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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Using Pseudoscience to Shine Light on Good Science

Published on Jul 16, 2014

If instructors want students to think like scientists, they have to teach them about decidedly nonscientific ways of thinking, argues Scott O. Lilienfeld, Emory University, in his APS--David Myers Lecture for the Science and Craft of Teaching Psychology at the 2014 APS Annual Convention.

How to Recognize Pseudoscience

One key to teaching about pseudoscience, said Lilienfeld, is being able to recognize it. While there isn’t a strict dividing line between so-called “good” and “bad” science, there are some warning signs that pseudoscientific findings tend to share, including:

  • extraordinary claims that aren't backed by evidence;
  • overreliance on testimonial or anecdotal experiences;
  • undue reliance on authority figures;
  • emphasis on confirmation rather than falsification;
  • use of imprecise terminology;
  • entrenched claims that don’t accommodate new evidence;
  • an evasion of the peer-review process; and
  • overuse of ad hoc explanations for negative findings