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Host Daniel Gambacorta shares insights, advice, and stories designed to help make you a more effective altruist.

Host Daniel Gambacorta shares insights, advice, and stories designed to help make you a more effective altruist.
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Host Daniel Gambacorta shares insights, advice, and stories designed to help make you a more effective altruist.




How Altruistic Should You Be?

This episode features: -Arguments against utilitarianism -What moral views do philosophers favor? -Why you should consider moral uncertainty when deciding how altruistic to be -How does giving away 10% of your income affect your happiness? -Why donating 10% of your income is not too demanding (for middle class members of affluent countries) -How should the prospect of value drift affect your commitment to altruism? -Do people underestimate the selfish benefits of altruism? -Does...


The Personality of Effective Altruists Part II

This episode features: -Are people with autism spectrum disorder more utilitarian? -Do utilitarian judgments in trolley problems predict interest in effective altruism? -What is the “identifiable victim effect” -Why empathy is bad for morality -Are effective altruists more empathetic than average? Less empathetic? -Why do EAs disproportionately study STEM subjects and work in STEM fields? -Why is EA mostly male? -Why does gender predict cause preferences? Full...


The Personality of Effective Altruists Part I

This episode features: -Are effective altruists especially prone to anxiety and depression? -Are effective altruists high in autistic-like traits? -Is effective altruism especially appealing to people high in autistic-like traits? -Are people high in autistic-like traits more rational? -Why do we fall prey to biases like the attraction effect, the sunk cost fallacy, and the framing effect? -Are people high in autistic-like traits more oriented towards “System 2” thinking? -Are people...


Personality Psychology

This episode features: -Why the Myers-Briggs is wrong, yet popular -What is the structure of personality -How does personality change throughout the lifespan -Can you intentionally change your personality? -Do we change more than we think we will? -What is the effect of genes on personality -What is the effect of parenting on personality -Which unique experiences shape personality? (The answer to this is disappointing) Full transcript -References- Apply Psychology: Damian, R....


Value Drift & How to Not Be Evil Part II

This episode features: -What proportion of effective altruists decrease their involvement over time? -Why do people decrease their involvement with effective altruism? -Why effective altruist values are particularly vulnerable to drift -Should you expect your values to get better or worse over time? -Should you try to prevent value drift? -How you can use nudges and commitment devices to prevent value drift -How the “foot-in-the-door” phenomenon might push you towards doing good now,...


Value Drift & How to Not Be Evil Part I

This episode features: -How do our values change as we age -How does empathy shape values -Why are we so conformist? -Why we underestimate our risk of corruption -Why many people argue that death is good/necessary -How ethical slippery slopes lead to severe moral transgressions -How evil behavior leads to worse values Full transcript -References- Apply Psychology: Crane, W. (1887). The Baby's Own Aesop. Gouveia, V. V., Vione, K. C., Milfont, T. L., & Fischer, R. (2015)....


How to Be More Creative

This episode features: -Do you need 10,000 hours of practice to be an expert? -What is the connection between creativity and mental illness -Can drugs make you more creative? -Can electrically stimulating your brain make you more creative? -Are smarter people more creative? -How do psychologists measure creativity -Which personality trait predicts creativity -Techniques for enhancing creativity Full transcript -References- Apply Psychology: Chi, R. P., & Snyder, A. W. (2012)....


Should You Go to Graduate School?

This episode features: -What to consider when choosing a graduate program -Why I was told to avoid getting A’s in my classes, and why it might be a good idea for you as well -What are your chances of graduating from grad school -What are your chances of getting an academic position after grad school -How to avoid being corrupted by the academic incentive structure -How is grad school different from undergrad? -Tips for succeeding in grad school -How to avoid being bitten by the Curse...


Explanations That Are Often Wrong Part II

This episode features: -Can political symbols change political beliefs? -What makes pseudoscience appealing -How to evaluate futurism -How do chronically accessible concepts change our perception -How to think about the complexity of theories -Priming: fact or fiction? -Can barely-noticeable changes in the environment have big effects on behavior? Full transcript -References- Unapplied Rationality: Carter, T. J., Ferguson, M. J., & Hassin, R. R. (2011). A single exposure to...


Explanations That Are Often Wrong Part I

This episode features: -Are smart phones causing young people to be more lonely and depressed -How can the supplement industry stay afloat if so many supplements are useless -Discussion of how a paper on psychic powers got published in a top psychology journal -Why people are often less incompetent than you think -Why so many professors are bad teachers -What style of thinking is associated with making successful predictions of the future -Why do so many people still reject...


How to Evaluate Research & EA Origin Story

This episode features: -A quiz to test your intuitions about which studies replicate and which don’t -An effective altruist origin story -Heuristics for evaluating scientific research -The role of incentives in the replication crisis -What should your prior be for whether research will replicate -Which subfield of psychology has the worst replication rate -Why it’s a mistake to conceptualize glucose as a willpower resource -Problems with interpreting studies of the dictator...


Why Are We Biased? Part II

This episode features: -Why breakups are always the other person’s fault -Why does love cause us to see our partner as better than they really are -How much do people lie -What do people lie about in their online dating profile -Is it possible to detect lies -What traits make somebody likable vs unlikable -How do we deceive ourselves -Why we often don’t understand our own motivations Full transcript -References- Apply Psychology: Anderson, N. H. (1968). Likableness ratings of...


Why Are We Biased? Part I

This episode features: -Why men perceive more sexuality in women’s behavior than women say they intend -Several opportunities to test your own biases -Examples of how both evolutionary psychologists and social psychologists have explained bias the wrong way -Why it’s unsatisfactory to say that we have false beliefs in order to “make ourselves feel good” -Why do people ignore basic probability theory -Why are people bad at abstract logic -How to make people much better at logic...


Modularity Insights for Charisma and Creativity

This episode features: -How to get outside of your head -Why optimal performance sometimes requires “not trying” -What are the psychological traps that can make us dull and uncreative -A framework for overcoming bias -Examples of how to correct for the planning fallacy and confirmation bias -The phenomenology of creativity -How do artists reconnect with their creativity when they hit a roadblock -What cognitive process leads to great artwork and scientific discovery Full...


Modularity of Mind & Improve Your Public Speaking

This episode features: -Why people can’t justify their moral decisions -How is it that some blind people can use visual information -What is the basic structure of the brain -Why it is we can both want something and not want it -Why people can be unaware of their decision-making process -Basic principles of public speaking -Particular fixes to improve your public speaking -Ways to practice public speaking Full transcript -References- Apply Psychology: TED talk on...