In this episode, we sit down with Scott Barry Kaufman, one of the most-influential and prolific psychologists working today, to discuss his new book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization.

Business Insider magazine named Kaufman one of the “50 groundbreaking scientists who are changing the way we see the world,” and you would likely agree after hanging out with him. In my experience, you feel seen, heard, respected, challenged, and above all, when you leave a conversation with Scott, you do so feeling either like you must work on your purpose in life from that point on, or you must work to find it.

In the show, we discuss our shared desire to bring humanistic psychology back to the forefront and walk through Kaufman’s re-imagining of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and trace Kaufman’s journey through Maslow’s unpublished journals about his unfinished theory of transcendence which Kaufman hopes to complete by picking up where Maslow left off just before his untimely death.

Confirmation bias is our tendency to seek evidence that supports our beliefs and that confirms our assumptions — when we could just as well seek disconfirmation of those beliefs and assumptions instead.

It feels like we are doing the hard work — doing the research required to build good beliefs — but since we can so easily find that confirmation, when we stop searching at those moments when we think we have made sense of the world, we can grow ever more wrong over time.

This is such a prevalent feature of human cognition, that until recently a second phenomenon has been hidden in plain sight. Recent research suggests that something called desirability bias may be just as prevalent in our thinking.

Since our past beliefs and future desires usually match up, the desirability of an outcome is often twisted into our pursuit of confirmation like a single psychological braid — and here’s the thing: When future desires and past beliefs are incongruent, desire usually wins out.

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.