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.

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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.

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.