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The Dr. Bo Show

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Boston, MA


Dr. Bo takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining. You create the show by submitting your questions at Bo has a PhD in social psychology, but covers a broad range of topics including: Science Education (scientific method, what is / is not science, etc.), Success, Entrepreneurship, Motivation, General Psychology, Social Psychology, Positive Psychology (well-being, flourishing, happiness, etc.), Cognitive Psychology (belief, cognitive biases, memory, our flawed brain, etc.), General Social Science, Critical Thinking, Logical Fallacies, Humanism / Secularism, and even some Philosophy.






The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind

Many years ago while out jogging, I ran into a store because I had to pee badly. The person at the counter was a middle-aged woman with a thick southern accent and a smile on her face that would light up any room. I asked if they had a bathroom I could use, and the cheerful woman informed me that the bathroom was for customers only. I explained to her that I did not have my wallet on me, but otherwise I would be happy to buy something. Without dropping her smile, she said “I am sorry about...

Duration: 00:04:17

Why Donald Trump Seems Impervious To Bad Press

Even bad press gives candidates exposure, which can end up being more beneficial than harmful, and bad press won't cause die-hard Republicans (or Democrats) to abandon their candidate. But assuming we are talking about really bad press and politically-leaning moderates, the sunk cost fallacy can explain why bad press does not have as much of an effect on election outcomes as one would expect. We can see that this phenomenon applies to any candidate, from any political party, in any...

Duration: 00:07:10

Dismissing Whitey: The Voice of the Non-Marginalized in a World Full of Marginalized Groups

In short, I cant give you a direct answer to your question without knowing specific examples of your arguments. But dismissing ideas based on ones race or sex rather than the ideas themselves is both fallacious and a prime example of prejudice. My own views on social issues that I hold as a social psychologist are data-driven, science-based, and sometimes in contrast with many of the statements and claims of groups advocating social justice. We can take a look at some general guide. . ....

Duration: 00:10:47

If Zombies Eat Brains, Do They Eat Minds, Too?

Science tells us that the brain and the mind are different only in that the brain is the physical organ and the mind is a word we use to describe a function or product of the brain. The mind/brain relationship is not unique. For example, our voice is a result of our physical bodies—without our bodies, there would be no voice. The voice, like the mind, is a word we use to identify the immaterial product of a collection of physical systems in the body. Other possibilities surround the...

Duration: 00:07:33

Baby I Was Born This Way... or Not.

Before we attempt to answer this question, we need to unpack it. We will find a) that the question itself is flawed in the sense that it presupposes an outdated and incorrect causal view of heredity, b) the term gay can be redefined based on ones political views, c) there are flawed implications involved, and d) the science is often misunderstood. The Flaw in the Question, Are People Born Gay? The question is predicated on a simplistic view of causality. No mo. . . See the complete...

Duration: 00:11:38

Increasing Your Well-Being Through Emotional Responses

Recently, yet another woman came forward accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, or more specifically, forcefully kissing her. In the interview, the woman was clearly emotionally disturbed recounting this event... that happened almost 50 years ago. What is it about an unwelcome forceful kiss that can cause so much emotional damage to a person over the course of a half century? As we will see, it is not the kiss but what is referred to in psychology as the appraisal of the event or sit. . ....

Duration: 00:11:22

Money and Science: Just How Skeptical Should One Be?

Of course it is reasonable but to what extent? According to a recent review published by Princeton, financial interest is a common reason for distrust in scientists. Anecdotally, in my discussions with people about science, money seems to be the top reason for their distrust in science. But there is a line between healthy skepticism and irrational distrust when parties have financial interests in scientific outcomes. The question is, where do we draw that line? Every study or area of...

Duration: 00:06:12

To Blame or Not To Blame: A Look at Victim Blaming

This question and answer was made private because it will be used for a podcast episode, at which time it will be made public. The term victim-blaming implies injustice, or victims being either fully or partially blamed for something they dont deserve. There are several common reasons why people do this, but there is also an accurate assessment of responsibility that is often labeled victim-blaming by people often with good intentions. This last point is important to focus on becau. . ....

Duration: 00:12:33

Personal Religious Experiences: Real or Imagined?

First, you have to accept that any answer you come up with will be a probabilistic one. All experiences are filtered through our minds, and our minds are far from perfect reality detectors that can be in any sense of the word certain, aside from some arguably self-evident philosophical certainties such as I exist. While the word personal implies subjectivity, many people often confuse a personal experience with their interpretation of a personal expe. . . See the complete description at...

Duration: 00:22:13

What You Can Do About Political Polarization

The problem of political polarization is characterized by a large number of people holding extreme political views (also know as hyper-partisanship) with fewer political moderates, to the point where healthy political disagreement becomes destructive. Here in the US, this problem exists both on a systemic and personal level. Some have suggested this is one of the most serious problems our country faces since the signs only point to the problem getting worse, whereas others are less pess. ....

Duration: 00:23:58

The Secret To Success

This is what is called a loaded question, or a question that contains an unjustified assumption. The unjustified assumption is that there is a secret to success. The question also incorrectly implies that success is unidimensional, that is, its definition is simple enough that such a secret could exist that if known, would allow people to achieve success. Since there is no standard measurement of success, it is best to focus on something more measurable that is often synony. . . See the...

Duration: 00:14:16

The Placebo Effect Explained

The word placebo, Latin for I shall please, is generally understood in modern terminology as an inert (inactive) substance or procedure that affects the outcome of a treatment. The placebo effect (or placebo effects) is generally understood as the improvement in a persons condition due to the presence of the placebo. However, this concept is far more complex than most people realize, but it is within this complexity we find understanding. There has been an enorm. . . See the complete...

Duration: 00:32:20

The Psychology Behind the Anti-Vaccine Movement

With the measles outbreak at DisneyLand beginning in December of 2014, the debate on the need and safety of vaccines has been reignited. While I am not going to get into the science of vaccine safety and effectiveness, I am going to cover the psychology of the anti-vaccine movement, and some potential factors that lead to people denying scientific facts. Out of Sight, Out of Mind We tend not to think much about what we dont experience. For example, most of us (in the United S. . . See the...

Duration: 00:20:39

Should Women Stick To Their Gender Roles?

The non-sexist answer would be of course not, you sexist moron, but I am not here to offer politically correct answers; I am here to offer scientifically correct ones. The actual answer is more complex than a yes or no answer, and not at all sexist since it considers both genders equally. So before you get offended with the idea that sticking to traditional and even stereotypical gender roles can possibly result in a more satisfying marriage, domestic partnership, or intima. . . See the...

Duration: 00:16:40

Why Trust Science When It Keeps Changing Its Mind?

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know thats a really good argument; my position is mistaken, and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again... . I cannot recall the last time something like that has happened in politics or religion. - Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP address You should trust science as a process for separating fact from fiction because of its flexibility to update theories and findings based on new informatio. . . See...

Duration: 00:21:03

How to Stop Self-Licensing from Ruining Your Health and Fitness Goals

Self-licensing or the licensing effect is relying on reasons to justify subsequent gratification (Witt Huberts, Evers, & De Ridder, 2012). In other words, it is the process we go through when we convince ourselves that we deserve an indulgence. This is different than simply lacking will-power, and as such, different strategies need to be used to mitigate the harm this can do to us in terms of our goals. Although self-licensing can be applied to any area of our lives that require self-di. ....

Duration: 00:15:39

Why Trust Scientists?

Scientists are people, and like all people, they are susceptible to biases, have self-interests, and are corruptible. In fact, corporations, lobbyists, political parties and action committees, defendants and plaintiffs will hire their own team of science experts who agree with their claims (or will, for the right price). Given the number of studies that have been done on any given issue (especially the major ones), finding data to support virtually any conclusion is not tha. . . See the...

Duration: 00:13:55

The Science Behind "Group Levitation"

I apologize in advance if I come across as a party pooper—that person at magic shows who ruins the fun for everyone by giving away the magicians secrets, but there is no magic involved in what is usually referred to as group levitation. Levitation, spoon-bending, and the Ouija board are all based on similar, completely natural, psychological and physiological phenomena. There are a few scientific principles at work here. Group levitation usually begins with a person te. . . See the...

Duration: 00:17:56

Do You Believe in Karma? Should You?

Strangely, one of my strongest childhood memories is when I called my brother an idiot, and two minutes later I stubbed my toe. My brother told me that God was punishing me—that seemed to make sense to me given the Catholic framework in which I was raised. Perhaps if I were raised as a Buddhist, my brother would have told me it was Karma, or a spiritual theory of moral causation that states people get what they deserve. This is a fairly common belief adopted by many. . . See the complete...

Duration: 00:21:42

A Guide for Trusting Sources of Science, for the Non-Scientist

It is no secret that much of the information found on the Internet today is strongly influenced by its monetary value, or to put another way, how many clicks an article can get. Unfortunately for science and humanity, accuracy, journalistic integrity, and truth are of far less monetary value than shock, emotional appeal, and fear. As a result, if scientific information does manage to make its way into the mainstream media (assuming nothing is going on with the Kardashians that day), i. . ....

Duration: 00:18:10

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