50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior / Edition 1

50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior / Edition 1

by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, Barry L. Beyerstein
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1405131128

ISBN-13: 9781405131124

Pub. Date: 09/16/2009

Publisher: Wiley

In a society in which psychological knowledge is shaped as much, if not more, by supermarket tabloids, talk shows, and self-proclaimed "self-help gurus" as it is by the latest scientific advances, there is a pressing need for a book that helps students and the public distinguish fact from fiction in the world of psychology. 50 Great Myths of Popular

Overview

In a society in which psychological knowledge is shaped as much, if not more, by supermarket tabloids, talk shows, and self-proclaimed "self-help gurus" as it is by the latest scientific advances, there is a pressing need for a book that helps students and the public distinguish fact from fiction in the world of psychology. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology answers this need by using popular myths as a vehicle for distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Organized around key topic areas of modern psychology such as brain functioning, perception, development, memory, emotion, intelligence, learning, personality, mental illness, and psychotherapy, this book will help students and laypersons to critically evaluate the information and misinformation that is generated by popular psychology.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781405131124
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/16/2009
Series:
Great Myths of Psychology Series
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
60,968
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction The Wide World of Psychomythology 1

1 Brain Power Myths about the Brain and Perception 21

#1 Most People Use Only 10% of Their Brain Power 21

#2 Some People Are Left-Brained, Others Are Right-Brained 25

#3 Extrasensory Perception Is a Well-Established Scientific Phenomenon 29

#4 Visual Perceptions Are Accompanied by Tiny Emissions from the Eyes 33

#5 Subliminal Messages Can Persuade People to Purchase Products 36

2 From Womb to Tomb Myths about Development and Aging 45

#6 Playing Mozart’s Music to Infants Boosts Their Intelligence 45

#7 Adolescence Is Inevitably a Time of Psychological Turmoil 49

#8 Most People Experience a Midlife Crisis in Their 40s or Early 50s 52

#9 Old Age Is Typically Associated with Increased Dissatisfaction and Senility 56

#10 When Dying, People Pass through a Universal Series of Psychological Stages 60

3 A Remembrance of Things Past Myths about Memory 65

#11 Human Memory Works like a Tape Recorder or Video Camera, and Accurately Records the Events
We’ve Experienced 65

#12 Hypnosis is Useful for Retrieving Memories of Forgotten Events 69

#13 Individuals Commonly Repress the Memories of Traumatic Experiences 73

#14 Most People with Amnesia Forget All Details of Their Earlier Lives 78

4 Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks Myths about Intelligence and Learning 83

#15 Intelligence Tests Are Biased against Certain Groups of People 83

#16 If You’re Unsure of Your Answer When Taking a Test, It’s Best to Stick with Your Initial Hunch 87

#17 The Defining Feature of Dyslexia Is Reversing Letters 89

#18 Students Learn Best When Teaching Styles Are Matched to Their Learning Styles 92

5 Altered States Myths about Consciousness 100

#19 Hypnosis Is a Unique “Trance” State that Differs in Kind from Wakefulness 100

#20 Researchers Have Demonstrated that Dreams Possess Symbolic Meaning 104

#21 Individuals Can Learn Information, like New Languages, while Asleep 108

#22 During “Out-of-Body” Experiences, People’s Consciousness Leaves Their Bodies 110

6 I’ve Got a Feeling Myths about Emotion and Motivation 116

#23 The Polygraph (“Lie Detector”) Test Is an Accurate Means of Detecting Dishonesty 116

#24 Happiness Is Determined Mostly by Our External Circumstances 122

#25 Ulcers Are Caused Primarily or Entirely by Stress 126

#26 A Positive Attitude Can Stave off Cancer 129

7 The Social Animal Myths about Interpersonal Behavior 135

#27 Opposites Attract: We Are Most Romantically Attracted to People Who Differ from Us 135

#28 There’s Safety in Numbers: The More People Present at an Emergency, the Greater the Chance that Someone Will Intervene 139

#29 Men and Women Communicate in Completely Different Ways 143

#30 It’s Better to Express Anger to Others than to Hold It in 147

8 Know Thyself Myths about Personality 153

#31 Raising Children Similarly Leads to Similarities in Their Adult Personalities 153

#32 The Fact that a Trait Is Heritable Means We Can’t Change It 158

#33 Low Self-Esteem Is a Major Cause of Psychological Problems 162

#34 Most People Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood Develop Severe Personality Disturbances in Adulthood 166

#35 People’s Responses to Inkblots Tell Us a Great Deal about Their Personalities 171

#36 Our Handwriting Reveals Our Personality Traits 175

9 Sad, Mad, and Bad Myths about Mental Illness 181

#37 Psychiatric Labels Cause Harm by Stigmatizing People 181

#38 Only Deeply Depressed People Commit Suicide 186

#39 People with Schizophrenia Have Multiple Personalities 189

#40 Adult Children of Alcoholics Display a Distinct Profile of Symptoms 192

#41 There’s Recently Been a Massive Epidemic of Infantile Autism 195

#42 Psychiatric Hospital Admissions and Crimes Increase during Full Moons 201

10 Disorder in the Court Myths about Psychology and the Law 209

#43 Most Mentally Ill People Are Violent 209

#44 Criminal Profiling Is Helpful in Solving Cases 212

#45 A Large Proportion Of Criminals Successfully Use the Insanity Defense 216

#46 Virtually All People Who Confess to a Crime Are Guilty of It 220

11 Skills and Pills Myths about Psychological Treatment 227

#47 Expert Judgment and Intuition Are the Best Means of Making Clinical Decisions 227

#48 Abstinence Is the Only Realistic Treatment Goal for Alcoholics 232

#49 All Effective Psychotherapies Force People to Confront the “Root” Causes of Their Problems in Childhood 236

#50 Electroconvulsive (“Shock”) Therapy Is a Physically Dangerous and Brutal Treatment 239

Postscript Truth is Stranger than Fiction 247

Appendix

Recommended Websites for Exploring Psychomythology 253

References 255

Index 319

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