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Opinion Science

Andy Luttrell

25 episodes

Jan 18, 2021

#29: Hype with Michael F. Schein 

Michael F. Schein is a writer, speaker, and founder of the marketing agency, MicroFame Media. In his new book, The Hype Handbook, he explores the antics of historically successful “hype artists”—cult leaders, music promoters, propagandists, etc.—to extract 12 common strategies that get people excited about and committed to new ideas.

In our conversation, we talk about how “hype” is or is not the same as “persuasion,” how much we’re able to learn from stories of historical hype artists, and the ethical and practical limits of hype.

Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/hype-with-michael-f-schein/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Jan 4, 2021

#28: When Money Buys Happiness with Lara Aknin 

Lara Aknin studies what makes people happy. In particular, she’s spent a lot of time looking at how being generous can improve one’s well-being. She is an associate professor of social psychology at Simon Fraser University, and you heard her a couple weeks ago on Opinion Science. Her work was featured on our episode on gift-giving, but she has so much interesting work that it seemed setting aside a whole episode for our entire conversation.

Things that come up in this episode:

  • College students were happier when spending money on others vs. on themselves (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008; for a replication see Aknin et al., 2020)
  • The positive effects of spending on others extends around the world (Aknin et al., 2013), in small rural societies (Aknin et al., 2015; Aime et al., 2017), with children (Aknin, Hamlin, & Dunn, 2012), and among ex-offenders (Aknin et al., 2018).
  • Giver-focused gifts promoted greater relationship closeness than recipient-focused gifts (Aknin & Human, 2015)
  • For reviews of the effects of “prosocial spending,” see Aknin et al. (2018) and Dunn et al. (2020)

 

 Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/when-money-buys-happiness-with-lara-aknin/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Dec 21, 2020

#27: Giving and Getting Good Gifts 

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 to do, and also where gift givers go wrong. Along the way, we’ll pick up some tips for how to approach giving in a smarter, more effective way.

Many guests in this episode!

 

Research in this episode:

Part I: Why give to others? Lara Aknin and her colleagues found that college students were happier when giving money to other people vs. spending on themselves (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008). She has replicated this finding all over the world, with kids, and other populations (see Dunn et al., 2020).

Part II: How gift-givers and gift-recipients disagree.

A. Gift-givers focus on the moment of giving whereas recipients are thinking more long-term (Galak, Givi, & Williams (2016)

B. Gift-givers think price matters more than receivers do (Flynn & Adams, 2009)

C. Givers avoid repeatedly giving the same thing, but recipients don’t mind (Givi, 2020)

D. People opt to give sentimental gifts less often than receivers would prefer (Givi & Galak, 2017); giving something as a gift can also imbue it with sentimentality and make the affection for the gift last longer (Yang & Givi, 2015)

E. Just ask people what they want (Gino & Flynn, 2011)

F. Giver-centric gifts make people feel closer to each other, even though we think recipient-focused gifts are the most appropriate (Aknin & Human, 2015)



Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/gift-giving-psychology/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Dec 7, 2020

#26: Intersectional Role Models in STEM with India Johnson and Eva Pietri 

Two guests! Drs. Eva Pietri and India Johnson stop by to share the important work they’re doing together on the power of role models for underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Things that come up in this episode:

  • Women and racial and ethnic minorities are under-represented in STEM fields (National Science Board, 2020)
  • Encouraging identity-safety in STEM among Black (Johnson, Pietri, Fullilove, & Mowrer, 2019; Pietri, Johnson, & Ozgumus, 2018) and Latina women (Pietri, Drawbaugh, Lewis, & Johnson, 2019)
  • Using videos to enhance relatability of scientists (Pietri, Johnson, Majid, & Chu, in press)
  • Extending these ideas to encourage women to identify with male scientists (Pietri, Drawbaugh, Johnson, & Colvin, in press)

 

Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/intersectional-role-models-in-stem-with-india-johnson-eva-pietri/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Nov 23, 2020

#25: Geography of Bias with Eric Hehman 

Dr. Eric Hehman studies the geography of bias. Lots of research has looked at the prejudice that lives in an individual person’s head, but Eric looks at the average amount of bias in particular location. On average, some counties have more implicit bias than others, and some states have more bias than others. But what does it mean? That’s what Eric and I talk about this week!

Things we mention in this episode:

  • Zippia’s collection of fun maps, including Thanksgiving sides, pickle fandom, and sandwich preferences
  • Regional implicit biases are related to police use of force against African Americans in that region (Hehman, Flake, & Calanchini, 2018)
  • Inspiration for Eric’s focus on regional bias (Motyl et al., 2014; Rae & Olson, 2015; Rentfrow et al., 2013)
  • How same-sex marriage legislation affected anti-gay bias one state at a time (Ofosu, Chambers, Chen, & Hehman, 2019)
  • Validating region-based measures of bias (Hehman, Calanchini, Flake, & Leitner, 2019)
  • Searching for environmental features that relate a region’s level of bias (Hehman, Ofosu, & Calanchini, 2020)
  • The “bias of crowds” model of implicit bias (Payne, Vuletich, & Lundberg, 2017)


Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/geography-of-bias-with-eric-hehman/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Nov 9, 2020

#24: Persuasion via Story-Telling with Melanie Green 

Melanie Green studies stories. She’s a professor of Communication at University of Buffalo, and for years she’s been looking into whether stories can serve to persuade people. Are stories just entertainment or can they change our minds? In this episode, we talk about stories, her research on persuasion, and the experience of being transported by a story.

Topics that come up in this episode:

  • People differ in their “transportability,” which is associated with their receptiveness to narrative persuasion (Mazzocco et al., 2010)
  • Narrative persuasion depends on transportation (Green & Brock, 2000)
  • Meta-analyses of narrative persuasion studies (Braddock & Dillard, 2016; Oschatz & Marker, 2020; Zebregs et al., 2015)
  • Research by Jeff Niederdeppe’s lab on story-telling in health communication
  • Stories continue to be persuasive after proven false (Green & Donahue, 2011)
  • People make judgments of a person’s warmth or competence depending on whether they tell stories (Clark, Green, & Simons, 2019)


Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."


For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/persuasion-via-story-telling-with-melanie-green/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Oct 26, 2020

#23: Polling Young Voters with Kristen Soltis Anderson 

Kristen Soltis Anderson is a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights. For five years, she co-hosted the podcast, The Pollsters, she hosts the SiriusXM show, The Trendline, and the Fox Nation show What Are the Odds? She also regularly appears on television to discuss the latest polls.

She’s spent a lot of time looking at polls of Millennials in particular. In 2015, she published her first book, The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), in which she reviews data on millennials’ tendency to vote for Democrats and the unique features of modern life that may be driving this shift.

In this episode, we have a great conversation about her work, what political polling can reveal, and how young voters’ preferences may affect the 2020 U.S. election…and other elections to come.

Some things that come up in this episode:

  • Generation Z enjoys mocking Millennials (Buzzfeed)
  • The Bennington College study of political attitudes over one’s lifetime (Newcomb, 1943; Alwin, Cohen, & Newcomb, 1992)
  • Kristen’s new report on Generation Z and Millennials’ optimism for the future (Walton Family Foundation, 2020)

Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/polling-young-voters-with-kristen-soltis-anderson/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Oct 12, 2020

#22: Political Persuasion with Alex Coppock 

Alex Coppock is an assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University. His research considers what affects people's political beliefs, especially the kinds of messages people regularly encounter--TV ads, lawn signs, Op-Eds, etc. In this episode, he shares the findings of a big, new study that just came out as well as what it means for how persuasion works.
 

Things that came up in this episode:

  • A new study testing dozens the efficacy of dozens of political ads (Coppock, Hill, & Vavreck, 2020)
  • The long-lasting effects of newspaper op-eds on public opinion (Coppock, Ekins, & Kirby, 2018)
  • The effects of lawn signs on vote outcomes (Green, Krasno, Coppock, Farrer, Lenoir, & Zingher, 2016)
  • Framing effects in persuasion (for an overview, see Chong & Druckman, 2007)
  • The sleeper effect (see here for an overview)


For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/political-persuasion-with-alex-coppock/

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

Sep 28, 2020

#21: More Influence Than You Realize with Vanessa Bohns 

Vanessa Bohns studies the difference between how much influence people have and how influence they think they have. On the podcast, we talk about her studies, why people underestimate their influence, and whether this means we should try asking for more than we do now.

If you sit tight until next year, Dr. Bohns has a book coming out called You Have More Influence than You Think.

A few things that come up in our conversation:

  • For a general overview of Dr. Bohns’ research on this topic, you can check out this article in Harvard Business Review or her review in Current Directions in Psychological Science.
  • People underestimate how many people they have to ask in order to get someone to agree to do something (Flynn & Bohns, 2008).
  • People even underestimate their influence in getting people to do ethically questionable things (Bohns, Roghanizad, & Xu, 2014).
  • We don’t realize how uncomfortable it is for people to say no to requests (Bohns & Flynn, 2010).
  • The influence process is different between in-person versus emailed requests (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017).
  • People’s biases about influence even extend to how they think about unwanted romantic advances (Bohns & DeVincent, 2019).
  • We break down the difference between the “spotlight effect” and the “invisibility cloak” bias.
  • Tory Higgins’ “saying is believing” effect shows how much power audiences have (Higgins & Rholes, 1978).


Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

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