Maya Shankar and her team recently reached out, noting that their new show, A Slight Change of Plans, which explores how various, fascinating people have changed their minds, often after something unexpected, shared the same interests and goals as You Are Not So Smart.

In this episode we sit down with Megan Phelps-Roper, the author of Unfollow, a memoir of her time in Westboro Baptist Church, and an exploration what it took to convince her to leave. I interviewed Megan for my upcoming book, How Minds Change, and in this interview you will learn all about assimilation and accommodation, cult deprogrammers, and the steps Megan says one must take if they want to change someone’s mind.

In this episode, we sit down with neurologist Robert Burton, author of On Being Certain, a book that fundamentally changed the way I think about what a belief actually is. That’s because the book posits that conclusions are not conscious choices and certainty is not even a thought process. Certainty and similar states of “knowing,” as he puts it, are “sensations that feel like thoughts, but arise out of involuntary brain mechanisms that function independently of reason.”

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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and walk through Kaufman’s re-imagining of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and trace Kaufman’s journey through Maslow’s unpublished journals about his unfinished theory of transcendence which Kaufman hopes to complete by picking up where Maslow left off just before his untimely death.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.