You Are Not So Smart

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.

Direct download: 083_-_Idiot_Brain_-_Dean_Burnett.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:03pm EDT

This episode’s guest, Michael Bond, is the author of The Power of Others, and reading his book I was surprised to learn that despite several decades of research into crowd psychology, the answers to most questions concerning crowds can still be traced back to a book printed in 1895.

Gustave’s Le Bon’s book, “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind,” explains that humans in large groups are dangerous, that people spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts who are easily swayed and prone to violence. That viewpoint has informed the policies and tactics of governments and police forces for more than a century, and like many prescientific musings, much of it is wrong.

Listen in this episode as Bond explains that the more research the social sciences conduct, the less the idea of a mindless, animalistic mob seems to be true. He also explains what police forces and governments should be doing instead of launching tear gas canisters from behind riot shields which actually creates the situation they are trying to prevent. Also, we touch on the psychology of suicide bombers, which is just as surprising as what he learned researching crowds.

Direct download: 082_-_Crowds_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT

In this episode, psychologist Per Espen Stoknes discusses his book: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming.

Stoknes has developed a strategy for science communicators who find themselves confronted with climate change deniers who aren't swayed by facts and charts. His book presents a series of psychology-based steps designed to painlessly change people’s minds and avoid the common mistakes scientists tend to make when explaining climate change to laypeople.

Direct download: 081_-_Climate_Paradox.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 12:16am EDT

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 scientific territory.

The Leadership Lab has been developing a technique for the last eight years that can change a person’s mind about a contentious social issue after a 20-minute conversation.

This episode is about that group's redemption after their reputation was threatened by a researcher who, in studying their persuasion technique, committed scientific fraud and forced the retraction of his paper. That research and the retraction got a lot of media attention in 2015, but the story didn't end there.

In the show, you will meet the scientists who uncovered that researcher's fraud and then decided to go ahead and start over, do the research themselves, and see if the technique actually worked.

Show notes at youarenotsosmart.com

Direct download: 080_-_Deep_Canvassing.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner.

According to Victorian historian Kaythrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious and thus no place for a virtuous, fragile woman. The home was a paradise, while men went out into the world and got their hands dirty.

By the mid 1800s, women were leaving home to work in factories and much more, and if you believed in preserving the separate spheres, the concept that men and women should only cross paths at breakfast and dinner, then as we approached the 20th century, this created a lot of anxiety for you.

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.

Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com

• Patreon: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart

• Donate Directly through PayPal: www.paypal.me/DavidMcRaney

SPONSORS
• Blue Apron: www.blueapron.com/YANSS
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Direct download: 079_-_Separate_Spheres.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

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, logical, sociological, and scientific concepts.

The problem is that sometimes those same arguments accidentally require those fictional concepts to be real in order to support their conclusions, and that’s when you commit the existential fallacy.

In this episode we explore the most logical logical fallacy of them all, the existential fallacy. No need to get out your pens and paper, we will do that for you, as we make sense of one the most break-breaking thinking mistakes we’ve ever discovered.

Show notes at: www.youarenotsosmart.com

• Patreon: www.patreon.com/youarenotsosmart

• Donate Directly through PayPal: www.paypal.me/DavidMcRaney

SPONSORS
• Bombas: www.Bombas.com/SOSMART
• Casper: www.casper.com/sosmart
• The Great Courses Plus: www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart

Direct download: 078_-_The_Existential_Fallacy.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

Here is a logic puzzle created by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

Linda is single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issue of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in demonstrations. Which of the following is more probable: Linda is a bank teller or Linda is a bank teller AND is active in the feminist movement?

In studies, when asked this question, more than 80 percent of people chose number two. Most people said it was more probably that Linda is a bank teller AND active in the feminist movement, but that's wrong. Can you tell why?

This thinking mistake is an example of the subject of this episode - the conjunction fallacy. Listen as three experts in logic and reasoning explain why people get this question wrong, why it is wrong, and how you can avoid committing the conjunction fallacy in other situations.

Direct download: 077_-_The_Conjunction_Fallacy.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

If you traced back the ad hominem attack and the argument from authority to their shared source, you would find the genetic fallacy, a fallacy that appears when people trace things back to their sources.

We often overstate and overestimate just how much we can learn about a claim based on where that claim originated, and that's the crux of the genetic fallacy.

In this episode listen as three experts in logic and reasoning explain when we should and when we should not take the source of a statement into account when deciding if something is true or false.

Show Notes: http://bit.ly/1VbmNqx

Direct download: 076_-_The_Genetic_Fallacy.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:45am EDT

Sometimes you apply a double standard to the things you love, the things you believe, and the things crucial to your identity, and often you do so without realizing it.

Special pleading is all about searching for exemptions and excuses for why a standard, or a rule, or a description, or a definition does not apply to something that you hold dear.

It's also used to explain away how something extraordinary fails to stand up to scrutiny, or why there is a lack of evidence for a difficult-to-believe claim.

In this episode, listen as three experts in logic and reasoning dive deep into the odd thinking behind the special pleading fallacy.

Direct download: 075_-_Special_Pleading__Moving_The_Goalposts.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 12:56am EDT

If you believe something is bad because it is...bad, or that something is good because, well, it's good, you probably wouldn't use that kind of reasoning in an argument, yet, sometimes, without realizing it, that's exactly what you do.

In this episode three experts in logic and rationality explain how circular reasoning leads us to "beg the question" when producing arguments and defending our ideas, beliefs, and behaviors.

Direct download: 074_-_Begging_The_Question.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:04pm EDT

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