The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


cognition

The Future of Medicine & Wellness

Skeptic: Let’s start with the big questions. What is the problem to be solved? And why is systems biology the right method to find the answer? Leroy Hood: The problem is this great complexity. Reductionism is the approach where you take an element of a complex system and study that element in enormous detail. However, […]

Leonard Mlodinow — Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

eSkeptic for January 11, 2022

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

Gale Sinatra & Barbara Hofer — Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

eSkeptic for September 25, 2021

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

Annie Murphy Paul — The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

eSkeptic for July 31, 2021

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

Andy Norman — Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Why? More importantly, what can we do about it? Michael Shermer and Andy Norman discuss: the plague of ideologies • memes and viruses • bad ideas as parasites • cognitive immunology • cultural immune systems • epistemology • gullibility • beliefs and values • evidence vs. faith • how to regulate beliefs, and impediments to curiosity.

eSkeptic for May 11, 2021

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Why? More importantly, what can we do about it? In episode 180 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Andy Norman about his book Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think.

Metaphors & Mindsets: How to ‘Update’ Beliefs

Admitting our beliefs are false can feel like a failure, a sign of weakness. Instead, we should look at changing our mind as an ‘update.’ The following is a review by Michael Shermer of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef (Portfolio).

Hugo Mercier — Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe

Not Born Yesterday explains how we decide who we can trust and what we should believe — and argues that we’re pretty good at making these decisions. Hugo Mercier demonstrates how virtually all attempts at mass persuasion — whether by religious leaders, politicians, or advertisers — fail miserably.

eSkeptic for January 28, 2020

In Science Salon # 101 Michael Shermer speaks with Hugo Mercier about his new book: Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe.

eSkeptic for April 11, 2018

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer interviews Dr. Leonard Mlodinow about his new book: Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change; and Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.

Dr. Leonard Mlodinow — Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change

Out of the exploratory instincts that allowed our ancestors to prosper hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans developed a cognitive style that Leonard Mlodinow terms elastic thinking, a collection of traits and abilities that include neophilia (an affinity for novelty), schizotypy (a tendency toward unusual perception), imagination and idea generation, pattern recognition, mental fluency, divergent thinking, and integrative thinking.

Sex, Brains & Hands: Differences in How Women and Men Think

Diane F. Halpern presents some of the theories and research that have explored individual differences in cognition between women and men, and discusses what we know and what we don’t know.

eSkeptic for November 2, 2016

In this week’s eSkeptic, Diane F. Halpern presents some of the theories and research that have explored individual differences in cognition between women and men, and discusses what we know and what we don’t know.

11-02-09

In this interview with one of the pioneering women in the skeptical movement, Carol Tavris picks up where Stephen Jay Gould left off on his Mismeasure of Man with her mythbusting book The Mismeasure of Woman. Tavris uncovers a host of myths about women and shows what science actually tells us about gender difference with respect to cognition.

10-05-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Dr. Michael Shermer’s review of The Brain and the Meaning of Life by Paul Thagard.

07-10-31

In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Clive Wynne, a psychology professor at the University of Florida and the author of the authoritative textbook on the subject of animal cognition, revisits the debate about whether animals have language.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Dr. Steven Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best — language and human nature — into his new book on how words can help explain our nature (for example, what swearing reveals about our emotions or what innuendo discloses about relationships). The author of the bestselling books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and Blank Slate, Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly…

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