Pseudoscience Classes #6-9

Class #6: How we Struggle with Probability

In short: Even extremely well educated and qualified people have great difficulty dealing with (a) randomness or (b) probabilistic reasoning.

Targeted reading:
Schick & Vaughn, Chapter 5 (pp. 96-111; pp. 139-142)

Class #7: Cognitive Limits on Reasoning

In short: Human judgement is driven not simply (or at all) by logic, but rather by cognitive shortcuts and social influences.

Targeted reading:
Wikipedia, ‘List of Biases in Judgment and Decision Making’
Kahneman & Tversky, ‘On the Reality of Cognitive Illusions’
From the blog: Views on the Homeopathic Emergency Room

Class #8: Social & Media Influences on Reasoning

In short: Not only is human judgement driven by cognitive shortcuts and social influences, it is also heavily affected by the way mass media works.

Targeted reading:
From the Blog: When is a nuclear meltdown not a nuclear meltdown?; The Babel Fish Dilemma: Talking science with non-scientists; An age-old problem: Public relations as science

Class #9: Psychology as Science

In short: When considering whether parts of psychology are pseudoscientific, it is worth remembering that psychology as a whole conforms to scientific assumptions much better than many other fields commonly considered (without dispute) to be ‘sciences’.

Targeted reading:
Hughes, Chapter 8 (pp. 97-110)

Click here to move on to Classes #10-13