You Are Not So Smart

Jesse Walker is the author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory, a book that explores the history of American conspiracy theories going all the way back to the first colonies.

Walker argues that conspiratorial thinking is not a feature of the fringe, but a fundamental way of looking at the world that is very much mainstream.

Listen as Walker explains why we love conspiracy theories, how they flourish, how they harm, and what they say about a culture.

Show notes at:


• The Great Courses -
• EXO Protein -

Direct download: 087_-_Paranoia.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 9:33pm 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.

In this episode you’ll hear from the co-founder of Reddit, the moderators of Change My View, and the scientists studying how people argue on the internet as we explore what it takes to change people’s perspective and whether the future of our online lives is thicker filter bubbles or the whittling away of bad ideas.


• The Great Courses Plus -

• Squarespace - use the offer code SOSMART at


Direct download: 086_-_Change_My_View.mp3
Category:psychology -- posted at: 1:56am EDT