Are the following statements true or false:
1. Inkblots reveal a great deal about someone's personality.
2. Studies show a tendency for people to marry someone whose name begins with the same letter as their own.
3. Researchers have demonstrated that dreams possess symbolic meaning.
4. The defining feature of dyslexia is reversing letters.
5. Men and women communicate in completely different ways.
What do you think?
Graphic: "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology"
Actually, the only true statement is No. 2. The others are either completely false, or "gross exaggerations of a kernel of truth," says Emory psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, who co-authored the new book "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior."
"Bursting bubbles can be painful," says Lilienfeld. "But we hope that puncturing some of these myths can lead people to better life decisions, and a more realistic appraisal of themselves."
Folk wisdom and so-called commonsense too often trump science in our society, Lilienfeld says. "There is this idea that we can understand the world, including our own minds, by gut instinct – that if something seems intuitively right, it must be right. To embrace a scientific approach is to be humble, but that's not a popular message in American society, which rewards certainty."
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