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3 Top Sources of Psychology Myths

In a recent interview I asked Scott Lilienfeld, the author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, about the sources of psychology myths.  Here’s what he has to say about where psychology myths come from:

The primary source is the huge, burgeoning pop psychology industry: self-help books, the internet, films, TV shows, magazines, and the like. But many of these myths also spring from the allure of our everyday experience; many of these myths seem persuasive because they accord with our common sense intuitions. But these intuitions are often erroneous. The public can defend themselves against shams by becoming armed with accurate knowledge.

Many other fields — not just psychology — are subject to myths disseminated by the media.

So what are some of the top sources of psychology myths? Here are the top three…

3 Comments to
3 Top Sources of Psychology Myths

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  1. Excellent article. These are sources of all myths. It shows a complete unwillingness to see a problem or idea as a whole if not a whimsical attempt to bridge ideas that have no link, but builds a pseudo-foundation for our fallacious beliefs.

    Please note credible “they” sources. Please fill your non-sequiturs. Please slow down and stop and think about your responses.

  2. I am amused to see the overlap between these and what I see in my work with business teams. The myths of team building can easily be tied to these same causes. Because people keep hearing that, for example, 90% of communication is nonverbal, they believe it without even considering the logical fallacies of this myth, much less the source. Success stories in popular business publications and blogs regularly confuse correlation for causation, so managers jump into the latest fad without considering what is different about their teams or other explanations for the success. And the entire “team building” industry is built on the quick fix, with some of the correlation problem thrown in. Well said, Jamie.

  3. Good article! Unfortunately I don’t believe the public is particularly interested in seeking out accurate knowledge. A majority of people, I think, are perfectly comfortable with the “they” sources.



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