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Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills Lecture

Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever. These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life.
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Publisher's Summary

No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever.

These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life. By immersing yourself in the science of cognitive biases and critical thinking, and by learning how to think about thinking (a practice known as metacognition), you'll gain concrete lessons for doing so more critically, more intelligently, and more successfully.

The key to successful critical thinking lies in understanding the neuroscience behind how our thinking works - and goes wrong; avoiding common pitfalls and errors in thinking, such as logical fallacies and biases; and knowing how to distinguish good science from pseudoscience. Professor Novella tackles these issues and more, exploring how the (often unfamiliar) ways in which our brains are hardwired can distract and prevent us from getting to the truth of a particular matter.

Along the way, he provides you with a critical toolbox that you can use to better assess the quality of information. Even though the world is becoming more and more saturated information, you can take the initiative and become better prepared to make sense of it all with this intriguing course.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    mc2 Monument, CO, US 02-03-15
    mc2 Monument, CO, US 02-03-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    129
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    12
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    "Full of Contradictions"

    The Professor engages in a tour of how flawed your brain is and how you cannot trust your brain. He also offers examples to illustrate the point but I found several inane.

    For example, he a made a point to state that a pilot diverted his ship because of a UFO but turned out to be a Mylar balloon. Obviously he does not consider that the term UFO means "unidentified flying object" which is what the pilot reported.

    From a lecture series on critical thinking, I expected the words and sentence structures to be a little more precise. It got a little loose thus clarity was lost.

    He also offers a lot of evolutionary explanations and uses a "bandwagon" fallacy to support evolution. He speaks of gaps in evolution as if it is mere details instead of very large holes in evolutionary theory. Instead of embracing this critical thinking he dismisses it with an ad hominem "Evolution Deniers".

    Then he engages in the construction of logical argument. Given that he argued that your brain is flawed and cannot be trusted, why should anyone take the arguments and logic from someone else's brain?

    BHis explanation on logical argument is a bit weak. You'd be better off getting a quick primer. He confuses terms and conflates them.

    Have not finished the lectures but am not finding them worthwhile

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn 04-07-14
    Dawn 04-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing new here"
    What would have made Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills better?


    Any additional comments?

    Some interesting and informative lecture material but mostly a very uninteresting shotgun approach to critical thinking. I found myself getting bored with it and the applause before and after lectures is laughable as it is obvious there is no actual audience.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Hudgens 02-08-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A biased lecture on how to be unbiased"

    I received some good points on critical thinking but felt the author promoted his own point of view more than being objective as he was telling us to be.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chloe 10-27-13
    Chloe 10-27-13
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    "Brilliant - everyone needs to listen to this"
    Where does Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and my favourite so far of The Great Courses


    What about Professor Steven Novella’s performance did you like?

    Professor Novella is easy to listen to, simplifies topics so they are understandable without 'dumbing it down' for his audience.


    Any additional comments?

    Everyone should to listen to this and use these tools of critical thinking in everyday life.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Haller 04-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    "Fantastic"

    This is now required for my students in the college courses I teach. An absolutely thorough and well tempered exploration of critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and cognitive bias. For me the lecture really picks up momentum when it reaches informal fallacies, and from then on out I felt totally engaged with the speaker. A fantastic reminder of our own fallibility and the need for systematic analysis of our own beliefs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoeMac 04-15-16
    JoeMac 04-15-16 Member Since 2014
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    2
    2
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    "Excellent course with a lot of substance."

    This course has changed my thinking. I'm more accepting of other views now and I'm less judgemental of other opinions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    All-access Customer 04-03-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    3
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    "Valuable Insights"

    Terrific listen! Provides immediately applicable skills and Concepts that can really have an impact personally and professionally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Byron Singapore, Singapore 03-30-16
    Byron Singapore, Singapore 03-30-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent and enlightening"

    One of best courses I've listened to. Prof Novella over delivers in the course. I will definitely revisit this time and time again in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    judith grogan 03-26-16
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    REVIEWS
    7
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not a lot of wisdom shared here!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Author suffers from a good number of brain flaws he describes in the book. Too much agenda not enough science.


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Filter the agenda, stick to the science.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Avoid the agenda or at least mask it a bit!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed!


    Any additional comments?

    I've enjoyed most of the Great Courses books but this one is just not good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    skuntz 03-25-16
    skuntz 03-25-16
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    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Dragged a little at the end"

    Overall a good lecture. Started to seem slow near the end. My favorite part was the logical fallacies. I'd like to go back and memorize them. Then I would use them when debating someone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    York
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This covers it all"

    So as a scientist, this is an area of great personal interest and I've done a huge amount of background reading in this subject. This one book covers all aspects of critical thinking. If you are familiar with this area, then be prepared to hear some of the same examples you will have come across elsewhere, but don't let that put you off. This is clear and well laid out and I wish everyone could listen to it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Stan
    Auckland, New Zealand
    9/29/13
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    "Excellent listen"

    Dr Steven Novella has written an excellent series of lessons that really helps one understand why people believe strange things. More importantly though, he explains how our own brains can deceive us. Ever wondered how everyone else around you remembers something completely different to how you remember it? Or how someone can come to a completely different conclusion to something than you did, even though you both had the exact same data? This book is fascinating and helps one realise, just because you saw it/ heard it/ analysed it (etc.) doesn't mean you'll come to the correct conclusion unless you take steps to ensure you don't let personal bias get in the way.

    His many years as a teacher at Yale and podcasting ensure it is very easy to listen to this series of lectures. Broken down into half hour sessions, you can go through it is small chunks (I listened to it in three large chunks though, I was enjoying it so much). The one criticism I would have, being an audiobook, the times Dr Novella mentions different visual phenomena that fool us becomes a little difficult, not having the picture in front of you (some are famous and probably don't need an accompanying picture, but some aren't). The same with the audio phenomena. It would have been easy to include them in the audiobook. There also appeared to be mention of a workbook, which I could not find out anything about.

    Having said that, those few issues were not serious enough for me to take any marks off. This is a great book with some truly fascinating things to learn, read in a way that made the time pass by so quickly.

    Thoroughly recommend it.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    3/22/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent but listen like a true sceptic"
    What did you like most about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    Overall and excellent overview of the way to attempt to cultivate a rational and balanced view.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are no characters in this audiobook.


    What about Professor Steven Novella’s performance did you like?

    As with all the Great Courses the narrator is the expert and thus has a natural passion and thorough knowledge of what they are speaking about. This intimate connection is essential to enjoying an audiobook but is lacking in so many books that have employed professional narrators who clearly have little idea about the tone and rhythm appropriate to the subject matter.


    Any additional comments?

    I found some of the author's views to be strikingly incoherent.

    The author seems to believe that media outlets have sufficient staff to thoroughly investigate an international act of terror, stocks and shares trading by multi-national financial corporations, the CIA/FBI, senior government officials and foreign governments yet he also states that they do not have the resources to employ a qualified science editor to research articles before publishing them.

    He also completely ignores the complication of economics and politics that are intertwined with coverage by all modern media outlets whether this be the desire to retain large advertising contracts to the fact that governments have the jurisdiction and power to prevent information that they do not want to be exposed from being broadcast or published through laws that incorporate national security.

    The method the author uses to reach his conclusions during some sections of the book are glib, presumptuous and rather hypocritical given the overall lesson of this audio book.

    The author's own fallibilities only serve to highlight how easy it is to enter into lazy group think and lose a true sceptic's approach of dissecting and analysing information.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Luke
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great insight into the ways we think"
    If you could sum up Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful, useful, applicable


    What did you like best about this story?

    The useful and applicable methods to make the most of our inherent methods of thinking


    What about Professor Steven Novella’s performance did you like?

    Engaging examples, useful approaches


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended for everyone, especially those whose work depends on thinking

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Somerset, UK
    7/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to grow your brain & explode your ego!"

    This course will grow your brain by challenging your beliefs and give you a clear process to reality check any of your conclusions. In other words, putting your dearest most lovingly held beliefs through the meat grinder of scientific critical thinking. Not for the faint hearted! It is not about how to be right, although it could be, but hopefully it will explode your ego in the same way it has mine and give you the tools you need to have more humility in the face of your thoughts and beliefs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • H. Suppiah
    6/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant introduction to objective thinking"
    What did you like most about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    The topic was presented with multiple, easy to understand, examples. Despite it being a "scientific guide", it is presented for a wide demographic


    What does Professor Steven Novella bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Prof Novella was able to bring about several personal anecdotes to emphasize certain points


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    4/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully presented"

    Recommended listening for learning how to understand your own flaws in thinking and catch & correct biases. Excellent!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    8/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A toolkit for life"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is quite the most useful course I have bought, I have so many bookmarks and notes in this. I felt the need to have the content: including heuristics and logical fallacies memorised so that I can steer a safe course around the hucksters of modern advertising and over the pitfall of modern life.


    What other book might you compare Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills to, and why?

    It's pretty unique, but if I had to I'd say it reads like a survival guide (or a handbook to common problems you might be having with your wetware). The problem/issue is stated clearly (usually some kind of problem with perception or the brain's habit of creating useful but problematic short cuts to methodical truth evaluation) then a useful label then the remedy to ameliorate the problem, cool I promise.


    What about Professor Steven Novella’s performance did you like?

    Engaging, I love the supporting evidence the set up so to speak for the course, fascinating!


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Lol, it would be a documentary and it might be:The brain a users guide, or Under the hood


    Any additional comments?

    Thanks great courses

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • kasia
    4/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting"

    Very interesting subject, delivered in a clear and engaging manner. I highly recommend to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kentoski
    2/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazingly pithy and practical"

    This is an absolutely fantastic guide to anyone who wants to know why we're naturally so bad at thinking critically and how you can deliberately turn yourself around.

    Only negative is the canned applause and terrible intro music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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