You Are Not So Smart

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Stuck in a bad situation, even when the prison doors are left wide open, we sometimes refuse to attempt escape. Why is that? In this episode learn all about the strange phenomenon of learned helplessness and how it keeps people in bad jobs, poor health, terrible relationships, and awful circumstances despite how easy it might be to escape any one of those scenarios with just one more effort. In the episode, you'll learn how to defeat this psychological trap with advice from psychologists Jennifer Welbourne, who studies attributional styles in the workplace, and Kym Bennett who studies the effects of pessimism on health.

Direct download: 052_-_Learned_Helplessness.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:52 AM

It’s peculiar, your inability to predict what will make you happy, and that inability leads you to do stupid things with your money. Once you get a decent job that allows you to buy new shoes on a whim, you start accumulating stuff, and the psychological research into happiness says that stuff is a crappy source of lasting joy. In this rebroadcast, listen as psychologist Elizabeth Dunn explains how to get more happiness out of your money...with science!

Direct download: 050_-_Happy_Money_-_Elizabeth_Dunn_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 9:16 PM

Work sucks, but it doesn't have to. In this episode we go inside Google in an interview with Lazlo Bock, head of People Operations. Bock has helped the company conduct experiments and introduce policies and procedures that have applied knowledge gained from psychology and neuroscience concerning biases, fallacies, and other weird human behavior quirks. The result has been a workplace where people are happier, more productive, and better able to pursue that which fulfills their ambitions. Learn all about Google's approach as Lazlo describes his new book, Work Rules, a collection of insights from Google's evidence-based, data-driven human relations.

Direct download: 051_-_Work_-_Lazlo_Bock.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 6:09 PM

What if you could give yourself a superpower? That's what Jia Jiang wondered when he began a quest to remove the fear of rejection from his brain and become the risk-taking, adventurous person he always wanted to be. Hear how he forced himself to feel the pain of rejection 100 times in 100 days in an effort to desensitize himself, and how he recorded every moment on his way to making himself a better person.

Direct download: 049_-_Rejection_-_Jia_Jiang.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 5:45 AM

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 attitudes on LGBT rights, and you'll learn how a man in Los Angeles conducted 12,000 conversations until he was able to perfect the most powerful version of contact possible. In one 22-minute chat, Dave Fleischer can change people's minds on issues they've felt strongly about for decades, and change them forever.

Direct download: 048_-_Contact.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:41 PM

Public shaming is back. Once done in town squares, the subjects of our ridicule locked in pillories and unable to avoid the rotten fruit and insults we hurled at them, now the shaming takes place on the internet. No longer our neighbors, the new targets are strangers and celebrities, and instead of courts meting out justice, it is the aggregate outrage of well-meaning people on Twitter just like you. Listen as author Jon Ronson describes his new book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” in which he spends time with people who have had their lives ruined by modern, web-based public shamings in an attempt to reveal to each of us what can happen when, alone but together, we obliterate people for unpopular opinions, off-color jokes, offensive language, and professional faux pas.

Direct download: 047_-_Public_Shaming_-_Jon_Ronson.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 8:12 PM

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 theories and conspiracy theorists.

Direct download: 046_-_Inbetweenisode_11_-_Steven_Novella.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 6:22 PM

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 relationships with patients.

You'll also hear Ofri discuss emotional epidemiology, the viral-like spread of fear and other emotions that can lead to panics like those we've seen surrounding Ebola, the Swine Flu, SARS, and other illnesses.

Direct download: 045_-_Doctors_-_Danielle_Ofri.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:35 AM

This episode is a rebroadcast of two interviews from episode 20 all about how we are very, very bad at predicting the future both in our personal lives and as as a species. 

The first interview is with Matt Novak who writes for Paleofuture, a blog at Gizmodo that explores how people from the past imagined, often very incorrectly, what the future might be like in the decades to come. The second is with James Burke, the legendary science communicator and historian who created Connections and The Day the Universe Changed. 

Direct download: 044_-_Inbetweenisode_-_James_Burke_and_Matt_Novak_Rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:04 PM

Did Brian Williams lie, exaggerate, or misremember? How certain are you that your most vivid memories are real? How easily could someone implant a false memory into your mind? In this episode you'll learn why psychologists say that your memory is mostly fiction as psychologist Daniel Simons explains how Brian Williams could have easily believed in a detailed war coverage memory that wasn't real, and you'll hear psychologist Julia Shaw explain how she was recently able to easily implant memories into college so that those students would admit to felony crimes that they did not commit.

Direct download: 043_-_Misremembering_-_Julia_Shaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00 PM