Nowadays, we enjoy fantastic time of having access to so much information that has not been available to large public before. Not only can we easily find almost any type of information online, but we also do not have to waste any time on this task. Gone are the days when collecting information was a tedious challenge requiring not only the knowledge about the subject itself but also about the methodology of searching for information.
Still, there is another side of a coin. The Internet as well as many other resources available to people are overloaded with false information. A part of this information comes from people who want to deceive us on purpose thriving on our own luck of knowledge. Others are just inexperienced writers and journalists trying to present subjects they have no idea about to the receivers. Furthermore, even stringent rivalry in the scientific world makes real specialists to make serious mistakes while conducting or presenting their experiments in order to get wide recognition for their work. What can we do it order to protect ourselves from unworthy information? Below, you can find some basic features of a source of information that is, in all likelihood, untrustworthy.
It is impossible to check the professional achievements of the author
Whenever you are opening a new book and see a list of the achievements of its author, it is a good idea to check them on the Internet. Undeniably, even though the Internet is full of information, it is still only a fraction of the knowledge generated by the humankind. Yet, if you can’t find any mentioning about any of the achievements of the author, it might be a signal, there were none.
For instance, you might find across such information about the work of psychologists as having once own training centre, consulting hundreds of patients or writing one’s own book. These achievements might sound impressive, however, it doesn’t mean they are trustworthy. On the one hand, such a training centre can be located in a small rented room and visited by a couple of accidental people. On the other hand, it might be a really large establishment, yet, it still doesn’t mean, such a psychologist is not just an impostor professionally deceiving people.
The same comes with books. Writing a book doesn’t mean it has ever been published, while even publishing a book doesn’t mean it is trustworthy.
Note that such cases are widespread not only among psychological coaches, but also among other specialists, for example, nutritionists or business trainers.
If you want to check the professionalism of such a person, look at the real accomplishments of this person. A good illustration of them can be an article published in a respected scientific journal or a scientific work a summary of which is available online.
Referring to the wisdom of particular people or invitation into a conversation
There are particular poor techniques often used by people who are only pretending to be specialists in a particular branch. These methods are especially popular among psychologists and any self-development trainers.
One of these tricks is frequent citation of famous people. This is usually done when a person actually didn’t use any scientific literature for one’s own book and instead of that is trying to benefit from aphorisms of others. At the same time, including such a kind of quotes into one’s work can impress a reader who is not particular aware of the level of professionalism of the author.
Another notorious technique applied by many pseudoscientists especially psychologists is an attempt to start a conversation with the reader. When such a person starts behaving as if he or she were your friend who is always ready to listen to you, no matter how appealing such a perspective might seem to you, it is not a professional approach. Any psychologist, business guru or any other specialist can’t offer solutions to your problems based on their own personal experience.
Needless to say, pseudoscientists usually use a method of overgeneralisation which is using the descriptions or advice which can be applied to almost anyone. Many generations of deceivers have been using this technique successfully, and you yourself might have come across it and even believe in it. Just try to recall how many times have you read a horoscope which can actually prove to be true in case of many people regardless of whether they are Aries or Gemini?
Unfortunately, such generalised expressions are used by untrustworthy specialists in various situations including the time when they want to impress you by their understanding of psychology or want to show you how good predictions they can make in their branch of knowledge.