Keith E. Stanovich

Keith E. Stanovich is Professor Emeritus of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto. He is the author of What Intelligence Tests Miss, for which he received the 2010 Grawemeyer Award in Education, and coauthor of The Rationality Quotient: Toward a Test of Rational Thinking (MIT Press). He received 2012 E. L. Thorndike Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

  • The Bias That Divides Us

    The Science and Politics of Myside Thinking

    Keith E. Stanovich

    Why we don't live in a post-truth society but rather a myside society: what science tells us about the bias that poisons our politics.

    In The Bias That Divides Us, psychologist Keith Stanovich argues provocatively that we don't live in a post-truth society, as has been claimed, but rather a myside society. Our problem is not that we are unable to value and respect truth and facts, but that we are unable to agree on commonly accepted truth and facts. We believe that our side knows the truth. Post-truth? That describes the other side. The inevitable result is political polarization. Stanovich shows what science can tell us about myside bias: how common it is, how to avoid it, and what purposes it serves.

    Stanovich explains that although myside bias is ubiquitous, it is an outlier among cognitive biases. It is unpredictable. Intelligence does not inoculate against it, and myside bias in one domain is not a good indicator of bias shown in any other domain. Stanovich argues that because of its outlier status, myside bias creates a true blind spot among the cognitive elite—those who are high in intelligence, executive functioning, or other valued psychological dispositions. They may consider themselves unbiased and purely rational in their thinking, but in fact they are just as biased as everyone else. Stanovich investigates how this bias blind spot contributes to our current ideologically polarized politics, connecting it to another recent trend: the decline of trust in university research as a disinterested arbiter.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • The Rationality Quotient

    The Rationality Quotient

    Toward a Test of Rational Thinking

    Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, and Maggie E. Toplak

    How to assess critical aspects of cognitive functioning that are not measured by IQ tests: rational thinking skills.

    Why are we surprised when smart people act foolishly? Smart people do foolish things all the time. Misjudgments and bad decisions by highly educated bankers and money managers, for example, brought us the financial crisis of 2008. Smart people do foolish things because intelligence is not the same as the capacity for rational thinking. The Rationality Quotient explains that these two traits, often (and incorrectly) thought of as one, refer to different cognitive functions. The standard IQ test, the authors argue, doesn't measure any of the broad components of rationality—adaptive responding, good judgment, and good decision making.

    The authors show that rational thinking, like intelligence, is a measurable cognitive competence. Drawing on theoretical work and empirical research from the last two decades, they present the first prototype for an assessment of rational thinking analogous to the IQ test: the CART (Comprehensive Assessment of Rational Thinking).

    The authors describe the theoretical underpinnings of the CART, distinguishing the algorithmic mind from the reflective mind. They discuss the logic of the tasks used to measure cognitive biases, and they develop a unique typology of thinking errors. The Rationality Quotient explains the components of rational thought assessed by the CART, including probabilistic and scientific reasoning; the avoidance of “miserly” information processing; and the knowledge structures needed for rational thinking. Finally, the authors discuss studies of the CART and the social and practical implications of such a test. An appendix offers sample items from the test.

    • Hardcover $40.00
    • Paperback $35.00