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.

Game Theory and COVIDiocy

It's time for a listener question! Susan L. wrote to us with a very interesting question about game theory and COVID-19. She wanted to know if we could discover a pattern in the president's behavior and use game theory to disrupt that pattern and save lives. I put together some responses to Susan's question.

Ken’s Unfinished Project

One Sunday in the spring of 2007, John and I walked into the back room of KALW to find Ken singing. Back then I was both Ken’s PhD student and the director of research for Philosophy Talk, so it was always a treat to catch my advisor and boss being playful. He was coming up with different lyrics for Sinatra’s classic “Love and Marriage.”

The Appeal of Authoritarianism

Why do some people find authoritarian leaders so appealing? Why do they sometimes secure vast numbers of votes in democratic elections? Are humans naturally drawn to tyrants? These are some of the questions we’re asking in this week’s show.

A Puzzle About Sacred Values Part I

Classic theories of choice posit that our preferences are transitive. So, for example, if you prefer the apple to the orange and the orange to the banana, then you’ll also prefer the apple to the banana. Now one interesting question in psychology is the extent to which human preferences are actually transitive.