A storm of media coverage regularly accuses YouTube of radicalizing the masses with their recommendation algorithm. The only problem? A closer look at the research paints a very different picture.
In this episode, Laci and Anna explore the YouTube politics scene and how the 2020 algorithm works. They discuss left and right content "bubbles", mainstream media vs. YouTube, the plight of independent content creators, and why the rabbit hole theory has enduring psychological appeal.
feat. Lee Drutman, Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop November 11, 2020
Americans are more polarized than we have been since the civil war. Data shows growing numbers of people feel political violence is justified. How did we get into this hellscape? And how do we get out of it?
How do you handle the setbacks in your life? Laci and Bill discuss a variety of practical Stoic techniques to find greater resilience and strength in the face of life's challenges.
Conversation topics include our need for social approval, righteous anger and victimhood, dealing with failure and rejection, declining civility, an unusual approach to grief, the trappings of consumerism, and what it truly means to embrace our circumstances.
feat. Dr. Steven Taylor, The Psychology of Pandemics
July 22nd, 2020
Perhaps the biggest threat in a pandemic is not the virus itself...but how we react to it.
Last year, Dr. Steven Taylor predicted what would happen in the next pandemic with astonishing accuracy. In this episode, Laci and Steve discuss media distortion, the politicization of masks, backlash to mandates, American individualism vs. collectivism, the upcoming anti-vax crisis, personality types prone to mask hesitance, depressive realism vs. optimism bias, and what the past predicts about the future.
feat. Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex
July 8th, 2020
Anonymity is blamed for some of the worst behavior online. Should everyone be forced to reveal their true identity instead?
In this episode, Laci contends that anonymity isn't the boogeyman it's made out to be. She is joined by Scott Alexander from Slate Star Codex to discuss his crisis over a forced doxxing at the New York Times, the double edged sword of cancel culture, China's censorship problem, internet trolls, group think, and why we struggle with self control online.
Is policing as we know it on the way out? In this episode, we discuss the militarization of the police, whether we should defund police departments, and what it will take to move forward in the wake of so much state-sanctioned violence and trauma.
Are we living through the golden age of conspiracy theories? Laci Green takes a closer look at the psychology of conspiracy theories, the internet rabbit hole, and what we can learn from real conspiracies.
Laci Green explores the myriad ways that existential anxiety may affect human behavior. She is joined by Dr. Jeff Greenberg, one of the original researchers behind Terror Management Theory. She explores what Terror Management Theory is, and how our closely held beliefs and self esteem help us to live forever.
As mass media infiltrates our lives, our communication skills are waning. Laci is joined by Peter Boghossian to discuss methods to navigate political disagreements.
The psychological functions of virtue signaling, belief hygiene, if and when to draw the line with friends, how to change minds, justice vs. kindness, silencing dissidents, managing anger, and letting others be wrong.
What happens when girl power unites with the household webcam? Meet the modern cam girl.
Chapter 1: Girl Power
Girl power grew out the 90s punk rock scene and eventually dominated pop music. Nearly 30 years later, it continues to make an impact in unexpected ways.
Chapter 2: The Sex Work Revolution
A heated feminist debate about sex work churns online. Laci explores how the blurred lines between private and public life creates new relationships and career options.
Chapter 3: The Secret Life of Cam Girls
Laci chats with Ginger Banks, a well known cam girl. They discuss her foray into camming, the problems facing performers, and what it all means for girls and the internet.
Juicy gossip has entertained us for centuries. But what happens when the rumor mill comes for you?
Chapter 1: The Rumor Mill
Laci traces the origins of the gossip industry and shares some of her own experiences with rumors online.
Chapter 2: #SaveMarinaJoyce
Mass hysteria broke out online after Marina Joyce posted a video with an unblinking stare and bruises on her arms. Laci recounts the bizarre story.
Chapter 3: The Info Warp
Laci is joined by Dr. Taylor Carlson to discuss the psychology of rumor and misinformation. They explore how a story gets changed from person to person. They discuss why we spread rumors, what type of person is prone to gossip, and why we tend to gravitate toward negative information.
Online dating is here to stay. Dating should be easier than ever. And yet...it feels more exhausting. Where did we go wrong?
Chapter 1: Woman Seeks Man Laci shares her crazy first experience with online dating. She pays tribute to the old school dating services that paved the way to the future.
Chapter 2: Failure to Launch
I got 99 problems and most of them are dating apps. Laci explores the pain and pleasure points of today's dating tools.
Chapter 3: The Matchmakers Laci interviews Michael Bruch, creator of the independent dating app Sweet Pea. They discuss gender differences in online dating, how to find dating success, and some of the more insidious aspects of the dating biz.
feat. Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
October 16th, 2019
Online censorship is increasing around the world. What kind of speech (if any) goes too far?
Chapter 1: Your Video Has Been Removed
Laci recounts the escalating censorship of her sex education YouTube channel.
Chapter 2: The Biggest Influencer
F**king algorithms. How do they work? The brutal reality of the codes that govern the internet.
Chapter 3: The Great, Grey Area
Laci discusses free speech online with Jillian York of the EFF. They discuss an array of topics: increasing censorship around the world, hate speech, harassment, the cases of Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen Crowder, sex work, neo-nazi speech, Twitter’s not-so-free-speech policy, and how to save the internet.
The post-truth era has arrived. How do we address mass misinformation and deception online?
Chapter 1: The Death of Expertise
Laci reflects on the promise of the internet to bridge the information gap...and the messy reality we got instead.
Chapter 2: *Fake News Intensifies*
Laci and Tom share their perspectives on why fake news is so pervasive. Should social media companies intervene? They discuss the anti-vax movement, the 24/7 news cycle, and activist websites that pose as news sources.
Chapter 3: A Capitalist Education
Dr. Nichols lays out his case for the role of higher education in the fake news crisis.