9780534634599

Critical Thinking in Psychology Separating Sense from Nonsense

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780534634599

  • ISBN10:

    0534634591

  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 7/26/2005
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing

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Summary

Do you have the tools to distinguish between the true science of human thought and behavior from pop psychology? John Ruscio's book provides a tangible and compelling framework for making that distinction. Because we are inundated with "scientific" claims, the author does not merely differentiate science and pseudoscience, but goes further to teach the fundamentals of scientific reasoning upon which you can base your evaluation of information.

Table of Contents

Preface xv
Challenging Widely Accepted Claims xv
Empowering Students to Evaluate Claims for Themselves xvii
1. Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience
xvii
2. Teaching Critical Thinking Skills
xvii
3. Using Memorable Examples
xviii
4. Exploring Material Relevant to Many Courses
xviii
Broad Coverage Complemented by Electronic Resources xviii
New to the Second Edition xix
Acknowledgments xx
About the Author xx
Evaluating Sources Whether in Print or on the Internet xxiii
Sharpening and Leveling
xxiv
Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Sources
xxv
Popularity
xxv
Reviews
xxvi
The Internet as a Research Tool
xxvii
The Content of Web Sites
xxvii
Internet Searches
xxviii
Thinking for Yourself
xxix
Part One DECEPTION
Chapter 1 Introduction: Pseudoscience and the Need for Critical Thinking
1(13)
Separating Sense from Nonsense
3(3)
Studying Human Reasoning
4(1)
Systematic Errors Reveal Our Mental Shortcuts
4(1)
The Pros and Cons of Relying on Shortcuts
5(1)
Thinking Critically
5(1)
Applying the Tools of Critical Thinking
6(1)
Ten Characteristics of Pseudoscience
6(4)
1. Outward Appearance of Science
6(1)
2. Absence of Skeptical Peer Review
7(1)
3. Reliance on Personal Experience
7(1)
4. Evasion of Risky Tests
8(1)
5. Retreats to the Supernatural
8(1)
6. The Mantra of Holism
8(1)
7. Tolerance of Inconsistencies
9(1)
8. Appeals to Authority
9(1)
9. Promising the Impossible
9(1)
10. Stagnation
10(1)
The Plan of This Book
10(4)
Part One: Deception
11(1)
Part Two: Self-Deception
11(1)
Part Three: Psychological Tricks
12(1)
Part Four: Decision Making and Ethics
13(1)
Chapter 2 Science: Evaluating Claims to Knowledge
14(15)
Scientific Reasoning
15(14)
Falsifiability
15(1)
Logic
16(1)
Comprehensiveness
17(1)
Honesty
17(1)
Replicability
18(1)
Sufficiency
19(1)
Antiscientific Beliefs
20(1)
Postmodernism
20(3)
The "What Works Is Different for Everybody" Fallacy
23(1)
The "Probability Is Irrelevant to the Unique Individual" Fallacy
23(1)
Voodoo Science and Legal Standards
24(5)
Chapter 3 Language: Misleading and Evasive Tactics
29(13)
Weasel Words and Framing Effects
29(4)
Cooperation and Conversational Maxims
33(7)
Quality: The Myth of "Health Food"
33(1)
Quantity: Suggestive and Leading Questions
34(2)
Relation: The Irrelevant Language of "Alternative" Health Care
36(2)
Manner: The Emptiness of "Holism"
38(2)
Closing Thoughts: False Dichotomies and the Slippery Slope
40(2)
Chapter 4 Magic: The Allure of Exotic Rituals, Fantasy, and Mysticism
42(12)
Believing in Magic
43(1)
Wishful Thinking
43(2)
Belief in a Vitalistic Energy
45(1)
Putting the "Human Energy Field" to the Test
46(1)
The Creation of Superstitions and Exotic Rituals
47(2)
Superstitions as Representative Thinking
49(1)
Maintenance of Superstitions
50(1)
Abuses of Science in Favor of Mysticism
51(1)
The Magic of Modern Technology
52(2)
Chapter 5 Authority: Appeals to Blind Obedience
54(13)
Milgram's Research
54(3)
Understanding Milgram's Results
57(1)
When Should We Obey?
58(1)
Untrustworthy Authorities
59(3)
The "Ancient Wisdom" Fallacy
59(1)
The Popularity Fallacy
59(1)
The Fallacy of Self-Proclaimed Expertise
60(2)
Political Lobbying as a Warning Flag
62(5)
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
62(2)
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act
64(3)
Part Two SELF-DECEPTION
Chapter 6 Experience: The Limitations of Testimonials as Evidence
67(12)
Self-Deception
68(1)
Competing Explanations
69(7)
The Placebo Effect
69(2)
Spontaneous Remission
71(1)
The Disease Ran Its Natural Course
71(1)
The Cyclical Nature of Many Diseases
72(1)
Misdiagnosis
72(1)
The "Worried Well"
72(1)
Symptomatic Relief
73(1)
Hedged Bets
73(1)
Derivative Benefits
73(1)
Psychological Distortion of Reality
74(1)
The Bottom Line
75(1)
Probabilistic General Principles
76(3)
Chapter 7 Plausibility: All Beliefs Are Not Created Equal
79(15)
Magnet Therapy: Claims Versus Reality
80(3)
Magnets and Water
82(1)
Magnets and the Human Body
82(1)
The Strength of "Therapeutic" Magnets
83(1)
Homeopathy: Empty Promises
83(4)
The Law of Similars
84(1)
The Law of Infinitesimals
84(2)
Evasive Maneuver 1: Lowering the Dilution Factor
86(1)
Evasive Maneuver 2: "Water Memory"
86(1)
Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer
87(2)
Alien Abductions: A Modern-Day Misunderstanding
89(5)
The Contamination Effect
89(1)
Dull Fantasies and Contradictions
90(1)
Sleep Paralysis
91(3)
Chapter 8 Association: Establishing and Interpreting Correlations
94(12)
Presuming an Association Through Mere Examples
96(1)
Presuming an Association Through a Lone Rate
97(1)
Interpreting a Correlation
98(4)
Causal Relationships Between Correlated Events
98(1)
Three Conditions for Causality
99(1)
Examining Patterns Across Multiple Correlations
100(2)
Beware the Media
102(2)
Do Horoscopes Predict Anything?
104(2)
Part Three PSYCHOLOGICAL TRICKS
Chapter 9 Risk: Biased Perceptions and the Media Paradox
106(9)
Vividness
106(2)
Availability
108(1)
The Media Paradox
109(2)
Falling Airplane Parts Revisited
111(1)
A Radical Conjecture
112(11)
Mindful Attention to Media Reports
123
Chapter 10 Belief: Confirmation Bias, Post-Hockery, and Overconfidence
115(14)
Discovery Versus Verification: The Importance of Prediction
116(4)
The Bible Code
116(2)
The "Hot Hand" in Basketball
118(2)
Confirmation Bias
120(5)
The Rorschach Inkblot Test
121(1)
Graphology: Handwriting Analysis
122(1)
Polygraphy: The "Lie Detector" Test
123(2)
Absent or Misleading Feedback
125(1)
Hindsight Bias and Overconfidence
126(1)
Foiling Post-Hockery
127(1)
Answers to the Confidence Quiz
128(1)
Chapter 11 Schemes: The Seductiveness of Grand Conspiracy Theories
129(10)
The Three Roles in a Conspiracy Theory
129(2)
Conspirators
129(1)
Saviors
130(1)
Dupes
130(1)
A Grand Conspiracy Theory: "Area 51"
131(2)
The Role of the Media
131(1)
Thinking Critically About Area 51
132(1)
Problems Facing Any Grand Conspiracy Theory
133(1)
The "Hidden Cure" Conspiracy
134(3)
Intense Competition Is Ignored
134(1)
The Alleged Profit Motive Makes No Sense
135(1)
Science Is Never Going to Cure All Disease
136(1)
Monumental Callousness Is Presumed
136(1)
Why Does the Theory of Hidden Cures Persist?
136(1)
Challenging Conspiracies
137(2)
Chapter 12 Illusions: The Perception of Control
139(11)
The Illusion of Control
140(1)
The Certainty Effect
141(1)
The Dangers of Illusions of Control
142(2)
Belief in the "Just World" and the Blaming of Victims
142(1)
Self-Blame
143(1)
Learned Helplessness
144(1)
The Downside to Mental Imagery
144(1)
The "Choose to Be Healthy" Fallacy
145(2)
Prayer and Religion-Motivated Medical Neglect
147(3)
Part Four DECISION MAKING AND ETHICS
Chapter 13 Assessment: Classical Decision Theory
150(20)
Polygraph Tests
152(1)
Classical Decision Theory and Frequency Trees
153(2)
Base Rate: How Rare an Outcome Is One Trying to Detect?
155(2)
Validity: What is the Strength of the Evidence?
157(3)
Threshold: Where Does One Draw the Line to Make a Decision?
160(1)
Laboratory Validity Versus Field Utility
161(1)
Putting It All Together
162(3)
Nutritional Scams
165(3)
Validity
165(1)
Base Rate
166(1)
Threshold
167(1)
Protecting Against Professional Misconduct
168(2)
Chapter 14 Decisions: Clinical Versus Statistical Approaches
170(14)
Two Approaches to Decision Making
171(1)
Why Is the Statistical Approach Superior?
172(5)
Validity
173(1)
Units of Measurement
173(1)
Reliability
174(1)
Redundancy
175(1)
Regression Effects
176(1)
Adherence to the Clinical Approach
177(4)
Knowledge Deficit
177(1)
Fear of Computers
177(1)
Fear of Unemployment
178(1)
Belief in the Efficacy of One's Judgment
178(1)
Theoretical Identifications
179(1)
The "Dehumanizing" Feel of Statistical Equations
180(1)
Mistaken Conception of Ethics
180(1)
Embracing Statistical Decisions
181(3)
Pro/Con Lists
181(1)
Professional Practice
181(2)
Statistics Do Apply to the Individual
183(1)
Chapter 15 Ethics: The Use and Promotion of Unverified Treatments
184(13)
Overlooking the Obvious in Favor of the Unlikely
184(1)
Repressed Memories and Multiple Personalities
185(6)
Cost-Benefit Ratio
191(2)
Skewed Projections of Benefit and Harm
191(1)
The Overlooked Opportunity Costs
192(1)
Truly Informed Consent and Patient Autonomy
193(2)
The "Health Freedom" Fallacy
195(2)
Chapter 16 Tools: Suggestions for Critical Thinking
197(11)
The Dangers of a Pseudoscientific Approach to Health Care
199(1)
Thinking Critically
200(7)
Reconceptualize Issues in Multiple Ways
201(1)
Beware of Wishful Thinking
201(1)
Consider the Legitimacy of Authorities
201(1)
Seek Risky Tests, Not Weak Confirmation
201(1)
Don't Be Misled by Testimonials
202(1)
Keep in Touch with Reality
202(1)
Remember That Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
202(1)
Beware the Media Paradox
203(1)
Formulate Multiple Working Hypotheses
203(1)
Ask What Can Be Predicted
203(1)
Challenge Conspiracy Theories
203(1)
Watch Out for Illusions of Control
204(1)
Be Careful Not to Blame Victims
204(1)
Consider Both Positive and Negative Consequences of a Claim
204(1)
Pay Attention to Base Rates
204(1)
Accept Some Mistakes in Order to Minimize Error
205(1)
Take Advantage of the Power of Statistical Decision Making
205(1)
Don't Misinterpret Regression Toward the Mean
205(1)
Consider Both Costs and Benefits
206(1)
Practice Critical Thinking
206(1)
A Closing Thought on Wishful Thinking
207(1)
References 208(15)
Index 223

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