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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

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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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  •  
    Knut Oslo, Norway 11-28-16
    Knut Oslo, Norway 11-28-16 Listener Since 2008
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    "Interesting but too slow."

    I already read other more interesting books that cover this. The book uses too long time to explain the same thing over and over again. Some of the stories are interesting. (i only read 2/3 of the book yet, but im not sure i will complet it)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaun 11-22-16
    Shaun 11-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Wish this were taught in school"

    I really enjoyed this course. I do wish that it were taught in public schools as critical thinking is so important in every aspect of Our Lives. dr. novella has outdone himself. I first learned of this course listening to his podcast the Skeptics Guide to the universe. I can't recommend this course enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tintin Chicago IL 11-15-16
    Tintin Chicago IL 11-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    26
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    "Probably the best of dozens of courses I've taken"

    This is extraordinary in its methodical analysis of flaws in human cognition and the scientific approach to better thinking. That might sound dry or pedantic but it's anything but that. I was familiar with much of this but I don't remember ever hearing this material in a more thoughtful or compelling or thorough way. The pace was great, the message encouraging and I found it great food for thought. Really a nice listen for emotional creatures interested in rational thought.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas V. 10-26-16
    Thomas V. 10-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    47
    30
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    "To think about thinking"

    Steven Novella takes you on a journey to help you think about the way we think. The course is based on many concepts of social psychology. He usually explains a concept and then gives a very tractable example to easily understand.
    I loved listening to the course, because it kept being exciting from the beginning to the end. I feel like I learnt a lot about myself and human behavior in general.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Siddharth Saravanan 10-18-16 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    "Everyhing is illuminated"

    The lectures were illuminating, very well paced with fascinating content. As someone living in India I may well be in the midst of one of the largest populations with a distinct absence of critical thinking and the ability access knowledge of this nature has been immensely gratifying. I highly recommend listening to other wonderful lectures such as understanding the mysteries of human behaviour in sequence with this series as they overlap on many points, reinforcing their messages without repeating each other

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cameron 10-17-16
    Cameron 10-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great introductory course."

    It's far from a "great course" however the information covered was an excellent starting point for anyone interested in formal logic or increasing their reasoning skill set.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edgar 10-16-16
    Edgar 10-16-16
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    2
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    "Like the SGU in book form"

    If you've ever listened to the Skeptics Guide podcast - and you definitely should- this is a perfect way to get a solid basis for the types of conversations commonly breached in their episodes.

    In short, Steven Novella gives us an overview to the question: how do we determine truth and falsehood, and how does science help us overcome our inherent blindness in that endeavor?

    Starting with individual illusions, then moving on to social phenomena such as mass delusions, Novella then gets to the meat of his lectures with the basis of logic, fallacies, and an introduction to the scientific method.

    Much of this information would be touched on in your average high school/undergrad science class: What is the scientific method? What determines a good source? But usually these philosophical underpinnings to science are glanced over during syllabus week, and every student of course is just worrying about the curriculum for the upcoming weeks. The real value to this audiobook is that we get a hard look at what it means to be a critical thinker, and where that critical thinking is weakest in our everyday lives.

    If you've ever been in discussion with a friend, who you just KNOW is wrong, but you can't quite pin down how...or if you dont know how to parse your own opinions in a rational way...if you have a desire to find intellectual honesty in a complicated world...I highly recommend this lecture series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 10-15-16
    Robert 10-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "It may not clear your thinking, but you'll have a better idea of what's getting in the way"

    Because of the way we evolved over the ages, be it millions of years or something much shorter, our minds developed shortcuts so we could survive out in the world. Now that we have, in certain regions and to varying degrees, managed to overcome the most immediate threats to our existence; finding enough to eat while avoiding being eaten. The shortcuts we developed then are not as nearly required as they once were. This course teaches what the shortcuts are (confirmation bias, stereotyping etc.) and steps one can take to avoid them when necessary, and the means to overcome them and see more clearly the trees and the forests of modern day life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RockinBuck 10-13-16
    RockinBuck 10-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    28
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    "I like the way he thinks!"

    Outstanding! I have had many discussions and arguments with folks that need to hear this book, especially when using social media. Many of the examples are relevant and crucial to understanding the points being made by the professor. Will listen again soon!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 09-29-16
    Ryan 09-29-16
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    6
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    "Great book"

    Question everything don't ever be satisfied with your answer try to prove everything wrong that's what this book is about and it's what everybody should know

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • 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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    York
    7/7/14
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    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Stan
    Auckland, New Zealand
    9/29/13
    Overall
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    Story
    "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.

    18 of 21 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

    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 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
  • 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
  • Sal Ersan
    1/4/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic introduction to critical thinking. "

    That story about a McDonalds burger that's been preserved for 20 years that crops up in the news from time to time is nonsense. Any well cooked burger will be similarly well preserved - its due to the science of moisture, not nasty chemicals. Why is the story so popular? Note the fears it plays on and the people who push the story (health enthusiasts - people wanting to find examples of the evils of modern preservatives, or non experts looking to make a point).

    That's one of the hundred examples mentioned in this book: a fantastic introduction to critical thinking. Each chapter raises several points linked to a theme and amply uses examples to demonstrate these and remain engaging. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone at any level. Not for actual experts? Newton believed in alchemy and Conan Doyle believed in fairies...

    The narrator spoke a little slowly for me (I typically listen in double speed anyway and slow it for a replay if I don't catch a term or name used) and while the work generally linked to others (some psychological theories or books from others) there wasn't a huge amount of referencing. That's a very minor point from me though (just would be nice to be able to find some of the many examples of generic "researchers in the 1980s" they use).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Iain
    The Czech Republic
    1/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    "Reasons to think cautiously."

    An invaluable guide from a giant of scientific scepticism. Although I have a degree in philosophy and an MA in cognitive science, I found some new things to reflect on in this course. Not to say those qualifications are necessary (or particularly useful) to follow this course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • david davidson
    london
    11/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""scientific" is the key word in this title"

    The background schema to this course is science and medical science in particular whilst my own interest is business but otherwise a great course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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