50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior
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50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology uses popular myths as a vehicle for helping students and laypersons to distinguish science from pseudoscience.
- Uses common myths as a vehicle for exploring how to distinguish factual from fictional claims in popular psychology
- Explores topics that readers will relate to, but often misunderstand, such as 'opposites attract', 'people use only 10% of their brains', and 'handwriting reveals your personality'
- Provides a 'mythbusting kit' for evaluating folk psychology claims in everyday life
- Teaches essential critical thinking skills through detailed discussions of each myth
- Includes over 200 additional psychological myths for readers to explore
Contains an Appendix of useful Web Sites for examining psychological myths
- Features a postscript of remarkable psychological findings that sound like myths but that are true
- Engaging and accessible writing style that appeals to students and lay readers alike
journalist Lowell Thomas attributed the 10% brain claim to William James. Thomas did so in the 1936 preface to one of the bestselling self-help books of all time, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. The myth has never lost its steam since. The popularity of the 10% myth probably also stems partly from authors’ misunderstandings of scientific papers by early brain researchers. In calling a huge percentage of the human cerebral hemispheres “silent cortex,” early investigators
teenage years. Because books and movies focus far more often on tales of troubled than healthy adolescents—a Hollywood film about an entirely normal teenager is unlikely to make for an interesting storyline, let alone hefty box office receipts—the public is routinely exposed to a biased sampling of teenagers (Holmbeck & Hill, 1988; Offer, Ostrov, & Howard, 1981). Perhaps not surprisingly, many laypersons believe that adolescence is usually a time of storm and stress. As psychologist Albert
of over 850 psychotherapists, Michael Yapko (1994) found that large proportions endorsed the following items with high-to-moderate frequency: (1) 75%: “Hypnosis enables people to accurately remember things they otherwise could not.” (2) 47%: “Therapists can have greater faith in details of a traumatic event when obtained hypnotically than otherwise.” (3) 31%: “When someone has a memory of a trauma while in hypnosis, it objectively must actually have occurred.” (4) 54%: “Hypnosis can be used to
al., 1984; Foote & Belinky, 1972; Geiger, 1996). In addition, students who change more answers tend to receive higher test scores than other students, although this finding is only correlational (see Introduction, p. 13) and may reflect the fact that frequent answer-changers are higher test performers to begin with (Geiger, 1997; Friedman & Cook, 1995). All of these conclusions hold not merely for multiple choice tests given in classes, but for standardized tests like the SAT and Graduate Record
that the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 b.c.), who’s widely regarded as one of the smartest human beings ever to walk the face of the earth, believed that emotions originate from the heart, 2 | Introduction 9781405131117_4_000int.qxd 30/6/09 11:44 AM Page 3 not the brain, and that women are less intelligent than men. He even believed that women have fewer teeth than men! Aristotle’s bloopers remind us that high intelligence offers no immunity against belief in psychomythology. Indeed,