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: 117_-_Idiot_Brain_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 8:11am EDT

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.

Direct download: 116_-_Reality_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am EDT

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.

Direct download: 115_-_Machine_Bias_v2.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:45am EDT

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

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Direct download: 114_-_Moral_Arguments_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:37am EDT

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
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Direct download: 113_-_Narrative_Persuasion.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

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.

Direct download: 112_-_Change_My_View_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 12:24pm EDT

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

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• The Great Courses: Free month at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/smart
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Direct download: Collective_Intelligence_v3.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

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

Direct download: 110_-_Sleep_and_Bias.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:42pm EDT

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
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Direct download: 109_-_The_Search_Effect_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 6:40pm EDT

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

Direct download: 108_-_Pandoras_Lab_version_2.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT