From Library Journal
Minimally, how many people must there be in a room to allow a better than 50 percent chance that two of them will have the same birthday? Your answer may reveal the presence of a cognitive illusion-a mental tunnel that confounds rational thought. Piattelli-Palmarini, director of the Cognitive Science Institute in Milan and a research associate at MIT, offers fascinating examples of such illusions to show how spontaneous, intuitive judgment can lead us astray. Our failure to grasp basic probability, for example, can lead to catastrophic decisions in law and medicine. The author describes the seven deadly mental sins and suggests ways to overcome bias and "mental sloth." This thoughtful, often disturbing book will challenge even those readers with a firm grounding in probability and statistics. For academic and large public libraries.Laurie Bartolini, Legislative Research, Springfield, Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the
"A delightful informal survey...the best popular book yet in theis peculiar field" -- Nature
"A fascinating and insightful look." -- R. C. Lewontin, Harvard University
From the Publisher
This highly enjoyable read covers provocative recent discoveries in the study of the mind. Demonstrates that everyone is prone to certain ``cognitive'' illusions or biases in thinking which lead to systematic misjudgments in decision making. Shows how those illusions have important effects on everyday life from investment decisions to the judgment of jurors. Introduces the full range of illusions including ``probability blindness'' and ``predictability in hindsight,'' all explained through the use of intriguing examples that illustrate exactly how illusions fool us.
From the Back Cover
"Fascinating and insightful. . . . I cannot recall a book that has made me think more about the nature of thinking." — Richard C. Lewontin
Everyone knows that optical illusions trick us because of the way we see. Now scientists have discovered that cognitive illusions, a set of biases deeply embedded in the human mind, can actually distort the way we think.
In Inevitable Illusions, distinguished cognitive researcher Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini takes us on a provocative, challenging, and thoroughly entertaining exploration of the games our minds play. He opens the doors onto the newly charted realm of the cognitive unconscious to reveal the full range of illusions, showing how they inhibit our ability to reason—no matter what our educational background or IQ. Inevitable Illusions is stimulating, eye-opening food for thought.
About the Author
MASSIMO PIATTELLI-PALMARINI, Ph.D., is a Principal Research Associate of the Center for Cognitive Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Director of the Department of Cognitive Science at the Institute of San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. His books The Will to Study and the Italian edition of Inevitable Illusions were international bestsellers.