Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.
When You Need It To Be True
When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we revisit a favorite episode from 2021, bringing you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up.
Persuasion: Part 2
Think back to the last time someone convinced you to do something you didn't want to do, or to spend money you didn't want to spend. What techniques did that person use to persuade you? This week, we continue our look at the science of influence with psychologist Robert Cialdini, and explore how these techniques can be used for both good and evil.
Persuasion: Part 1
We all exert pressure on each other in ways small and profound. We recommend movies or books to a friend. We convince a colleague to take a different tactic at work. We lobby a neighbor to vote for our favored political candidate. This week, we launch the first of a two-part mini-series on the science of influence, and talk with psychologist Robert Cialdini about how we can all improve our techniques for persuading others.
Who's In Your Inner Circle?
If you think about the people in your life, it's likely that they share a lot in common with you. Maybe they like the same kinds of food, or enjoy the same hobbies. But, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that they share much more: they might make the same amount of money as you, or share the same race. This week, we talk with economists Luigi Pistaferri and Matthew Jackson about why we often surround ourselves with people who are just like us — and how we can transform our lives by pushing back against this phenomenon.
Who Do You Want To Be?
We all have to make certain choices in life, such as where to live and how to earn a living. Parents and peers influence our major life choices. But they can also steer us in directions that leave us deeply unsatisfied. Psychologist Ken Sheldon studies the science of figuring out what you want. He says there are things we can do to make sure our choices align with our deepest values.
You, But Better
It's the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. We pledge to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. Then a few weeks go by, and we abandon our best-laid plans. That’s because change is hard. This week, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with behavioral scientist Katy Milkman, who shares how we can structure our lives to do what we know is good for us.