Can Rationality Be Learned?
May 20, 2019 ·


Learning is conceptualized as a relatively permanent change in thinking or behavior. Innate (natural) skills are those you are born with; no experience is necessary to display these qualities. Innate skills vary tremendously among the animal kingdom, and much of human life is dependent on learning. High-level learners have an advantage in life. Learning is …

The Education Myth About Learning Styles
April 24, 2019


When teaching is tailored to a person’s preferred learning style, they will learn better than when it is not. At least that is the thought promoted by many educators, students, and parents. I have spoken with numerous educators (high school and college) who assert that one of the biggest problems in education is the mismatch …

Nocebo: Placebo’s Evil Twin
March 22, 2019


Nocebo is sometimes referred to as “placebo’s evil twin,” “negative placebo effects,” or “the other side of placebo.”  Nocebo effects are negative effects that are induced by nocebos: fake, non-specific treatments, procedures, therapies, or medications. Studies suggest that nocebo effects can contribute to a variety of medical symptoms, including adverse events in clinical trials and …

The Biology Behind Placebo Effects
February 21, 2019


Common statements heard when discussing placebo effects include “it’s not real; it’s the placebo effect” or “it’s just in your head.” Each of these statements reflects the belief that placebo effects aren’t beneficial or are worthless. This is an erroneous viewpoint; placebo effects often produce robust psychological and physiological effects that are very real. Placebo-induced …

Are You Drinking Enough Water? Debunking The 8 x 8 Water Myth
January 23, 2019


Claims such as “everyone needs to drink at least eight glasses of water per day,” “society is chronically dehydrated,” and “you aren’t drinking enough water” are promoted by the media, personal trainers, and healthcare personnel. “We lug around huge water bottles and do our best to force down the recommended eight glasses per day, often …

Rethinking Science Education
December 28, 2018


The general public has expressed strong confidence and trust in science (Sloss & Hale, Working Paper). Opinion polls indicate science careers are rated among the most admired and trusted occupations, despite their limitations. If you ask most people they will probably agree that science education is important. American kids don’t perform well on some international …

Shining Light on Reality
December 3, 2018


We are bombarded with information on a daily basis.  It is often said we live in the information age, but we also live in the misinformation age. How do we decide what qualifies as knowledge and what qualifies as nonsense? Maybe there are no wrong or right answers but just opinions. Those promoting a multiplist …

Scientific Myths of All Natural Medicine
October 3, 2018


Recently while discussing drug classifications and drug effects with my students, the All-Natural Medicine Myth was brought up. the All-Natural Medicine Myth (a.k.a the Argumentum ad Naturam) reflects the tendency to believe something is good because it is natural—or conversely it is bad because it is unnatural. While I was talking to the class about …

Learning and The Contaminated Mind
August 23, 2018


Mindware is defined as rules, procedures, and other forms of knowledge that are stored in the brain and can be retrieved to make decisions and solve problems (a term coined by cognitive scientist David Perkins) (Stanovich 2009). Mindware is important when it comes to rational action. The right type of mindware—scientific thinking, probabilistic reasoning, and logic—is …