This title is out of print.
For introductory psychology courses at two year or four year institutions. Also for specialty classes throughout the discipline that focus on critical thinking, science vs. pseudoscience, and discrimating valid research in the field.
Keith Stanovich's widely used and highly acclaimed book helps students become more discriminating consumers of psychological information, helping them recognize pseudoscience and be able to distinguish it from true psychological research. Stanovich helps instructors teach critical thinking skills within the rich context of psychology. It is the leading text of its kind.
How to Think Straight About Psychology says about the discipline of psychology what many instructors would like to say but haven't found a way to. That is one reason adopters have called it “an instructor's dream text” and often comment “I wish I had written it. It tells my students just what I want them to hear about psychology”.
Presents psychological topics such as falsifiability, operationalism, experimental control, converging evidence, correlational vs. experimental studies, and statistics as “tools” for critical evaluation, providing students with a set of practical consumer skills to independently evaluate psychological claims.
Teach students the importance understanding the origins of data.
Teach critical thinking skills.
New to the Ninth Edition
The ninth edition of How to Think Straight About Psychology has no major structural revisions because a chapter reorganization occurred in a previous edition. The content and order of the chapters remain the same. At the request of reviewers and users, this edition remains at the same length as the eighth edition. Readers and users have not wanted the book to lengthen and, indeed, it has not. I have continued to update and revise the examples that are used in the book (while keeping those that are reader favorites). Some dated examples have been replaced with more contemporary studies and issues. I have made a major effort to use contemporary citations that are relevant to the various concepts and experimental effects that are mentioned. A large number of new citations appear in this edition (190 new citations, to be exact!), so that the reader continues to have up-to-date references on all of the examples and concepts
The goal of the book remains what it always was–to present a short introduction to the critical thinking skills that will help the student to better understand the subject matter of psychology. During the past decade and a half there has been an increased emphasis on the teaching of critical thinking in universities (Abrami et al., 2008; Sternberg, Roediger, & Halpern, 2006). Indeed, some state university systems have instituted curricular changes mandating an emphasis on critical thinking skills. At the same time, however, other educational scholars were arguing that critical thinking skills should not be isolated from specific factual content. How to Think Straight About Psychologycombines these two trends. It is designed to provide the instructor with the opportunity to teach critical thinking within the rich content of modern psychology
Readers are encouraged to send me comments by corresponding with me at the following address: Keith E. Stanovich, Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1V6. Email: KStanovich@oise.utoronto.ca.
1. Psychology Is Alive and Well (and Doing Fine Among the Sciences)
The Freud Problem
The Diversity of Modern Psychology
Implications of Diversity
Unity in Science
What, Then, Is Science?
Publicly Verifiable Knowledge: Replication and Peer Review
Empirically Solvable Problems: Scientists’ Search for Testable Theories
Psychology and Folk Wisdom: The Problem with “Common Sense”
Psychology as a Young Science
2. Falsifiability: How to Foil Little Green Men in the Head
Theories and the Falsifiability Criterion
The Theory of Knocking Rhythms
Freud and Falsifiability
The Little Green Men
Not All Confirmations Are Equal
Falsifiability and Folk Wisdom
The Freedom to Admit a Mistake
Thoughts Are Cheap
Errors in Science: Getting Closer to the Truth
3. Operationism and Essentialism: “But, Doctor, What Does It Really Mean?”
Why Scientists Are Not Essentialists
Essentialists Like to Argue About the Meaning of Words
Operationists Link Concepts to Observable Events
Reliability and Validity
Direct and Indirect Operational Definitions
Scientific Concepts Evolve
Operational Definitions in Psychology
Operationism as a Humanizing Force
Essentialist Questions and the Misunderstanding of Psychology
Operationism and the Phrasing of Psychological Questions
4. Testimonials and Case Study Evidence: Placebo Effects and the Amazing Randi
The Place of the Case Study
Why Testimonials Are Worthless: Placebo Effects
The “Vividness” Problem
The Overwhelming Impact of the Single Case
The Amazing Randi: Fighting Fire with Fire
Testimonials Open the Door to Pseudoscience
5. Correlation and Causation: Birth Control by the Toaster Method
The Third-Variable Problem: Goldberger and Pellagra
Why Goldberger’s Evidence Was Better
The Directionality Problem
6. Getting Things Under Control: The Case of Clever Hans
Snow and Cholera
Comparison, Control, and Manipulation
Random Assignment in Conjunction with Manipulation Defines the True Experiment
The Importance of Control Groups
The Case of Clever Hans, the Wonder Horse
Clever Hans in the 1990s
Prying Variables Apart: Special Conditions
7. “But It’s Not Real Life!”: The “Artificiality” Criticism and Psychology
Why Natural Isn’t Always Necessary
The “Random Sample” Confusion
The Random Assignment Versus Random Sample Distinction
Theory-Driven Research Versus Direct Applications
Applications of Psychological Theory
The “College Sophomore” Problem
The Real-Life and College Sophomore Problems in Perspective
8. Avoiding the Einstein Syndrome: The Importance of Converging Evidence
The Connectivity Principle
A Consumer’s Rule: Beware of Violations of Connectivity
The “Great-Leap” Model Versus the Gradual-Synthesis Model
Converging Evidence: Progress Despite Flaws
Converging Evidence in Psychology
Methods and the Convergence Principle
The Progression to More Powerful Methods
A Counsel Against Despair
9. The Misguided Search for the “Magic Bullet”: The Issue of Multiple Causation
The Concept of Interaction
The Temptation of the Single-Cause Explanation
10. The Achilles’ Heel of Human Cognition: Probabilistic Reasoning
Probabilistic Reasoning and the Misunderstanding of Psychology
Psychological Research on Probabilistic Reasoning
Insufficient Use of Probabilistic Information
Failure to Use Sample Size Information
The Gambler’s Fallacy
A Further Word About Statistics and Probability
11. The Role of Chance in Psychology
The Tendency to Try to Explain Chance Events
Explaining Chance: Illusory Correlation and the Illusion of Control
Chance and Psychology
Accepting Error in Order to Reduce Error: Clinical Versus Actuarial Prediction
12. The Rodney Dangerfield of the Sciences
Psychology’s Image Problem
Psychology and Parapsychology
The Self-Help Literature
Psychology and Other Disciplines
Our Own Worst Enemies
Isn’t Everyone a Psychologist? Implicit Theories of Behavior
The Source of Resistance to Scientific Psychology
The Final Word
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