Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong

Book - 2017
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Grand Central Pub
"A fascinating, empathetic book" --Wall Street Journal

Humans are born to create theories about the world--unfortunately, we're usually wrong and bad theories keep us from understanding science as it really is

Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In Scienceblind, cognitive and developmental psychologist Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies--around vaccines, climate change, or evolution--that plague our politics today.

Baker & Taylor
Argues that intuitive theories formed during childhood interfere with adults' ability to learn better explanations for how the world works.

& Taylor

A cognitive and developmental psychologist describes how our misconceptions about the world around us, often stemming from childhood, have a negative impact on our ability to learn science and advocates for dismantling our intuitive theories and rebuilding from the ground up. 12,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2017
ISBN: 9780465053940
Branch Call Number: 501 SHT
Characteristics: viii, 311 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.
Alternative Title: Science blind


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Nov 15, 2018

I highly recommend this book to elementary teachers who want to be better science teachers. It would also be a great reference for parents of elementary-age children. It certainly gave me an appreciation of those areas of science which I understand best and which I am still thinking about intuitively.

Nov 14, 2017

The introduction is promising, starting with the problem of people buying unpasteurized milk, thinking it's healthier, despite the fact that they are subjecting themselves to the risk of serious illness. The book is mostly about misconceptions of children, and not enough abut how those misconceptions result in bad decisions by adults. Vaccine aversion was only addressed, and not very thoroughly, on the last two pages of the book, and many other misconceptions not at all. If you're interested in child psychology, this is a good book, but for me, looking for how these translate to adult mistakes, it was a disappointment.

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