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EPISODE # 266

Jesse Singal on Why Fad Psychology Can’t Cure Our Social Ills

Michael Shermer and Jesse Singal discuss: how social scientists determine causality • Primeworld: cognitive priming and how it works (and doesn’t work) • The Malcolm Gladwell-effect (named after the 10,000-hour effect, by Anders Ericsson) • the self-esteem and self-help personal-empowerment movements • power posing and positive psychology • New Age self-help movements • Grit (stick-to-itiveness) (Darwin’s “dogged as does it.”) • Persistence is task specific and context dependent • Big 5 personality as determiners: Grit = Conscientiousness • Implicit Association Test and racism, misogyny, and bigotry • the replication crisis, what caused it, and what to do about it • choice architecture and the nudging of human behavior • race, gender, class, I.Q. and other radioactive topics in group differences • free will and determinism • nature/nurture and how lives turn out • abortion • and U.S. foreign policy.

Jesse Singal is a contributing writer at New York and the former editor of the magazine’s Science of Us online vertical, as well as the cohost of the podcast Blocked and Reported. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Boston Globe, and other publications. He is a former Robert Bosch Foundation fellow in Berlin and holds a master’s degree from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

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