What scam artists can teach us about the human brain

For centuries, scam artists, con artists, and magicians were the world's leading experts on biases, fallacies, heuristics and all the other quirks of human reasoning and perception.

On this episode, magician and scam expert Brian Brushwood explains why people fall for scams of all sizes, how to avoid them, and why most magicians can spot a fraudster a mile away.


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Brian Brushwood tours the world giving lectures that mix comedy with stage and close-up magic designed to deliver an overall message about how to better navigate a world filled with scams, frauds, pseudoscience, and paranormal beliefs. His video series, Scam School, teaches people to do the kind of easy-to-learn tricks that can win bets and score free stuff in bars and parties, and his series on Nat Geo, Hacking the System, takes that concept and expands it to cover social engineering in everyday life. In his new show, The Modern Rogue, he and Jason Murphy "field test the things that will make you the most interesting person in the room." He hosts a number of podcasts, and his hair used to look a lot like Guile's from Street Fighter.

Links and Sources


Previous Episodes

Boing Boing Podcasts

Cookie Recipes

Brian Brushwood's Website

Modern Rogue

Scams, Sasquatch, and the Supernatural

Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?

Why We Should Scam the Scammers