APA Style Citation
Nisbett, R. E. (2015). Mindware: Tools for smart thinking. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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Will what you learn in college affect how you think about everyday life? Yes. The book Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking addresses how scientific and philosophical thought can be taught to affect reasoning in everyday life. The key is how events are framed and coded. The concepts in the book are important, teachable, and central.
There are six main parts to the book. The first part is about thinking about the world. It explains how we think, the mistakes we make, how to fix those mistakes, and how to improve our thinking. In order to make fewer errors in judgment, we should be careful of inferences, be aware of schemas, recognize how incidental and irrelevant perceptions can affect our thinking, and recognize the power of heuristics. In order to improve our thinking, we should pay more attention to context, recognize the power of the situation for ourselves as well as others, and know that people can change. In daily life we should not assume that we know why we think the way we do.
The second part is about choices. It focuses on economics and real-life examples for the reader. The third part is about making categorizations of the world. It explains attributions and more specifically the fundamental attribution error. The fourth part is about causality. The focus is on experiments. The fifth part is about types of reasoning. The abstract and formal deductive reasoning are associated with Western thinking. While the dialectical reasoning is associated with Eastern thinking. The sixth part is about what makes a good theory. For example, the principle KISS- Keep It Simple, Stupid- provides the basis for a good theory. The principles of reductionism, hypothesis testing, confirmation bias, and falsifiability are also addressed. Overall, this book points out how our beliefs can often be wrong, but we can also be more aware and compensate for this. The tools offered by Nisbett, with a little practice, can enhance your smart thinking.
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The Psychology of Thinking Video
Q and A
The Guardian Article
Psychological Figures and Concepts
John Darley and Bibb Latané
Cocktail party phenomenon
Cognitive dissonance theory
Fundamental attribution error
Implicit Association Test
Law of large numbers
Multiple regression analysis (MRA)
Pearson correlation coefficient
Reference group effect
Regression to the mean
Reinforcement learning theory
Social desirability bias
Social facilitation effect
Subliminal perception and persuasion
Tragedy of the commons
Vicarious reinforcement theory