Episode 113: Interview with Scott Lilienfeld on the 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology

MichaelCritical Thinking, Therapy24 Comments

I interview Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, author of 50 Myths of Popular Psychology and we talk about, a) does the polygraph actually work?, b) do women talk more than men?, c) does handwriting analysis reveal your personality? and d) when you’re taking a multiple choice test should you change your first answer or leave it alone? Along the way we also talk about whether the full moon really does make people act strangely (and cause more dog bites). Finally, Dr. Lilienfeld provides his opinion on whether psychotherapists need to be more up-to-date on the scientific research behind the various types of psychotherapy.

  • Here’s another recent interview with Dr. Lilienfeld on the website Online Psychology Degrees.
  • Click the speaker to listen to Dr. Lilienfeld discuss the myths (in separate audio files):

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24 Comments on “Episode 113: Interview with Scott Lilienfeld on the 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology”

  1. Unfortunately, I only have transcripts for a few episodes. It’s just too costly to have every episode transcribed :(. Appreciate your interest though.

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  5. Thanks Justin. I’m glad to hear that the podcast is of interest not just to psych majors. With all these episodes the site is getting pretty busy. I’m also a little worried about how long it takes the pages to load. I’m pretty good with WordPress, but I’m no computer science major. I might take you up on your offer.

  6. Great podcast Michael very informative. I am a Computer Science Major, and I took a few psych classes my professor recommended this site to me as well. It has been a valuable research to study. If you ever need any advice on technical problems of this site feel free to email me. Its the least I can do for such an informative website.

  7. Glad to hear it Jackie. Consider subscribing to the podcast in iTunes. It’s all free and oriented toward psych majors.

  8. This was a great podcast. I am a Psychology major. Our professor asked us to get on here and check out the cast. It was informative yet some of the interviewing answers were a little over my head, but I did enjoy it.

  9. Hey, Im a psych major, I can’t believe how many myths people come up with. It’s almost unbelievable because how people think and how we do things are what psychologist try and figure out. I simply believe their are myths about everything but when it come to some things such double thinking something that psychologist study for most of their schooling and in fact, years, there can only be a few things that will actually be myths.

  10. RQuinn: glad you found the podcast and I appreciate the kind words. I think you’ll find Lilienfeld’s book to be an excellent resource for what you have in mind for your class.

    Computer-mediated communication does look pretty interesting. I might be interested in doing an episode on the topic. I did a little Google search and found an article by Walther from 1996. Do you have any suggestions for anything more recent?

  11. There’s a slew of relatively new research (less than thirty years old) on the topic of computer-mediated communication (CMC), how we form impressions of each other, and how we then form relationships with people we may never meet face-to-face. Notably, CMC is heavily receiver-based, with the reader filling in the gaps where CMC lacks nonverbal cues we normally rely on to make our assessments of each other, such as facial expressions, demeanor, and voice inflection, among others. A little priming, and two CMC receivers can read the same message in two different ways, depending on what each person brings to the medium. It’s what makes sarcasm (or the lack of it) excessively hard to communicate online; sarcasm requires a certain edge or flatness in the voice—something lacking in the printed word. Thankfully, if two CMC participants are willing to communicate and be open to one another, the lack of certain cues does not doom them to the loss of all cues, and though they come at a slower rate than face-to-face interactions, enough cues can help participants form very solid and justifiable impressions of each other, allowing us to form friendships online, similarly to how we do in person. (See the research by J. Walther and Lea & Spears, among others.)

    Please, forgive me. CMC has been a major interest of mine since my first undergraduate research project in the field, and as with all psychology, I hope that a little understanding in the area will help us take each other with a grain of salt and reduce the attribution biases to which we are all prone. I have participated in the digression of this page’s original topic. My apologies to Michael as well. Maybe you could do a show on CMC sometime. 😛

    I’ve just downloaded this podcast (I didn’t have it, as I’ve only recently subscribed), and I’m very much looking forward to listening to it on my way to work tomorrow. I’ll be working on forming lesson plans in the following year, and one of my ideas has been to start the first day of class with a debunking session to get the kids interested in psychology as a means of challenging authority (through research) and thinking critically in ways that can be fun and enlightening. It seems from the description that Dr. Lilienfeld’s book is exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you for doing this episode!

  12. Well AJ, you certain work fast. You were insulted and issued a curt reply in record time. I have no interest in a flame war with you, so I’ll just leave it to you to work in your self-esteem and to learn more about the economics of textbooks since you clearly don’t want to read the rest of my post.

  13. Well Sheldon I stopped by primarily to pass on some information and say that I enjoyed the podcast. Don’t think I’ve ever visited a blog before where every single comment is directly related to the primary content of the blog – so I’m puzzled by your comment.

    As to the topic of pricing. I buy a lot of digital books, the majority of which are educational and business related. I understand the nature and difference between novels and educational work, but I have never seen an $85 book cost before.

    There are 2 versions of this book on Amazon right now, both published on the same date. Hardback is $85 and softback is just under $18. It’s clear that Wiley have a policy (at least for this particular title) to peg the eBook cost to the Hardback version which I think is unusual and not something I have seen before.

    “As for the cost of electronic version, the reason for the added cost should be clear.”

    It’s not clear to me but no need to elaborate any further as I’ve already commited a faux pas by not discussing Psychology 😉

  14. Not sure why there’s a thread here about book cost; this is a psychology website, after all. But, I thought I’d chime in and suggest that you do an episode on the misunderstanding about how the economy works. Michael Shermer’s latest book “The Mind of the Market” might be a good place to start. It’s about the psychology behind the stock market, greed, our (mis)understanding of the economy, etc. Good stuff!

    On the topic of text costs, most people seem to think that they should be comparable to prices of novels or other books they buy for fun. However, text books (or other books written for education) must return all of their profits at the first selling (publishers and authors get none of the profits when you sell it on Ebay or to a friend), and will be out of date and unsellable within just a few years. Novels don’t work like that. “Catcher in the Rye,” for instance, which will never change or require updating. The author of that book has been paid, and the profits and residuals can be gathered in dribs and drabs. The author of an educational book must be paid again to update the content as new information is gathered and scientific understanding improves; the original version will be out of date and destroyed within just a few years, so its shelf-life (and ability to repay the publisher for the cost of making it) is quite limited. As for the cost of “electronic” versions, the reason for the added cost should be clear.

  15. Thanks for the update Michael. I might send an email to Wiley myself as a potentional ebook customer and see if they can explain the price.

  16. Excellent podcast. Another topic he could have covered (maybe does in the book) is fallacies with correlation vs causation. It ties in with confirmation bias and representative bias. Most people, no thanks to the news media, have no idea that two correlated events may have no (direct) causal relationship, the best example being the correlation between ice cream consumption and drowning death…the third (causal, linking) factor being the fact that they occur more often in summer months 🙂

  17. I send Dr. Lilienfeld a message today telling him about the $85 cost of the ebook version. Unfortunately he said that there’s nothing he can do about that price, but I’m sure he’ll let Wiley know. My comment to him was also that Wiley needs to think about releasing their own ebook version of 50 Myths – as do a lot of other publishers. Maybe they’ll do an audiobook version some time.

  18. I have subscribed to the comments on this thread so if there is any update maybe you could post here or email me at the address used making this comment.

    Thanks again

  19. AJ: Wow – I’d never heard of Diesel ebooks. Thanks for this – I may be doing some shopping here. Okay – I’ll let Dr. Lilienfeld know about this. I’m curious about how much he or Wiley know about this. Again thanks.

  20. AJ: I just went to Amazon to check out the price and I see a hardcover edition for $85, and the softcover for $17.96 (that’s the one I bought). Where did you go to find an ebook version? I’d be happy to pass this along to Scott, but I’d like to know where you were found an ebook version.

  21. Just stumbled on your podcast of this last night and found it very interesting. Went to buy the ebook version of the title today and it’s priced at an eye watering $85. Perhaps you could pass this on to Scott and have Wiley look at the price of that because it seems outrageous to me when the paperback (which I will now get instead) is under $20. I’d loved to have started reading it today digitally but I think I’d need my head examined if I paid that price 🙂

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