather than the maker of the claim
* Excessive reliance on anecdotal and testimonial evidence to substantiate claims
* Evasion of scientific peer review
* Failure to build on existing scientific knowledge (lack of connectivity)
The book tackles all these issues, as well as chance, multiple causation, probabilistic reasoning, artificial settings for experimentation, and correlation and causation. Stanovich develops the book extremely well, with hundreds of references and powerful statistics as he tackles some of the most prominent pseudoscience of our day. He gives countless examples, including facilitated communication (where an aide supposedly could help autistic children communicate and became such a fad in the 90's that many parents went to jail on the sexual abuse charges that "came out"), infomercials with celebrity endorsements but no scientific success, miracle pills, esp, and much of popular "psychology".
This book gives you the tools to understand scientific claims. It's extremely powerful and only 200 pages. When you understand the tools to evaluate if something sounds to good to be true, you'll become a much more informed citizen.