The Science of
The Science of Everyday Thinking is a free online course through edX that’s open to anyone. You don’t need any previous education or experience, and you can participate as much or as little as you’d like.
We explore everyday thinking: why people believe weird things, how we form and change our opinions, why our expectations skew our judgements, and how we can make better decisions. We discuss and debate topics such as medical diagnosis, paranormal phenomena, placebos, miracles, and more.
You will learn how to evaluate claims, make sense of evidence, and understand why we so often make “irrational” choices. You will begin to rely on slow, effortful, deliberative, analytic, and logical thinking rather than fast, automatic, instinctive, emotional, and stereotypical thinking. The course provides tools for how to think independently, how to be skeptical, and how to value data over personal experience. We will examine the mental shortcuts and rules-of-thumb that people use and misuse, and apply this knowledge to everyday situations to help make better decisions.
Jason Tangen is an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland. He was originally trained in philosophy and cognition in Canada and moved to Australia in 2004. His research is broadly based on expertise and evidence. Jason has several projects underway on awareness, forensic reasoning, the perception of banknote features, and the flashed face distortion effect. He is currently leading the Forensic Reasoning Project, which examines the nature of expertise in forensics aimed at improving training and the value of expert testimony.
Matthew Thompson is a cognitive scientist and Fulbright Scholar at The University of Queensland. He researches the nature of expertise and decision making in fingerprint identification, towards promoting rightful convictions and preventing wrongful ones. He collaborates with major Australian police agencies and has a research background in medicine, defence, and air traffic control. When the course opens in 2014 he will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Queensland and Harvard Medical School.
Emma MacKenzie is the producer of Think101: The Science of Everyday Thinking. She graduated with a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Arts majoring in International Relations from the University of Queensland. With a background in multi-platform journalism, she has studied in the United Kingdom and travelled extensively for various reporting projects from Vietnam to Central Queensland. Emma has an interest in the ever-evolving world of storytelling and what it means for the future of both journalism and higher education.