Very Bad Wizards

By Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

About this podcast   English    United States

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.
June 5, 2018 · transcript
David and Tamler tackle the topic of implicit bias and the controversy surrounding the implicit association test (IAT). What is implicit bias anyway? Does it have to be linked to behavior in order to truly count as a "bias"? Has the IAT been overhyped as a reflection of individual or group prejudice? And why is the debate on this topic so depressing? Plus, some deep thoughts on the intellectual dark web, how to join it, and what the analogy is supposed to reflect.Sponsored By:RXBAR Promo Code: badwizardsLinks:Opinion | Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web - The New York TimesPsychology’s Racism-Measuring Tool Isn’t Up to the Job -- Science of UsImplicit-association test - WikipediaTake the Implicit Associations Test (IAT)Greenwald, A. G., Poehlman, T. A., Uhlmann, E. L., & Banaji, M. R. (2009). Understanding and using the Implicit Association Test: III. Meta-analysis of predictive validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(1), 17.Oswald, F. L., Mitchell, G., Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., & Tetlock, P. E. (2013). Predicting ethnic and racial discrimination: A meta-analysis of IAT criterion studies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 105(2), 171.Nock, M. K., & Banaji, M. R. (2007). Prediction of suicide ideation and attempts among adolescents using a brief performance-based test. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 75(5), 707.Uhlmann, E. L., Pizarro, D. A., & Bloom, P. (2008). Varieties of social cognition. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 38(3), 293-322. — This is a paper in which Eric Uhlmann, Paul Bloom and one of your humble hosts try to tackle the ways in which the word 'unconscious' is used (and abused) in the literature on social cognition.
May 22, 2018
Honor shmonor, David and Tamler return to their repugnant roots for this one. First, we pay an overdue homage to the great anonymous blogger and twitter-redeemer Neuroskeptic. We pick a few of our favorite pithy tweets and crazy science article links from his @neuroskeptic twitter account. Topics include: How much would you pay for porn? Should we be stereotyping zoophiles? Animal or fist - how to distinguish? And what do the left and right brain actually do? In part 2, we discuss an experiment that aims to finally answer the question: do our judgments in sacrificial dilemmas (like the trolley problem) -actually- predict our behavior? Plus, we find out live (on tape) if David is a Laurel or a Yanni - or is he a Samantha? Sponsored By:Away Promo Code: BADWIZARDSLinks:Neuroskeptic - WikipediaNeuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) | TwitterNeuroskeptic's Blog for Discover [email protected]_skeptic: "If one post sums me up"Two Psychologists Four Beers — New podcast hosted by VBW regular Yoel Inbar and Michael Inzlicht. Tatter (podcast) — New podcast, hosted by social psychologist Michael Sargent, with interviews and discussions on politics and policy.The Political Theory Review by Jeffrey Church on Apple PodcastsBostyn, D. H., Sevenhant, S., & Roets, A. (2018). Of Mice, Men, and Trolleys: Hypothetical Judgment Versus Real-Life Behavior in Trolley-Style Moral Dilemmas. Psychological Science, 0956797617752640.
May 12, 2018
It took two tries (the first one led to a big non-productive fight), but David and Tamler end up with a good discussion of honor and its connection to identity, pride, and personal relationships. Why have we rejected honor in favor of dignity? What are the costs and benefits of doing that? How do people "find themselves" in an industrialized anonymous society? What should you do when someone insults your sister and you're playing in the final of the World Cup? The seminal paper by Peter Berger "On the Obsolescence of the Culture of Honor" (along with Tamler's new book) was the launching point for the discussion (links to both in show notes). This episode is brought to you by Simple Contacts.Links:Why Honor Matters by Tamler Sommers [amazon affiliate link]Berger, P. (1970). On the Obsolescence of the Concept of Honor. European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie/Europäisches Archiv für Soziologie, 11(2), 339-347.Materazzi finally admits what he said to Zidane in the World Cup Final | For The Win
April 24, 2018
Award-winning screenwriter and medieval philosophy scholar Yoel Inbar joins us for a deep dive on the Charlie Kaufman/Michel GondREY masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When relationships go bad is it better to believe they never happened? What is the nature of memory, how is it constructed, and is it possible to zap them out existence with an Apple IIe? Will Tamler have a more optimistic take on the ending of the movie than David? (Hint: yes) Also--only two more weeks to preorder Why Honor Matters and get your free bonus episode! Upload your receipt here Special Guest: Yoel Inbar.Links:Yoel Inbar Michel Gondry - IMDbEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - IMDbEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Movie Review (2004) | Roger EbertThe Science of Sleep (2006) - IMDbBe Kind Rewind (2008) - IMDbJay Electronica - Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) (Full 15-minute version) - YouTube
April 10, 2018
Why are we always attracted to people who mock us, resist our advances, and play hard to get? Maybe because it’s extra satisfying when you finally get them to… appear on your podcast. In our first live episode (recorded in San Antonio), the philosopher Shaun Nichols joins us to discuss his recent article “Death and the Self”. You might think that Buddhist conceptions of the self as illusory would reduce their fear of death (after all, if there’s no real self, why worry about it ceasing to exist?). But the evidence collected by Shaun and colleagues suggests exactly the opposite. Why would that be? Plus, David and Tamler choose six finalists for the Patreon listener selected episode (did Jordan Peterson make the list?), and we announce a special bonus for people who pre-order Tamler’s forthcoming book "Why Honor Matters."Special Guest: Shaun Nichols.Sponsored By:RXBAR Promo Code: badwizardsLinks:Why Honor Matters by Tamler SommersNichols, S., Strohminger, N., Rai, A., & Garfield, J. (2018). Death and the self. Cognitive science.Shaun Nichols | University Center for Human Values
March 27, 2018
From Very Bad Wizards to Megyn Kelly Today back to Very Bad Wizards, Laurie Santos has traveled the typical trajectory of the celebrity academic. Laurie joins us to talk about her cult status after creating the most popular course in Yale University history: Psychology and the Good Life. Why are we so bad at predicting what will make us happy? What makes it so hard to do the things we know are good for us? Why are young people more stressed, anxious, and overworked than they used to be? And how can we nudge ourselves into living better lives? Plus we take a test for determining the virtues that come easiest to us and the ones that come.. harder. This episode is sponsored by Audible and Casper. Special Guest: Laurie Santos.Links:Laurie Santos | Comparative Cognition LaboratoryYale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness - The New York TimesPsychology and The Good Life 2018 Course SyllabusMatt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment | TED TalkCharacter Strength SurveyAudible Casper
March 13, 2018
David and Tamler take a break from complaining about psychological studies that measure utilitarianism to complain about the moral theory itself. We talk about one of the most famous critiques of utilitarian theories from Bernard Williams. Does utilitarianism annihilate our integrity--our unity--as people? Would trying to maximize well-being fracture our identities, and swallow up our projects, motivations, and moral convictions--the same convictions that make utilitarianism seem appealing in the first place? Is it ultimately self-defeating as a moral theory? Plus, we talk about the adventures of Tamler's based step-mom Christina Hoff Sommers' at Lewis and Clark law school. Will David stay woke?Links:Protesters try to shut down Christina Hoff Sommers at Lewis & Clark Law School - YouTubeStatement on the Christina Hoff Sommers Event at the Law School - Newsroom - Lewis & ClarkWe’re All Fascists Now - The New York Times"The Usual Suspects" final scene *spoilers* Bernard Williams - WikipediaWilliams, B. "Consequentialism and Integrity" [published originally in "Utilitarianism: For and Against", ed. Smart and Williams (Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 82-118.]Smart, J. J. C., & Williams, B. (1973). Utilitarianism: For and against. Cambridge University Press. [ affiliate link] — Worth reading the whole book!
Feb. 27, 2018 · transcript
It's been 5 years since Molly Crockett has been guest on VBW. During that time she's completed a post-doc at University College, London and become a professor at Yale University. And we're...well, we're still doing the podcast. Today Molly joins us to talk about moral outrage in the age of social media. Has the outrage changed now that we express so much of it online? Does it contribute to polarization and social division, or give a voice to the less powerful? How can we harness the benefits of online outrage while minimizing the costs? Plus, Dave and Tamler perform an exorcism on the unholy offspring of evolutionary psychology and trolleyology.Special Guest: Molly Crockett.Links:Brown, M., & Sacco, D. F. (2017). Is pulling the lever sexy? Deontology as a downstream cue to long-term mate quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0265407517749331.Crockett, M. J. (2017). Moral outrage in the digital age. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(11), 769.
Feb. 6, 2018 · transcript
David and Tamler talk about the nature of death. Is being dead a bad thing? If so, what makes it bad? How can anything be bad for a subject that no longer exists? We didn't have a problem with oblivion for the thirteen billion years before we were born, why fear it now? Plus, a discussion about the "it was all a dream" trope in TV and film. Why is it so infuriating in some works but not others?Links:Tommy Westphall - Wikipedia20 Years Ago: 'Newhart' ends with a shock | EW.comDallas (1978 TV series) (season 9) - WikipediaIt's Just a Cartoon, How can SpongeBob and friends go to the beach if...Nagel, T. (1970). Death. Noûs, 73-80.
Jan. 23, 2018
What's the best way to build self-control, patience, productivity, and delayed marshmallow eating? For decades psychologists and economists have told us to develop traits like willpower and grit. But psychologist David DeSteno describes a better, easier, and more effective path--the emotions. We talk to David about his new (not-self-help) book "Emotional Success," which argues that the emotions of gratitude, pride, and compassion can help us fulfill long-term goals and (as a special bonus) make us happier and better people. Plus, David and Tamler take a quiz that measures how utilitarian they are, and you won't believe the results!!! (Actually, you will.) This episode is sponsored by Casper. Visit and enter offer code BADWIZARDS to get $50 toward select purchases. Special Guest: Dave DeSteno.Sponsored By:Casper Promo Code: BADWIZARDSLinks:How Utilitarian Are You? The Oxford Utilitarianism Scale | Practical EthicsEverett, J. A., Pizarro, D. A., Crockett, M. J. (2016). Inference of trustworthiness from intuitive moral judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 772–787David DeSteno's websiteEmotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride

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