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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.

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.


United States


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.




#62: Persuasion via Emotion with Robin Nabi

Robin Nabi is a professor of communication at the University of California-Santa Barbara. She studies how emotional appeals can (and cannot) lead people to change their thoughts and behaviors. She’s published important research on the effects of anger, humor, and guilt, and she’s also developed integrated theories about how emotions can work together in the persuasion process. We talk about all this and more! When we talk about humor and persuasion, we briefly mention Dannagal Young’s prior...


#61: Moral Conviction with Linda Skitka

Linda Skitka is a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She's been studying people's moral convictions--the opinions that we connect to our core sense of moral right and wrong. Two people might agree about universal healthcare, for example, but they might disagree about how much their positions on this issue are drawn from their personal moral compass. Over the years, Linda and her colleagues have found that our opinions take on a different character...


#60: "Unconscious" Bias? with Adam Hahn

Adam Hahn spends a lot of time thinking about how well people know their own biases. Sure, people often refer to "implicit bias" as social biases that exist unconsciously. But do they really? How strongly can we claim we're unaware of these attitudes and is there any reason to think people can readily tell you what their gut reactions are when they encounter people of different racial, gender, and religious identities? Adam's a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the...


#59: Belief Systems with Mark Brandt

Mark Brandt studies a bunch of things. He’s an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. These days, he’s been exploring how we can think about belief systems as a network of interconnected opinions. Using mathematical simulations that specify how people’s opinions can be connected, Mark and his team have been able to establish a core model that explains a bunch of findings from political psychology. Mark also co-organizes a free online seminar, the Minority Politics...


#58: How Minds Change with David McRaney (ft. Adam Mastroianni)

David McRaney is an author and host of the podcast You Are Not So Smart. In June, he’s releasing a new book—How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion (you can pre-order it now). In the book, David goes on a wild journey to understand the mechanics of persuasion. He combines research in psychology with stories of persuasion on the ground to arrive at an understanding of when and why people end up changing their opinions. In our conversation, David shares how...


#57: Media, Norms, and Social Change with Sohad Murrar

Sohad Murrar studies how media and norms affect people's opinions about social groups. Does media representation matter? Can infotainment aimed at reducing misconceptions really work? In this episode, Sohad gives us a glimpse into what the research says, her own experiences consulting with Hollywood creatives, and how conveying social norms can be a potent way of addressing prejudice. Also at the top of the show, you'll hear about a radio program from the 1930s: "Americans All--Immigrants...


#56: Receptiveness to Other Opinions with Julia Minson

Julia Minson studies the psychology of disagreement. In particular, she's been working to understand what sorts of people are receptive to other opinions and how our perceptions of other people's receptiveness can improve conversations. Dr. Minson is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of government. Some things that come up in this episode: StoryCorpsOne Small Step "Family Politics"in press2010201320192020 For a transcript of this episode, visit:...


#55: Stereotypes at the Intersection with Chris Petsko

Chris Petsko studies which stereotypes come to mind in a given moment. He's a social psychologist and postdoctoral scholar at Duke University. I talk with Chris about his "lens-based account of intersectional stereotyping," which argues that we can only pay attention to one social identity at a time. As a result, the stereotypes that come to mind depend on the one lens through which we're seeing someone at the moment. Things we mention in this episode: Walter Lippman"Public...


#54: Influence is Your Superpower with Zoe Chance

Zoe Chance is an assistant professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management. Prior to Yale, she managed a $200 million segment of the Barbie brand at Mattel. In February, she's releasing her first book: Influence Is Your Superpower. In this episode, we talk about Zoe's winding road to becoming a business school professor, the class she teaches at Yale on influence and persuasion, and the insights she shares in her upcoming book. For a transcript of this episode, visit:...


BONUS: "Best" of Opinion Science (2021)

Another year in the books! Sure, there was a lot of wild stuff in 2021--an insurrection, COVID vaccine rollouts, a new president, another installment in the Tiger King franchise...and my daughter was born! But through it all, we had Opinion Science. This year saw a bunch of new listeners, amazing guests, and some ambitious episodes. Your support has meant a lot. So even though I'm a couple weeks behind on this, I wanted put together another "best of" episode, featuring notable moments from...


#53: Influence on the Ground with Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn specializes in applying the science of influence in everyday situations. He is one of only a dozen individuals in the world who currently holds the Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT) designation, and he teaches the psychology of persuasion and influence as it applies to sales and other aspects of our lives. He's the author of Influence PEOPLE, which was named one of the best influence books of all time by BookAuthority. He followed that up with Persuasive Selling for...


Giving and Getting Good Gifts [Rebroadcast]

This is a rebroadcast of Episode 27: Giving and Getting Good Gifts (December 21, 2020). It’s that time of year when winter holidays send people on a buying spree as they collect gifts to give to every friend, family member, and acquaintance. And you’d think that after so many years of giving gifts for all sorts of holidays, we’d be pretty good at it. Right? Well, not according to research in psychology. In this episode, we explore the psychology of why giving to others is such a good thing...


#52: Applying Behavioral Science with Melina Palmer

Melina Palmer is founder and CEO of The Brainy Business, which provides behavioral economics consulting to businesses of all sizes from around the world. Her podcast, The Brainy Business, has downloads in over 160 countries and is used as a resource for teaching applied behavioral economics for many universities and businesses. In this episode, I talk to Melina about how she got involved in the world of behavioral science, what behavioral economics means to her, and how she goes about...


#51: On Debate with Harish Natarajan, Dan Zafrir, & Noa Ovadia

This episode follows up on the previous episode of Opinion Science about IBM's Project Debater. If you haven't already, be sure to check out that episode. But this week we hear more from Harish Natarajan, Dan Zafrir, and Noa Ovadia--three accomplished debaters. They'll share how they got into debate, what debate means to them, and why the exercise of debate is so important. In the opening section of the episode, we hear a quick clip from social psychologist Richard Petty. And the study I...


#50: To Persuade is Human?

In 2019, IBM introduced the world to Project Debater: an AI system that could go up against humans to debate anything. In this episode, we trace Project Debater’s growth from just an idea to a fully fledged piece of technology and the public debates it’s engaged in. And it raises a bigger question: is persuasion a fundamentally human ability or is it really something that machines are capable of? We hear from IBM engineer and project leaders Noam Slonim, expert debaters Harish Natarajan,...


#49: Inoculating Against Persuasion with Josh Compton

Josh Compton studies how “inoculating” people against persuasion can make them more resistant to arguments they encounter later. Dr. Compton is an associate professor of speech at Dartmouth and has written a lot about “inoculation theory,” which began (as a theory) back in the 60s with the work of William McGuire. We talk about lots of inoculation theory’s many extensions and applications. Things we mention in this episode: this Atlantic article by Ostler, 2020196420212021“Bad...


#48: "Selling" Social Science with Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink is a bestselling author who uses social science research to explore big questions about what it means to be human. He’s written six books, and a new one comes out in February—The Power of Regret. You can also check out his Masterclass on sales and persuasion. In our conversation, Dan gives a look into his writing process. How does he go from an idea for a book to the final product? And how does he draw on social science along the way? This was a super fun chat—check it...


#47: Moral Foundations & Political Opinion with Jesse Graham

Jesse Graham studies human morality and what it means for our political opinions. He’s an Associate Professor of Management at the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. As a graduate student with Jonathan Haidt, he helped develop Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which has gone on to be a massively influential theory of morality and how it develops. One of Jesse’s key insights was that these moral foundations help explain the divides between liberal and conservative people,...


#46: Polling 101 with Ashley Amaya

Dr. Ashley Amaya is a senior survey methodologist at Pew Research Center. She has a PhD in Survey Methodology and is an expert when it comes to polling the country’s opinions. Our conversation highlights how the simple polling numbers you see on the news are the results of months—sometimes years—of work. Dr. Amaya shares how Pew recruits and maintains high-quality samples of survey respondents, carefully designs the questions that get asked, and checks their surveys’ demographics against...


Portraits: "Just Because You Asked" (Vanessa Bohns)

In a new occasional series on Opinion Science, Portraits gives a snapshot of insights in social science. This week, Dr. Vanessa Bohns shows us how we're more influential than we give ourselves credit for. Vanessa's new book is You Have More Influence Than You Think. It's available September 7th. To hear the full conversation I had with Vanessa, go back to Episode 21 of Opinion Science: More Influence Than You Realize with Vanessa Bohns. Learn more about Opinion Science at...