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selective thinking

Selective thinking is the process whereby one selects out favorable evidence for remembrance and focus, while ignoring unfavorable evidence for a belief. This kind of thinking is the basis for most beliefs in the psychic powers of so-called mind readers and mediums. It is also the basis for many, if not most, occult and pseudoscientific beliefs.

It should be noted that selective thinking works independently of wishful thinking and should not be confused with biased thinking, whereby one seriously considers data contrary to one's belief, but one is much more critical of such data than one is of supportive data.

See also ad hoc hypothesis, cold reading, communal reinforcement, confirmation bias, control study, Forer effect, Occam's razor, placebo effect, post hoc fallacy, self-deception, subjective validation, testimonials,  and wishful thinking.


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further reading

Gilovich, Thomas. How We Know What Isn't' So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life (New York: The Free Press, 1993).

Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,1982).

Coincidences: Remarkable or Random? by Bruce Martin

Last updated 12-Sep-2014

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