Opinion Science

Opinion Science

A show about the psychology of opinions, where they come from, and how they change. Interviews with experts and deep dives into areas of research uncover the basic psychology of persuasion, communication, and public opinion. Hosted by social psychologist, Andy Luttrell.


February 26, 2024 37 mins

To look into the future of Behavioral Economics, we talked to three young researchers who are pushing the field further. A new generation of researchers is striving to understand decision-making in the developing world, how brains process economic decisions, and how bigger, more transparent scientific methods can shed light on basic principles of choice. 

This is the second episode of a special series called: "They Th...

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Eventually, Behavioral Economics emerged as an influential perspective. It’s become mainstream in Economics, and it’s helped inform programs and policies that affect real people every day. 

This is the second episode of a special series called: "They Thought We Were Ridiculous: The Unlikely Story of Behavioral Economics."

For more information, check out the Opinion Science webpage for this series: http:/...

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Behavioral Economics was using psychology to understand economics, but what did economists and psychologists think about their unexpected marriage? Slowly, this fledgling field weathered a flurry of criticism from both sides as it doggedly held onto data-driven ideas about economic decision-making. 

This is the second episode of a special series called: "They Thought We Were Ridiculous: The Unlikely Story of Behaviora...

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February 26, 2024 39 mins

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky were two psychologists with big ideas about how people made decisions. Their careful research launched a brand new way of understanding people’s choices, and it helped fan the flames of Behavioral Economics.

This is the second episode of a special series called: "They Thought We Were Ridiculous: The Unlikely Story of Behavioral Economics."

For more information, check out ...

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February 26, 2024 38 mins

For years, neoclassical economists have made an unusual assumption—that people are rational decision-makers. But a few social scientists have dared to challenge that assumption. They’ve collected observations, analyzed data, and presented their perspective. Their work would usher in a new era of Economics. 

This is the second episode of a special series called: "They Thought We Were Ridiculous: The Unlikely Story of B...

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Coming February 26th! I team up with the guys at Behavioral Groovesto produce a 5-part podcast series on behavioral economics. We tell the story of how some young social scientists took issue with assumptions that economists were making about how people make decisions, and they ended up transforming the field. Their insights went on to shape governments and businesses around the world.

The whole series will drop on the Opi...

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January 29, 2024 56 mins

Jack Dovidio's work is at the heart of how we currently understand the psychology of prejudice. He's spent his career considering where prejudice comes from, how people express it, how it biases people's judgments and behaviors, and what we could do to address it. He's an emeritus professor at Yale University, and he's also just a really pleasant guy to talk to. In our conversation, we cover his early days ...

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Jim McNulty is a professor of psychology at Florida State University. He studies close relationships, and in this episode, we talk about his research on "automatic partner attitudes." When someone sees their romantic partner, their feelings about that person spring automatically to mind. And sometimes those feelings conflict with what they openly SAY they feel about their partner. Jim shares his findings from studies that...

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January 2, 2024 62 mins

Happy New Year! For the first time in the show's history, this episode's a day late. Sorry, dear listeners.

So it's 2024, and what better way to kick off the new year than to dive into some nostalgia for 2023 already? As has become tradition around here, I compiled some clips of favorite moments on the podcast from the last year. As I say every year, it’s not truly a “best of” per se because I really am atta...

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December 18, 2023 53 mins

Elizabeth Dunn studies the psychology of happiness. One of her major research areas has looked at generosity's effects on well-being. We're happier when we spend money on other people. But studying happiness has its challenges, especially if we want to build strategies that help people feel happier. So, she shared a snapshot of her research on happiness and a new paper with Dunigan Folk looking at how strong the evidence ...

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Mikaela Spruill studies juries and the legal system’s role in sustaining social inequalities. She’s a postdoctoral fellow in criminal justice with SPARQ at Stanford University. In our conversation, Mikaela shares the benefits and drawbacks of juries in the courtroom, how scientists study jury decision-making, and how jurors apply very specific legal standards to interpreting the facts of a case.

Things that come up in thi...

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James Druckman studies how political messages can shape people's opinions. He is maybe best known for his work on framing issues as a strategic communication strategy. He also has a recent paper on "a framework for the study of persuasion," which organizes the many variables that matter for persuasion.

For a transcript of this episode, visit this episode's page at: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episodes/

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Mónica Guzmán wants us to have better conversation with the people we disagree with. She's the Senior Fellow for Public Practice at Braver Angels, and in 2022, she released her book, "I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times." This year, she launched a brand new podcast called "A Braver Way," which is about how we can disagree about politics w...

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Lindsay Hahn studies how entertainment media convey moral messages, especially among children. She's an assistant professor of communication at the University at Buffalo, where she leads the Media Psychology and Morality Lab. We talk about her background, how her team surveys media for the moral lessons they communicate, and how her new work is turning an eye to terrorist propaganda.

Things that come up in this episod...

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Russ Fazio has spent his career getting to the bottom of how opinions work. From his first study as a college student in 1974 to a leading expert in basically everything, his work has had a deep impact on the field of social psychology (and communication and political science...) His research over the years has included game-changing work on cognitive dissonance, implicit bias, automatic cognition, negativity biases, and the relati...

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Taylor Carlson studies how people navigate political discussions. She does a bunch of interesting work, but I was most interested in talking with her about book she published with Jaime Settle last year. It’s called What Goes Without Saying: Navigating Political Discussion in America. In it, they report their findings from a variety of surveys and experiments and organize them into a four-step model of political discussion. 

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September 11, 2023 54 mins

Morteza Dehghani is a psychologist and computer scientist who uses sophisticated analytics to churn through the words we use when we talk to each other. From that, he and his colleagues can get an idea of people’s moral sensibilities and the consequences of letting morality imbue our opinions on important issues. We talk about his origins in the field and the key insights he's come to about people's moral sense.

In the int...

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Dan Simons and Chris Chabris are psychological scientists who care about attention and reasoning. They're probably best known for their groundbreaking experiments on "inattentional blindness" where they built a scenario in which people would look straight at someone in a gorilla costume and not even know it. The point is: for as smart as we are, we miss a lot of stuff. And it's not just gorillas. 

Dan and Chris h...

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Latif Nasser is the current co-host of the WNYC show Radiolab. Radiolab is probably the first podcast I was ever really a fan of. I've been listening since 2007 when it was hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. It's an amazing show that leans on the incredible audio production to convey the wonder of science. The show has branched out to tell all kinds of stories--not just about science--but it's still one of th...

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Alie Ward is a lot of things--an actor, illustrator, TV host. But I was especially interested in talking to her about her undeniably popular science podcast, Ologies. Her show shares interviews with all sorts of scientists. It's so delightful and engaging, and Alie puts in the work to fill the listener in behind the scenes on things you wouldn't know if you just listened to the interview. Think you're not interested ...

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