Farnam Street helps you make better decisions, innovate, and avoid stupidity.

With over 350,000 monthly readers and more than 87,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub.

The Origins of Psychology Myths

Here is what Scott Lilienfeld, the author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, has to say about where psychology myths come from:

The primary source is the huge, burgeoning pop psychology industry: self-help books, the internet, films, TV shows, magazines, and the like. But many of these myths also spring from the allure of our everyday experience; many of these myths seem persuasive because they accord with our common sense intuitions. But these intuitions are often erroneous. The public can defend themselves against shams by becoming armed with accurate knowledge.

The top sources of psychology myths are: 1) Word of Mouth “They Say”; 2) Assuming Correlation Means Causation; and 3) The Need for Easy, Quick Fixes.