They’re Lying to You. Here’s What to do About it.

They’re Lying to You. Here’s What to do About it.

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Lying is more complicated than it seems.
  • It feels good to tell and hear lies.
  • People are bad at detecting lies and fraud.
  • People lie to make themselves look better.
  • People lie to avoid punishment.
  • People lie to protect themselves or others.
  • People lie to gain something they want.
  • People believe lies because they want to.
  • People believe lies because they are afraid of the truth.
  • People believe lies because they are gullible.
  • People believe lies because they are biased.
  • Be aware of your own biases.
  • Be skeptical of information that confirms your existing beliefs.
  • Seek out information from a variety of sources.
  • Be willing to change your mind when presented with new evidence.

We love info (00:01:00)

  • Johnny Harris visited MIT to study how the brain processes information, particularly lies.
  • Ferrous detectors prevent large metal objects from entering MRI machines to avoid damage.
  • Trainwell, formerly Copilot, is a personalized workout platform that pairs users with trainers for customized workout plans and accountability.
  • Johnny underwent an MRI scan to analyze his brain's reactions to various images.
  • The brain processes information similarly to how it processes primary rewards like food, water, and sex.
  • Secondary rewards, such as money, activate the same reward system in the brain as primary rewards.
  • The brain's reward system, which evolved for survival by seeking food, is also utilized to seek information.

Why we Lie (00:05:18)

  • Some lies are meant to protect others' feelings, such as giving insincere compliments or avoiding social interactions.
  • More malicious lies aim to gain advantage or hurt others, like corporate advertisements or political propaganda.
  • The most dangerous lies are those that protect one's tribe or harm enemies, as they are easily believed and can have serious consequences.
  • Liars often avoid eye contact, fidget, or have inconsistent body language.
  • They may also be overly confident or defensive, or try to change the subject.
  • Pay attention to the content of the lie, as it may contain inconsistencies or lack specific details.
  • Consider the liar's motivations and whether they have anything to gain from deceiving you.

Building our brain tower (00:07:24)

  • The brain is constantly building a tower of information to form our worldview.
  • We collect information from the outside world through our senses.
  • The brain processes this information and decides which information is important.
  • Most information is familiar and accepted as true without much scrutiny.
  • Important information, such as information that confirms or threatens our deep desires, fears, or core identity, forms the foundation of our worldview.
  • The speaker will provide some true and false information and ask the audience to pay attention to how it feels.

Repetition (00:10:21)

  • The Illusory Truth Effect is the tendency to believe something that has been repeated, even if it is false.
  • Repeated exposure to information, even if it is false, can make it seem more believable.
  • This effect can be seen in brain scans, where misleading information competes with accurate information for attention.
  • Politicians and other figures can exploit the Illusory Truth Effect by repeating lies until people start to believe them.

Confirmation (00:15:50)

  • Confirmation bias leads us to accept information that aligns with our beliefs and reject contradictory information, making critical evaluation difficult.
  • Misinformation can easily spread and influence people's thoughts and actions, even those in positions of power.
  • Our brains evolved to rely on myths and stories for survival, making us susceptible to believing false information that reinforces our group identity.
  • Sometimes, untrue beliefs can lead to positive outcomes like social support or job opportunities, regardless of their accuracy.
  • Despite advancements in measuring the world and producing shared facts, our brains still crave the dopamine rush from feeling safe and accepted within our groups, regardless of whether that feeling is based on truth or lies.

An easier way (00:29:37)

  • Humans have created a new information delivery system that provides a sense of safety and comfort.
  • This system allows people to connect with others who share their beliefs and values, and to reinforce their own worldview.
  • It is easy to get caught up in this system and to become defensive when confronted with different viewpoints.
  • Humans are social creatures and crave a sense of belonging.
  • We are more likely to seek out information that confirms our existing beliefs and values.
  • This can lead to a narrow and biased understanding of the world.
  • The desire for safety and comfort is a natural human instinct.
  • Social media and other forms of new media have mastered the art of providing this feeling.
  • This can be a positive thing, but it can also lead to problems when it prevents us from considering different viewpoints.

What to do (00:31:54)

  • Be mindful of how information affects your brain and why you accept or reject it.
  • Avoid confrontational tactics, such as yelling or trying to prove someone wrong, especially online, as this can reinforce their beliefs.
  • Approach conversations with curiosity and a willingness to say "I don't know," as this can foster understanding and long-term security, even if it doesn't provide immediate gratification.
  • Strive to agree on a shared version of facts and reality, even if it takes time.
  • Social media algorithms can manipulate our thoughts and beliefs.
  • People are more likely to believe outrageous lies because they cannot imagine someone doing something so extreme, while they are more suspicious of smaller lies because they are more likely to engage in similar behavior themselves.

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