When Good Thinking Goes Bad

Todd C. Riniolo

In 1975, the Environmental Fund sponsored a full-page commercial in main newspapers, which predicted that “the world as we all know it’s going to doubtless be ruined earlier than the yr 2,000,” as a result of assumed lack of ability of world meals manufacturing to maintain tempo with the rise in inhabitants. The assertion was endorsed by a number of the most interesting thinkers of the time—scientists, students, and different professionals who had spent their careers making use of the ideas of essential considering to their chosen disciplines. Nonetheless, on this occasion, all of them failed to make use of the identical rigor in assessing the likelihood of looming catastrophe and badly miscalculated.
This is only one instance of how even the very best thinkers can generally go astray, and it illustrates how simply unconscious biases can undermine the essential considering course of. On this insightful evaluation of the psychological pitfalls that journey up even elite essential thinkers, psychologist Todd C. Riniolo makes a compelling case that below sure circumstances everyone seems to be susceptible to accepting faulty beliefs.
Riniolo begins by reviewing the hallmarks of essential considering associated to the analysis of claims, corresponding to using the double-blind process and the legislation of parsimony. He then gives an evolutionary framework and empirical supporting proof from cognitive psychology to clarify why being inconsistent in using essential considering is a part of our evolutionary heritage. Every of us possesses cognitive biases that make us vulnerable to sustaining our present beliefs (each true and false). He concludes by specializing in a variety of claims—environmental, political, financial, multicultural—as an instance how in sure contexts all of us are tempted to desert essential considering.
Completely researched but written in a vigorous, witty type, this distinctive method to essential considering will curiosity college students, academics, and anybody who needs to grow to be a greater thinker.