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You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart is a show about psychology that celebrates science and self delusion. In each episode, we explore what we've learned so far about reasoning, biases, judgments, and decision-making.

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156 - Selfie (rebroadcast)

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 ideals and standards that tell us we are falling short of the person we ought to be. As he says in the book, "Perfectionism is the idea that kills," and you?ll hear him explain what he means by that in the interview. -- Show Notes at: youarenotsosmart.com -- -- Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart -- SPONSORS ? The Great Courses Plus: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-06-16
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155 - Live in New York - Post Truth

You Are Not So Smart, live in New York, at The Bell House, in Brooklyn -- David McRaney and three experts and a bunch of YANSS fans got together for a deep dive into how we turn perception into reality, how that reality can differ from brain to brain, and what happens when we dangerously disagree on the truth. -- Video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=277HGgqrrUM -- Show Notes at: youarenotsosmart.com -- -- Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart -- SPONSORS ? The Great Courses Plus: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com Offer code: SOSMART
2019-06-03
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154 - The Marshmallow Replication (rebroadcast)

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: youarenotsosmart.com -- -- Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart -- SPONSORS ? The Great Courses Plus: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com Offer code: SOSMART
2019-05-20
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153 - Happy Brain (rebroadcast)

- Live Show Tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/you-are-not-s?ets-58457802862 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 situational factors that lead to and away from happiness, and the neurological underpinnings of joy, bliss, comfort, love, and connection. In the episode you'll hear all that and more as we talk about what we know so far about the biological nature of happiness itself. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-05-06
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152 - Status Quo Rationalization (rebroadcast)

- Live Show Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/you-are-not-so-smart-with-david-mcraney-tickets-58457802862 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, nations, and cultures sometimes rationalize the new normal in much the same way, altering public opinion on a large scale. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-04-21
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151 - Behind the Curve

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 the Earth is flat. - Live Show Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/you-are-not-so-smart-with-david-mcraney-tickets-58457802862 - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-04-08
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150 - Belief Change Blindness (rebroadcast)

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 we ever thought otherwise. In the show, psychologists Michael Wolfe and Todd Williams, take us though their new research which suggests that because brains so value consistency, and are so determined to avoid the threat of decoherence, we hide the evidence of our belief change. That way, the story we tell ourselves about who we are can remain more or less heroic, with a stable, steadfast protagonist whose convictions rarely waver -- or, at least, they don?t waver as much as those of shifty, flip-flopping politicians. This can lead to a skewed perception of the world, one that leads to the assumption that mind change is rare and difficult-to-come-by. And that can lead to our avoiding information that might expand our understanding of the world, because we assume it will have no impact. The truth, say Wolfe and Williams, is that mind change is so prevalent and constant, that the more you expose yourself to counterevidence, the more your worldview will erode, replaced by a better, more accurate one -- it's just that you probably won't realize it until you look back at old posts on social media and cringe. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart -- Offer code: SOSMART
2019-03-25
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149 - Bad Advice

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, educate the public, and oppose the efforts of anti-vaxxers, and in his new book he offers advice for science consumers and communicators on how to deal with what he calls the opaque window of modern media which gives equal time to non-experts when it comes to discussing vaccination and other medical issues. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart -- Offer code: SOSMART ? Survey with chance for $100 Amazon gift card: podsurvey.com/sosmart
2019-03-11
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148 - Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

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 norms themselves that predict how cultures will react, evolve, innovate, and clash -- but how different cultures value those and sanction people who violate them. She categorizes all human cultures into two -- kinds, tight and loose -- and argues that all human behavior depends on whether a person lives in tight culture or a loose one. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-02-25
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147 - The Replication Crisis (rebroadcast)

"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. Currently, psychology is facing what some are calling a replication crisis. Much of the most headline-producing research in the last 20 years isn't standing up to attempts to reproduce its findings. Nosek wants to clean up the processes that have lead to this situation, and in this episode, you'll learn how. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2019-02-10
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146 - Tribal Psychology (rebroadcast)

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 science communication, and how it is driving our growing partisan divide. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart
2019-01-28
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145 - Team Human

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 "world's ten most influential thinkers," and in the episode we talk about his latest (and 20th) book, Team Human.  The book is a bit of a manifesto in which he imagines a new counterculture that would revolt against the algorithms that are slowly altering our collective behavior for the benefit of shareholders. Instead, he implores us, we should curate a digital, psychedelic substrate that embraces the messiness of human beings: our unpredictability, our pursuit of novelty and innovation, and our primate/animal/social connectedness. The book is presented in a series of aphorisms that add up to a rallying cry for building communities outside of what the machines that tend our walled gardens might suggest we build. As the title suggests, he would prefer that we turned our technological attention to encouraging and facilitating teamwork. In the book, he says that any technology whose initial purpose is to connect people will eventually become colonized and repurposed to repress and isolate them. But, the good news is that we?ve seen this pattern so often that we can now stop it in its tracks and choose to build something else. In the interview, you?ll hear what his thoughts are on all this -- and much more. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2019-01-14
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144 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four (rebroadcast)

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 explain something we?ve all experienced -- when we argue with people who believe differently than us, who see the world through a different ideological lens -- they often resist our views, refuse to accept our way of seeing things, and it often seems like we do more harm than good, because they walk away seemingly more entrenched in their beliefs than before the argument began. But?since those first three shows, researchers have produced a series new studies into the backfire effect that complicate things. Yes, we are observing something here, and yes we are calling it the backfire effect, but everything is not exactly as it seems, and so I thought we should invite these new researchers on the show and add a fourth episode to the backfire effect series based on what they?ve found. And this is that episode (again). - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2018-12-31
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143 - How to Talk to People About Things

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 beneficial. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart
2018-12-17
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142 - Debate (rebroadcast)

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 exploring the value of argumentation and debate in the process of change, progress, and understanding our basic humanity. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart
2018-12-03
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141 - Not A Scientist

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 repeating patterns that politicians fall into when they mistake, misrepresent, and mangle science. Some are nefarious and intentional, some are based on ignorance, and some are just part of the normal business of politicians managing their public image or trying to appeal to their base. --- ? Show Notes: www.youarenotsosmart.com -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? One Fix: www.getonefix.com/YANSS CODE: YANSS
2018-11-19
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140 - Machine Bias (rebroadcast)

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, and we meet the people who can explain why, and are going to try and fix it. --- ? Show Notes: www.youarenotsosmart.com -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/NOTSOSMART
2018-11-05
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139 - The Friendship Cure

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 a support network of close contacts. But...there is a cure...learning how to connect with others and curate better friendships. In the interview we talk about loneliness, how to make friends, the difference between male and female friendship, platonic friendships, friends with benefits and lots, lots, more. -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/NOTSOSMART
2018-10-21
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138 - Evil

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 human beings instead of as monsters. According to Shaw, othering criminals by categorizing them as a separate kind of human allows us to put them out of our minds and disappear them to institutions or prisons. The result is we become less-able to prevent the sort of behavior the harms others from happening again and again. In fact, she says "there's no such thing as evil," and sees the term as an antiquated, magical label that dehumanizes others, preventing us from accumulating the sort of scientific evidence that could lead to a better society. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart Sponsors: -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? One Fix: www.getonefix.com CODE: YANSS ||| Show Notes at YouAreNotSoSmart.com |||
2018-10-08
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137 - Narrative Persuasion (rebroadcast)

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 of the story we become highly susceptible to belief and attitude change. In this episode, you?ll learn from psychologist Melanie C. Greene the four secrets to creating the most persuasive narratives possible. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart Sponsors: -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? One Fix: www.getonefix.com CODE: YANSS ||| Show Notes at YouAreNotSoSmart.com |||
2018-09-24
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136 - Prevalence Induced Concept Change

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 those problems seem intractable -- as if we are only treading water when, in fact, we?ve created the change we set out to make. Sponsors: -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/notsosmart ||| Show Notes at YouAreNotSoSmart.com |||
2018-09-10
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135 - Optimism Bias (rebroadcast)

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 itself, but not so much for other people. In other words, if you are a smoker, everyone else is going to get cancer. The odds of success for a new restaurant change depending on who starts that venture, you or someone else. Sharot explains why and details how we can use our knowledge of this mental quirk to our advantage both personally and institutionally. More about Tali Sharot and her book The Optimism Bias here: theoptimismbias.blogspot.com/ Sponsors: -- ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart -- -- ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com CODE: SOSMART -- ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/notsosmart ||| Show Notes at YouAreNotSoSmart.com |||
2018-08-26
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134 - The Elaboration Likelihood Model

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 one of the most robust models for explaining how and why some messages change people?s minds, some don?t, and what makes some stick and others fade in influence over time. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2018-08-16
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133 - Uncivil Agreement

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 just about the most important thing the social sciences are studying right now, and I think Mason is one of the its most brilliant scientists - I promise, the insights you are about to hear will change the way you think about politics, tweeting, elections, and arguing with people on the other side of just about everything.
2018-07-30
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132 - Practice (rebroadcast)

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 Epstein, author of The Sports Gene, who explains how practice affects the brain and whether or not greatness comes naturally or after lots and lots of effort. -- Show Notes at: youarenotsosmart.com -- -- This episode's notes: goo.gl/hDjTVJ -- -- Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart -- SPONSORS ? The Great Courses Plus: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com Offer code: SOSMART ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/notsomart
2018-07-16
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131 - The Marshmallow Replication

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: https://goo.gl/hDjTVJ -- -- Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart -- SPONSORS ? The Great Courses Plus: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: https://www.squarespace.com Offer code: SOSMART ? Lightstream: http://lightstream.com/notsosmart
2018-07-02
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130 - The Half LIfe of Facts (rebroadcast)

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 turns out that we actually know when that will be for many things. In this episode, listen as author and scientist Sam Arbesman explains how understanding the half life of facts can lead to better lives, institutions, and, of course, better science. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS - ? - Squarespace: www.squarespace.com || Code: sosmart - ? - The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart - ? - Zip Recruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/notsosmart
2018-06-18
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129 - Desirability Bias (rebroadcast)

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 until recently a second bias has been hidden in plain sight. Our past beliefs and future desires usually match up. Desirability is often twisted into confirmation like a single psychological braid - but recent research suggests that something called desirability bias may be just as prevalent in our thinking. When future desires and past beliefs are incongruent, desire wins out. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart
2018-06-04
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128 - Happy Brain

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 situational factors that lead to and away from happiness, and the neurological underpinnings of joy, bliss, comfort, love, and connection. In the episode you'll hear all that and more as we talk about what we know so far about the biological nature of happiness itself.
2018-05-21
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127 - Selfie

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 ideals and standards that tell us we are falling short of the person we ought to be. As he says in the book, "Perfectionism is the idea that kills," and you?ll hear him explain what he means by that in the interview.
2018-05-07
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126 - Separate Spheres (rebroadcast)

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 threatens your ideology, fear is the simplest, easiest way to keep more minds from changing. In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we explore how the separate spheres ideology is still affecting us today, and how some people are using it to scare people into voting down anti-discrimination legislation.
2018-04-22
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125 - Status Quo Rationalization

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, nations, and cultures sometimes rationalize the new normal in much the same way, altering public opinion on a large scale.
2018-04-09
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124 - Belief Change Blindness

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 we ever thought otherwise. In the show, psychologists Michael Wolfe and Todd Williams, take us though their new research which suggests that because brains so value consistency, and are so determined to avoid the threat of decoherence, we hide the evidence of our belief change. That way, the story we tell ourselves about who we are can remain more or less heroic, with a stable, steadfast protagonist whose convictions rarely waver -- or, at least, they don?t waver as much as those of shifty, flip-flopping politicians. This can lead to a skewed perception of the world, one that leads to the assumption that mind change is rare and difficult-to-come-by. And that can lead to our avoiding information that might expand our understanding of the world, because we assume it will have no impact. The truth, say Wolfe and Williams, is that mind change is so prevalent and constant, that the more you expose yourself to counterevidence, the more your worldview will erode, replaced by a better, more accurate one -- it's just that you probably won't realize it until you look back at old posts on social media and cringe.
2018-03-26
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123 - Active Information Avoidance (rebroadcast)

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, the new media ecosystem has also unshackled some of our deepest psychological tendencies, things that enlightenment thinkers didn?t know about, weren?t worried about, or couldn?t have predicted. Many of which we?ve discussed in previous episodes like confirmation bias, selective skepticism, filter bubbles and so on. These things have always been with us, but modern technology has provided them with the perfect environment to flourish. In this episode, we explore another such invasive psychological species called active information avoidance, the act of keeping our senses away from information that might be useful, that we know is out there, that would cost us nothing to obtain, but that we?d still rather not learn. From choosing not to open open bills, visit the doctor, check your bank account, or read the nutrition information on the back of that box of Girl Scout Cookies, we each choose to remain ignorant when we?d rather not feel the anguish of illumination, but that same tendency can also cause great harm both to individuals and whole cultures when it spreads through politics, science, markets, and medicine. In this show, you?ll learn how.
2018-03-11
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122 - Tribal Psychology

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 science communication, and how it is driving our growing partisan divide.
2018-02-26
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121 - Progress (rebroadcast)

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 Chicago historian Ada Palmer. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com - offer code SOSMART ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
2018-02-12
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120 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four

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 episodes was shared on Facebook a gazillion times, which lead to a stories about the comic in popular media, and then more people listened to the shows, on and on it went. You can go see it at The Oatmeal right now at the top of their page. It?s titled, you are not going to believe what I am about to tell you. The popularity of the backfire effect extends into academia. The original paper has been cited hundreds of times, and there have been more than 300 articles written about it since it first came out. The backfire effect has his special allure to it, because, on the surface, it seems to explain something we?ve all experienced -- when we argue with people who believe differently than us, who see the world through a different ideological lens -- they often resist our views, refuse to accept our way of seeing things, and it often seems like we do more harm than good, because they walk away seemingly more entrenched in their beliefs than before the argument began. But?since those shows last year, researchers have produced a series new studies into the backfire effect that complicate things. Yes, we are observing something here, and yes we are calling it the backfire effect, but everything is not exactly as it seems, and so I thought we should invite these new researchers on the show and add a fourth episode to the backfire effect series based on what they?ve found. And this is that episode. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase. ? BeachBody on Demand: Get a free trial membership, access to the entire platform, when you text SMART to 303030.
2018-01-29
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119 - The Unpersuadables

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 figures, people who believe they?ve been abducted by aliens, people who stake their lives on the power of homeopathy, and many more ? people who believe things that most of us do not. Storr explains in the book that after spending so much time with these people it started to become clear to him that it all goes back to that model of reality we all are forced to generate and then interact with. We are all forced to believe what that model tells us, and it is no different for people who are convinced that dinosaurs and human beings used to live together, or that you can be cured of an illness by an incantation delivered over the telephone. For some people, that lines up with their models of reality in a way that?s good enough. It?s a best guess. Storr proposes you try this thought experiment. First, answer this question: Are you right about everything you believe? Now, if you are like most people, the answer is no. Of course not. As he says, that would mean you are a godlike and perfect human being. You?ve been wrong enough times to know it can?t be true. You are wrong about some things, maybe many things. That leads to a second question ? what are you are wrong about? Storr says when he asked himself this second question, he started listing all the things he believed and checked them off one at a time as being true, he couldn?t think of anything about which he was wrong. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2018-01-15
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118 - Connections (rebroadcast)

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 that he predicted would one day be at our fingertips. In Connections, he offered an ?alternate view of history? in which great insights took place because of anomalies and mistakes, because people were pursuing one thing, but it lead somewhere surprising or was combined with some other object or idea they could never have imagined by themselves. Innovation took place in the spaces between disciplines, when people outside of intellectual and professional silos, unrestrained by categorical and linear views, synthesized the work of people still trapped in those institutions, who, because of those institutions, had no idea what each other was up to and therefore couldn?t predict the trajectory of even their own disciplines, much less history itself. In The Day the Universe Changed, Burke explored the sequential impact of discovery, innovation, and invention on how people defined reality itself. ?You are what we know,? he wrote ?and when the body of knowledge changes, so do we.? In this view of change, knowledge is invented as much as it is discovered, and new ideas ?nibble at the edges? of common knowledge until values considered permanent and fixed fade into antiquity just like any other obsolete tool. Burke said that our system of knowledge and discovery has never been able, until recently, to handle more than one or two ways of seeing things at a time. In response we have long demanded conformity with the dominant worldview or with similarly homogenous ideological binaries. My favorite line from the book has to do with imagining a group of scientists who live in a society that believes the universe is made of omelettes and goes about designing instruments to detect traces of interstellar egg residue. When they observe evidence of galaxies and black holes, to them it all just seems like noise. Their model of nature cannot yet accommodate what they are seeing, so they don?t see it. ?All that can accurately be said about a man who thinks he is a poached egg,? joked Burke, ?is that he is in the minority.? - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2018-01-01
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117 - Idiot Brain (rebroadcast)

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 of breakups, why criticisms are more powerful than compliments, the imposter syndrome, anti-intellectualism, irrational fears, and more. Burnett also explains how the brain is kinda sorta like a computer, but a really bad one that messes with your files, rewrites your documents, and edits your photos when you aren't around. Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist who lectures at Cardiff University and writes about brain stuff over at his blog, Brain Flapping hosted by The Guardian. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2017-12-18
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116 - Reality (rebroadcast)

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 of reality itself. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: Use the offer code SOSMART at www.squarespace.com for 10 percent off your first purchase.
2017-12-04
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115 - Machine Bias

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, and we meet the people who can explain why, and are going to try and fix it.
2017-11-20
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114 - Moral Arguments (rebroadcast)

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 that the answer is in learning how to cross something they call the empathy gap. When we produce arguments, we do so from within our own moral framework and in the language of our moral values. Those values rest on top of a set of psychological tendencies influenced by our genetic predispositions and shaped by our cultural exposure that blind us to alternate viewpoints. Because of this, we find it very difficult to construct an argument with the same facts, but framed in a different morality. Willer?s work suggests that if we did that, we would find it a much more successful route to persuading people we usually think of as unreachable. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart * Squarespace: 10 percent off at www.squarespace.com with the offer code SOSMART
2017-11-05
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113 - Narrative Persuasion

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 of the story we become highly susceptible to belief and attitude change. In this episode, you?ll learn from psychologist Melanie C. Greene the four secrets to creating the most persuasive narratives possible. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Casper Mattresses: $50 off at www.Casper.com/SOSMART offer code: SOMART
2017-10-23
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112 - Change My View (rebroadcast)

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 understand the back-and-forth between human beings and then analyze the patterns the emerged. When they did that, they discovered two things: what kind of arguments are most likely to change people?s minds, and what kinds of minds are most likely to be changed.
2017-10-08
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111 - Collective Intelligence

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, those all sound like great ideas, but the latest research into collective intelligence suggests that none of them would work. To create a team that is collectively intelligent, you likely need to focus on three specific factors that psychologist Christopher Chabris and his colleagues recently identified in their research, and in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast, he will tell you all about them and why they seem to matter more than anything else. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Bombfell: $25 off at www.bombfell.com/yanss
2017-09-25
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110 - Sleep Deprivation and Bias

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 feel fine, maybe a bit drowsy, but your body is stressed in ways that diminish your health and slow your mind. In this episode, we sit down with two researchers whose latest work suggests sleep deprivation also affects how you see other people. In tests of implicit bias, negative associations with certain religious and cultural categories emerged after people started falling behind on rest. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: 10 percent off with the code SOSMART
2017-09-10
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109 - The Search Effect (rebroadcast)

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, on-command, at any time, search for the answer to any question, and then, most of time, find it. According to researcher Matthew Fisher, one of the strange side effects is an inflated sense of internal knowledge. In other words, as we use search engines, over time we grow to mistakenly believe we know more than we actually do even when we no longer have access to the internet. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Casper: $50 off at www.casper.com/sosmart and use offer code sosmart
2017-08-27
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108 - Pandora's Lab

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 fame, they escaped the corrective mechanisms of science itself. Science always corrects the problem, but before it does, many people can be harmed, and society can suffer. In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Paul Offit to discuss how we can get better at catching those mistakes before they happen and mitigating the harm once Pandora's Lab has been opened. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Blue Apron: www.blueapron.com/yanss
2017-08-14
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107 - Debate

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 exploring the value of argumentation and debate in the process of change, progress, and understanding our basic humanity. - Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com - Become a patron at: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart SPONSORS ? The Great Courses: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart ? Squarespace: www.squarespace.com/sosmart ? ZipRecruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com/notsosmart
2017-07-31
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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