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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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Performance
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  •  
    Brendan Roseville, MN, United States 08-07-13
    Brendan Roseville, MN, United States 08-07-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great primer on thinking"
    What did you love best about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    Dr. Novella is very good at communicating, which made this course easy to listen to. Of course the content was excellent as well.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about how science, skepticism, or critical thinking.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey 02-06-15
    Jeffrey 02-06-15
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    "Uninteresting and poorly organized"
    What disappointed you about Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills?

    I found the piece had little new information for me and didn't present its idea effectively. When I have to decipher what someone is saying because of their poor choice of words and lack of flow in what should a polished, published peice like this then there's a problem. The examples and stories were boring and a few times were misinformed.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I felt like this whole thing was done in a single, poor take. The professors constant use of the word 'literally' was a bit obnoxious.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Boi 04-07-14
    John Boi 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
  •  
    Chloe 10-27-13
    Chloe 10-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 04-01-15
    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 04-01-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gets leftwing political near the end"

    At least the first half of this lecture series is a good run-down of rhetorical devices, such as logical fallacies people use to argue their case. Also a good summary of the many ways the human brain is evolved to make sense of the world even when it doesn't make sense -- how we see patterns in tree bark, clouds and numbers that aren't really there, for instance. The prof carefully uses non-toxic examples the first half. He slides gradually into advocacy of leftist causes, however. He's death on Creationism/Intelligent Design, most notably.

    The worst problem, and several reviewers here have noted this, is that after giving a good review of the process of science, he handles his favorite problem issues in ways that don't use that scientific process. He treats ESP properly and interestingly by pointing out that science gains knowledge once it cracks into an area of study. We learn more and more about the area. But a hundred years later, people are still trying to figure out if ESP even exists --- a bad sign.

    However, the Harvard prof who thought his patients actually had been abducted by aliens -- he doesn't actually disprove this guy so much as just saying, well, we all know there are no aliens, so it never happened. Maybe: but isn't the "we all know" thought pattern exactly the one we're trying to get away from?

    Same with aliens at Roswell. The lecturer says no aliens because the Army admitted they lied the first time, and were spying on the Soviets with something that came down. So because they admitted they lied the first time we should all believe they can't possibly be lying the second time?? That doesn't work.

    The tone of the lectures becomes more and more urgent as he tries to advocate his political positions, especially once he gets into Global Warming, which he is strongly for. It all begins to feel like a discussion forum on the Internet, but his audience is trapped into silence. He calls the global warming idea "Climate Change" without realizing he is "moving the goalposts," one of the logical fallacies he discusses. He talks about the faults of Science without more than mentioning in passing the worst one of all --- the too-common problem of scientists simply lying. They lie in large numbers for personal reasons or political reasons, the famous emails promoting lying to the public that were exposed from a climate-change "research" group being what really turned the public away from believing in all that. Our professor lectures about how impossible it is to predict the future: but as there hasn't been any global warming for 15 or 20 years (the famous "pause") his whole case is based merely on future prediction models, which appear to be wrong.

    This would have been a much better lecture series if he had kept to neutral examples and left off the leftwing political advocacy. This course should be about teaching people HOW to think, but instead it pushes telling people WHAT to think.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Hudgens 02-08-15
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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.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LaDin 05-11-14
    LaDin 05-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not worth it."
    What didn’t you like about Professor Steven Novella’s performance?

    I found this narrator a tough listen.


    Any additional comments?

    I would describe this as 11 hours and 56 minutes of talking points, with most of the underlying supporting research and references left out. You will get a lot of good cocktail party conversation out of this, but you will have to do your own research if you are going to make any kind of informed judgment as to the potential validity of what is being presented.

    The title of this presentation is way off the mark. If you are looking for Effective Communication Skills technique, you need to look elsewhere.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mg bellevue, wa United States 06-23-17
    mg bellevue, wa United States 06-23-17 Member Since 2016

    mg

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    "boring....."

    boring......not interesting.....constant babble.....way too long......painful....just wanted it too stop.....please stop.....get a real job......maybe Government work.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "ironically lacking in critical thinking "

    Lectures about critical thinking makes absolute statements lacking critical thinking. will ask for a refund. Thinking Fast and Slow is a much better book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "New title: Guy talks about other peoples blunders"

    I listened for 13 hours waiting for him to actually discuss critical thinking. Got Robbed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • 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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • 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.

    19 of 22 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
  • 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.

    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
  • 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
  • Mila
    4/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So useful! "

    This is one of the most useful and surprising books I've recently read. A real eye opener. Quite easy & entertaining to read too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. J. A. Ball
    Spain
    4/9/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative and engaging"

    A must for seekers of knowledge and truth. Not nearly ss dry as the course title suggests. I wish this course was compulsory in all schools.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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