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Social Science

You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart

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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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159 - Uncivil Agreement (rebroadcast)

1:21:55 | Jul 28th

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 ...Show More
122 - Tribal Psychology

1:08:28 | Feb 26th, 2018

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 ...Show More
116 - Reality (rebroadcast)

1:00:50 | Dec 4th, 2017

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 understa...Show More
115 - Machine Bias

54:03 | Nov 20th, 2017

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 a...Show More
089 - Connections - James Burke

1:10:45 | Nov 17th, 2016

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 b...Show More
086 - Change My View

1:16:25 | Oct 9th, 2016

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 desi...Show More
160 - Maybe You Should Talk to Someone v3

46:46 | Aug 12th

In Lori Gottlieb's new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, she opens with a quote from James Baldwin that reads, "Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch." ...Show More
158 - The AB Effect

1:22:38 | Jul 15th

So, you might think that, in general, as an idea, as a practice, the A/B test would be beloved, supported, and encouraged as a way to test out policies and practices and drugs and treatments, but new research shows that a significant portion of the p...Show More
157 - Pluralistic Ignorance

1:28:46 | Jul 1st

There are several ways to define pluralistic ignorance, and that’s because it’s kind of a brain twister when you try to put it into words. On certain issues, the majority of the people believe that the majority of the people in a group believe what, ...Show More
156 - Selfie (rebroadcast)

1:24:05 | Jun 16th

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 eme...Show More
155 - Live in New York - Post Truth

2:03:47 | Jun 3rd

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...Show More
154 - The Marshmallow Replication (rebroadcast)

51:41 | May 20th

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...Show More
153 - Happy Brain (rebroadcast)

1:29:29 | May 6th

- 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...Show More
152 - Status Quo Rationalization (rebroadcast)

42:22 | Apr 21st

- 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 beara...Show More
151 - Behind the Curve

1:14:57 | Apr 8th

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 th...Show More
150 - Belief Change Blindness (rebroadcast)

38:45 | Mar 25th

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...Show More
149 - Bad Advice

1:07:59 | Mar 11th

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, ...Show More
148 - Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

1:13:28 | Feb 25th

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 i...Show More
147 - The Replication Crisis (rebroadcast)

45:10 | Feb 10th

"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 psycho...Show More
146 - Tribal Psychology (rebroadcast)

1:08:17 | Jan 28th

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 ...Show More
145 - Team Human

1:10:32 | Jan 14th

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...Show More
144 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four (rebroadcast)

1:19:13 | Dec 31st, 2018

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 see...Show More
143 - How to Talk to People About Things

1:46:38 | Dec 17th, 2018

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 mu...Show More
142 - Debate (rebroadcast)

54:49 | Dec 3rd, 2018

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...Show More
141 - Not A Scientist

43:35 | Nov 19th, 2018

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 ...Show More
140 - Machine Bias (rebroadcast)

53:20 | Nov 5th, 2018

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 a...Show More
139 - The Friendship Cure

1:20:29 | Oct 21st, 2018

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 ...Show More
138 - Evil

53:50 | Oct 8th, 2018

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 fello...Show More
137 - Narrative Persuasion (rebroadcast)

38:35 | Sep 24th, 2018

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 ...Show More
136 - Prevalence Induced Concept Change

32:21 | Sep 10th, 2018

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...Show More
135 - Optimism Bias (rebroadcast)

39:54 | Aug 26th, 2018

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 outcome...Show More
134 - The Elaboration Likelihood Model

56:39 | Aug 16th, 2018

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 be...Show More
133 - Uncivil Agreement

1:20:07 | Jul 30th, 2018

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 ...Show More
132 - Practice (rebroadcast)

47:38 | Jul 16th, 2018

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...Show More
131 - The Marshmallow Replication

52:29 | Jul 2nd, 2018

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 n...Show More
130 - The Half LIfe of Facts (rebroadcast)

30:39 | Jun 18th, 2018

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...Show More
129 - Desirability Bias (rebroadcast)

33:10 | Jun 4th, 2018

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, ...Show More
128 - Happy Brain

1:28:17 | May 21st, 2018

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 ...Show More
127 - Selfie

1:23:36 | May 7th, 2018

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 eme...Show More
126 - Separate Spheres (rebroadcast)

35:05 | Apr 22nd, 2018

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...Show More
125 - Status Quo Rationalization

45:10 | Apr 9th, 2018

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,...Show More
124 - Belief Change Blindness

40:16 | Mar 26th, 2018

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...Show More
123 - Active Information Avoidance (rebroadcast)

28:19 | Mar 11th, 2018

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 way...Show More
121 - Progress (rebroadcast)

1:00:28 | Feb 12th, 2018

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 C...Show More
120 - The Backfire Effect - Part Four

1:15:30 | Jan 29th, 2018

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 ...Show More
119 - The Unpersuadables

43:54 | Jan 15th, 2018

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...Show More
118 - Connections (rebroadcast)

57:34 | Jan 1st, 2018

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 inform...Show More
117 - Idiot Brain (rebroadcast)

47:58 | Dec 18th, 2017

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 ...Show More
114 - Moral Arguments (rebroadcast)

52:49 | Nov 5th, 2017

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 sugg...Show More
113 - Narrative Persuasion

36:49 | Oct 23rd, 2017

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 ...Show More
112 - Change My View (rebroadcast)

1:11:19 | Oct 8th, 2017

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 desig...Show More
111 - Collective Intelligence

41:55 | Sep 25th, 2017

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? Wel...Show More
110 - Sleep Deprivation and Bias

32:50 | Sep 10th, 2017

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...Show More
109 - The Search Effect (rebroadcast)

50:37 | Aug 27th, 2017

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, o...Show More
108 - Pandora's Lab

55:12 | Aug 14th, 2017

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 th...Show More
107 - Debate

56:38 | Jul 31st, 2017

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...Show More
106 - The Climate Paradox (rebroadcast)

57:08 | Jul 16th, 2017

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 deni...Show More
105 - Optimism Bias

42:36 | Jul 11th, 2017

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 outcom...Show More
104 - Labels (rebroadcast)

43:37 | Jun 19th, 2017

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. ...Show More
103 - Desirability Bias

34:33 | Jun 6th, 2017

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, ...Show More
102 - WEIRD Science (rebroadcast)

30:42 | May 22nd, 2017

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...Show More
101 - Naive Realism (rebroadcast)

56:33 | May 9th, 2017

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 ...Show More
100 - The Replication Crisis

49:52 | Apr 20th, 2017

"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 psycho...Show More
099 - The Half Life of Facts

30:04 | Apr 10th, 2017

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...Show More
098 - Active Information Avoidance

39:16 | Mar 27th, 2017

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, ...Show More
097 - Scams (rebroadcast)

1:01:57 | Mar 11th, 2017

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 ...Show More
096 - Progress

1:05:55 | Feb 25th, 2017

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 C...Show More
095 - The Backfire Effect - Part Three

1:05:49 | Feb 11th, 2017

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 ...Show More
094 - The Backfire Effect - Part Two

51:02 | Jan 29th, 2017

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 bel...Show More
093 - The Backfire Effect - Part One

44:17 | Jan 13th, 2017

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...Show More
092 - Bullshit (rebroadcast)

43:17 | Dec 29th, 2016

Gordon Pennycook and his team at the University of Waterloo set out to discover if there was a spectrum of receptivity for a certain kind of humbug they call pseudo-profound bullshit – the kind that sounds deep and meaningful at first glance, but upo...Show More
091 - Learned Helplessness (rebroadcast)

47:03 | Dec 15th, 2016

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 ...Show More
090 - Reality - Donald Hoffman

1:06:11 | Dec 2nd, 2016

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 understa...Show More
088 - Moral Arguments

56:14 | Nov 4th, 2016

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 sugg...Show More
087 - Paranoia

31:01 | Oct 20th, 2016

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 fea...Show More
085 - Misremembering - Julia Shaw (rebroadcast)

41:10 | Sep 21st, 2016

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, a...Show More
084 - Getting Gamers - Jamie Madigan

56:44 | Sep 8th, 2016

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 t...Show More
083 - Idiot Brain - Dean Burnett

53:01 | Aug 25th, 2016

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 ...Show More
082 - Crowds (rebroadcast)

50:53 | Aug 11th, 2016

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 trace...Show More
081 - The Climate Paradox

57:17 | Jul 28th, 2016

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 deni...Show More
080 - Deep Canvassing

58:46 | Jul 13th, 2016

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 ...Show More
079 - Separate Spheres

42:03 | Jun 29th, 2016

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 du...Show More
078 - The Existential Fallacy

34:33 | Jun 16th, 2016

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...Show More
077 - The Conjunction Fallacy

34:00 | Jun 2nd, 2016

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...Show More
076 - The Genetic Fallacy

39:12 | May 19th, 2016

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 th...Show More
075 - Special Pleading / Moving the Goalposts

38:01 | May 5th, 2016

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 st...Show More
074 - Begging The Question

35:14 | Apr 21st, 2016

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 episo...Show More
073 - Bayes' Theorem

1:30:34 | Apr 8th, 2016

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 le...Show More
072 - The Dunning-Kruger Effect (Rebroadcast)

1:05:21 | Mar 24th, 2016

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 i...Show More
071 - The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

44:13 | Mar 9th, 2016

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 instanc...Show More
070 - The No True Scotsman Fallacy

35:38 | Feb 25th, 2016

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 t...Show More
069 - The Black And White Fallacy

29:50 | Feb 11th, 2016

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 argum...Show More
068 - The Strawman Fallacy

28:35 | Jan 28th, 2016

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 o...Show More
067 - The Fallacy Fallacy

41:17 | Jan 14th, 2016

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 argume...Show More
066 - Bullshit - Gordon Pennycook

46:10 | Dec 31st, 2015

How strong is your bullshit detector? And what exactly IS the scientific definition of bullshit? In this episode we explore what makes a person susceptible to bullshit, how to identify and defend against it, and what kind of people are the most and ...Show More
065 - Survivorship Bias (rebroadcast)

31:07 | Dec 17th, 2015

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 ...Show More
064 - Monkey Marketplace - Laurie Santos (rebroadcast)

48:30 | Dec 3rd, 2015

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 re...Show More
063 - The Search Effect - Matthew Fisher

56:13 | Nov 19th, 2015

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, o...Show More
062 - Naive Realism - Lee Ross

1:04:45 | Nov 5th, 2015

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, y...Show More
061 - Mindfulness - Michael Taft

1:22:25 | Oct 22nd, 2015

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...Show More
060 - Reframing - Robert R. Morris

1:10:05 | Oct 7th, 2015

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 in...Show More
059 - The Illusion Of Control - Michael And Sarah Bennett

1:05:17 | Sep 23rd, 2015

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 il...Show More
058 - Technology - Clive Thompson (Rebroadcast)

1:10:31 | Sep 10th, 2015

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 w...Show More
057 - PTSD - Robert D. Laird

1:07:38 | Aug 27th, 2015

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 Universi...Show More
056 - Magicians And Scams - Brian Brushwood

1:11:48 | Aug 12th, 2015

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 ...Show More
055 - WEIRD People - Steven J. Heine

48:14 | Aug 1st, 2015

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...Show More
054 - The Self - Bruce Hood (rebroadcast)

51:29 | Jul 16th, 2015

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 th...Show More
053 - Adaptive Learning - Ulrik Christensen

48:59 | Jul 2nd, 2015

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 chang...Show More
052 - Learned Helplessness

45:45 | Jun 23rd, 2015

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 heal...Show More
051 - Work - Laszlo Bock

1:10:46 | Jun 5th, 2015

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 psyc...Show More
050 - Happy Money - Elizabeth Dunn (rebroadcast)

45:12 | May 22nd, 2015

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 psycholog...Show More
049 - Rejection - Jia Jiang

54:10 | May 8th, 2015

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 fee...Show More
048 - Contact

1:01:41 | Apr 25th, 2015

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 ...Show More
047 - Public Shaming - Jon Ronson

58:51 | Apr 8th, 2015

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 targ...Show More
046 - Inbetweenisode 11 - Steven Novella

1:01:45 | Mar 26th, 2015

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 th...Show More
045 - Doctors - Danielle Ofri

56:09 | Mar 12th, 2015

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...Show More
044 - Inbetweenisode - James Burke And Matt Novak (Rebroadcast)

43:41 | Feb 25th, 2015

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 a...Show More
043 - Misremembering - Julia Shaw and Dan Simons

1:09:05 | Feb 11th, 2015

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 mos...Show More
042 - Bodily Resonance - Lara Maister

50:15 | Jan 28th, 2015

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 bod...Show More
041 - Inbetweenisode - The Game/Ceiling Crasher

32:45 | Jan 15th, 2015

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...Show More
040 - Monkey Marketplace - Laurie Santos

1:09:02 | Jan 6th, 2015

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 inh...Show More
039 - Blind Insight - Ryan Scott

1:07:58 | Dec 17th, 2014

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 un...Show More
038 - Inbetweenisode - The Halo Effect

2:43:43 | Dec 9th, 2014

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...Show More
037 - Motivation - Daniel Pink

1:14:14 | Nov 23rd, 2014

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 p...Show More
036 - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

1:31:23 | Nov 10th, 2014

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-K...Show More
035 - Inbetweenisode - The Sunk Cost Fallacy

40:50 | Nov 2nd, 2014

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 don...Show More
034 - The Post Hoc Fallacy

40:15 | Oct 14th, 2014

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 thi...Show More
033 - Belief - Will Storr

1:38:32 | Sep 30th, 2014

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 ...Show More
032 - Ego Depletion

54:14 | Sep 13th, 2014

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 recharg...Show More
031 - Extinction Burst

32:39 | Aug 27th, 2014

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 s...Show More
030 - Practice - David Epstein

1:06:20 | Aug 14th, 2014

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...Show More
029 - Labels - Adam Alter

54:19 | Aug 1st, 2014

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, o...Show More
028 - Crowds - Michael Bond

1:06:30 | Jul 18th, 2014

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, ri...Show More
027 - Science Communication - Joe Hanson

1:09:54 | Jul 9th, 2014

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 sci...Show More
026 - Maslow's Hammer

15:27 | Jun 20th, 2014

“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...Show More
025 - Enclothed Cognition - Hajo Adam

1:05:18 | Jun 6th, 2014

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 Ada...Show More
024 - Sleep - Richard Wiseman

1:06:51 | May 24th, 2014

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 le...Show More
023 - Inbetweenisode 4 - The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight

26:39 | May 7th, 2014

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 thos...Show More
022 - Survivorship Bias - Megan Price

1:16:55 | Apr 24th, 2014

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 ...Show More
021 - Inbetweenisode 3 - Christina Draganich

35:28 | Apr 3rd, 2014

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 th...Show More
020 - The Future - James Burke and Matt Novak

1:14:48 | Mar 17th, 2014

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 S...Show More
019 - The Placebo Effect - Kristi Erdal

1:10:07 | Mar 1st, 2014

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 whe...Show More
018 - Inbetweenisode - The Benjamin Franklin Effect

28:52 | Feb 19th, 2014

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," ...Show More
017 - Alternative Medicine - Tim Farley

1:11:46 | Feb 3rd, 2014

Where is the line between medicine and alternative medicine? Are Eastern medicine and Western medicine truly at odds, and if so, who is right and who is wrong? What harm is there in using complementary or integrative treatments in an effort to improv...Show More
016 - Conspiracy Theories - Steven Novella and Jesse Walker

58:55 | Jan 16th, 2014

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 behin...Show More
015 - Inbetweenisode - Narrative Bias

17:41 | Jan 8th, 2014

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 sc...Show More
014 - Narratives - Melanie C. Green

1:02:29 | Dec 24th, 2013

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 Unit...Show More
013 - Technology - Clive Thompson

1:11:24 | Dec 4th, 2013

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...Show More
012 - Jealousy

1:01:26 | Nov 21st, 2013

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 inte...Show More
011 - Culture

31:28 | Nov 6th, 2013

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 particu...Show More
010 - Perversion

55:42 | Oct 16th, 2013

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

1:10:57 | Sep 27th, 2013

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

58:49 | Aug 30th, 2013

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 pover...Show More
007 - Common Sense

53:10 | Jul 22nd, 2013

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

43:55 | Jul 7th, 2013

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

57:39 | Oct 6th, 2012

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 hyperactiv...Show More
004 - The Self

50:50 | Jul 1st, 2012

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

28:48 | May 28th, 2012

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

47:05 | May 8th, 2012

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

40:18 | Apr 22nd, 2012

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.