Jay Van Bavel studies “from neurons to social networks…how collective concerns — group identities, moral values, and political beliefs — shape the mind and brain,” and in this episode we travel to his office at NYU to sit down and ask him a zillion questions about how the brain uses motivated reasoning to create the separate realities we argue over on a daily basis.

Moira Dillon studies how “the physical world in which we live shapes the abstract world in which we think,” and in this episode we travel to her Lab for the Developing Mind at NYU to sit down and ask her a zillion questions about how the brain creates the reality we interact with, and how we attempt to communicate that reality to others through language, art, geometry, and mathematics.

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.

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.