Cognitive Bias

Literary Minds

What can neuroscience tell us about novels, poems, and plays? Can fiction help us develop real-world cognitive skills? And can writers exploit our mental weaknesses—for our own good? These are some of the questions we'll be asking on this week’s show, “Your Brain on Literature.”

Naïve Racism

Social psychology has shown that people tend to generalize on incidents of good behavior for their in-group, but generalize on bad behavior for members of out-groups. This tendency leads to a form of racism I call "naïve" because the racist person has no idea that their minds are operating this way.

Does Thinking Help Stop Fake News?

What makes people susceptible to fake news? Does reasoning tend to lead to less bias or more distorted beliefs? In other words, are people who are reflective more or less likely to be suckers for fake news? This question has resulted in a wide-ranging debate with two camps.

Controversy About Climate Denial

Research shows both that increasing people’s knowledge of climate science does not increase acceptance of human-caused climate change, but teaching the mechanisms of how global warming works does strengthen acceptance. Is there a way to reconcile these seemingly conflicting results?

Five Types of Climate Change Deniers

Why do people deny climate change? A common view is that such people reject science. But in most cases, it’s not all science they reject. After all, most climate deniers believe in electricity and that the earth goes around the sun. So what is going on? As I see it, there are at least five types of climate denier.