Why What You Think You Know is Wrong – And Right – at the Same Time

Why we can’t have nice things. Or agree.

Great episode here of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast. Discussion centering around tribalism and polarization and the misconceptions we have about how we view what are ‘facts’ and what aren’t. Why what can be ‘true’ for one person is not necessarily so for another.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we spend time with political scientist Lilliana Mason and psychologist Dan Kahan, two researchers exploring how our tribal tendencies are scrambling public discourse and derailing so many of our best efforts at progress — from science communication, to elections, to our ability to converge on the truth and go about the grind of building a better democracy…

…Now this is something we talk about a lot on this show. In fact it’s the foundations of everything you are not so smart about. We are unaware of how unaware we are, yet we proceed with confidence in the false assumption that we are fully aware of our motivations and the sources of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In fact, much of the time, if not most of the time, the true source of those things, the true motivations behind our behaviors, is often invisible or unknowable, or in the case of tribal psychology something we’d rather not believe about ourselves. None of us wants to think that we are simply parroting the perspectives of elites or going along with the attitudes of our tribes, but the work of Dan Kahan and Lillanna Mason and many others suggests that for many issues that is exactly what is happening.

David McRaney

Podcast transcript available here if you’re more of a reader.


Another post I’d bookmarked quite some time ago to read and only recently got around to. Lots of information here on how apps and UI are effecting our day-to-day practices.

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds

Tons of good take-aways – one for me is installing the Moment app to see how much time I spend on my phone each day and on what apps. I removed all the social media apps some time ago, but am still curious about what I use it for most, and how much time it constitutes.

Is there an irony in the fact that I’ve downloaded an app to help me be more cognizant of app/phone usage? Sure. But as Tristan Harris hammers home in the article linked above, the apps and their usage could be entirely different – as could our lives – if the design was refocused on the user’s interest and well being vs. the company’s bottom line.