See Inside March / April 2010

Busting Big Myths in Popular Psychology

Pop psych lore is a bewildering mix of fact and fallacy. Here we shatter some widely held misconceptions about the mind and human behavior

Parts of this article are adapted from 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior, by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio and Barry L. Beyerstein. Copyright © Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Popular psychology has become a fixture in our society, and its aphorisms, truths and half-truths permeate our everyday existence. A casual stroll through our neighborhood bookstore reveals dozens of self-help, relationship, recovery and addiction books that serve up heaping portions of advice for steering us along life’s rocky road. About 3,500 self-help books are published every year, and numerous new Internet sites on mental health sprout up every month.

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