By Daniel J. Levitin

From The New York occasions bestselling writer of THE prepared brain and this can be YOUR mind ON track, a primer to the serious pondering that's extra worthy now than ever.

We are bombarded with additional information on a daily basis than our brains can process—especially in election season. it is raining undesirable facts, half-truths, or even outright lies. New York Times bestselling writer Daniel J. Levitin shows how you can realize deceptive bulletins, records, graphs, and written reviews revealing the methods mendacity weasels can use them.

it truly is changing into more durable to split the wheat from the electronic chaff. How will we distinguish incorrect information, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from trustworthy info? Levitin teams his box consultant into categories—statistical infomation and defective arguments—ultimately displaying how technology is the bedrock of severe pondering. Infoliteracy capability knowing that there are hierarchies of resource caliber and bias that variously distort our info feeds through each media channel, together with social media. We could anticipate newspapers, bloggers, the govt., and Wikipedia to be factually and logically right, yet they so frequently aren't. we have to imagine seriously concerning the phrases and numbers we stumble upon if we wish to prevail at paintings, at play, and in benefiting from our lives. this implies checking the plausibility and reasoning—not passively accepting details, repeating it, and making judgements in line with it. Readers discover ways to keep away from the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin's fascinating, pleasing, obtainable consultant can assist somebody get up to a complete lot of items that are not so. And seize a few mendacity weasels of their tracks!

 

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Additional info for A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Sample text

By 2013, this gap had narrowed, but the number of cancer services was still nearly three times the number of abortions. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, had an explanation for this narrowing gap. Changing medical guidelines for some anti-cancer services, like Pap smears, reduced the number of people for whom screening was recommended. Other changes, such as social attitudes about abortion, changing ages of the population, and increased access to health care alternatives, all influence these numbers, and so the data presented do not prove that Planned Parenthood has a pro-abortion agenda.

After you’ve reached the end of the pie, that’s all there is. Still, this didn’t stop Fox News from publishing this pie chart: First rule of pie charts: The percentages have to add up to 100. (Fox News, 2010) You can imagine how something like this could happen. Voters are given the option to report that they support more than one candidate. But then, the results shouldn’t be presented as a pie chart. FUN WITH AVERAGES An average can be a helpful summary statistic, even easier to digest than a pie chart, allowing us to characterize a very large amount of information with a single number.

The units could be anything! What are we looking at? Scores on a test, levels of brain activations, number of brain regions activated? Number of Jell-O brand pudding cups they’ve eaten, or number of Johnny Depp movies they’ve seen in the last six weeks? ) In the next example, gross sales of a publishing company are plotted, excluding data from Kickstarter campaigns. As in the previous example, but this time with the x-axis, we have numbers but we’re not told what they are. , refer to calendar or fiscal years of operation, and the fact that the lines are jagged between the years suggests that the data are being tracked monthly (but without proper labeling we can only assume).

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