You Are Not So Smart is a one-person operation.

With no staff, the support of patrons allows me, David McRaney, to devote long hours to producing new content. In short, you keep the lights on, buy the coffee, and make the show possible.

One day, I’d love to hire a producer and a reporter to help the show grow and cover new ground by traveling and making episodes on-location, and with your support, I know we can make that happen.

Head to this link at Patreon.com to pitch in. Any level of support will give you exclusive access to an ad-free version of the show, and at the higher levels you’ll get extra episodes, t-shirts, signed books, posters, and more.

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Moira Dillon studies how “the physical world in which we live shapes the abstract world in which we think,” and in this episode we travel to her Lab for the Developing Mind at NYU to sit down and ask her a zillion questions about how the brain creates the reality we interact with, and how we attempt to communicate that reality to others through language, art, geometry, and mathematics.

In this episode, science journalist Dave Levitan talks about his new book: Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science.

In the book, Levitan takes us through 12 repeating patterns that politicians fall into when they talk about scientific research. Some are nefarious and intentional, some are based on ignorance, and some are just part of the normal business of politicians managing their public image or trying to appeal to their base. Not only do they often get the science wrong, they sometimes fail to communicate the nature of scientific inquiry and the goals of the scientific process itself.

In this episode we explore prevalence induced concept change with psychologist David Levari.

In a nutshell, when we set out to change the world by reducing examples of something we have deemed problematic, and we succeed, a host of psychological phenomena can mask our progress and make those problems seem intractable — as if we are only treading water when, in fact, we’ve created the change we set out to make.

On this episode, journalist Kate Leaver talks about her new book, The Friendship Cure: Reconnecting in the Modern World, in which she explores the crippling, damaging, life-threatening impact of loneliness and the severe mental health costs of living a life disconnected from a support network of close contacts. But…as she explains in the episode, there is a cure…learning how to connect with others and curate better friendships.

In the interview we talk about loneliness, how to make friends, the difference between male and female friendship, platonic friendships, friends with benefits and lots, lots, more, including the Sardinian secret to a long life surrounded by friends, family, and lovable assholes.

You probably hate meetings — most people do — and much of their awfulness feels inevitable which makes meetings seem unnecessary, but in this episode psychologist and organizational scientist Steven Rogelberg says that neither of these conclusions are true.

Meetings are only bad if we make them bad, and since they are crucial to the cohesion of any institution, he wrote a book called The Surprising Science of Meetings about how to use his research and the research of others to improve the meetings that must take place within any organization.