227. Richard Nisbett on Thinking & Reason

The Michael Shermer Show

Nov 16 2021 • 2 hrs 14 mins

In this wide-ranging conversation Shermer and Nisbett discuss Nisbett’s research showing how people reason, how people should reason, why errors in reasoning occur, how much you can improve reasoning, what kinds of problems are best solved by the conscious mind and what kinds by the unconscious mind, and how we should think about intelligence, along with the controversies over group differences and genetic influences on I.Q. scores and why Charles Murray (The Bell Curve) is wrong in inferring genetic causes for group differences in I.Q.. Nisbett also shows that self-knowledge can be dramatically off-kilter and points to ways to improve it, and demonstrates how different cultures have radically different ways of reasoning and feeling, and how this led to his most famous research showing the difference between Northerners and Southerners in rates of violence, the culture of honor, and a hair-trigger for slights and insults. The two also discuss the #metoo, BLM, antiracism, and woke movements today in context of his psychological research.