Flatten the curve.

That idea has spread through the population faster than COVID-19 ever could.

That’s the power of culture, of human psychology, of brains interacting with brains. Of course, culture and human psychology and brains interacting with brains are also how the virus spread to begin to with, and that is what this show is about — the psychology behind the spread, and the prevention of the spread, of COVID-19.

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 the science behind The Dress, why some people see it as black and blue, and others see it as white and gold. But it’s also about how the scientific investigation of The Dress lead to the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs, and how the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs may be, as one researcher told me, the nuclear bomb of cognitive neuroscience.

Back in 2015, before Brexit, before Clinton vs. Trump, before weaponized Macedonian internet trolls, one NPR affiliate called the mass epistemic crisis created by The Dress, “The debate that broke the internet,” and The Washington Post referred to that moment of widespread existential confusion as “The drama that divided the planet.”

This episode is about the science behind The Dress, why some people see it as black and blue, and others see it as white and gold. But it’s also about how the scientific investigation of The Dress lead to the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs, and how the scientific investigation of socks and Crocs may be, as one researcher told me, the nuclear bomb of cognitive neuroscience.

In this episode, we sit down with vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit to discuss his new book, Bad Advice or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information.

Offit has been fighting for years to educate the public, promote vaccines, and oppose the efforts of anti-vaxxers, and in his new book he offers advice for science consumers and communicators on how to deal with what he calls the opaque window of modern media which often gives equal time to non-experts when it comes to discussing vaccination and other medical issues.

In this episode, we sit down with psychologist Michele Gelfand and discuss her new book: Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World.

In the book, Gelfand presents her research into norms, along with a fascinating new idea. It isn’t norms themselves that predict how cultures will react, evolve, innovate, and clash, but how different cultures value norms and sanction people who violate them. Through that lens, she categorizes all human cultures into two — kinds, tight and loose.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with one of the original cyberpunks, the famed journalist, documentarian, media theorist, all-around technology superstar and weirdo, Douglas Rushkoff.

MIT considers Rushkoff one of the “world’s ten most influential thinkers,” and in the episode we talk about his latest (and 20th) book, Team Human

The book is a bit of a manifesto in which he imagines a new counterculture that would revolt against the algorithms that are slowly altering our collective behavior for the benefit of shareholders.