Jane McGonigal’s new book, Imaginable, details how she creates alternate reality games in which people take part in virtual worlds, and, in so doing, gain a sensitively to the cues (and a familiarity with the conditions) that could lead to certain outcomes, making it possible to both prevent those outcomes and create the futures they’d rather live in instead.

In this episode, neuromarketing experts Prince Ghuman and Matt Johnson discuss the many strange examples from their book, Blindsight, in an effort to make us all smarter consumers, empowered to make better decisions after touring a showcase of all the less-obvious ways marketing, advertising, venues, restaurants, shopping malls, casinos, social media companies, and more, knowingly use neuroscience and psychology to affect our behavior.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we sit down once again with Misha Glouberman, an expert on conflict and conversation, to discuss how best to improve your communication skills and turn what you suspect will be a difficult interaction into something marvelous and fruitful – the sort of talk that strengthens your relationship with the other person and leaves you both feeling like you gained and learned something – the kind you’d like to have again.

Mentioned in the show, here is the link to a free online class with Misha Glouberman on Feb 1st.

This episode, featuring Andy Luttrell of the Opinion Science Podcast, is all about a machine, built by IBM, that can debate human beings on any issue. This machine raises a strange question. Is persuasion with language, using arguments (and the ability to alter another person’s attitudes, beliefs, values, opinions, and behavior) a uniquely human phenomenon, or could you be persuaded to change your mind by an artificial intelligence designed to do just that? If so, what does that say about opinions, our arguments, and in the end, our minds?

In this episode, Micheal Rousell, author of The Power of Surprise, explains the science of surprise at the level of neurons and brain structures, and then talk about how surprises often lead to the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the different personal narratives that guide our behaviors and motivations and goals, and, perhaps most importantly, our willingness to be surprised again so that we can change and grow.

In the show, you will how we can use the current understanding of how surprise leads to learning, and how learning depends on interpretation, to improve our lives, and the lives of others