When Good Thinking Goes Bad: How Your Brain Can Have a Mind of Its Own

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9781591025863: When Good Thinking Goes Bad: How Your Brain Can Have a Mind of Its Own

In this insightful analysis of the mental pitfalls that trip up even elite critical thinkers, psychologist Todd C. Riniolo makes a compelling case that under certain circumstances everyone is vulnerable to accepting erroneous beliefs.

Riniolo begins by reviewing the hallmarks of critical thinking related to the evaluation of claims, such as the use of the double-blind procedure and the law of parsimony. He then provides an evolutionary framework and empirical supporting evidence from cognitive psychology to explain why being inconsistent in the use of critical thinking is part of our evolutionary heritage. Each of us possesses cognitive biases that make us prone to maintaining our current beliefs (both true and false). He concludes by focusing on a wide range of claims—environmental, political, economic, multicultural—to illustrate how in certain contexts we all are tempted to abandon critical thinking.

Thoroughly researched yet written in a lively, witty style, this unique approach to critical thinking will interest students, teachers, and anyone who wishes to become a better thinker.

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About the Author:

Todd C. Riniolo (Grand Island, NY) is an associate professor of psychology at Medaille College. He has written many peer-reviewed articles in the psychological literature.

Review:

"The perfect primer on critical thinking, not just for critical thinkers but for everyone. Not only should this book be the primary text of critical thinking courses throughout the land, but the chapters on how to think critically about political, economic, and social issues should be required reading for all members of Congress, along with the White House staff and the President himself...." -- Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why People Believe Weird Things and Why Darwin Matters.

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