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Zoe Chance is an assistant professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management. Prior to Yale, she managed a $200 million segment of the Barbie brand at Mattel. In February, she's releasing her first book: Influence Is Your Superpower. In this episode, we talk about Zoe's winding road to becoming a business school professor, the class she teach…
 
Another year in the books! Sure, there was a lot of wild stuff in 2021--an insurrection, COVID vaccine rollouts, a new president, another installment in the Tiger King franchise...and my daughter was born! But through it all, we had Opinion Science. This year saw a bunch of new listeners, amazing guests, and some ambitious episodes. Your support ha…
 
Brian Ahearn specializes in applying the science of influence in everyday situations. He is one of only a dozen individuals in the world who currently holds the Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT) designation, and he teaches the psychology of persuasion and influence as it applies to sales and other aspects of our lives. He's the author of In…
 
This is a rebroadcast of Episode 27: Giving and Getting Good Gifts (December 21, 2020). It’s that time of year when winter holidays send people on a buying spree as they collect gifts to give to every friend, family member, and acquaintance. And you’d think that after so many years of giving gifts for all sorts of holidays, we’d be pretty good at i…
 
Melina Palmer is founder and CEO of The Brainy Business, which provides behavioral economics consulting to businesses of all sizes from around the world. Her podcast, The Brainy Business, has downloads in over 160 countries and is used as a resource for teaching applied behavioral economics for many universities and businesses. In this episode, I t…
 
This episode follows up on the previous episode of Opinion Science about IBM's Project Debater. If you haven't already, be sure to check out that episode. But this week we hear more from Harish Natarajan, Dan Zafrir, and Noa Ovadia--three accomplished debaters. They'll share how they got into debate, what debate means to them, and why the exercise …
 
In 2019, IBM introduced the world to Project Debater: an AI system that could go up against humans to debate anything. In this episode, we trace Project Debater’s growth from just an idea to a fully fledged piece of technology and the public debates it’s engaged in. And it raises a bigger question: is persuasion a fundamentally human ability or is …
 
Josh Compton studies how “inoculating” people against persuasion can make them more resistant to arguments they encounter later. Dr. Compton is an associate professor of speech at Dartmouth and has written a lot about “inoculation theory,” which began (as a theory) back in the 60s with the work of William McGuire. We talk about lots of inoculation …
 
Daniel Pink is a bestselling author who uses social science research to explore big questions about what it means to be human. He’s written six books, and a new one comes out in February—The Power of Regret. You can also check out his Masterclass on sales and persuasion. In our conversation, Dan gives a look into his writing process. How does he go…
 
Jesse Graham studies human morality and what it means for our political opinions. He’s an Associate Professor of Management at the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. As a graduate student with Jonathan Haidt, he helped develop Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which has gone on to be a massively influential theory of morality and ho…
 
Dr. Ashley Amaya is a senior survey methodologist at Pew Research Center. She has a PhD in Survey Methodology and is an expert when it comes to polling the country’s opinions. Our conversation highlights how the simple polling numbers you see on the news are the results of months—sometimes years—of work. Dr. Amaya shares how Pew recruits and mainta…
 
In a new occasional series on Opinion Science, Portraits gives a snapshot of insights in social science. This week, Dr. Vanessa Bohns shows us how we're more influential than we give ourselves credit for. Vanessa's new book is You Have More Influence Than You Think. It's available September 7th. To hear the full conversation I had with Vanessa, go …
 
Larisa Heiphetz studies how kids think about religion and morality. She’s an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University where she runs the Columbia Social and Moral Cognition Lab. As a new dad, I’ve been thinking about how young kids form opinions—do they even form opinions at all? So I was curious to talk with Larisa about her work o…
 
How can we make the world less prejudiced? Research from the social sciences hints at a promising solution. This week, we do a deep dive on “The Contact Hypothesis”: what it is, how we know it works, and what its limits are. We hear from four experts in this area whose research sheds light on the question: Tom Pettigrew, emeritus professor of psych…
 
Greg Maio studies human values. He’s a professor of psychology at the University of Bath in Wales. He also co-wrote the popular textbook, The Psychology of Attitudes and Attitude Change, and in 2016, his own book came out called The Psychology of Human Values. In our conversation, he shares his work on what values are and why they’re so important. …
 
Richard E. Nisbett has spent his career studying how people think. He is an emeritus professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, and his research has influenced how psychologists think about reasoning, introspection, culture, and intelligence. He has written several important books over his career, including The Geography of Thought: How…
 
Neil Lewis Jr. doesn’t just study social questions—he studies them in the places where they matter. He’s an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, and he’s interested in social inequities, how they work, and how we can address them. In addition to his own research, he also consults for organizations and contributes to FiveThirt…
 
Alie and Micah Caldwell produce the YouTube channel, Neuro Transmissions. Their videos present the basics of neuroscience and psychology in an accessible, engaging way. Alie is a neuroscientist and senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine. Micah is a licensed professional clinical counselor. In our conversation, we talk about the…
 
Chris Bail is a computational social scientist. He wrangles the data that our social interactions leave behind to better understand how ideas spread. He is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. A Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellow, he studies political extremism on social media using tools f…
 
Nazita Lajevardi studies public opinion relating to Muslim Americans. She’s a political scientist and attorney at Michigan State University. In 2020, she published Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia. The book is an extension of her research on public opinion about Muslims in the United States, discrimination faced by Muslim Am…
 
Dr. Robert Cialdini is an internationally recognized expert on the science of influence. His book Influence is one of the most influential business and psychology books of all time, selling over five-million copies worldwide. As a social psychologist, Cialdini has conducted foundational research on compliance, social norms, and helping behavior. Bu…
 
Kwame Christian is an attorney and negotiation expert. He's the director of the American Negotiation Institute where he and his team offer training and consultation for a variety of negotiation needs. He serves as a professor for Otterbein University's MBA program and Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. In his podcast, Negotiate Anything…
 
Dr. Iris Schneider studies the psychology of "ambivalence," which is when we can see both the pros and cons of something. Oftentimes research shows that ambivalence can be problematic, getting in the way of people being able to form a coherent view on something. However, Dr. Schneider suggests that there can be benefits to ambivalence if we're able…
 
Ken DeMarree studies how opinion science applies how we see ourselves. He’s an associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo. In our conversation, we talk about how opinion science can be used to understand things like self-esteem, how people sometimes desire opinions they currently disagree with, and how some people just tend to b…
 
David Melnikoff studies how our goals affect how we feel about things. When stuff helps us reach a goal, we like it…even if it’s not the kind of thing we’d ordinarily like. In our conversation, we talk about what psychologists mean when they talk about people’s “attitudes,” how goals can affect those attitudes, and why all of this means that people…
 
Dr. Ana Gantman studies how people process moral stuff. She’s an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, and she finds that our attention is often drawn more quickly to morally relevant stimuli in our environment. More recently, she’s been looking into how our moral judgments collide with bureaucracy and how we can use moral psychology to address …
 
Dr. Matt Rocklage studies the words we use to express opinions. He’s an assistant professor of marketing the University of Massachusetts-Boston. In our conversation, Matt talks about the Evaluative Lexicon, which is a tool he developed to quantify the language of opinion. Take an online review, feed it into the Evaluative Lexicon, and it’ll tell yo…
 
Jay Van Bavel studies how our social identities shape the way we see ourselves and the people around us. He’s an associate professor of psychology at New York University. In an upcoming book, he and his colleague, Dominic Packer, present social identity theory. It’s a classic theory in social psychology that has inspired tons of research and contin…
 
Michael F. Schein is a writer, speaker, and founder of the marketing agency, MicroFame Media. In his new book, The Hype Handbook, he explores the antics of historically successful “hype artists”—cult leaders, music promoters, propagandists, etc.—to extract 12 common strategies that get people excited about and committed to new ideas. In our convers…
 
Lara Aknin studies what makes people happy. In particular, she’s spent a lot of time looking at how being generous can improve one’s well-being. She is an associate professor of social psychology at Simon Fraser University, and you heard her a couple weeks ago on Opinion Science. Her work was featured on our episode on gift-giving, but she has so m…
 
Although 2020 will be remembered mostly for annoyances and deeply tragic events, one thing that kept me going this year was starting this podcast. Being able to talk with friends, people I've long admired, and people I had only recently met was a real joy. I wanted to put together an episode with some notable moments in Opinion Science this year. I…
 
It’s that time of year when winter holidays send people on a buying spree as they collect gifts to give to every friend, family member, and acquaintance. And you’d think that after so many years of giving gifts for all sorts of holidays, we’d be pretty good at it. Right? Well, not according to research in psychology. In this episode, we explore the…
 
Two guests! Drs. Eva Pietri and India Johnson stop by to share the important work they’re doing together on the power of role models for underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Things that come up in this episode: Women and racial and ethnic minorities are under-represented in STEM fields (National Science Board, 2020) Encouraging identity-safety i…
 
Dr. Eric Hehman studies the geography of bias. Lots of research has looked at the prejudice that lives in an individual person’s head, but Eric looks at the average amount of bias in particular location. On average, some counties have more implicit bias than others, and some states have more bias than others. But what does it mean? That’s what Eric…
 
Melanie Green studies stories. She’s a professor of Communication at University of Buffalo, and for years she’s been looking into whether stories can serve to persuade people. Are stories just entertainment or can they change our minds? In this episode, we talk about stories, her research on persuasion, and the experience of being transported by a …
 
Kristen Soltis Anderson is a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights. For five years, she co-hosted the podcast, The Pollsters, she hosts the SiriusXM show, The Trendline, and the Fox Nation show What Are the Odds? She also regularly appears on television to discuss the latest polls. She’s spent a lot of time looking at polls of Millennials in …
 
Alex Coppock is an assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University. His research considers what affects people's political beliefs, especially the kinds of messages people regularly encounter--TV ads, lawn signs, Op-Eds, etc. In this episode, he shares the findings of a big, new study that just came out as well as what it means for how …
 
Vanessa Bohns studies the difference between how much influence people have and how influence they think they have. On the podcast, we talk about her studies, why people underestimate their influence, and whether this means we should try asking for more than we do now. If you sit tight until next year, Dr. Bohns has a book coming out called You Hav…
 
Elliot Aronson has seen a long and influential career in social psychology. Aronson got his PhD in 1959 from Stanford University, working with Leon Festinger on some of the first experiments testing dissonance theory. He authored a celebrated social psychology textbook, now in its twelfth edition, and he pioneered the research on the jigsaw classro…
 
Last week's special episode on cognitive dissonance pulled together interviews with several people who are experts in the field. Joel Cooper is one of those experts! When I first started getting interested in the social psychology of cognitive dissonance, Joel's book (Cognitive Dissonance: 50 Years of a Classic Theory) was so useful. You heard snip…
 
In 1957, Leon Festinger published A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Along with a collection of compelling experiments, Festinger changed the landscape of social psychology. The theory, now referenced constantly both in and outside of academic circles, has taken on a life of its own. And it’s still informing new research and analysis more than 60 ye…
 
Dr. Dannagal Young studies political humor. She pulls together psychology, communications, and political science, to understand how political satire works to change minds and expand political knowledge. She also has a new book: Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States, which explores how satire bec…
 
Allison Earl studies the challenges of getting health information to people who need it. Her research looks at how people react defensively to information about their health and how to improve it. In this episode, she shares her research on people's tendency to avoid threatening health information and how simple meditation exercises can make people…
 
Kristof Dhont studies the psychology behind humans’ complicated feelings about animals. In particular, his research looks at how the existence of “speciesism” can stem from the same psychological factors that also produce other social prejudices. In this episode, Kristof and I talk about how people avoid connecting meat to the animals it comes from…
 
Mahzarin Banaji is a professor of psychology at Harvard University. In the 90s, she and her colleagues pioneered the research in social psychology on implicit bias. They are perhaps best known for creating the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which purports to measure the preferences that people are unable or unwilling to say they have. Using this …
 
Joe Fuld founded the political consulting firm, The Campaign Workshop, and he also co-hosts the podcast, "How to Win a Campaign." In this episode, he shares his background in political and advocacy campaigns and what you need to consider if you're thinking of running for office yourself. At the top of the show, I also talked to Pavan Parikh. He's c…
 
Dr. Zakary Tormala is a professor of behavioral science and marketing at Stanford University’s business school. He studies how people can become certain of an opinion and what that means for their willingness to share their views. We talk about what certainty is, how it affects people's choices and resistance to change, and how the research about c…
 
Dr. Gordon Pennycook studies why people share misinformation. His research has used many techniques to understand people’s ability to judge the accuracy of information, their willingness to share that information, and what we can do to encourage people to only spread true information. Some of the things that come up in this episode: There’s lots of…
 
Shannon Odell is a comedian and neuroscientist, and she uses comedy as a tool to teach people about science. She’s done this through hosting live shows, a YouTube series, a podcast, and other ways of getting the word out about how cool neuroscience is. In this episode, we talk about how she got into science, how she got into comedy, and how she tho…
 
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