Misconceptions in Commonly Used Cliches

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Psychology, founded in part by William James, is the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior. Chapter one covers the basic concepts of psychology, focusing on how scientific the study is and the common misconceptions that come along with it. Another important concept covered in the chapter is the introduction of the six scientific thinking principles: ruling out rival hypotheses, correlation verses causation, falsifiability, replicabillity, extraordinary claims, and occam's razor. For me, the most interesting topic covered in this first chapter was that which put psychology into perspective for me. I, like many others, was under the impression that psychology would tell me why common sense, is common sense; however, I was quickly put in my place.


Remember those silly proverbs you always heard as a child? The ones your mom told you when life got tough, or your grandparents said when trying to teach you a lesson? Well, it turns out many of these famous proverbs exist in a world of contradiction. The Lilienfeld text presents five widely known proverbs with their respective contradiction.

1. Birds of a feather flock together.
2. Opposites attract.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
4. Out of sight, out of mind.

5. Better safe than sorry.
6. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

7. Two heads are better than one.
8. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

9. Actions speak louder than words.
10. The pen is mightier than the sword.


What I found most surprising about this section of the text, is the fact that I can recall using every one of these cliches in conversation before, yet never made the connection of how contradictory they are to one another. One would think, after common use of phrases such as these, a human, designed to recognize patters, would take note of the contradictory beliefs. However, the Lilienfeld text makes an important observation, supporting one of the chapter's main concepts: psychology is not as easy a concept as we humans tend to believe.

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This is a very interesting post. I have also noticed myself using these proverbs in conversation, then noticing later, using a rather contradictory one in a different instance. It is like we use them because they are useful to us at the time, without taking into account there meaning and accuracy.

The contradictory proverbs also surprised me when I saw it.I was mostly surprised because I had heard of all of them and even when reading down the list given, I didn't notice the contradictions until it was explained to me.

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This page contains a single entry by moser144 published on January 23, 2012 7:00 PM.

Chapter 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

The Rorschach Test... What Do You See? is the next entry in this blog.

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