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On Wisdom

Author: Charles Cassidy and Igor Grossmann

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On Wisdom features a social and cognitive scientist in Toronto and an educator in London discussing the latest empirical science regarding the nature of wisdom. Igor Grossmann runs the Wisdom & Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Charles Cassidy runs the Evidence-Based Wisdom project in London, UK. The podcast thrives on a diet of freewheeling conversation on wisdom, decision-making, wellbeing, and society and includes regular guests spots with leading behavioral scientists from the field of wisdom research and beyond. Welcome to The On Wisdom Podcast.
58 Episodes
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Can we create wise robots? Kerstin Dautenhahn joins Igor and Charles to dive into the intriguing world of social robots, the finer points of “Robotiquette,” and the potential role such robots can play in supporting therapeutic treatments. Igor reflects on the limits of robot-based wisdom, Kerstin reveals the potential of Generative AI like ChatGPT to generate false information about her own professional identity, and Charles considers the perils of socially awkward machines. Welcome to Episode 58. Special Guest: Kerstin Dautenhahn.
Can we ever really know ourselves, or are we destined to always make overly optimistic self-assessments? David Dunning joins Igor and Charles to discuss the Dunning-Kruger effect, the importance of asking the right questions, why arriving at an accurate view of ourselves is so challenging, and the implications for teaching, medicine, and even scientific research. Igor explores the possible reemergence of group assessments in education as a result of advances in AI, David shares why conversations with smart people often end up as competitions to ask the most questions, and Charles reflects on the wisdom-enhancing experience of jury service. Welcome to Episode 57. Special Guest: David Dunning.
Have we overlooked a major source of awe, right under our collective noses? Dacher Keltner returns to the On Wisdom studio to discuss his new book "Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life", the power of moral beauty, the desire for connection, and the importance of wandering. Igor suggest that awe can also entail feelings of terror, Dacher reflects on the perils of awe being used against us, and Charles shares his experience of an awe walk-around-the-bloc. Welcome to Episode 56. Special Guest: Dacher Keltner.
How can we make AI wiser? And could AI make us wiser in return? Sina Fazelpour joins Igor and Charles to discuss the problem of bias in algorithms, how we might make machine learning systems more diverse, and the thorny challenge of alignment. Igor considers whether interacting with AIs might help us achieve higher levels of understanding, Sina suggests that setting up AIs to promote certain values may be problematic in a pluralistic society, and Charles is intrigued to learn about the opportunities offered by teaming up with our machine friends. Welcome to Episode 55. Special Guest: Sina Fazelpour.
What actually are “emotions” and how are they made? Lisa Feldman Barrett joins Igor and Charles to discuss what we’ve got right and what we’ve got completely wrong about the nature of our emotional lives. Igor grapples with the idea that red apples aren’t necessarily red, Lisa shares that anger doesn’t always look like anger, and Charles learns that a racing heartbeat can be interpreted in fundamentally different ways. Welcome to Episode 54. Special Guest: Lisa Feldman Barrett.
How can you persuade someone who disagrees with you on everything? In this episode, we discover the secrets of political persuasion with Robb Willer, a leading expert on political persuasion and moral reframing. Igor grills Robb on the ethics of activism in social science, Robb defends his mission to make a difference in the world, and Charles is amazed to find out that he can fix his misperceptions with a few simple tricks. Don’t miss this inspiring and ground-breaking conversation that will transform how you communicate with others. Tune in to Episode 53 now! Special Guest: Robb Willer.
Imagine gathering hard-earned lessons from survivors of human trafficking in Nepal, middle school children in Afghanistan, refugees in Europe, and even a man who has witnessed over 12,000 deaths. Deepak Ramola has been on such a lesson-gathering mission for a while, and he joins Igor and Charles to discuss the life lessons he has collected, who gets to define moral behaviour, and how we might change our culture to encourage more perspective-taking. Igor highlights the challenge of stepping outside ourselves in the heat of the moment, Deepak asks some challenging questions about love, and Charles learns the surprising value of proverbs as tools of reflection. Special Guest: Deepak Ramola.
How do we respond wisely to foolish behaviour in the workplace? Tessa West joins Igor and Charles to talk about the most common types of ‘jerks at work’ - including the bulldozer, the credit stealer, and the gaslighter, discussing what drives such unhelpful behaviour, and how best to deal with it. Igor explores the different ways we can respond to uncertainty in the workplace, Tessa suggests that we’re surprisingly nice to moral violators, and Charles learns the importance of building ‘affect contagion buffers’ into his day! Welcome to Episode 51. Special Guest: Tessa West.
To give to both your favourite charity and a super-effective charity recommended by experts, visit Giving Multiplier: https://givingmultiplier.org/invite/ONWISDOM Can insights from moral psychology increase donations to more effective charities? Joshua Greene joins Igor and Charles to discuss ventilator allocation and other pandemic-related trolley problems, deep pragmatism, the dual process theory of moral judgement, and the power of the veil of ignorance. Igor gets excited about the role of metacognition for wisdom, Joshua reveals in what contexts we feel more comfortable pushing a fat man off a bridge, and Charles learns that when it comes to unfamiliar moral problems, we should not expect cognitive miracles! Welcome to Episode 50. Special Guest: Joshua Greene.
What does goal-setting have to do with wisdom and how do we pick wise goals? Ayelet Fishbach joins Igor and Charles to discuss the dangers of moving too swiftly from planning-mode to action-mode, how to compromise across multiple goals, and why we need to rethink our relationships with vegetables! Igor underscores the importance of thinking of wisdom as a process rather than an outcome, Ayelet encourages us to change our situation rather than ourselves, and Charles learns the benefits of approaching a choice as if you’d make it 100 times. Welcome to Episode 49. Special Guest: Ayelet Fishback.
Is "the spectrum" a more helpful way to think about the world than "categories"? Tom Gilovich joins Igor and Charles to discuss the perils of black-and-white thinking, the evolving data on the hot hand phenomenon, the science of regret, why foxes are wiser than hedgehogs, and the freedom that comes from learning that we are of less interest to other people than we think. Igor considers the limits of psychological nudging in tackling society’s structural problems, Tom shares the perspective that leads him to be so unrelentingly joyful, and Charles learns that even scientists have to work hard to avoid being typecast. Welcome to Episode 48. Special Guest: Tom Gilovich.
(First Broadcast - 21st June 2020) What is the value of wisdom in the time of the global pandemic? Does the community of behavioural scientists studying wisdom agree on anything about the nature of wisdom? Can we say what we now know about wisdom and, conversely, what do we know we don’t yet know? Howard Nusbaum joins Igor and Charles to discuss the recently assembled Toronto Wisdom Task Force and the resulting Common Wisdom Model, meta-cognition, the thorny issue of moral-grounding, and sage advice regarding how to measure wisdom in the lab. Igor stresses the importance of building solid theoretical foundations for the field in the context of the pandemic, Howard reflects on the viability of evil wisdom, and Charles learns that we had better pay close attention today to the values we program into the decision-making robots of tomorrow. Special Guest: Howard Nusbaum.
(First Broadcast - 4th November 2019) Does that which doesn’t kill you make you weaker? Should we always follow our emotions? Is life a battle between good people and bad people? And critically, what might the adoption of these three popular, but unwise, ideas be doing to a rising generation of young adults? Jonathan Haidt joins Igor and Charles to discuss the three great untruths of modern life, the nature of antifragility, the 'great awokening,' rising violence on US university campuses, and the origin story of the Heterodox Academy. Igor suggests that diversity can help some projects while hindering others, Jon shares his ultimate conflict-resolving ninja skill, and Charles learns that conservative voters come in radically different shapes and sizes. Special Guest: Jonathan Haidt.
(First Broadcast - 28th December 2018) Can we design our workplaces to generate wiser behaviour? Why do we work anyway, and would we still work if we didn’t get paid? Do employers even want their employees to develop wisdom? Barry Schwartz joins Igor and Charles to discuss how Aristotle’s Practical Wisdom applies in the 21st Century, the reasons why we work, idea technology, the unintended consequences of rules-based systems, and the moral dangers and limits of incentives. Igor proposes the idea of algorithm-based wise machines, Barry suggests companies hire for character rather than skill, and Charles learns why, in wiser work places, the cost of free-riders may well be a price worth paying. Special Guest: Barry Schwartz.
Igor and Charles return with a special announcement for On Wisdom listeners ...
A disturbing thought - might it be impossible for us to directly observe the workings of our minds? Richard Nisbett joins Igor and Charles to discuss a life lived on the cutting edge of behavioral sciences in the second part of the 20th Century. He shares tales from his groundbreaking research into our faulty mindware, discussing various biases, cultural differences in cognitive processes, our inability to directly observe our mental processes, and why job interviews are not only unhelpful but potentially harmful to our ability to hire the best person for the job. Igor is keen to learn about the human beings behind some of the 20th Century’s academic idols in social psychology like Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky and Lee Ross, Richard explains why important work and interesting work are not necessarily the same thing, and Charles struggles to make sense of when we do and don’t intervene to help strangers in peril. Welcome to Episode 43. Special Guest: Richard Nisbett.
Which kind of wisdom will people need to master to overcome major negative societal and/or psychological changes after the pandemic? In the last episode of the World After Covid miniseries, Igor and Charles share and discuss responses from 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid (https://worldaftercovid.info/) project. Four final responses are selected, covering themes of big picture focus on what's important, shared humanity, long-term orientation, and political structural change in the midst of the pandemic. Igor reflects on how the immediate context can dramatically influence even experts' forecasts, and Charles is forced to question his cherished belief that people are ultimately good. Featuring: Barry Schwartz (https://www.swarthmore.edu/profile/barry-schwartz), Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College and a visiting Professor at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley Nicholas Christakis (https://sociology.yale.edu/people/nicholas-christakis), Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University Anand Menon (https://www.linkedin.com/in/anand-menon-6a820a7/?originalSubdomain=uk), Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London Michael Bond (https://mm.polyu.edu.hk/people/academic-staff/prof-michael-harris-bond/), Cross-cultural social psychologist with focus on locating Chinese interpersonal processes in a multi-cultural space
Which kind of wisdom will people need to master to overcome major negative societal and/or psychological changes after the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses from 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid (https://worldaftercovid.info/) project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, the conversation covers themes of social support, sympathy & compassion, acknowledging uncertainty, and balancing diverse interests in the midst of the pandemic. Igor points out that humanity has a greater capacity for accepting and managing uncertainty than we might realize, and Charles is intrigued by the often-overlooked benefits of interactions with strangers. Featuring: Katie McLaughlin (https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/kate-mclaughlin), John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University Barbara Fredrickson (https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/faculty-profile/barbara-l-fredrickson-phd), Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Dilip Jeste (https://profiles.ucsd.edu/dilip.jeste), Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at University of California, San Diego Valerie Tiberius (http://www.valerietiberius.com/), Paul W. Frenzel Chair in Liberal Arts and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota
Which domain or aspect of social life will show the most significant negative societal and/or psychological change in response to the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses from 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid (https://worldaftercovid.info/) project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, the conversation covers themes of autobiographical memory, estrangement, political conflict, and prejudice in the midst of the pandemic. Igor wonders how losing track of distinct day-to-day memories might distort our sense of who we are, and Charles considers the odd influence that a year of mask-wearing may have on how we'll interact with strangers in the post-pandemic future. Featuring: Jeffrey Zacks (https://dcl.wustl.edu/people/jzacks/), Professor and Associate Chair of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University Paula Niedenthal (https://psych.wisc.edu/staff/niedenthal-paula/), Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison David Rooney (https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/persons/david-rooney), Honorary Professor of Management and Organisation Studies at Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University Douglas Kenrick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_T._Kenrick), President’s Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University
Which domain or aspect of social life will show the most significant negative societal and/or psychological change in response to the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses from 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid (https://worldaftercovid.info/) project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, the conversation covers themes of social inequality, loneliness, economic hardships, and despair in the midst of the pandemic. Igor assesses 3 sharply contrasting visions of the future, and Charles reflects on the idea of pandemics as the downside of something mostly very beneficial - the highly social nature of our species. Featuring: Azim Shariff (https://psych.ubc.ca/profile/azim-shariff/), Associate Professor and  Canada Research Chair of Moral  Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and director of the Center for Applied Moral Psychology Nicholas Christakis (https://sociology.yale.edu/people/nicholas-christakis), Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University Roy Baumeister (https://roybaumeister.com/), Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland Veronica Benet Martinez (https://www.upf.edu/web/benet-martinez/prof.-veronica-benet-martinez), Endowed position as an ICREA Professor at Pompeu Fabra University, where she is head of the Behavioral and Experimental Social Sciences research group
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Comments (1)

Dunut cute

this is very interesting when you are in bathroom and pooping. oops! I accidentally poop on my pants. gotta stop typing and clean pants and bathroom there has been a poop explosion 💥💩💩💩🚽🧻🧻👖👖💩💥💩💥💩💥🤦🤦🤦. #be careful while pooping💩

Jan 5th
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