You Are Not So Smart

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December 2014
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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 unconscious mind as we interview Ryan Scott, a cognitive psychologist who has discovered a new phenomenon that suggests you can have unconscious knowledge about something and fail to realize it until it is too late - something he calls blind insight.

Direct download: 039_-_Blind_Insight_-_Ryan_Scott.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 6:55 PM

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 excerpts from You Are Now Less Dumb in this special extended episode lasting 2 hours and 43 minutes!

Direct download: 038_-_Inbetweenisode_-_The_Halo_Effect.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:06 PM

What motivates you to keep going, to reach for your dreams, to persist and endure? Psychology has, over the last 40 years, learned a great deal about human motivation and drive. In this episode we ask Daniel Pink, author of Drive, how we can better put that knowledge to use in our lives and in our workplaces and institutions.

Direct download: 037_-_Motivation_-_Daniel_Pink.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:04 PM

Have you ever been confronted with the fact that you were in over your head, or that you had no idea what you were doing, or that you thought you were more skilled at something than you actually were? At its most extreme, this is called the Dunning-Kruger effect - the fact that it is very easy to be both unskilled and unaware, and in this episode we explore how it works and where you might expect to see it your own life.

Direct download: 036_-_The_Dunning-Kruger_Effect.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:24 AM

Are you throwing good money after bad? Are you stuck in a job, a relationship, a degree, or some other situation that you know you should abandon but fear you'll have wasted years of time and effort? Are you in pain because of your fear of having done something in vain? This episode, learn all about the sunk cost fallacy and how you sometimes get stuck in a wasteful loop of behavior because of your fear of loss.

Direct download: 035_-_The_Sunk_Cost_Fallacy.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:03 PM

Do you believe in magical amulets? Apparently, in 2011, enough people did to allow one company to earn $34 million making and selling them to professional athletes, celebrities, and even a former president...all thanks to the post hoc fallacy. In this episode you'll learn more about how this fallacy led to the rise and fall of the Power Balance bracelet, and whether or not you might believe in a little magic yourself.

Direct download: 034_-_The_Post_Hoc_Fallacy.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 2:31 PM

Do you think that everything you believe is true? If not, then what are you wrong about? It is a difficult question to answer, and it leads to many others. Where do our beliefs come from, and how do we know where we should place our doubt? Why don't facts seem to work on people? In this episode we explore the psychology of belief through interviews with Margaret Maitland, an Egyptologist, Jim Alcock, a psychologist who studies belief, and Will Storr, a journalist who wrote about his adventures with people who believe in things most people don't in his book, The Unpersuadables.

Direct download: 033_-_Belief_v2.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 4:12 AM

Is willpower a skill? Is it something we develop like a muscle, or hone like a talent - is it something we can strengthen through practice and mental exercise? The latest research suggests willpower is more like a fuel, a resource, an internal battery, and once you've used it up, you much recharge it or else you'll be unable to keep your hand out of the cookie jar. Speaking of cookies...we also explore in this episode how psychologists have used cookies in novel ways to uncover the secrets of our minds.

Direct download: 32_-_Ego_Depletion.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 2:44 AM

Why do you so often fail at removing bad habits from your life?

You try to diet, to exercise, to stop smoking, to stop staying up until 2 a.m. stuck in a hamster wheel of internet diversions, and right when you seem to be doing well, right when it seems like your bad habit is dead, you lose control. It seems all to easy for one transgression, one tiny cheating bite of pizza or puff of smoke, and then it's all over. You binge, calm down, and the habit returns, reanimated and stronger than ever.

You ask yourself, how is it possible I can be so good at so many things, so clever in so many ways, and still fail at outsmarting my own vice-ridden brain? The answer has to do with conditioning, classical like Pavlov and operant like Skinner, and a psychological phenomenon that's waiting in the future for every person who tries to twist shut the spigot of reward and pleasure - the extinction burst, and in this episode we explore how it works, why it happens, and how you can overcome it.

Direct download: 31_-_Extinction_Burst.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 8:08 PM

Is it true that all it takes to be an expert is 10,000 hours of practice? What about a professional athlete? 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.

Direct download: 030_-_Practice_-_David_Epstein.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 3:49 AM