What Is The Biggest Myth in Psychology?

Each semester I teach General Psychology, I do an activity where I ask a series of True/False questions to determine if my students believe some of the biggest “myths” of the field. Recently I asked our excellent Graduate Assistant to pull the previous semesters (5 in total) and report the percentage of people who got each question right. I then averaged them and sorted by most likely to be wrong to least.

Here are the “Biggest Myths” in psychology, with the percentage of students who got the question right:

We learn more effectively when taught via our preferred “Learning Style” (False)8%
Blind people possess greater acuity in the sense channels of hearing and touch (False)17%
When you burn your hand, neural information travels to your brain at nearly the speed of light (False)19%
If you want someone to continue doing sometihng, you should reward them on a consistent basis (False)35%
Most people would administer a near-fatal electrical shock if an experimenter told them to. (True)41%
Violent offenders usually have a diagnosis of mental illness (False)46%
Human memory is like a recording of what happened (False)47%
A psychologist can determine a person’s hidden problems by analyzing his or her dreams (False)51%
It is an optical illusion when the moon appears larger on the horizon than it does overhead (True)54%
We use about 10% of our brain (False)54%
Hypnosis can help people accurately recall a crime scene (False)59%
People are either Right Brained (Creative) or Left Brained (logical) (False)63%
Playing classical music for a young infant will result in an increase in his or her IQ (False)66%
People with one eye can still see in three dimensions (True)67%
US Law Requires Television and Film to portray mental disorders accurately (False)68%
Ivan Pavlov, who documented classical conditioning, was not a psychologist! (True)70%
Quizzes in magazines like Cosmopolitan or on websites like Buzzfeed are surprisingly accurate. (False)76%
We experience stress when good as well as bad things happen to us. (True)79%
Simple wording changes can alter a person’s decision (eg, “75% will live” vs “25% will die”) (True)82%
Lie detector tests are accurate (False)85%

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