Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

401. The Art of Deception: Recognizing and Overcoming Cognitive Blindspots w/ Dan Simons and Christopher Chabris

On this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, host Melina Palmer welcomes Dr. Dan Simons and Dr. Christopher Chabris, the renowned authors behind the bestseller The Invisible Gorilla. They dive deep into their groundbreaking research on inattentional blindness and how everyday cognitive habits can render us vulnerable to deception. Through engaging stories and revelatory insights, the duo discusses the dark side of our mental shortcuts and how scammers exploit them in art frauds, financial scams, and beyond. 

With a focus on their new book, Nobody’s Fool, they offer strategies to recognize and resist deceptive tactics that prey on precision, familiarity, and efficiency in our thinking. Prepare to uncover the invisible gorillas in your life and sharpen your mental defenses against frauds. Tune in to rethink how you perceive reality and protect yourself from being misled.

In this episode:

  • Recognize the Impact of Inattentional Blindness on Decision-Making
  • Employ Strategies to Avoid Deception in Business
  • Apply Cognitive Psychology to Improve Marketing Efforts
  • Understand the Psychology Behind Consumer Purchasing Behavior
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00:00:00 – Introduction
The episode begins with the introduction of the guests, Dr. Dan Simons and Dr. Christopher Chabris. They discuss their collaboration and the unexpected viral success of the study, which led to further research and applications in various fields.

00:04:08 – The Mismatch Between Perception and Intuition
Dan and Christopher delve into the significance of The Invisible Gorilla, emphasizing the mismatch between what people actually notice and what they think they will notice. This mismatch highlights the limitations of human intuition and has broad implications for decision-making and behavior.

00:09:21 – Inattentional Blindness and Focus
The guests explain that the failure to notice the gorilla is a consequence of our ability to focus attention and ignore distractions. They discuss how this phenomenon extends beyond visual attention and can lead to dangerous or problematic behaviors due to people’s reliance on intuitive understanding.

00:11:21 – Unintended Consequences and Viral Impact
Dan and Christopher reflect on the unexpected viral impact of their study and the idiosyncratic elements that captured people’s imaginations. They acknowledge the role of luck and timing in the study’s success and share their continued fondness for the gorilla-related work.

00:14:05 – Inattentional Blindness in Medical Contexts
Dan and Christopher discuss the limited research on inattentional blindness in medical contexts, using controlled computer-based displays to understand the mechanism of noticing unexpected things.

00:15:26 – Can You Tell If Someone Is Watching You?
Dan and Christopher talk about the common belief that people can tell if someone is watching them, despite the lack of evidence for it. They highlight how experiences can mislead us in forming intuitions.

00:16:43 – Misleading Experiences and Intuitions
They discuss how experiences can mislead us, using the example of someone catching another person staring at them. They explain how remarkable events stick in our memory, leading to spurious relationships.

00:20:07 – Deception and Attention
The conversation delves into how deception takes advantage of our cognitive tendencies, especially our ability to focus on what we care about. They emphasize the importance of asking good questions and seeking complete answers to avoid being deceived.

00:25:24 – Efficiency and Deception
Dan and Christopher highlight how our efficiency in processing information can lead to oversight, emphasizing the need to slow down and critically evaluate the information presented. They discuss the importance of questioning and examining jargon and impressive-sounding claims.

00:27:05 – Efficiency and Decision Making
The efficiency of our mental habits can sometimes hinder good decision making. While most of the time our cognitive tendencies work well, there are instances, such as driving at high speeds, where a slight delay in noticing something can be catastrophic.

00:29:13 – Cognitive Habits and Decision Making
Dan and Christopher discuss the four cognitive habits that impact decision making: focusing, prediction, commitment, and efficiency. These mental habits are efficient and effective, but can lead to vulnerabilities when making important decisions.

00:32:43 – Scams and Cognitive Principles
Many grand cons and scams rely on cognitive habits such as focusing, prediction, commitment, and efficiency. These scams take advantage of how our minds work, giving people what they expect and counting on them not to question critically.

00:33:08 – Information Hooks and Decision Making
The conversation delves into the four information hooks that appeal to us and impact decision making: consistency, familiarity, precision, and potency. These hooks often lead us to trust information without questioning it as much as we should.

00:37:34 – Importance of Questioning Information
Dan and Christopher emphasize the importance of questioning information and seeking more evidence before making decisions. They discuss the appeal of precise numbers, familiarity with sources, and the allure of quick-fix solutions.

00:40:28 – The Power of Deceptive Marketing
Dan and Christopher discuss the appeal of deceptive marketing strategies, such as crypto advertising, which rely on familiarity, urgency, and the promise of quick financial gains. They highlight the rarity of giant benefits and caution against assuming the truth of such promotions.

00:41:52 – The Trojan Horse Scam
The conversation touches on the concept of the trojan horse scam, emphasizing that while new variants of scams continue to evolve, they all rely on similar cognitive habits to deceive people. The hosts discuss the underlying principles of deceptive practices and the historical significance of the trojan horse scam.

00:43:17 – Uncovering Easter Eggs
Dan hints at an Easter egg hidden in the book, prompting listeners to look for the trojan horse-shaped Easter egg within its pages. He encourages engagement by inviting people to connect with him on social media and explore his website for additional resources and information related to the book.

00:44:30 – Conclusion,
What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.


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