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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When facing a novel and uncertain situation, the brain secretly disambiguates the ambiguous without letting you know it was ever uncertain in the first place, leading people who disambiguate differently to seem iNsAnE.

This episode is about why we so often don’t understand why we disagree, which leads us to disagree even more, and we explore that through the science behind The Dress. We look into why some people see it as black and blue, others see it as white and gold, and how the scientific investigation of why that is led to the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs, and how the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs may be, as one researcher explains, the nuclear bomb of cognitive neuroscience.

In this episode we explore the weirdness and wonder of Math Without Numbers with mathematician Milo Beckman who wrote a book about the math behind multiple infinities, strange topologies, and extra dimensions, all without using numbers to explain some of the most fascinating and complex ideas that usually only make sense when scribbled in strange notations on a blackboard. 

Since 2016, psychologist Gordon Pennycook and his colleagues have consistently found that a lack of cognitive reflection is more correlated with believing and sharing fake news and conspiracy theories –  false information spread through Facebook, and espoused by the president himself – than any other psychological phenomenon.

In this episode we explore how, why, and what can be done about it after taking a deep dive into some shocking statistics. 

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.