4th May 2016: Myths of Popular Psychology by Professor Ray Miller

Come along to the community hall on the side of St John’s Church Edinburgh at 6.30pm for some food, some drinks (BYOB) and a talk on psychology by Ray


Title of talk:

Myths of Popular Psychology
No. 7 in the series “What has Psychology ever done for us?”

Philosophy and Psychology group

Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:

  • Is Psychology just common sense?
  • Do common views on Psychology sometimes misrepresent the reality?
  • What are the commonest misconceptions and misunderstandings?
  • What is the truth behind the common myths?
  • Why do the myths persist?


A few paragraphs on your subject:

Everybody is a psychologist and most of us have some understanding of how people work. Or, at least, we think we do. Often Psychology is accused of simply being common sense. As a science it merely confirms what we already know intuitively. After all, much of Psychology is common knowledge that we all share, right?
However it turns out that many commonly held beliefs about Psychology are rather less accurate than tends to be acknowledged. They have gained the status of ‘urban myths’, widely accepted and quoted yet rather at odds with the actual evidence. Myths around how our brain works, child development, ageing, memory, intelligence, personality, mental health and many more. Some of the myths are so persistent that even a majority of Psychology students tend to accept them uncritically.
So, what are some of the most common myths? What is the evidence that they are mistaken and what is the real Psychological picture? This talk will explore, and possibly explode, some of these myths.

A few paragraphs about you:

I have been a psychologist for over 40 years. Most of that time has been spent as a professional in the field of healthcare (now retired) but much of the psychology that I used, and continue to use, is based on understanding some essential concepts that I acquired during my undergraduate years.
Psychology is more than just an academic topic or applied science, although it is certainly both of these. Psychology is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, our interactions with others and with our environment. In that sense, we all have to be psychologists and, even without aiming to become experts, we can all benefit from a better understanding of some of its principles.
Don’t expect an in depth study of the topic. This will be a somewhat idiosyncratic taster to whet your appetite rather than to educate you. However, you will probably find at least some ideas that set you thinking and which may start you along the path of self-generated learning.

What free internet knowledge resources would you recommend to others if they wish to explore your chosen theme further?


What are your weblinks?