On Wisdom

What does science tell us about wisdom?

About the show

On Wisdom features a social and cognitive scientist in Toronto and an educator in London discussing the latest empirical science regarding the nature of wisdom. Igor Grossmann runs the Wisdom & Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Charles Cassidy runs the Evidence-Based Wisdom project in London, UK. The podcast thrives on a diet of freewheeling conversation on wisdom, decision-making, wellbeing, and society and includes regular guests spots with leading behavioral scientists from the field of wisdom research and beyond. Welcome to The On Wisdom Podcast.

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Episodes

  • 51: Tricky Colleagues and Contagious Emotions (with Tessa West)

    November 15th, 2022  |  57 mins 48 secs
    affect contagion, emotions, happiness, jerks at work, meaning, new york university, philosophy, physiological synchrony, psychology, purpose, reasoning, social science, tessa west, well being, wendy berry mendes, wisdom

    How do we respond wisely to foolish behaviour in the workplace? Tessa West joins Igor and Charles to talk about the most common types of ‘jerks at work’ - including the bulldozer, the credit stealer, and the gaslighter, discussing what drives such unhelpful behaviour, and how best to deal with it. Igor explores the different ways we can respond to uncertainty in the workplace, Tessa suggests that we’re surprisingly nice to moral violators, and Charles learns the importance of building in ‘affect contagion buffers’ into his day! Welcome to Episode 51.

  • 50: Morality Meets World (with Joshua Greene)

    October 9th, 2022  |  57 mins 28 secs
    culture, dual process theory, effective altruism, emotions, giving multiplier, happiness, joshua greene, meaning, moral tribes, no cognitive miracles principle, pandemic, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, social psychology, society, trolley problems, wisdom, wisdom of repugnance, yuck factor

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    Can insights from moral psychology increase donations to more effective charities? Joshua Greene joins Igor and Charles to discuss ventilator allocation and other pandemic-related trolley problems, deep pragmatism, the dual process theory of moral judgement, and the power of the veil of ignorance. Igor gets excited about the role of metacognition for wisdom, Joshua reveals in what contexts we feel more comfortable pushing a fat man off a bridge, and Charles learns that when it comes to unfamiliar moral problems, we should not expect cognitive miracles! Welcome to Episode 50.

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  • 49: Wise Goals (with Ayelet Fishbach)

    August 31st, 2022  |  47 mins 44 secs
    assessment, ayelet fishbach, culture, emotions, goals, habits, happiness, meaning, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, self-regulation, social psychology, society, wendy wood, wisdom

    What does goal-setting have to do with wisdom and how do we pick wise goals? Ayelet Fishbach joins Igor and Charles to discuss the dangers of moving too swiftly from planning-mode to action-mode, how to compromise across multiple goals, and why we need to rethink our relationships with vegetables! Igor underscores the importance of thinking of wisdom as a process rather than an outcome, Ayelet encourages us to change our situation rather than ourselves, and Charles learns the benefits of approaching a choice as if you’d make it 100 times. Welcome to Episode 49.

  • 48: A Joyous Journey from Black-and-White to Grey (with Tom Gilovich)

    August 1st, 2022  |  48 mins 26 secs
    amos tversky, basketball, bias blind spot, black and white thinking, cosmic insignificance, critical thinking, daniel kahneman, emotions, george loewenstein, happiness, hot hand effect, i-frame, less ross, meaning, nick chater, nudges, oliver burkeman, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, richard nisbett, s-frame, social science, spotlight effect, tom gilovich, well being, wisdom

    Is "the spectrum" a more helpful way to think about the world than "categories"? Tom Gilovich joins Igor and Charles to discuss the perils of black-and-white thinking, the evolving data on the hot hand phenomenon, the science of regret, why foxes are wiser than hedgehogs, and the freedom that comes from learning that we are of less interest to other people than we think. Igor considers the limits of psychological nudging in tackling society’s structural problems, Tom shares the perspective that leads him to be so unrelentingly joyful, and Charles learns that even scientists have to work hard to avoid being typecast. Welcome to Episode 48.

  • 47: Charting Pandemic Waters: A Common Wisdom Model for Uncertain Times (with Howard Nusbaum) - Rebroadcast

    July 20th, 2022  |  1 hr 2 mins
    adversity, alfred binet, artificial intelligence, balance of self- and other-oriented interests, candace vogler, centre for practical wisdom, common wisdom model, cortex-adaptability, dialectal thinking, emotions, epistemic humility, happiness, howard nusbaum, iq, jingle-jangle fallacy, keith stanovich, meaning, metacognition, moral-grounding, nancy snow, perspectival insight, perspectivism, philosophy, propositional logic, psychology, purpose, pursuit of truth, reasoning, shared humanity, social science, social-cognitive processing, toronto wisdom task force, university of chicago, valerie tiberius, value-action gap, values, well being, wisdom, wisdom measurement

    (First Broadcast - 21st June 2020)

    What is the value of wisdom in the time of the global pandemic? Does the community of behavioural scientists studying wisdom agree on anything about the nature of wisdom? Can we say what we now know about wisdom and, conversely, what do we know we don’t yet know? Howard Nusbaum joins Igor and Charles to discuss the recently assembled Toronto Wisdom Task Force and the resulting Common Wisdom Model, meta-cognition, the thorny issue of moral-grounding, and sage advice regarding how to measure wisdom in the lab. Igor stresses the importance of building solid theoretical foundations for the field in the context of the pandemic, Howard reflects on the viability of evil wisdom, and Charles learns that we had better pay close attention today to the values we program into the decision-making robots of tomorrow.

  • 46: Antifragility, Gut Feelings, and the Myth of Pure Evil (with Jonathan Haidt) - Rebroadcast

    June 27th, 2022  |  58 mins 20 secs
    antifragility, authoritarian conservatives, buddhism, chris martin, culture, dale carnegie, donald trump, edmund burke, emotions, evergreen state college, greg lukianoff, happiness, heraclitus, heterodox academy, jonathan haidt, karen stenner, laissez-faire conservatives, manichaeism, marcus aurelius, meaning, middlebury college, moral foundations theory, more in common, narrowcasting, nassim nicholas taleb, national review magazine, nicholas rosenkranz, philosophy, polarization, psychology, purpose, reasoning, richard schweder, robert putnam, ronald reagan, social psychology, social science, society, status quo conservatives, stoicism, the coddling of the american mind, the great awokening, the happiness hypothesis, the perception gap, the righteous mind, thomas sowell, well being, wisdom

    (First Broadcast - 4th November 2019)

    Does that which doesn’t kill you make you weaker? Should we always follow our emotions? Is life a battle between good people and bad people? And critically, what might the adoption of these three popular, but unwise, ideas be doing to a rising generation of young adults? Jonathan Haidt joins Igor and Charles to discuss the three great untruths of modern life, the nature of antifragility, the 'great awokening,' rising violence on US university campuses, and the origin story of the Heterodox Academy. Igor suggests that diversity can help some projects while hindering others, Jon shares his ultimate conflict-resolving ninja skill, and Charles learns that conservative voters come in radically different shapes and sizes.

  • 45: Wisdom at Work (with Barry Schwartz) - Rebroadcast

    June 7th, 2022  |  59 mins 20 secs
    aristotle, barry schwartz, character, feedback, free-rider, freelancers, idea technology, incentives, money, practical wisdom, rules, salary, virtue ethics, wisdom, work, workplace

    (First Broadcast - 28th December 2018)

    Can we design our workplaces to generate wiser behaviour? Why do we work anyway, and would we still work if we didn’t get paid? Do employers even want their employees to develop wisdom? Barry Schwartz joins Igor and Charles to discuss how Aristotle’s Practical Wisdom applies in the 21st Century, the reasons why we work, idea technology, the unintended consequences of rules-based systems, and the moral dangers and limits of incentives. Igor proposes the idea of algorithm-based wise machines, Barry suggests companies hire for character rather than skill, and Charles learns why, in wiser work places, the cost of free-riders may well be a price worth paying.

  • 44: A Special Announcement

    May 24th, 2022  |  1 min 48 secs
    culture, emotions, happiness, meaning, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, social psychology, society, wisdom

    Igor and Charles return with a special announcement for On Wisdom listeners ...

  • 43: Invisible to Ourselves: A Life of a Psychological Scientist (with Richard Nisbett)

    December 4th, 2021  |  1 hr 11 mins
    actor-observer bias, amos tversky, analytic perception, culture, daniel kahneman, emotions, happiness, holistic perception, intelligence, iq, job interviews, lee ross, meaning, mental processes, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, richard nisbett, social psychology, society, wisdom

    A disturbing thought - might it be impossible for us to directly observe the workings of our minds? Richard Nisbett joins Igor and Charles to discuss a life lived on the cutting edge of behavioral sciences in the second part of the 20th Century. He shares tales from his groundbreaking research into our faulty mindware, discussing various biases, cultural differences in cognitive processes, our inability to directly observe our mental processes, and why job interviews are not only unhelpful but potentially harmful to our ability to hire the best person for the job. Igor is keen to learn about the human beings behind some of the 20th Century’s academic idols in social psychology like Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky and Lee Ross, Richard explains why important work and interesting work are not necessarily the same thing, and Charles struggles to make sense of when we do and don’t intervene to help strangers in peril. Welcome to Episode 43.

  • 42: Reflections on Wisdom in the World after Covid

    October 23rd, 2021  |  37 mins 36 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, anand menon, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, barry schwartz, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, despair, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, loneliness, long-term orientation, michael bond, mistrust, nature, nicholas christakis, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 41: Wisdom for Negative Consequences (Pt. I) - Social Support, Sympathy & Compassion, Acknowledging Uncertainty, and Balancing Diverse Interests

    October 4th, 2021  |  35 mins 14 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, barbara fredrickson, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, despair, dilip jeste, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, katie mclaughlin, loneliness, long-term orientation, mistrust, nature, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, valerie tiberius, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 40: World After Covid series: Negative Consequences (Part II) - Autobiographical Memory, Estrangement, Political Conflict, and Prejudice

    August 4th, 2021  |  38 mins 14 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, david rooney, despair, douglas kenrick, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, jeffrey zacks, loneliness, long-term orientation, mistrust, nature, optimism, patience, paula niedenthal, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 39: World After Covid series: Negative Consequences (Part I) - Social Inequality, Loneliness, Economic Hardships, and Despair

    July 11th, 2021  |  30 mins 30 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, azim shariff, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, despair, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, loneliness, long-term orientation, mistrust, nature, nicholas christakis, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, roy baumeister, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, veronica benet martinez, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 38: World After Covid series: Wisdom for Positive Consequences (Pt. II) - Critical Thinking, Intellectual Humility, Political Cooperation, and Solidarity

    June 30th, 2021  |  43 mins 12 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, david dunning, david passig, despair, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, jennifer lerner, loneliness, long-term orientation, mark schaller, mistrust, nature, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 37: World After Covid series: Wisdom for Positive Consequences (Pt. I) - Sympathy and Compassion, Self-distancing, Perspective-taking, and Learning from pandemics

    June 3rd, 2021  |  29 mins 36 secs
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, anand menon, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, despair, economic hardship, edouard machery, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, laura carstensen, loneliness, long-term orientation, mistrust, nature, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, roxane cohen silver, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.

  • 36: World After Covid series: Positive Consequences (Part II) - Political cooperation, Nature, Solidarity, and Prosocial behaviours

    April 13th, 2021  |  44 mins
    acknowledge uncertainty, agency, authoritarianism, autobiographical memory, barry schwartz, bipartisanship, care for elders, career disruptions, compassion, connectedness, control, coronavirus, covid-19, critical thinking, cultural change, dagomar degroot, despair, economic hardship, educational inequality, follow rules, forecast, gratitude, hope, improved communication, intellectual humility, intimate relation, irrationality, katie mclaughlin, loneliness, long-term orientation, mistrust, nature, optimism, patience, perspective-taking, pessimism, political conflict, political cooperation, political engagement, predictions, prosocial behavior, resilience, science interest, self-distancing, shared humanity, shinobu kitayama, social awareness, social inequality, social support, society, solidarity, structural change, sympathy, togetherness, trust, wac2020, wisdom, work-life balance, worldaftercovid

    On Wisdom dissects the latest research emerging from the field of wisdom research and discusses what it might mean for each of us and for society in terms of reasoning and living more wisely in the 21st Century.