You Are Not So Smart (psychology)

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 sort generated by the kinds of brains that happen to be conveniently located near the places where research is usually conducted - North American college undergraduates. They called them the WEIRDest people in the world, short for Western, Education, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic - the kind of people who make up less than 15 percent of the world's population. In this episode, you'll learn why it took so long to figure out it was studying outliers, and what it means for the future of psychology.

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Direct download: 102_-_WEIRD_Science_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

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 book, The Wisest One in the Room, this is the default position most humans take when processing a political opinion. When confronted with people who disagree, you tend to assume there must be a rational explanation. What we don't think, however, is maybe WE are the ones who are wrong. We never go into the debate hoping to be enlightened, only to crush our opponents.

Listen in this episode as legendary psychologist Lee Ross explains how to identify, avoid, and combat this most pernicious of cognitive mistakes.

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Direct download: 101_-_Naive_Realism_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:23pm EDT

"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 psychology.

Currently, psychology is facing what some are calling a replication crisis. Much of the most headline-producing research in the last 20 years isn't standing up to attempts to reproduce its findings. Nosek wants to clean up the processes that have lead to this situation, and in this episode, you'll learn how.

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Direct download: 100_-_The_Replication_Crisis.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

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 turns out that we actually know when that will be for many things. In this episode, listen as author and scientist Sam Arbesman explains how understanding the half life of facts can lead to better lives, institutions, and, of course, better science.

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Direct download: 099_-_The_Half_Life_of_Facts.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:07pm EDT

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 episode, magician and scam expert Brian Brushwood explains why people fall for scams of all sizes, how to avoid them, and why most magicians can spot a fraudster a mile away.

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Direct download: 097_-_Scams_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

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 Chicago historian Ada Palmer.

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Direct download: 096_-_Progress.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

THIS EPISODE IS AD-FREE THANKS TO YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT - THANK YOU!  

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 instead of some other technique?

In this episode we learn the answers to these questions and others from two scientists who have learned how to combat the backfire effect.   One used an ingenious research method to identify the breaking point at which people stop resisting and begin accepting the fact that they might be wrong. The other literally wrote an instruction manual for avoiding the backfire effect and debunking myths using the latest psychological research into effective persuasive techniques.

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Direct download: 095_-_The_Backfire_Effect_-_Part_Three.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

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 beliefs instead of weakening them.

In this episode you'll hear from three experts who explain how trying to correct misinformation can end up causing more harm than good.

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Direct download: 094_-_The_Backfire_Effect_-_Part_Two.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 11:12am EDT

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 from that and not only reassert their original belief at its original strength, but go beyond that and dig in their heels, deepening their resolve over the long run.

Psychologists call this the backfire effect, and this episode is the first of three shows exploring this well-documented and much-studied psychological phenomenon, one that you’ve likely encountered quite a bit lately.

In this episode, we explore its neurological underpinning as two neuroscientists at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute explain how their latest research sheds new light on how the brain reacts when its deepest beliefs are challenged.

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Direct download: 093_-_The_Backfire_Effect_-_Part_One.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 7:04pm EDT

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 upon closer inspection means nothing at all. They wondered, is there a “type” of person who is more susceptible to that kind of language, and if so, what other things about personalities and thinking styles correlate with that tolerance and lack of skepticism, and why?

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Direct download: 092_-_Bullshit_rebroadcast.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 10:58am EDT