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David McRaney

David McRaney is a journalist and self-described psychology nerd. He's the author of the books You Are Not So Smart and You Are Now Less Dumb. He has written for several publications, including The Atlantic and Psychology Today. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The ceiling that birthed a naked man

What happened when a naked man literally appeared out of thin air inside a couple’s apartment while they were getting ready for work?

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Monkeys, money, and the primate origins of human irrationality

Psychologist Laurie Santos trains monkeys how to use money, and has learned that they attempt to solve the same sort of financial problems humans have attempted.

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The odd phenomenon of "blind insight"

A growing body of evidence is revealing that our guesses and our confidence in those guesses don’t come from the same place in our minds.

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How the Halo Effect turns uncertainty into false certainty

When faced with complex information, why do we turn the volume down on what’s hard to quantify ?

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The real reason you are motivated to work

It’s likely very easy for you to explain your motivations for going to work. David McRaney is not sure he believes you.

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Why we are unaware that we lack the skill to tell how unskilled and unaware we are

Each one of us has a relationship with our own ignorance, a dishonest, complicated relationship, and that dishonesty keeps us sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning. By David McRaney

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You knew it was crap, but you bought it anyway. This is why.

David McRaney explores the sunk cost fallacy, a strangely twisted bit of logic that seems to pop into the human mind once a person has experienced the pain of loss or the ickiness of waste on his or her way toward a concrete goal. It’s illogical, irrational, unreasonable – and as a perfectly normal human being, you act under its influence all the time.

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New York City's Placebo Buttons and The Post Hoc Fallacy

David McRaney explains why placebo buttons surround you, pretending to do your bidding.

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Why people believe things you don't believe

Why do Holocaust deniers, young Earth creationists, people who think they’ve lived past lives as famous figures, people who claim they’ve been abducted by aliens, and people who stake their lives on the power of homeopathy believe things that most of us do not? David McRaney investigates.

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Willpower as a rechargeable battery

In this episode of You Are Not So Smart David McRaney explores ego depletion and all the things that can cause it, from feeling rejection to holding back tears to avoiding the temptation of cookies.

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Why do you sabotage yourself when trying to break bad habits?

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How practice changes the brain and exceptions to the 10,000 hour rule

No human being can make the circuit from eyes to brain to muscles fast enough to hit a ball in midflight or avoid an oncoming fist. You can’t change those natural limits with any amount of practice. So how do they do it?

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Why "Drunk Tank Pink" is a poor paint color choice for your baby's bedroom

Our guest for this episode of You Are Not So Smart is Adam Alter, a psychologist who studies marketing and communication, and his New York Times bestselling book is titled Drunk Tank Pink after the color used to paint the walls of police holding cells after research suggested it lessened the urge to fight.

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How groupthink gets reality backward

In his new book, David McRaney explains that You Are Now Less Dumb. Here he makes you even less dumb, by way of explaining social norms you will no longer be defeated by.

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People in crowds do not spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts

The viewpoint that humans in large groups are dangerous has informed the policies and tactics of governments and police forces for more than a century, and like many prescientific musings, much of it is wrong. David McRaney investigates in the latest episode of You AreNot So Smart.

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