Continuing the premises of You Are Not So Smart, this book continues to look at mankind's intellectual shortcomings. A summary:
THE MISCONCEPTION: You are a being of logic and reason.
THE TRUTH: You are a being capable of logic and reason who falls short of that ideal in predictable ways.
1. Narrative Bias
THE MISCONCEPTION: You make sense of life through rational contemplation.
THE TRUTH: You make sense of life through narrative.
2. The Common Belief Fallacy
THE MISCONCEPTION: The larger the consensus, the more likely it is correct.
THE TRUTH: A belief is not more likely to be accurate just because many people share it.
3. The Benjamin Franklin Effect
THE MISCONCEPTION: You do nice things for the people you like and bad things to the people you hate.
THE TRUTH: You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.
4. The Post Hoc Fallacy
THE MISCONCEPTION: You notice when effect doesn’t follow cause.
THE TRUTH: You find it especially difficult to believe a sequence of events means nothing.
5. The Halo Effect
THE MISCONCEPTION: You objectively appraise the individual attributes of other people.
THE TRUTH: You judge specific qualities of others based on your global evaluation of their character and appearance.
6. Ego Depletion
THE MISCONCEPTION: Willpower is just a metaphor.
THE TRUTH: Willpower is a finite resource.
7. The Misattribution of Arousal
THE MISCONCEPTION: You always know why you feel the way you feel.
THE TRUTH: You can experience emotional states without knowing why, even if you believe you can pinpoint the source.
8. The Illusion of External Agency
THE MISCONCEPTION: You always know when you are making the best of things.
THE TRUTH: You often incorrectly give credit to outside forces for providing your optimism.
9. The Backfire Effect
THE MISCONCEPTION: You alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking after your beliefs are challenged with facts.
THE TRUTH: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.
10. Pluralistic Ignorance
THE MISCONCEPTION: Many of your private beliefs are in disagreement with what most people think.
THE TRUTH: On certain issues, the majority of the people believe that the majority of the people in a group believe what, in truth, the minority of the members believe.
11. The No True Scotsman Fallacy
THE MISCONCEPTION: You honestly define that which you hold dear.
THE TRUTH: You will shift your definitions to protect your ideologies.
12. The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight
THE MISCONCEPTION: You celebrate diversity and respect others’ points of view.
THE TRUTH: You are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are others.
13. Enclothed Cognition
THE MISCONCEPTION: Clothes as everyday objects are just fabrics for protection and decoration of the body.
THE TRUTH: The clothes you wear change your behavior and can either add or subtract from your mental abilities.
THE MISCONCEPTION: People who riot and loot are scum who were just looking for an excuse to steal and be violent.
THE TRUTH: Under the right conditions, you are prone to losing your individuality and becoming absorbed into a hive mind.
15. The Sunk Cost Fallacy
THE MISCONCEPTION: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments, and experiences.
THE TRUTH: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something, the harder it becomes to abandon it.
16. The Overjustification Effect
THE MISCONCEPTION: There is nothing better in the world than getting paid to do what you love.
THE TRUTH: Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane because you attribute your motivation as coming from the reward, not your internal feelings.
17. The Self-Enhancement Bias
THE MISCONCEPTION: You set attainable goals based on a realistic evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
THE TRUTH: You protect unrealistic attitudes about your abilities in order to stay sane and avoid despair.