You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart

www.youarenotsosmart.com
You Are Not So Smart is a show about psychology t…
151 - Behind the Curve
Apr 8 • 75 min
In this episode we sit down with the director and producers of the documentary film, Behind the Curve, an exploration of motivated reasoning and conspiratorial thinking told through the lives of people who have formed a community around the belief that…
150 - Belief Change Blindness (rebroadcast)
Mar 24 • 38 min
When was the last time you changed your mind? Are you sure? In this episode we explore new research that suggests for the majority of the mind change we experience, after we update our priors, we delete what we used to believe and then simply forget that…
149 - Bad Advice
Mar 11 • 67 min
In this episode, we sit down with vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit to discuss his new book, Bad Advice or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information. Offit has been fighting for years to promote vaccines,…
148 - Rule Makers, Rule Breakers
Feb 25 • 73 min
In this episode, we sit down with psychologist Michele Gelfand and discuss her new book: Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. In the book, Gelfand presents her research into norms, and a fascinating new idea. It isn’t…
147 - The Replication Crisis (rebroadcast)
Feb 10 • 45 min
“Science is wrong about everything, but you can trust it more than anything.” That’s the assertion of psychologist Brian Nosek, director of the Center for Open Science, who is working to correct what he sees as the temporarily wayward path of psychology.…
146 - Tribal Psychology (rebroadcast)
Jan 27 • 68 min
The evidence is clear that humans value being good members of their tribes much more than they value being correct. We will choose to be wrong if it keeps us in good standing with our peers. In this episode, we explore how that affects politics and…
145 - Team Human
Jan 13 • 70 min
In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with one of the original cyberpunks, the famed journalist, documentarian, media theorist, all-around technology superstar and weirdo, Douglas Rushkoff. MIT considers Rushkoff one of the…
144 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four (rebroadcast)
Dec 30, 2018 • 79 min
In 2017, YANSS did three episodes about the backfire effect, and by far, those episodes were the most popular that year. Then, in 2018, part four was the most popular. The backfire effect has his special allure to it, because, on the surface, it seems to…
143 - How to Talk to People About Things
Dec 16, 2018 • 106 min
In this episode, we sit down with negotiation expert Misha Glouberman who explains how to talk to people about things — that is, how to avoid the pitfalls associated with debate when two or more people attempt to come to an agreement that will be mutually…
142 - Debate (rebroadcast)
Dec 3, 2018 • 54 min
In late 2014 and early 2015, the city of Starkville, Mississippi, passed an anti-discrimination measure that lead to a series of public debates about an issue that people there had never discussed openly. In this episode, we spend time in Starkville…
141 - Not A Scientist
Nov 19, 2018 • 43 min
Our guest in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is Dave Levitan, a science journalist with a new book titled: Not a Scientist: how politicians mistake, misrepresent, and utterly mangle science. In the book, Levitan takes us through 12…
140 - Machine Bias (rebroadcast)
Nov 4, 2018 • 53 min
We’ve transferred our biases to artificial intelligence, and now those machine minds are creating the futures they predict. But there’s a way to stop it. In this episode we explore how machine learning is biased, sexist, racist, and prejudiced all around,…
139 - The Friendship Cure
Oct 20, 2018 • 80 min
On this episode, we welcome journalist Kate Leaver to talk about her new book The Friendship Cure in which she explores the crippling, damaging, life-threatening impact of loneliness and the severe mental health impacts of living a life disconnected from…
138 - Evil
Oct 8, 2018 • 53 min
In this episode, we sit down with psychologist Julia Shaw, an expert in memory and criminal psychology, to discuss her new book - Evil. In the book, she makes a case for something she calls “evil empathy,” seeing people who do heinous things as fellow…
137 - Narrative Persuasion (rebroadcast)
Sep 23, 2018 • 38 min
One of the most effective ways to change people’s minds is to put your argument into a narrative format, a story, but not just any story. The most persuasive narratives are those that transport us. Once departed from normal reality into the imagined world…
136 - Prevalence Induced Concept Change
Sep 10, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode we explore prevalence induced concept change. In a nutshell, when we set out to change the world by reducing examples of something we have deemed problematic, and we succeed, a host of psychological phenomena can mask our progress and make…
135 - Optimism Bias (rebroadcast)
Aug 26, 2018 • 39 min
In this episode, Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist at University College London, explains our’ innate optimism bias. When the brain estimates the outcome of future events, it tends to reduce the probability of negative outcomes for…
134 - The Elaboration Likelihood Model
Aug 15, 2018 • 56 min
In this episode we sit down with psychology legend Richard Petty to discuss the Elaboration Likelihood Model, a theory he developed with psychologist John Cacioppo in the 1980s that unified the study of attitude change and persuasion and has since become…
133 - Uncivil Agreement
Jul 29, 2018 • 80 min
In this episode, we welcome Lilliana Mason on the program to discuss her new book, Uncivil Agreement, which focuses on the idea: “Our conflicts are over who we think we are, rather than reasoned differences of opinion.” Personally, I feel like this is…
132 - Practice (rebroadcast)
Jul 15, 2018 • 47 min
Is it true that all it takes to be an expert is 10,000 hours of practice? What about professional athletes? Do different people get more out of practice than others, and if so, is it nature or nurture? In this episode we ask all these things of David…
131 - The Marshmallow Replication
Jul 2, 2018 • 52 min
The marshmallow test is one of the most well-known studies in all of psychology, but a new replication suggests we’ve been learning the wrong lesson from its findings for decades. — Show Notes at: http://youarenotsosmart.com — — This episode’s notes:…
130 - The Half LIfe of Facts (rebroadcast)
Jun 18, 2018 • 30 min
In medical school they tell you half of what you are about to learn won’t be true when you graduate - they just don’t know which half. In every field of knowledge, half of what is true today will overturned, replaced, or refined at some point, and it…
129 - Desirability Bias (rebroadcast)
Jun 4, 2018 • 33 min
Confirmation bias is our tendency to seek evidence that supports our beliefs and confirms our assumptions when we could just as well seek disconfirmation of those beliefs and assumptions instead. This is such a prevalent feature of human cognition, that…
128 - Happy Brain
May 21, 2018 • 88 min
What makes you happy? As in, what generates happiness inside the squishy bits that reside inside your skull? That’s what author and neuroscientist Dean Burnett set out to answer in his new book, Happy Brain, which explores both the environmental and…
127 - Selfie
May 7, 2018 • 83 min
In this episode, we sit down with author Will Storr to talk about his new book — Selfie: How We Became so Self-Obsessed, and What it is Doing to Us. The book explores what he calls “the age of perfectionism” — our modern struggle to meet newly emerging…
126 - Separate Spheres (rebroadcast)
Apr 22, 2018 • 35 min
Despite their relative invisibility, a norm, even a dying one, can sometimes be harnessed and wielded like a weapon by conjuring up old fears from a bygone era. It’s a great way to slow down social change if you fear that change. When a social change…
125 - Status Quo Rationalization
Apr 9, 2018 • 45 min
When faced with an inescapable and unwanted situation, we often rationalize our predicament so as to make it seem less awful and more bearable, but what if that situation is a new law or a new administration? The latest research suggests that groups,…
124 - Belief Change Blindness
Mar 26, 2018 • 40 min
When was the last time you changed your mind? Are you sure? In this episode we explore new research that suggests for the majority of the mind change we experience, after we update our priors, we delete what we used to believe and then simply forget that…
123 - Active Information Avoidance (rebroadcast)
Mar 11, 2018 • 28 min
Little did the champions of the Enlightenment know that once we had access to all the facts…well, reason and rationality wouldn’t just immediately wash across the land in a giant wave of enlightenment thinking. While that may be happening in some ways,…
122 - Tribal Psychology
Feb 26, 2018 • 68 min
The evidence is clear that humans value being good members of their tribes much more than they value being correct. We will choose to be wrong if it keeps us in good standing with our peers. In this episode, we explore how that affects politics and…
121 - Progress (rebroadcast)
Feb 11, 2018 • 60 min
Do we have the power to change the outcome of history? Is progress inevitable? Is it natural? Are we headed somewhere definite, or is change just chaos that seems organized in hindsight? In this episode we explore these questions with University of…
120 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four
Jan 28, 2018 • 75 min
Last year on this show, we did three episodes about the backfire effect, and by far, those episodes were the most popular we’ve ever done. In fact, the famous web comic The Oatmeal turned them into a sort of special feature, and that comic of those…
119 - The Unpersuadables
Jan 15, 2018 • 43 min
Our guest for this episode, Will Storr, wrote a book called The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science. In that book, Storr spends time with Holocaust deniers, young Earth creationists, people who believe they’ve lived past lives as famous…
118 - Connections (rebroadcast)
Dec 31, 2017 • 57 min
In this episode of the YANSS Podcast, we sit down with legendary science historian James Burke. For much of his career, Burke has been creating documentaries and writing books aimed at helping us to make better sense of the enormous amount of information…
117 - Idiot Brain (rebroadcast)
Dec 17, 2017 • 47 min
In this episode we interview Dean Burnett, author of “Idiot Brain: What Your Brain is Really Up To.” Burnett’s book is a guide to the neuroscience behind the things that our amazing brains do poorly. In the interview we discuss motion sickness, the pain…
116 - Reality (rebroadcast)
Dec 3, 2017 • 60 min
Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? For our guest in this episode, cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman, that’s his day job. Hoffman has developed a new theory of consciousness that, should it prove true, may rearrange our understanding…
115 - Machine Bias
Nov 20, 2017 • 54 min
We’ve transferred our biases to artificial intelligence, and now those machine minds are creating the futures they predict. But there’s a way to stop it. In this episode we explore how machine learning is biased, sexist, racist, and prejudiced all around,…
114 - Moral Arguments (rebroadcast)
Nov 5, 2017 • 52 min
In this divisive and polarized era how do you bridge the political divide between left and right? How do you persuade the people on the other side to see things your way? New research by sociologist Robb Willer and psychologist Matthew Feinberg suggests…
113 - Narrative Persuasion
Oct 22, 2017 • 36 min
One of the most effective ways to change people’s minds is to put your argument into a narrative format, a story, but not just any story. The most persuasive narratives are those that transport us. Once departed from normal reality into the imagined world…
112 - Change My View (rebroadcast)
Oct 8, 2017 • 71 min
For computer scientist Chenhao Tan and his team, the internet community called Change My View offered something amazing, a ready-made natural experiment that had been running for years. All they had to do was feed it into the programs they had designed to…
111 - Collective Intelligence
Sep 25, 2017 • 41 min
If you wanted to build a team in such a way that you maximized its overall intelligence, how would you do it? Would you stack it with high-IQ brainiacs? Would you populate it with natural leaders? Would you find experts on a wide range of topics? Well,…
110 - Sleep Deprivation and Bias
Sep 10, 2017 • 32 min
If you could compare the person you were before you became sleep deprived to the person after, you’d find you’ve definitely become…lesser than. When it comes to sleep deprivation, you can’t trust yourself to know just how much it is affecting you. You…
109 - The Search Effect (rebroadcast)
Aug 27, 2017 • 50 min
What effect does Google have on your brain? Here’s an even weirder question: what effect does knowing that you have access to Google have on your brain? In this episode we explore what happens when a human mind becomes aware that it can instantly,…
108 - Pandora’s Lab
Aug 14, 2017 • 55 min
The facts don’t speak for themselves. Someone always speaks for them. From the opioid crisis to the widespread use of lobotomies to quiet problem patients, celebrity scientists and charismatic doctors have made tremendous mistakes, but thanks to their…
107 - Debate
Jul 30, 2017 • 56 min
In late 2014 and early 2015, the city of Starkville, Mississippi, passed an anti-discrimination measure that lead to a series of public debates about an issue that people there had never discussed openly. In this episode, we spend time in Starkville…
106 - The Climate Paradox (rebroadcast)
Jul 16, 2017 • 57 min
In this episode, psychologist Per Espen Stoknes discusses his book: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming. Stoknes has developed a strategy for science communicators who find themselves confronted with climate change deniers…
105 - Optimism Bias
Jul 11, 2017 • 42 min
In this episode, Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist at University College London, explains our’ innate optimism bias. When the brain estimates the outcome of future events, it tends to reduce the probability of negative outcomes for…
104 - Labels (rebroadcast)
Jun 19, 2017 • 43 min
We are each born labeled. In moments of ambiguity, those labels can change the way people make decisions about us. As a cognitive process, it is invisible, involuntary, and unconscious – and that’s why psychology is working so hard to understand it. Our…
103 - Desirability Bias
Jun 5, 2017 • 34 min
Confirmation bias is our tendency to seek evidence that supports our beliefs and confirms our assumptions when we could just as well seek disconfirmation of those beliefs and assumptions instead. This is such a prevalent feature of human cognition, that…
102 - WEIRD Science (rebroadcast)
May 21, 2017 • 30 min
Is psychology too WEIRD? That’s what this episode’s guest, psychologist Steven J. Heine suggested when he and his colleagues published a paper suggesting that psychology wasn’t the study of the human mind, but the study of one kind of human mind, the sort…
101 - Naive Realism (rebroadcast)
May 9, 2017 • 56 min
In psychology, they call it naive realism, the tendency to believe that the other side is wrong because they are misinformed, that if they knew what you knew, they would change their minds to match yours. According to Lee Ross, co-author of the new book,…
100 - The Replication Crisis
Apr 19, 2017 • 49 min
“Science is wrong about everything, but you can trust it more than anything.” That’s the assertion of psychologist Brian Nosek, director of the Center for Open Science, who is working to correct what he sees as the temporarily wayward path of psychology.…
099 - The Half Life of Facts
Apr 9, 2017 • 30 min
In medical school they tell you half of what you are about to learn won’t be true when you graduate - they just don’t know which half. In every field of knowledge, half of what is true today will overturned, replaced, or refined at some point, and it…
098 - Active Information Avoidance
Mar 27, 2017 • 39 min
The cyberpunks, the Founding Fathers, 19th Century philosophers, and the Enlightenment thinkers - they all looked forward to the world in which we now live, a multimedia psychedelic freakout in which information is free, decentralized, democratized, and…
097 - Scams (rebroadcast)
Mar 11, 2017 • 61 min
Before we had names for them or a science to study them, the people who could claim the most expertise on biases, fallacies, heuristics and all the other quirks of human reasoning and perception were scam artists, con artists, and magicians. On this…
096 - Progress
Feb 24, 2017 • 65 min
Do we have the power to change the outcome of history? Is progress inevitable? Is it natural? Are we headed somewhere definite, or is change just chaos that seems organized in hindsight? In this episode we explore these questions with University of…
095 - The Backfire Effect - Part Three
Feb 11, 2017 • 65 min
If dumping evidence into people’s laps often just makes their beliefs stronger, would we just be better off trying some other tactic, or does the truth ever win? Do people ever come around, or are we causing more harm than good by leaning on facts instead…
094 - The Backfire Effect - Part Two
Jan 28, 2017 • 51 min
If you try to correct someone who you know is wrong, you run the risk of alarming their brains to a sort-of existential, epistemic threat, and if you do that, when that person expends effortful thinking to escape, that effort can strengthen their beliefs…
093 - The Backfire Effect - Part One
Jan 13, 2017 • 44 min
We don’t treat all of our beliefs the same. The research shows that when a strong-yet-erroneous, belief is challenged, yes, you might experience some temporary weakening of your convictions, some softening of your certainty, but most people rebound from…
091 - Learned Helplessness (rebroadcast)
Dec 14, 2016 • 47 min
Even when the prison doors are left wide open, we sometimes refuse to attempt escape. Why is that? In this rebroadcast of one of our most popular episodes we learn all about the strange phenomenon of learned helplessness and how it keeps people in bad…
090 - Reality - Donald Hoffman
Dec 2, 2016 • 66 min
Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? For our guest in this episode, cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman, that’s his day job. Hoffman has developed a new theory of consciousness that, should it prove true, may rearrange our understanding…
089 - Connections - James Burke
Nov 16, 2016 • 70 min
Legendary science historian James Burke returns to explain his newest project, a Connections app that will allow anyone to “think connectively” about the webs of knowledge available on Wikipedia. Burke predicted back in 1978 that we’d one day need better…
088 - Moral Arguments
Nov 4, 2016 • 56 min
In this divisive and polarized era how do you bridge the political divide between left and right? You do you persuade the people on the other side to see things your way? New research by sociologist Robb Willer and psychologist Matthew Feinberg suggests…
087 - Paranoia
Oct 20, 2016 • 31 min
Jesse Walker is the author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory, a book that explores the history of American conspiracy theories going all the way back to the first colonies. Walker argues that conspiratorial thinking is not a feature of…
086 - Change My View
Oct 9, 2016 • 76 min
For computer scientist Chenhao Tan and his team, the internet community called Change My View offered something amazing, a ready-made natural experiment that had been running for years. All they had to do was feed it into the programs they had designed to…
085 - Misremembering - Julia Shaw (rebroadcast)
Sep 21, 2016 • 41 min
Julia Shaw’s research demonstrates the fact that there is no reason to believe a memory is more accurate just because it is vivid or detailed. Actually, that’s a potentially dangerous belief. Shaw used techniques similar to police interrogations, and over…
084 - Getting Gamers - Jamie Madigan
Sep 7, 2016 • 56 min
Why do people cheat? Why are our online worlds often so toxic? What motivates us to “catch ‘em all” in Pokemon, grinding away for hours to hatch eggs? In this episode, psychologist Jamie Madigan, author of Getting Gamers, explains how by exploring the way…
083 - Idiot Brain - Dean Burnett
Aug 24, 2016 • 53 min
In this episode we interview Dean Burnett, author of “Idiot Brain: What Your Brain is Really Up To.” Burnett’s book is a guide to the neuroscience behind the things that our amazing brains do poorly. In the interview we discuss motion sickness, the pain…
082 - Crowds (rebroadcast)
Aug 10, 2016 • 50 min
This episode’s guest, Michael Bond, is the author of The Power of Others, and reading his book I was surprised to learn that despite several decades of research into crowd psychology, the answers to most questions concerning crowds can still be traced…
081 - The Climate Paradox
Jul 28, 2016 • 57 min
In this episode, psychologist Per Espen Stoknes discusses his book: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming. Stoknes has developed a strategy for science communicators who find themselves confronted with climate change deniers…
080 - Deep Canvassing
Jul 13, 2016 • 58 min
Oddly enough, we don’t actually know very much about how to change people’s minds, not scientifically, that’s why the work of the a group of LGBT activists in Los Angeles is offering something valuable to psychology and political science - uncharted…
079 - Separate Spheres
Jun 29, 2016 • 42 min
Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner. According to Victorian historian Kaythrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious…
078 - The Existential Fallacy
Jun 16, 2016 • 34 min
Hypothetical situations involving dragons, robots, spaceships, and vampires have all been used to prove and disprove arguments. Statements about things that do not exist can still be true, and can be useful thinking tools for exploring philosophical,…
077 - The Conjunction Fallacy
Jun 2, 2016 • 34 min
Here is a logic puzzle created by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Linda is single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issue of discrimination and social justice, and also…
076 - The Genetic Fallacy
May 19, 2016 • 39 min
We often overestimate and overstate just how much we can learn about a claim based on where that claim originated, and that’s the crux of the genetic fallacy, according to the experts in this episode. The genetic fallacy appears when people trace things…
075 - Special Pleading / Moving the Goalposts
May 5, 2016 • 38 min
Sometimes you apply a double standard to the things you love, the things you believe, and the things crucial to your identity, and often you do so without realizing it. Special pleading is all about searching for exemptions and excuses for why a standard,…
074 - Begging The Question
Apr 20, 2016 • 35 min
If you believe something is bad because it is…bad, or that something is good because, well, it’s good, you probably wouldn’t use that kind of reasoning in an argument, yet, sometimes, without realizing it, that’s exactly what you do. In this episode three…
073 - Bayes’ Theorem
Apr 8, 2016 • 90 min
We don’t treat all of our beliefs equally. For some, we see them as either true or false, correct or incorrect. For others, we see them as probabilities, chances, odds. In one world, certainty, in the other, uncertainty. In this episode you will learn…
072 - The Dunning-Kruger Effect (Rebroadcast)
Mar 23, 2016 • 65 min
In this episode, we explore why we are unaware that we lack the skill to tell how unskilled and unaware we are. The evidence gathered so far by psychologists and neuroscientists seems to suggest that each one of us has a relationship with our own…
071 - The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
Mar 9, 2016 • 44 min
When you desire meaning, when you want things to line up, when looking for something specific, you tend to notice patterns everywhere, which leads you to ask the question, “What are the odds?” Usually, the odds are actually pretty good. For instance: Does…
070 - The No True Scotsman Fallacy
Feb 25, 2016 • 35 min
When your identity becomes intertwined with your definitions, you can easily fall victim to something called The No true Scotsman Fallacy. It often appears during a dilemma: What do you do when a member of a group to which you belong acts in a way that…
069 - The Black And White Fallacy
Feb 11, 2016 • 29 min
Obviously, the world isn’t black and white, so why do we try to drain it of color when backed into a rhetorical corner? Why do we have such a hard time realizing that we’ve suggested the world is devoid of nuance when we are in the heat of an argument? In…
068 - The Strawman Fallacy
Jan 28, 2016 • 28 min
When confronted with dogma-threatening, worldview-menacing ideas, your knee-jerk response is usually to lash out and try to bat them away, but thanks to a nearly unavoidable mistake in reasoning, you often end up doing battle with arguments of your own…
067 - The Fallacy Fallacy
Jan 14, 2016 • 41 min
If you have ever been in an argument, you’ve likely committed a logical fallacy, and if you know how logical fallacies work, you’ve likely committed the fallacy fallacy. Listen as three experts in logic and arguing explain just what a formal argument…
065 - Survivorship Bias (rebroadcast)
Dec 17, 2015 • 31 min
The problem with sorting out failures and successes is that failures are often muted, destroyed, or somehow removed from sight while successes are left behind, weighting your decisions and perceptions, tilting your view of the world. That means to be…
064 - Monkey Marketplace - Laurie Santos (rebroadcast)
Dec 2, 2015 • 48 min
Our guest in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is psychologist Laurie Santos who heads the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale University. In that lab, she and her colleagues are exploring the fact that when two species share a…
063 - The Search Effect - Matthew Fisher
Nov 18, 2015 • 56 min
What effect does Google have on your brain? Here’s an even weirder question: what effect does knowing that you have access to Google have on your brain? In this episode we explore what happens when a human mind becomes aware that it can instantly,…
062 - Naive Realism - Lee Ross
Nov 5, 2015 • 64 min
In psychology, they call it naive realism, the tendency to believe that the other side is wrong simply because they are misinformed. According to Lee Ross, co-author of the new book, The Wisest One in the Room, naive realism has three tenets. One, you…
061 - Mindfulness - Michael Taft
Oct 22, 2015 • 82 min
You have the power to wield neuroplasticity to your advantage. Just as you can change your body at the atomic level by lifting weights, you can willfully alter your brain by…thinking in a certain way. In this episode we explore using your brain to change…
060 - Reframing - Robert R. Morris
Oct 7, 2015 • 70 min
Reframing is one of those psychological tools that just plain works. It’s practical, simple, and with practice and repetition it often leads to real change in people with a variety of thinking problems. It works because we rarely question our own…
059 - The Illusion Of Control - Michael And Sarah Bennett
Sep 23, 2015 • 65 min
In the show, you’ll hear Michael elaborate on why that is. In this episode, our guests are Harvard-trained psychiatrist Michael I. Bennett and his comedy writer daughter Sarah Bennett whose new book, Fuck Feelings, makes the case for accepting the…
058 - Technology - Clive Thompson (Rebroadcast)
Sep 9, 2015 • 70 min
Is all this new technology improving our thinking or dampening it? Are all these new communication tools turning us into navel-gazing human/brand hybrids, or are we developing a new set of senses that allow us to benefit from never severing contact with…
057 - PTSD - Robert D. Laird
Aug 27, 2015 • 67 min
10 years after Katrina the residents of New Orleans and portions of Mississippi are still experiencing PTSD. In this episode we explore what causes this disorder, why it happens, what triggers the symptoms, and how to combat the effects with University of…
056 - Magicians And Scams - Brian Brushwood
Aug 12, 2015 • 71 min
Before we had names for them or a science to study them, the people who could claim the most expertise on biases, fallacies, heuristics and all the other quirks of human reasoning and perception were scam artists, con artists, and magicians. On this…
055 - WEIRD People - Steven J. Heine
Jul 31, 2015 • 48 min
Is psychology too WEIRD? That’s what this episode’s guest, psychologist Steven J. Heine suggested when he and his colleagues published a paper suggesting that psychology wasn’t the study of the human mind, but the study of one kind of human mind, the sort…
054 - The Self - Bruce Hood (rebroadcast)
Jul 16, 2015 • 51 min
Is the person you believe to be the protagonist of your life story real or a fictional character? In other words, is your very self real or is it an illusion? According to psychologist Bruce Hood, the person at the center of your life isn’t really there;…
053 - Adaptive Learning - Ulrik Christensen
Jul 2, 2015 • 48 min
Can new computer programs rid us of the cognitive errors that lead to learned helplessness in the classroom? In this episode Ulrik Christensen, senior fellow of digital learning at McGraw-Hill Education, explains how adaptive learning tools are changing…
052 - Learned Helplessness
Jun 22, 2015 • 45 min
Stuck in a bad situation, even when the prison doors are left wide open, we sometimes refuse to attempt escape. Why is that? In this episode learn all about the strange phenomenon of learned helplessness and how it keeps people in bad jobs, poor health,…
051 - Work - Laszlo Bock
Jun 4, 2015 • 70 min
Work often sucks, but it doesn’t have to. In this episode we interview Lazlo Bock, head of People Operations at Google, who helped his company make work suck less, way less, by introducing new policies and procedures based on knowledge gained by…
050 - Happy Money - Elizabeth Dunn (rebroadcast)
May 22, 2015 • 45 min
It’s peculiar, your inability to predict what will make you happy, and that inability leads you to do stupid things with your money. Once you get a decent job that allows you to buy new shoes on a whim, you start accumulating stuff, and the psychological…
049 - Rejection - Jia Jiang
May 8, 2015 • 54 min
What if you could give yourself a superpower? That’s what Jia Jiang wondered when he began a quest to remove the fear of rejection from his brain and become the risk-taking, adventurous person he always wanted to be. Hear how he forced himself to feel the…
048 - Contact
Apr 25, 2015 • 61 min
Can you change a person’s mind on a divisive social issue? The latest science says…yes. But it will require two things: contact and disclosure. In this episode you’ll travel to Mississippi to see how professional mind changers are working to shift…
047 - Public Shaming - Jon Ronson
Apr 8, 2015 • 58 min
Public shaming is back. Once done in town squares, the subjects of our ridicule locked in pillories and unable to avoid the rotten fruit and insults we hurled at them, now the shaming takes place on the internet. No longer our neighbors, the new targets…
046 - Inbetweenisode 11 - Steven Novella
Mar 26, 2015 • 61 min
In this inbetweenisode you will hear an excerpt from a lecture I gave at DragonCon2014 and an interview with neurologist and host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Steven Novella who discusses the psychology and neuroscience behind conspiracy…
045 - Doctors - Danielle Ofri
Mar 11, 2015 • 56 min
In this episode, we talk to Danielle Ofri, a physician and author of “What Doctors Feel” - a book about the emotional lives of doctors and how compassion fatigue, biases, and other mental phenomena affect their decisions, their motivations, and their…
044 - Inbetweenisode - James Burke And Matt Novak (Rebroadcast)
Feb 25, 2015 • 43 min
This episode is a rebroadcast of two interviews from episode 20 all about how we are very, very bad at predicting the future both in our personal lives and as as a species. The first interview is with Matt Novak who writes for Paleofuture, a blog at…
043 - Misremembering - Julia Shaw and Dan Simons
Feb 11, 2015 • 69 min
Did Brian Williams lie, exaggerate, or misremember? How certain are you that your most vivid memories are real? How easily could someone implant a false memory into your mind? In this episode you’ll learn why psychologists say that your memory is mostly…
042 - Bodily Resonance - Lara Maister
Jan 28, 2015 • 50 min
Scientists are using rubber hands and virtual reality to transfer people’s minds into avatars designed to look like members of groups and subcultures to which the subjects do not belong, and the results have been - well, trippy. Can changing your body,…
041 - Inbetweenisode - The Game/Ceiling Crasher
Jan 14, 2015 • 32 min
In this episode, two stories, one about a football game that split reality in two for the people who witnessed it, and another about what happened when a naked man literally appeared out of thin air inside a couple’s apartment while they were getting…
040 - Monkey Marketplace - Laurie Santos
Jan 5, 2015 • 69 min
How far back can we trace our irrational behaviors and cognitive biases? Evolutionarily speaking, why do we even do these things? Can we blame our faulty logic on our cultures and institutions, or should we blame it on our biology and our genetic…
039 - Blind Insight - Ryan Scott
Dec 17, 2014 • 67 min
Is it possible to for different parts of your mind to learn how the world works at different rates? Is it possible that the unconscious part of you can know something long before the conscious you realizes it? Learn more about the weirdness of the…
038 - Inbetweenisode - The Halo Effect
Dec 9, 2014 • 163 min
One salient trait can cause you to misjudge every other trait when evaluating a new hire, a love interest, a colleague, or even a potential purchase. Learn more about the power of the halo effect in this episode, and as a bonus, hear all the previous…
037 - Motivation - Daniel Pink
Nov 23, 2014 • 74 min
What motivates you to keep going, to reach for your dreams, to persist and endure? Psychology has, over the last 40 years, learned a great deal about human motivation and drive. In this episode we ask Daniel Pink, author of Drive, how we can better put…
036 - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Nov 10, 2014 • 91 min
Have you ever been confronted with the fact that you were in over your head, or that you had no idea what you were doing, or that you thought you were more skilled at something than you actually were? At its most extreme, this is called the Dunning-Kruger…
035 - Inbetweenisode - The Sunk Cost Fallacy
Nov 2, 2014 • 40 min
Are you throwing good money after bad? Are you stuck in a job, a relationship, a degree, or some other situation that you know you should abandon but fear you’ll have wasted years of time and effort? Are you in pain because of your fear of having done…
034 - The Post Hoc Fallacy
Oct 14, 2014 • 40 min
Do you believe in magical amulets? Apparently, in 2011, enough people did to allow one company to earn $34 million making and selling them to professional athletes, celebrities, and even a former president…all thanks to the post hoc fallacy. In this…
033 - Belief - Will Storr
Sep 29, 2014 • 98 min
Do you think that everything you believe is true? If not, then what are you wrong about? It is a difficult question to answer, and it leads to many others. Where do our beliefs come from, and how do we know where we should place our doubt? Why don’t facts…
032 - Ego Depletion
Sep 12, 2014 • 54 min
Many see willpower as something you develop like a muscle, something you can strengthen through practice and mental exercise, but the latest research suggests willpower runs on an internal battery, one that can be drained after heavy use, but recharges…
031 - Extinction Burst
Aug 27, 2014 • 32 min
Why do you so often fail at removing bad habits from your life? You try to diet, to exercise, to stop smoking, to stop staying up until 2 a.m. stuck in a hamster wheel of internet diversions, and right when you seem to be doing well, right when it seems…
030 - Practice - David Epstein
Aug 13, 2014 • 66 min
Is it true that all it takes to be an expert is 10,000 hours of practice? What about professional athletes? Do different people get more out of practice than others, and if so, is it nature or nurture? In this episode we ask all these things of David…
029 - Labels - Adam Alter
Aug 1, 2014 • 54 min
I did something this week that I’m sure many people secretly do every day. I stopped, talked to myself for a moment, and checked to see how much slack was in the leash I keep on my tongue. I was reminded that I need to do that from time to time, or at…
028 - Crowds - Michael Bond
Jul 18, 2014 • 66 min
It is a human tendency that’s impossible not to notice during wars and revolutions – and a dangerous one to forget when resting between them. In psychology they call it deindividuation, losing yourself to the will of a crowd. In a mob, protest, riot, or…
027 - Science Communication - Joe Hanson
Jul 9, 2014 • 69 min
I recently collaborated with Joe Hanson of the YouTube channel It’s Okay to be Smart and helped him write an episode about pattern recognition. I thought it would be great to bring him on the show and interview him in an episode all about the new science…
026 - Maslow’s Hammer
Jun 19, 2014 • 15 min
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” You’ve heard the expression before. You’ve may have, like myself, smugly used it a few times to feel like you made an intelligent point in an…
025 - Enclothed Cognition - Hajo Adam
Jun 6, 2014 • 65 min
The clothes you wear have powers…over your mind. Your wardrobe doesn’t just affect the way others see you, but it affects the way you see yourself. That results in changes in perception, attention, behavior, and more. Learn what researcher Hajo Adam has…
024 - Sleep - Richard Wiseman
May 24, 2014 • 66 min
Why do we sleep and why do we dream? Despite the fact that every human being spends roughly 1/3 of his or her life asleep, science has yet to crack the mystery of the phenomenon. Why do we sleep and dream? The answer for now is…we don’t know. To learn…
023 - Inbetweenisode 4 - The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight
May 7, 2014 • 26 min
In the 1950s, in an effort to better understand group conflict, a team of psychologists nearly turned a summer camp into Lord of The Flies. The story of how and why it was so easy to turn normal boys into bloodthirsty, warring tribes (and how those tribes…
022 - Survivorship Bias - Megan Price
Apr 23, 2014 • 76 min
The problem with sorting out failures and successes is that failures are often muted, destroyed, or somehow removed from view while successes are left behind, weighting your decisions and perceptions, tilting your view of the world. That means to be…
021 - Inbetweenisode 3 - Christina Draganich
Apr 3, 2014 • 35 min
In this inbetweenisode, Christina Draganich explains how she came up with the idea to research placebo sleep, and she tells us how anyone with the right guidance can use science to expand our understanding of the natural world. We also learn about the…
020 - The Future - James Burke and Matt Novak
Mar 17, 2014 • 74 min
If you love educational entertainment – programs about science, nature, history, technology and everything in between – it is a safe bet that the creators of those shows were heavily influenced by the founding fathers of science communication: Carl Sagan,…
019 - The Placebo Effect - Kristi Erdal
Feb 28, 2014 • 70 min
How powerful is the placebo effect? After a good night’s sleep could a scientist convince you that you had tossed and turned, and if so, how would that affect your perceptions and behavior? What if a doctor told you that you had slept like a baby when in…
018 - Inbetweenisode - The Benjamin Franklin Effect
Feb 18, 2014 • 28 min
Benjamin Franklin knew how to deal with haters, and in this episode we learn how he turned his haters into fans with what is now called The Benjamin Franklin Effect. Listen as David McRaney reads an excerpt from his book, “You Are Now Less Dumb,”…
016 - Conspiracy Theories - Steven Novella and Jesse Walker
Jan 16, 2014 • 58 min
Who is pulling the strings? Who is behind the coverup? Who holds the real power, and what do they want? How deep does the conspiracy to control your mind go? In this episode we discuss the history, social impact, neuroscience, and psychology behind…
015 - Inbetweenisode - Narrative Bias
Jan 7, 2014 • 17 min
In this inbetweenisode I read an excerpt from my book, You Are Now Less Dumb, about a strange experiment in Michigan that tested the bounds of the self by throwing three very unusual men into a situation that won’t likely be repeated ever again by science.
014 - Narratives - Melanie C. Green
Dec 23, 2013 • 62 min
In this episode we discuss the power of narratives to affect our beliefs and behaviors with Melanie C. Green, a psychologist who studies the persuasive power of fiction. According to Nielsen, the TV ratings company, the average person in the United States…
013 - Technology - Clive Thompson
Dec 4, 2013 • 71 min
The very fact that you are reading this sentence, contemplating whether you want to listen to this podcast, means that you are living out a fantasy from a previous generation’s cyberpunk novel. However you made it here, however you got these words into…
012 - Jealousy
Nov 21, 2013 • 61 min
Why do human beings experience jealousy, what is its function, and what are the warning signs that signal this powerful emotion may lead to violence? Once reserved for the contemplation of poets and playwrights, jealousy is now the subject of intense…
011 - Culture
Nov 6, 2013 • 31 min
Is your state of mind from one situation to the next drastically altered by the state in which you live? According to cultural psychologists, yes it is. Studies show that your thoughts, perceptions, emotions, and behaviors in response to a particular…
010 - Perversion
Oct 15, 2013 • 55 min
In this episode we discuss sexual deviancy and perversion with Jesse Bering, author of “Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us.” Also, at the end, we eat a cinnamon cardamom snickerdoodle and discuss popcorn’s effect on advertising.
009 - Arguing
Sep 26, 2013 • 70 min
On this episode we discuss the psychology of arguing and interview both Jeremy Shermer and Hugo Mercier. Afterward, I eat an orange chocolate chip cookie and read a news story about reading your partner’s mood in old age.
008 - Video Games
Aug 29, 2013 • 58 min
In this episode, we discuss the how video games can help us understand our delusions and speak with Jamie Madigan, the curator of psychologyofgames.com. Also, at the end, we eat a white chocolate oatmeal cookie and discuss a misconception about poverty.
007 - Common Sense
Jul 22, 2013 • 53 min
In this episode we discuss eyebeams and superseded scientific theories with Kevin Lyon, and at the end, we discuss vitamins and eat a fudgy oatmeal cookie.
004 - Money
Jul 6, 2013 • 43 min
In this episode we speak with Elizabeth Dunn about better spending money to increase happiness. Later, we eat an apple toffee cookie and explore novelty in old churches.
005 - Selling Out
Oct 5, 2012 • 57 min
In this episode, we discuss selling out, countercultures, and authenticity with Andrew Potter, the author of “The Authenticity Hoax.” Afterward, I eat a Chewie Chewbacca Chocolate Chip vegan cookie and read a study about the sugar high and hyperactivity.
004 - The Self
Jun 30, 2012 • 50 min
In this episode we discuss the self and interview Bruce Hood, author of “The Self Illusion.” Also, at the end, we eat a chewy chocolate chip cookie and discuss therapeutic touch.
003 - Confabulation
May 27, 2012 • 28 min
In this episode, we discuss confabulation with neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, and at the end of the episode we taste a cranberry chocolate chip cookie while contemplating positive affirmations.
002 - The Illusion of Knowledge
May 7, 2012 • 47 min
In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we discuss the illusion of knowledge with Christopher Chabris, co-author of “The Invisible Gorilla.” After that, we eat a triple-ginger molasses cookie while discussing non-believed false memories.
001 - Attention
Apr 21, 2012 • 40 min
In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we discuss attention and interview co-author of “The Invisible Gorilla” Daniel Simons. Also, at the end, we eat an Oreo fudge cookie brownie and discuss the foreign language effect.