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Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills | [The Great Courses]

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.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jody 04-29-15
    Jody 04-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great guide to critical thinking"

    Novella's strength is in that he can present on such a topic with a lot of knowledge and not a lot of moralising. It makes topics which could be alienating, confronting people's personal beliefs and experiences much more accessible. Even without visual stimuli, this is engaging and easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie 04-28-15
    Stephanie 04-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazingly insightful"
    What did you love best about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    I found this lecture series an insightful look in to how we think. The examples used by Prof Novella are interesting and the information provided gives a new perspective to the way we view the world.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Hogan 04-27-15 Member Since 2011
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    11
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    "Well presented but examples were weak"

    The overall premise that the scientific method is a cornerstone to critical thinking is clearly presented with examples that most of us will relate to. However, some examples to debunk misguided conspiracy theories were poorly chosen because the evidence is too confused and the truth too concealed that both mainstream and fringe positions can't be reliably adopted by the public wishing to know the truth. The course reaffirmed my experience in life that you can trust no one other than what you can glean from the literature to form a probabilistic opinion on what is real and truthful. Loyalty to your ego to be right all the time is most people's biggest weakness including myself. The presenter provided very weak arguments on several examples including president Kennedy's assassination and the events of 911. He also curiously avoided the issues surrounding GMO foods which has become a huge topic globally. Because of the biased treatment of the aforementioned examples and others I give the course only a B+ rather than a clear A.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joey 04-27-15
    joey 04-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "great listen for open minded people"

    love the topic. I try to stay from sh on topics that require a cognitive approach. this course gave me the needed boost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Tortorici 04-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    12
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    "Interesting perspective"

    At first I thought the course was going to breakdown critical thinking and teach how to develop skill right out of the gate. The book did not dive into that until the very end. For most of the book I listened but was disappointed. Once I got to the last few chapter did I realize that the entire book mapped out human thought, gave examples, and indeed teach me what things to look for it warnings about human perception. When the last courses came did I then realize I needed to learn the other topics before I could understand. I felt like a heel because of it. I am explaining this hoping you understand most of the book builds a framework so you can understand critical thinking portion.

    Good book and I am glad I finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 04-24-15
    Scott 04-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Science Rules!"

    These set of lectures are fantastic! One of the best I have heard yet. Everyone should listen to these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    1DrummingAddict Mount Juliet, TN 04-18-15
    1DrummingAddict Mount Juliet, TN 04-18-15 Member Since 2014

    I love just a few things... Family, Drumming, Baseball, and Intellect.

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    "Very enlightening!"

    This course delved deeper into the reasoning for beliefs than I had expected. A truly enlightening journey into your own biases and false reasonings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    #1 Amazon Buyer 04-07-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Nothing but the facts"
    What did you love best about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    One of my favs. If only more people prescribed to critical thinking skills we could move the ball down the field a bit faster.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris McCray Daytona Beach, FL 04-07-15
    Chris McCray Daytona Beach, FL 04-07-15
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    "Believe me, but don't believe me!"

    This was a good course on making sound judgments about the ceaseless noise going on in the world. Scientific skepticism is the name of the game when you want objective and reliable beliefs about the nature of the world.

    There are times when he sounds cocky and condescending to a particular observation, but in general he maintains some amount of respect when weighing the merits of a claim.

    Definitely recommend to the listener who wants to sharpen their discerning skills while seeking the truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    petrarchslaurie Portland, OR 04-06-15
    petrarchslaurie Portland, OR 04-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Brilliant course - should be required listening!"

    In an era where we continue to tell teachers to create critically thinking students but assess students using bubble tests, this course is a welcome relief. I think it should be required listening for every teacher, student, college student, and citizen. It explores the neurocognitive ramifications of thought as well as practical strategies for detecting poor arguments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-40 of 136 results PREVIOUS134514NEXT
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  • 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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    York
    7/7/14
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    "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.

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

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S_Thorn
    3/31/15
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    "A great introduction to critical thinking skills"
    Would you listen to Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills again? Why?

    This course discussed critical thinking skills over 24 lectures, covering topics such as biases, our flawed perceptions as humans, logical fallacies, common myths, problems with media/journalism amongst others.

    Needless to say, since the breadth of topics is so large it's difficult to comprehend everything in one run through. I imagine this will be the case with all audiobooks from the great courses.

    However, this means that there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned here and some topics are more important and helpful to others. This means that there is opportunities to listen to relevant chapters again if one so desires. I would like to point out that a single run through is sufficient to increase your critical thinking skills.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    I personally enjoy learning common logical fallacies since I think that is an easy way to help correct the thinking of yourself and to see the flaws in logic in others. I also enjoyed learning about common myths and their criticisms. It demonstrates critical thinking skills quite well and encourages you to attempt critical thinking of your own.


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

    He has the perfect speaking speed to play comfortably at 2x speed. Otherwise speaking was clear and concise.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the wisdom that the author gave that while science is a powerful tool it cannot answer all questions. Questions such as "What is good?" (i.e. Morality) and "What is beauty?" are not questions which can be answered by science. So it's important to remember that you cant know everything from science alone and it should only be used to answer questions which it can answer.

    I found this very eye opening.


    Any additional comments?

    I 100% recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking skills. It made my critical thinking skills improve with immediate effects by being able to judge scientific journals and articles better by appraising the merits of the writing and the science behind them. I've also made use of it in multiple discussions where I've avoided falling into multiple logical traps as well as being able to make better constructed arguments.

    Awesome course, can't recommend it enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paulusmaximus
    Glasgow
    3/4/15
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    "Should be required reading for everyone"

    One of those "change your whole world view" audio books. Excellent content and presentation from Steven Novella.

    Very highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gharper
    12/3/14
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    "Highly recommended for those of a skeptical nature"

    I really enjoyed this course. I feel I can think more clearly about what is going on around me and I would recommend it to anyone for this reason.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    8/31/14
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    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    London
    12/26/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very strong start but undermined in by bias"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Perhaps it cant be. How many of us can be truly objective?

    I didnt expect anything different on brain structure and chemistry, so was expecting the a priori conclusion that there is no 'self', even though the explanations given need not be the final word in themselves. Is the cause of a light switching on, the switch itself ?

    However for a course that billed itself as critical thinking I expected better when it came to genuine reservations regarding Darwinian Evolution. Why? Because there is no other subject in Science that seems to raise emotions as much as this. Objections are often dismissed simply because of who presents them and invariably assumes that each protestor must necessarily be a Creationist which is not necessarily true (Richard Milton for example described himself as an agnostic). So in such a course this was inevitably going to be a pivotal revealing topic. Yes, the context in which this was discussed was vis-a-vis Creationism, and from this the impression given was simply that there were some gaps that might be explained in the future. Is this not however a case of the very wishful thinking that is criticised earlier on in the course? Also the complaint that the alternative explanation was not scientific compelling is not for me the primary issue but rather the doubts of flaws of Darwinian Evolution expressed in the first place.

    I think that the other issue was this course was really heavily centred around the scientific method with a logic overlay, which granted was pointed out at the start. However this precludes approaches such as metaphysics, that does not lend itself to the scientific method but is consistent and no less critical in the application of logic.


    Has Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills put you off other books in this genre?

    No because it will be very dependent on the individual course tutor.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration itself was well done.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    yes the first section of the book was very good, particularly some of the examples of conspiracy theory. Unfortunately once you see a bias, particularly in this type of course, it then undermines the delivery.


    Any additional comments?

    For logic and critical thinking I found D Q McInerney's 'Being Logical : A Guide to Good Thinking, a much smaller but good concise guide.
    Importantly for the scientific paradigm Thomas Kuhn's 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' , Karl Popper's 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery' and yes even Paul Feyerabend's 'Against Method'

    6 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Ned
    7/7/14
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    Story
    "thank you made my life look so boring now"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    some what.


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

    "secret history o f the world" :-)


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Steven Novella?

    enyone else will do


    Do you think Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    the professor was trying to denounce some myths with not so easy to proof theorys of his, leaving everyting in hands of coincidence.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful
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