on 17 January 2003
I was forced to read this book upon taking up my role as Lecturer In Neuroscience in Sheffield Uni Dept of Psychology. I run the course that uses this text as its examinable material.
Like many practioners of 'hard science' I'd always view psychology as a bit of a light-weight subject with its over-reliance on statistical methods, questionaires, touchy-feely-types etc and the many TV psychologists one can see almost daily, further dragging down their subject into the depths of pseudoscience. However, on reading this book I realised that there IS some merit in psychology. This text explains many concepts that turn observation into SCIENCE. It explains why science is so powerful in getting at the truth of the matter by constantly trying to refute itself! Which other disipline would have the courage to try and disprove itself and, if successful, rethink its hypotheses in light of the new findings to forge a new and more robust hypothesis? Stanovich explains how the scientific process does just this and he does it in an entertaining and light way without dumbing down in any way. Stanovich could make this text more appealing to a wider audience by expanding its scope and perhaps not concentrating quite so much on psychology, but on science in general. He'd have to change the title then, of course!
I wish I'd read this book when I was an under-/post-graduate studying Physiology/Neurophysiology-it would have given me a greater understanding of what I was trying to do. Its other great gift to me is when I'm confronted with a New Ager expounding the virtues of crystals,chakaras,angels,faith healing etc and trying to bring modern science into disrepute. The information in this book helps me to show them why they're barking up the wrong tree and I'm not! I often end such a conversation with, "...science isn't all bad, but there's nothing you can show me that I can say is at all good"
Buy this book! My students, buy this book, read it and learn from it! I'm setting the exam questions right now!
on 20 September 2013
Although I am perhaps above average interested in various aspects of critical thinking, this book connects much of this understanding of science with psychology. It is perhaps hard to recommend to anyone who knows psychology and excels in critical thinking, since most of the material covered will be old news to those kinds of people, but as a student it helps connect two fields of knowledge I enjoy.
To all my fellow psychology students it is a light read with many excellent examples and some short bursts of humour that leaves you laughing out loud. A must-read.
on 1 January 2011
Definitely makes you think more critically about psychology, and helps reduce the chance that you'll automatically come to certain conclusions as it challenges the basic and more obvious of conclusions. Definitely worth the read, especially the chapters about Correlation and Causality.