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

(Great Myths of Psychology)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  3,829 ratings  ·  512 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published 2012 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published January 1st 2009)
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Benozir Ahmed
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a risky and experimental venture for me to start this book just after the term end exam. I assumed it would take eons to finish this book but you know mysterious things happen with "reading extra curricular " books when the environment is musty with the squalid stench of exam and text books. Now i realise that i should've gone a little steadily.
However, as i was reading the book i thought that i would compile all the mythbusters and the facts mentioned in this book so that anyone interes
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a little uneven between entries; one of the authors was very personable, one had a borderline-unforgivable love of puns, and one was pretty dry. However, it actually got better in the second half, although I couldn't tell you if that was the writing or topics that were just naturally more interesting to me. The myths are divided among the topics of Brain Power, Development & Aging, Memory, Intelligence & Learning, Consciousness, Emotion, Interpersonal Relationships, Personality, Me ...more
Edward Wolfe
Jun 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
This sounded very interesting, but it didn't take long to lose my interest completely. The problem was that this book was written by the kind of person who summarily dismisses anything that can't be, or hasn't already been proven in a laboratory. Imagine a book that is about unexplained sightings of every type imaginable, and they dismiss all UFO sightings because there are no UFOs sitting in museums.

To be more specific, anything to do with the mind that could involve ESP, an aura or psychic ab
Michelle Mitton
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Written in a clear, narrative style so that it also makes for a pleasant audio book; a fun tour of everything having to do with popular psychology: learning, human development, the brain itself, states of consciousness, memory, etc. And it does exactly what the title implies: debunks most of what gets passed around as science in popular psychology (which is apparently nearly synonymous with pop culture). If you've got your information on how our minds work from Hollywood or the AP Wire headlines ...more
Tanya Allen
Nov 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This is the book that Sheldon Cooper would write, if he were a real human being. The concept is intriguing, and the author has included an overwhelming amount of citations, but basically it's splitting hairs. E.g., IQ test isn't racially/socially biased... it's just that other racial inequities lead people to score differently. Um... yeah. That's what makes it racially biased. This author has worked so hard to make his case against every single "truism" that those which might be legitimate are l ...more
Chris Boutté
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I saw some non-fiction science authors who I respect a ton express their sadness that Scott Lilienfeld had passed away recently. They called him a great thinker and skeptic who helped to debunk many misconceptions in the field of psychology. So, I decided to pick up this book, and it was great. If you’re interested in psychology and are a skeptic, I highly recommend this book. I’ve read many books on some of the myths they debunked in this book, but there were a lot I didn’t know about. If you w ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I think the tone of this book just rubbed me up the wrong way. I’m all for scientific evidence and methodology but the authors’ repeated all or nothing attitudes and dismissals of anything that can’t be reproduced in a lab environment was just irritating. Yes, there are plenty of myths out there and yes, despite my education and wide reading, I have fallen for quite a few over the years. But I also like to keep an open mind as best I can and not be too quick to dismiss. Oh, and this book often v ...more
Thomas Edmund
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is an enduring argument between myself and some of my friends: Is something that has no validity whatsoever, still a good thing if it makes people feel better?
Taking a look at this work, reminds me that the real person feeling better is the benefactor from the hundreds of schleps who succumb to forking over their hard earned cash for remedies and self-help products all for a well reinforced placebo effect.
Authors of fad-diet, spiritual-guidance and relationship advice frequently make sales
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is a great book, full of fact and fiction, a good way to correct a mountain of misinformation that most of us have succumbed to over the years -- reinforced by TV and movies, by word of mouth and marketing.

Not many of these were news to me. That is, I didn't come across any of these myths that I still believe (though some of them I believed at one time or another).
But I was astounded by what average citizens, or at least heft percentages of them, believe. And its nice to have the facts tha
James Perkins
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Will playing Mozart to your baby make it smarter? Does your memory work like a tape recorder, accurately recording everything you've ever experienced? Are you able to learn things while you are asleep? Can advertisers make you buy their products through subliminal messages? If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you'd be wrong. Following on from the raft of recent popular science books that aim to debunk deeply-rooted but incorrect beliefs, Scott Lilienfeld and colleagues have written ...more
Bisher Tarazi
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I've always said that I believe in hidden power and how we can control ( to a certain limit), but the base is to believe, it's not only to start with my self and people will be affected and join, that's not true, do it smartly.

After this step, you have the satisfaction that you planned for but you will discover more about yourself, once I read a quote said that I am who I meet, what I eat and what I think, it might be crazy but I use to shout in the air or play sports like a drunk man to avoid a
Jim Razinha
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There would have to be something really wrong with this book for me not to like it - it debunks a lot more than just 50 myths of psychomythology (I love that phrase the authors used...adding it to the toolbox.) From only using 10% of our brains to out of body experiences to hypnosis to shock therapy being dangerous, these guys cover a lot of urban myths, commonly held beliefs, commonly told stories...and they back up their treatments.

I, being a psycho-anything skeptic, already looked into prett
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was pretty good but not great. The goal of the book is to show how conventional wisdom (aka "common sense") can actually be misleading people to believe things that the evidence doesn't support. There were certainly some topics and research in this book that I thought were fascinating, but there were also other sections where I found the refutations of the myths to be less than robust. Sometimes the myths themselves were too weak to take seriously in the first place. The author at one ...more
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
You'll learn lots, and they cite all their sources in discussing why so many ideas held as true aren't actually true at all. It's often pretty dry, and since they're trying their best to be accurate, there are a lot of what Wikipedia would call weasel words, like: "Fiction: asking people about suicide increases their risk for suicide. Fact: although no controlled experiment has examined this claim directly, there's no research support for it." Nice to know, but not the karate-chop of pure unstop ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was good! It's something I've been reading occasionally this month when I want to feel studious, and overall it had some good information. I wish it contained a bit *less* of "why the myth is so popular and widely believed" and "what pop culture has misconstrued certain psychological facts". I wish it contained *more* scientific studies containing "myth debunking" evidence. Sometimes I felt like more of a specific chapter was dedicated to why people believe a false myth rather than focusing ...more
Sandra Strange
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Everything you think you know about psychology probably isn't true! Left brain/right brain dichotomy, the influence of environment over heredity, schizophrenia as split personality, all kinds of other popularly held "knowledge" about the human psyche--studies prove these and many others to be false. This well documented book, with citations of relevant studies and copious source pages, discusses the fifty most basic untrue beliefs about human thinking and behavior and adds many others not so wid ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I genuinely enjoyed reading every part of it. It bluntly tells you how people around us push us to think like the norm and believe in certain ways that are not even true! The style of writing is entertaining and the constant support of solid evidence on each concept is such of a relief. This books belongs to the category "don't let them fool you by common matters". Also check "The Art of Thinking Clearly"The Art of Thinking Clearly ...more
Maruti Sridhar
Nov 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Completely derivative work for lavatory reading. Reasons presented, ironically, follow a non-scientific way of explanation by lieu of using anecdotal evidence, using one example and generalising the same. Don't read it. There's better stuff on police procedurals who at least admit they're fiction. This is just a money maker. ...more
Avel Deleon
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For all those interested in psychology, this is a must-read.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting read for a Psych major!
Younes  Benimam
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
"Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths"
-Sir Carl Popper (1957)-

It was an interesting read. I am now filled with better knowledge about human psychology and the myths attributed to it. I haven't read all the myths as I think these are the popular myths in US. In fact, I found most of the myths unfamiliar to me, or at least, in my culture, (I am from North Africa, Algeria). Yet, I might have a look at the other ones later on.
These are the myths that I was most interested
Alicia Fox
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is awesome. It goes in-depth on fifty big myths in psychology which laypersons and many in the mental health field believe. There are also lists of related myths at the end of each chapter, side-by-side with what research actually says.

Some myths I already knew were myths, and others I didn't.

What repeatedly struck me throughout this book is how much my concepts and ideas (and yours too, I suspect) are influenced by media and popular culture. Sure, I know, watching some silly thriller
Sarah Rigg
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Five of the debunked myths:

1. Most people use only 10 percent of their brain power. I thought this had been thoroughly debunked for quite some time, but I still see it pop up on the 'net and in self-help books.

2. The Polygraph ("lie detector") Test is an accurate means of detecting dishonesty. It's interesting that the government has banned its use in most workplaces but still uses this next-to-useless test on some government employees...

3. It's better to express anger to others than to hold it
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Holy Dunning-Kruger Batman, these guys need to do some self-examination. They missed one important myth, namely, ‘Myth 51: Authors of books about psychology don’t fall into the same traps that lesser mortals do.’ Talk about a bunch of contradictory, vague and suspect ‘evidence’. One minute, old people are happy, the next, they are bumping themselves off.
If the book was called simply ’50 Great Myths Debunked’ it might attract the audience it was written for. Look elsewhere if you want something t
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An informative and entertaining book, with a multitude of interesting stuff on how and why people work. Seems abundantly and very well sourced for a layman. The book is split into thematical segments, which makes it very easy to grab it just to read one or two, and realise an hour later that the one turned into a dozen at some point. The prose is easy to read and approachable, of course almost a requirement in a popular book like this. Some myths were almost unbelievable, as in how can someone b ...more
J. Shaskan
Good content, dull presentation. The authors suggest in the preface that the book could be used as a textbook, and indeed that's exactly what it reads like. I've always found it difficult to focus on textbooks, with their monotonous writing, flat attempts at humor, and repetitive and (mostly) obvious content. This book is no exception. I found myself skipping pages more and more frequently, until finally I stopped reading it sequentially altogether.

Which is a shame, because the information in t
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book does not spend an overly long time discussing each topic, and therefore I like it even better. Too often, the point of a book can be adequately covered in far fewer chapter than the book actually uses. Recommended reading, especially considering that popular psychology may be one of the most commonly-used topics between people, and the start of many misconceptions. Makes me want to find more of these types of books, on other fields of study.
Almodather Fathallah
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clear, succinct, and eloquently written. This book inspired a whole genre of ''50 Great Myths'' titles that is increasing by the day. The book discusses some of the popular misconceptions about psychology most of us harbor without even realizing we do! The book also gives readers the tools to discover further misinformation on their own. In short, this book is a great popular science read. ...more
Julien Rapp
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mind-brain
This book covers a wide range of subjects that many people think they know about. It is informative and entertaining. You can checkout the table of contents and see if there are subjects you might like to read about and test if you believe them or not.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a nice book for possibly eliminating some of those misconceptions we all carry around but it probably won't change your life much. But after reading it you can be that annoying guy that acts like a know-it-all and correct your friends in friendly discussions and conversations. ...more
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