Cogito ergo sum
Rene Descartes: Cogito ergo sum

“The brain is a story-telling machine not a truth seeking one.”

I have always been interested in how the mind works, which is appropriate given that I was a psychologist for longer than I care to admit. Then I did something really stupid, but not illegal, and lost my license. Following the revocation of my license, another client slandered me and went to her friend at the local newspaper, who ran an appalling piece about me. Yes, I am writing the book but for now all you need to know is that the whole experience had me thinking very hard about thinking. I researched the literature and immersed myself in how people really think — and it’s not always pretty or rational. We’re rationalizers and story-tellers more interested in emotional comfort than the truth. Moreover, the human brain is limited. Perception is subject to numerous errors and memory is unreliable. The most recent cognitive neuroscience research, brilliantly summarized in Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, fast and slow, shows that our thinking is more fast and frugal than logical. The binary brain reduces complexity to very simplified and misleading either/or alternatives  and we think of facts as certainties rather than mere probabilities. As a result of these and other factors, our thinking is often limited and driven by emotion and not reason.

“People aren’t logical — they’re psychological, often with the emphasis on the psycho.”    

Howard Rankin: cogito ergo sum wrong
Howard Rankin: Cogito ergo sum wrong

So, you can see, I have gone from being a clinical psychologist to a cynical psycholojest.

This site explores the way we protect ourselves from emotional discomfort through a variety of defense mechanisms as well as the cognitive biases that are inherent in the human mind. The site is a good starting point for anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking and see the flaws in their own and others’ thinking and decision-making.

After being kicked out of the psychology business I developed a writing business and in the last three years have written, co-written or ghostwritten three neuroscience books, four business books, four health-related books, six inspirational memoirs, books on spirituality and sports. I also do some coaching and public speaking. Please visit my website www.psychologywriter.com

If you are interested in improving you or your organization’s thought processes and rationality please contact me through the contact page or at drhrankin@gmail.com. I offer coaching and speaking as well as writing services.


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