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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2021 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elric Fox 05-28-15
    Elric Fox 05-28-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
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    Story
    "A nice overview"
    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a nice refresher of logical fallacies, how they occur and how to identify them. It is good for the layman who has an interest in this sort of topic.


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

    It would be difficult to listen to in one sitting, considering the length. Also having some to stop and think about and research the claims made seems more appropriate for this kind of book.


    Any additional comments?

    A pdf with a list of the studies he refers to would be nice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    QP Opp 05-23-15
    QP Opp 05-23-15
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    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Understanding Biases"

    Great course. Professor Novella is an excellent lecturer. Now I question everything! Looking forward to other courses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alan Biros 05-21-15
    alan Biros 05-21-15 Member Since 2011
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    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Story
    "time well spent"

    I enjoyed the lectures, easy to follow, understand ill listen to the lectures again. As far as what I knew and thought I knew, these lectures corrected, confirmed and added to my knowledge. will have to find more material on the subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Omar Shippensburg, PA, United States 05-18-15
    Omar Shippensburg, PA, United States 05-18-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    "Great book well organized book."

    Its a really good book. I found that it is very helpful in understanding what to believe and what not to. Giving you a toolbox to helping to discern them apart . I love the great courses. And honestly it's very much like attending a college class. If you don't really focus. It'd be better to listen to the book twice. Not that it's not easy to understand, just because of the amount of information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayne McLaughlin Silver City, NM 05-17-15
    Jayne McLaughlin Silver City, NM 05-17-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everyone should hear this"

    Do you think your thinking is rational and unbiased? BS! These lectures gave me some good language to label the ways in which I can go astray in my thinking. Really good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. S 808 05-14-15
    Mr. S 808 05-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Excellent content and delivery"

    Very satisfied with this book. The topic is relevant to anybody with an interest in critical thinking or conspiracy theories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 05-03-15
    Stephen 05-03-15 Member Since 2002
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Story
    "Scientific literacy"

    Encourages the reader to be skeptical and to be aware of bias. Great information on scientific literacy. Presented calmly and rationally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    ratings
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    11
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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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
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  • Stan
    Auckland, New Zealand
    9/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    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.

    12 of 14 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
  • 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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jonty
    7/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really good"

    Amazing talk by great speaker. Really says what it is in their title. Thinking about thinking and really being analytical and questioning yourself and others.
    Highly recommend for anyone that likes to intellectually engage.

    0 of 0 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.

    0 of 0 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


    0 of 0 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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S_Thorn
    3/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gharper
    12/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

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