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Think101: Conversations

What’s the most efficient way to become an expert? Is it possible to learn something without trying? How do you use the scientific method in everyday life? Can you “nudge” someone to make more optimal choices? In this series, we offer a variety of tools to help you learn and remember information for longer, avoid self-deception, and value data over personal experience. Learn more at think101.org.

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What’s the most efficient way to become an expert? Is it possible to learn something without trying? How do you use the scientific method in everyday life? Can you “nudge” someone to make more optimal choices? In this series, we offer a variety of tools to help you learn and remember information for longer, avoid self-deception, and value data over personal experience. Learn more at think101.org.

Rank #1: Episode 5: Know When to Walk Away

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Why do people persist with terrible jobs or relationships, where jumping ship is clearly the better option? Is it even possible to seriously consider a future job or partner that you've never had before? One way to better generalise from toy problems is to think about them in everyday circumstances. Try thinking about your interactions with someone like drawing marbles from an urn. Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Foiling Foibles” and “Odds and Ns”; Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, "Bernoulli’s Errors" and "Prospect Theory." Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Jeremy Nash, and Brooklyn Corbett. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 15 2016

48mins

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Rank #2: Episode 4: Decisions, Decisions…

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How do you decide what product to buy, apartment to rent, or who to marry? Listing pros and cons, weighing attributes, and collecting evidence are important for optimal decision making. It’s also valuable to consider sunk costs and opportunity costs, but when do you say, "Enough is enough," and finally make a choice? Should we rely on highly analytic and rational approaches to decision making, or leave it to our unconscious processes to solve in the background? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Should You Think Like an Economist?” and “Spilt Milk and Free Lunch”; Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 35(1), 124-140. Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Jeremy Nash, and Kirsty Kent. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 15 2016

1hr 20mins

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Rank #3: Episode 11: Epistemic Modesty

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In the final chapter of “Mindware,” Nisbett assures the reader that we’re smarter than we were before started the book, and that we’ll now recognise mistakes in the wild. Are you, dear listener, less likely to make the errors in thinking that we’ve been discussing here? When are you likely to make mistakes? When should you rely on other people’s judgements about a domain? There seems to be an element of politeness when interacting with people who make claims, but is it wrong to, say, ask your doctor how often a diagnosis is wrong? Being sceptical about your own claims and expertise seems to be important in making everyday decisions, so how can we develop this epistemic modesty? Does knowing about experimental methodology help you make better decisions? Does is make you more sceptical? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone asked to see the evidence before important policy decisions were made? How about an Open Science Framework for public policy? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Keeping It Real” and “The Tools of the Lay Scientist” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, Brooklyn Corbett, Josephine Echberg, Joshua Adie, Kirsty Kent, Melissa Lane, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 20 2016

1hr 19mins

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Rank #4: Episode 10: Simplicity

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If a major goal in science is to “Keep It Simple,” what exactly does “simple” mean in this context? Helpful? Useful? Easy to Understand? Should public money only be spent on research that can be explained to folks down at the local pub? Does simplification naturally lead to overgeneralisation? Should the media “keep it simple” when communicating scientific results to the public? The curse of knowledge is clearly operating here. How much does the average person actually know (or need to know) about seemingly simple everyday objects like a zipper, lock, or toilet? What about cognitive explanations about “simple” species like bees, fish, or birds? Are simple explanations ideal in the judgements and decisions that we make everyday? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “KISS and Tell.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 06 2016

1hr 7mins

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Rank #5: Episode 9: Logic and Wisdom

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Many experiments have demonstrated differences between people who grew up in the Eastern vs Western cultures on a variety of perceptual and cognitive tasks. Is an “object-centric” perspective more useful than a “situation-centric” perspective? Logic and the scientific method grew out of this object-centric approach, and they're pretty useful. There's some real value in treating objects and events abstractly, so we can better appreciate how they operate. But in many of our everyday decisions, we don't need to generate a label to successfully navigate the world, and recognising the context of an argument is clearly important for opinion change. Is dialectical reasoning more like conscious or unconscious processing? How does the notion of “wisdom” relate to these two perspectives? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Logic” and “Dialectical Reasoning.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 03 2016

52mins

Play

Episode 11: Epistemic Modesty

Podcast cover
Read more

In the final chapter of “Mindware,” Nisbett assures the reader that we’re smarter than we were before started the book, and that we’ll now recognise mistakes in the wild. Are you, dear listener, less likely to make the errors in thinking that we’ve been discussing here? When are you likely to make mistakes? When should you rely on other people’s judgements about a domain? There seems to be an element of politeness when interacting with people who make claims, but is it wrong to, say, ask your doctor how often a diagnosis is wrong? Being sceptical about your own claims and expertise seems to be important in making everyday decisions, so how can we develop this epistemic modesty? Does knowing about experimental methodology help you make better decisions? Does is make you more sceptical? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone asked to see the evidence before important policy decisions were made? How about an Open Science Framework for public policy? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Keeping It Real” and “The Tools of the Lay Scientist” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, Brooklyn Corbett, Josephine Echberg, Joshua Adie, Kirsty Kent, Melissa Lane, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 20 2016

1hr 19mins

Play

Episode 10: Simplicity

Podcast cover
Read more

If a major goal in science is to “Keep It Simple,” what exactly does “simple” mean in this context? Helpful? Useful? Easy to Understand? Should public money only be spent on research that can be explained to folks down at the local pub? Does simplification naturally lead to overgeneralisation? Should the media “keep it simple” when communicating scientific results to the public? The curse of knowledge is clearly operating here. How much does the average person actually know (or need to know) about seemingly simple everyday objects like a zipper, lock, or toilet? What about cognitive explanations about “simple” species like bees, fish, or birds? Are simple explanations ideal in the judgements and decisions that we make everyday? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “KISS and Tell.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 06 2016

1hr 7mins

Play

Episode 9: Logic and Wisdom

Podcast cover
Read more

Many experiments have demonstrated differences between people who grew up in the Eastern vs Western cultures on a variety of perceptual and cognitive tasks. Is an “object-centric” perspective more useful than a “situation-centric” perspective? Logic and the scientific method grew out of this object-centric approach, and they're pretty useful. There's some real value in treating objects and events abstractly, so we can better appreciate how they operate. But in many of our everyday decisions, we don't need to generate a label to successfully navigate the world, and recognising the context of an argument is clearly important for opinion change. Is dialectical reasoning more like conscious or unconscious processing? How does the notion of “wisdom” relate to these two perspectives? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Logic” and “Dialectical Reasoning.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Oct 03 2016

52mins

Play

Episode 8: Self-Experiments

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What makes a good self-experiment? If our ratings of happiness change depending on whether we're in the moment (the experiencing self) or reflecting on the day (the remembering self), which one should we privilege? Self reports are generally very tricky because they're susceptible to all sorts of framing effects, so what's the solution? How far can you generalise the results of an experiment on yourself compared to the results of an experiment on several other people? Would you be more likely to change your behaviour after running a self-experiment than you would if you just read about the same experiment on other people? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Don’t ask, can’t tell.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Melissa Lane. Learn more at think101.org.

Sep 01 2016

1hr 15mins

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Episode 7: Wiggling Events

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There's a relatively new movement in science called the “Open Science Framework” where researchers put all their cards on the table and make predictions before collecting a single data point. Will it change the way that people conduct experiments? Where do you draw the line between science and mere observation? Carefully controlled experiments trump multiple regression analyses, so why are they often treated equally? Why is the notion of ”wiggling events" so critical in experimentation? Can experimental psychologists calibrate their measurements in the same way that astronomers calibrate their telescopes? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Experiments natural and experiments proper” and “Eekonomics.” Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, Jeremy Nash, and Josephine Echberg. Learn more at think101.org.

Sep 01 2016

1hr 22mins

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Episode 6: Tails - No Facebook Day

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How do you decide what you like or don't like? Given what you now know about the fallibility of your decision making systems, are you really an authority on your personal preferences? It turns out that in order to make better judgements and decisions, you need to be more systematic. Maybe find out whether, say, facebook improves your life with an experiment: random assignment, daily ratings, and statistical analyses. Surprisingly, most things in life from law, education, and even medicine, are based on longstanding use rather than evidence. Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Linked Up” and “Ignore the HiPPO”; Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Informal covariation assessment: Data-based vs. theory-based judgments. Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Jeremy Nash, and Joshua Adie. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 26 2016

1hr 27mins

Play

Episode 5: Know When to Walk Away

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Why do people persist with terrible jobs or relationships, where jumping ship is clearly the better option? Is it even possible to seriously consider a future job or partner that you've never had before? One way to better generalise from toy problems is to think about them in everyday circumstances. Try thinking about your interactions with someone like drawing marbles from an urn. Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Foiling Foibles” and “Odds and Ns”; Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, "Bernoulli’s Errors" and "Prospect Theory." Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Jeremy Nash, and Brooklyn Corbett. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 15 2016

48mins

Play

Episode 4: Decisions, Decisions…

Podcast cover
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How do you decide what product to buy, apartment to rent, or who to marry? Listing pros and cons, weighing attributes, and collecting evidence are important for optimal decision making. It’s also valuable to consider sunk costs and opportunity costs, but when do you say, "Enough is enough," and finally make a choice? Should we rely on highly analytic and rational approaches to decision making, or leave it to our unconscious processes to solve in the background? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Should You Think Like an Economist?” and “Spilt Milk and Free Lunch”; Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 35(1), 124-140. Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Jeremy Nash, and Kirsty Kent. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 15 2016

1hr 20mins

Play

Episode 3: It’s Happening To Me

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Do you know why you do what you do… really? From the inside, many behaviours feel like they’re absolutely conscious or unconscious, but which ones, and how do you find out? (Mis)perceiving visual illusions are clearly involuntarily, but what about “higher order” cognitive processes like learning, memory, and language? If many (or most) of the judgements and decisions you make do happen unconsciously, without your free will, does that bother you? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “The Rational Unconscious”; Psychological Sketches by John Vokey and Scott Allen, “Implicit Learning”. Guests: Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, and Ryan Metcalfe. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 01 2016

1hr 8mins

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Episode 2: The Curse of Knowledge

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It’s incredibly difficult to put yourself in the shoes of another person. We just can’t ignore the knowledge we have that others don’t. This “curse of knowledge” is common in teaching, argument, political discourse, conflict resolution. It’s clear that all opinions are not equal, but it’s hard to know when your opinion is the bad one. Is it possible to genuinely consider your opponent’s position without dismissing it outright? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Everything’s an Inference” and “The Power of the Situation”; The Wisest One in the Room by Lee Ross and Thomas Gilovich, “The Objectivity Illusion”. Guests: Jason Tangen, Matthew Thompson, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, and Zan Saeri. Learn more at think101.org.

Aug 01 2016

1hr 15mins

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Episode 1: I Know Kung-Fu

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Downloading knowledge directly and instantly into your brain “Matrix-style” would be pretty magnificent, but is it possible? A common assumption in teaching is that the concepts you learn in high school or university will be useful in everyday life, but how far do these skills and concepts stretch? Does learning about sunk-costs in the classroom help you, say, at the race track? Why not? What are the limits of expertise? Reading: Mindware by Richard Nisbett, “Introduction”. Guests: Jason Tangen, Matthew Thompson, Rachel Searston, Ruben Laukkonen, Gianni Ribeiro, and Jeremy Nash. Learn more at think101.org.

Jul 03 2016

1hr 3mins

Play

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