In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we sit down with four experts on vaccines, epidemiology, psychology, and science communication to try and understand how we created so much confusion about COVID-19, and how we can avoid doing so again when a vaccine is ready for widespread, public distribution.

Also in the show, you will also hear from Dr. Paul Offit about exactly what it will take to make that vaccine and when it will likely arrive.

In this episode we welcome Yale psychologist Laurie Santos who discusses her new podcast — The Happiness Lab — which explores how wrong and misguided we can be when we pursue those things that we think will make us happy (or avoid those things that we think will make us sad).

Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale — “Psychology and the Good Life,” the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history — The Happiness Lab is a scientific tour of the latest research into what does and does not make us happy, and sad, and miserable, and content, and depressed, and joyous, and fulfilled.


In this sprawling, strange, and mind-bending episode, Dr. Jud Brewer, a neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist, discusses the biological origins of our bad habits and how we can change them using new techniques derived from his lab’s research.

Well, he tries to talk about that, but I keep interrupting him to try and solve the great mysteries of consciousness and the self. For instance, if you want to hear a neuroscientist quote Einstein — “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” — then go from talking about worms and cigarettes to warning you to be careful with your brain or “you can go over the event horizon of the black hole of anxiety,” and the only way out is to add more information to the system to it can propel itself away from the worry black hole — this is the episode for you.


In Lori Gottlieb‘s new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, she opens with a quote from James Baldwin that reads, “Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.”

It’s a book about therapy, what is is, what it isn’t, and how people do and do not change their behaviors. It’s intimate and human, gut-wrenching and inspiring, and full of science and drama and an honesty and candor that you rarely find in books like this.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we sit down with four experts on human behavior to try and understand how wearing masks, during the COVID-19 pandemic, became politicized.

In the show, we take a take a deep dive into tribal psychology, which, in essence, says that humans are motivated reasoners who alter their thinking, feeling, and behaving when thinking, feeling, and behaving in certain ways might upset their peers.

At times, since belonging goals are so vital to our survival, we value signaling that we are good members of our tribes much more than we value being correct, and in those circumstances we will choose to be wrong — if signaling we believe wrong things seems like it will keep us in good standing with our peers.

In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, a behavioral economist and disaster avoidance expert who works with businesses and organizations to help them de-bias themselves.

In the show, we will go through a few of the most-common cognitive biases and learn how to de-bias ourselves within our personal lives to improve relationships and our overall wellbeing.