Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid

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9780300090338: Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid

One need not look far to find breathtaking acts of stupidity committed by people who are clever, or even brilliant. The behaviour of clever individuals - from presidents to prosecutors to professors - is at times so amazingly stupid as to seem inexplicable. Why do otherwise intelligent people think and behave in ways so stupid that they sometimes destroy their livelihoods or even their lives? This is an investigation of psychological research to see what it can tell us about stupidity in everyday life. The contributors to the volume, scholars in various areas of human intelligence, present examples of people messing up their lives, and they offer insights into the reasons for such behaviour. From a variety of perspectives, the contributors discuss: the nature and theory of stupidity; how stupidity contributes to stupid behaviour; and whether stupidity is measurable. While many millions of dollars are spent each year on intelligence research and testing to determine who has the ability to succeed, next to nothing is spent to determine who will make use of their intelligence and not squander it by behaving stupidly. The contributors focus on the neglected side of this discussion, reviewing the full range of theory and research on stupid behaviour and analyzing what it tells us about how people can avoid stupidity and its devastating consequences.

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From the Back Cover:

"This book is a serious attempt to understand a common phenomenon. Students of human behavior should find it appealing and may even learn how to avoid doing stupid things."-Psychology Today; "This original book gathers together the best thinking and research on what causes smart people to do foolish things. A highly original work with an exceptional list of contributors."-Martin Ford, George Mason University; "Marvelous, devilishly clever, and culturally timely book. . . . A fascinating exploration. . . . All of the contributions are outstanding."-Choice;

About the Author:

Robert J. Sternberg is IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, and director of PACE, the Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise at Yale University. He is the author or editor of some sixty books, including The Psychology of Love (0 300 04589 1, pb. [pound]15.95), and a widely known expert on intelligence testing.

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