Before she decided to become a poker pro, Maria Konnikova didn’t know how many cards are in a deck. But she did have a Ph.D. in psychology, a brilliant coach, and a burning desire to know whether life is driven more by skill or chance. She found some answers in poker — and in her new book The Biggest Bluff, she’s . . .
Three leading researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss how ketamine, cannabis, and ecstasy are being used (or studied) to treat everything from severe depression to addiction to PTSD. We discuss the upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing . . .
There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: past experiments with a universal basic income. And: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Side Effects of Social Distancing” and “Is the . . .
There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves? Also: a psychology professor argues that the brain’s greatest attribute is knowing what other . . .
We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don’t actually mean what we think they mean. But don’t worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “5 Psychology . . .
Season 7, Episode 51 This week, we look at whether spite pays — if it even exists — and how peer pressure (or good, old-fashioned shame) can push people to do the right thing. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?” and “Riding . . .
Season 7, Episode 49 Clever ways to not waste our waste, and there’s a nasty secret about hot-button topics like global warming: knowledge is not always power. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Weird Recycling” and “The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?”
Season 7, Episode 43 We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don’t actually mean what we think they mean. But don’t worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .
Season 7, Episode 18 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That’s what a dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan. Also, Steve Levitt . . .
Season 6, Episode 38 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we stop?” And this radio hour has two answers: think small, and make behavior change stick. To find out . . .
Season 6, Episode 30 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed? Plus, Stephen J. Dubner asks, “What do medieval nuns and Bo Jackson have in common?” To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Outsiders by . . .
Season 5, Episode 17
On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: there’s a huge stigma attached to failure. But should there be? Perhaps we’re not thinking clearly about failure. Maybe failure can be your friend.
Also on this week’s episode: in most countries, houses get more valuable over time. But in Japan, a new buyer often bulldozes the home. Why?
Season 4, Episode 3
This episode of Freakonomics Radio explores our surprising propensity for spite. We discover the gruesome etymology of the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” (it involves Medieval nuns cutting off their noses to preserve their chastity). Stephen Dubner and economist Benedikt Herrmann talk about so-called “money-burning” lab experiments, in which people often choose to take money away from other participants – even when it means giving up some of their own cash. Also: why do we take pleasure in harming others? So much so that we’re willing to harm ourselves in the process? The answer may lie in our biology: Freakonomics Radio producer Katherine Wells talks with biologist E. O. Wilson about whether spite exists in nature. Later in the hour, we head to Bogota, Colombia, where the mayor used unconventional methods to bring order to the city: he hired mimes to mimic and embarrass people who were violating traffic laws — and it worked. Then, Stephen Dubner talks to Robert Cialdini, best known for his research on the psychology of persuasion, about how peer pressure, and good old fashioned shame, can greatly affect the way people behave.
Season 3, Episode 3
Until not so long ago, chicken feet were essentially waste material. Now they provide enough money to keep U.S. chicken producers in the black — by exporting 300,000 metric tons of chicken “paws” to China and Hong Kong each year. In the first part of this hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner explores this and other examples of weird recycling. We hear the story of a Cleveland non-profit called MedWish, which ships unused or outdated hospital equipment to hospitals in poor countries around the world. We also hear Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold describe a new nuclear-power reactor that runs on radioactive waste.
Season 2, Episode 1
We have just released a new series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country. (Check here for your local station.) These new shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts that have also been updated with new interviews, etc.
If you are a charter subscriber to our podcast (remember this one on the dangers of safety, or this one on the obesity epidemic?), then some of this material will be familiar to you. If you are one of the people who have heard these new shows on the radio and wondered when they’d hit the podcast stream — well, that time is now. We’ll be releasing all five hours over the next ten weeks.
This first episode is called “The Days of Wine and Mouses.” (Download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.) Here’s what you’ll be hearing:
When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or is it the price? Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars.
They should! It’s a cardinal rule: more expensive items are supposed to be qualitatively better than their cheaper versions. But is that true for wine?
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