If we are open minded, we challenge our beliefs and accept that our thinking can, at times, be misguided. After all, our thoughts are merely a function of our personal habits, experiences and internal communication. Dr Howard Rankin PhD encourages us to recognize the value of critical thinking, and become more aware of our own consciousness.

To conclude our November series on Conspiracy Theories, our guest on this episode, Dr. Howard Rankin PhD, talks about how our consciousness has been conditioned. By understanding how the thinking process works and being aware of our own consciousness, we gain more perspective on our beliefs. So we should focus more on HOW to think, and less on WHAT to think. 

Howard is an inspirational educator on the subjects of mind-body medicine, spirituality, neuropsychology and cognitive function, personal change and transformation. Frequently appearing on radio, TV and podcasts, Howard is also an author. His latest book, "I Think Therefore I Am Wrong: A Guide to Bias, Political Correctness, Fake News and the Future of Mankind" (https://amzn.to/3DXNTLM) shines light on the human thought process and how it can often be seriously flawed.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through the Behavioral Grooves Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. Also leaving a short review on our podcast really helps others to find our content, thanks.


(3:52) Welcome and speed round questions.

(10:50) Is there a difference between OUR reality and THE reality?

(17:34) Why do we underestimate critical thinking?

(25:19) Can social norms influence what we consider to be true?

(27:37) How do we reconcile our need for certainty? 

(28:27) How do we challenge our own beliefs?

(35:58) Challenging ourselves on not WHAT to think but HOW to think.

(37:37) How we can focus education on how to think, not what to think.

(43:30) What music makes Howard think?

(49:08) How you can learn more about Howard’s work.

(49:58) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim discussing how they are wrong!

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Leading Human™ Workbook and Playbook: https://www.behavioralgrooves-store.com/products/copy-of-the-leading-human-playbook-workbook-package

Leading Human™, Free Whitepaper Download: https://www.behavioralgrooves-store.com/collections/leading-human/products/human-centered-workplace-checklist

Promo Code: GROOVERS to receive $20 off (limited time offer for listeners).

Dr. Howard Rankin PhD, "I Think Therefore I Am Wrong: A Guide to Bias, Political Correctness, Fake News and the Future of Mankind": https://amzn.to/3DXNTLM

Dr. Howard Rankin PhD: https://www.drhowardjrankin.com/ 

I Think Therefore I Am Wrong Website: www.ithinkthereforeiamwrong.com

How Not to Think Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-not-to-think/id1488982079 

YouTube channel – Howard Rankin: https://www.youtube.com/c/howardrankin  

Clayton Kershaw: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_Kershaw 

Joe Montana: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Montana 

Episode 176, Annie Duke on How to Decide: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/annie-duke-on-how-to-decide/

George Box: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_E._P._Box 

Bayesian Theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_probability 

Musical Links

Mozart “Requiem”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI 

The Beatles “Help”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q_ZzBGPdqE 

Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGoDaYjdfSg 

Need some respite from the work day grind? Join the fun on this episode for a light-hearted take on workplace humor. Dan Hill delivers a real tongue-in-cheek take on the corporate lingo and jargon that infiltrates our workplaces. But with every joke he makes, there is a pang of truth: “emojis; the feelings you would be having at work if they were allowed.

Dan’s new book; “Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo(https://amzn.to/3nB3hYB) is written in collaboration with over 50 contributors from across the world (including our one and only Tim Houlihan!) who have collectively provided almost 600 definitions of how the workplace really operates.

Our conversation with Dan is not just hilariously funny, he also cracks open the truth on workplace humor being an effective way of tackling serious goals. With this "snarky" book Dan wants to bring the issues of bullying and inequality in the workplace to the forefront of peoples minds. So why use humor to address such momentous issues? In Dan's own words, humor can open your eyes: “A good cartoon, a good joke, I think really captures the essence of a situation, and it does open you up, it's got that aha, twist and turn to a phrase a concept. When we're surprised our eyes go wider, our mouth drops open and means we shut up and we notice the world around us. So I am trying for that element of surprise.

Welcoming Dan back to Behavioral Grooves in this episode was simply a barrel of laughs for us. But please note, that our discussion contains some language you might not want your kids to hear.

We really do have a lot of fun creating the Behavioral Grooves Podcast, but like Dan said “having fun IS hard work!”. If you’d like to chip in with our work, please consider becoming a monthly contributor at our Patreon site: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. Becoming a special Behavioral Grooves Patreon will open up some exclusive show content just for you!


(4:32) Welcome and speed round questions.

(11:20) Addressing the fact that 20-25% of managers are bullies.

(14:43) Dan reads entries from his snarky book!

(15:47) What is the devil’s dictionary? 

(17:59) Using humor to open people's eyes.

(21:30) How Dan is tackling inequality in the workplace with humor.

(29:11) Grooving with Tim and Kurt on what funny things we learnt from Dan’s interview.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo” by Dan Hill, Howard Moskowitz, James Monroe: https://amzn.to/3nB3hYB 

“Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success” by Dan Hill: https://amzn.to/3FONtbb 

“Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others” by Dan Hill: https://amzn.to/3nL5eli 

Dan Hill, Episode 151: On the Facial Coding of Trump, Hendrix, Prince, Gretzky and the Beatles: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/facial-coding-of-trump/

Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dan-hills-eq-spotlight/id1519669707 

John McEnroe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEnroe 

The Devil's Dictionary : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Dictionary

Vanessa Bohns, Episode 253. Why You Don‘t Need to be Powerful to be Influential: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/influence-vanessa-bohns/

Patreon Site for Behavioral Grooves: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves

Musical Links

Bob Dylan “The Times are A-Changin’”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90WD_ats6eE 

The Beatles “Hard Days Night”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjyj8qnqkYI 

What makes us more likely to believe in conspiracy theories? Can our religious beliefs or political affiliations determine whether we're less likely to believe in scientific facts? Why are health conspiracy theories some of the most widely believed notions? We revisit a conversation with Eric Oliver who talks us through the factors that drive people towards conspiracy theories.

Eric Oliver, PhD is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Although the majority of his work is squarely in the realm of how we view our political systems and make political decisions, some of his work echoes moral psychology and sociology, and we find it fascinating. And, frankly, some of it is just downright fun to talk about.

Eric’s observations come from more than 20 years of research, dozens of peer-reviewed papers, and he is the author of 5 books on political science. We specifically talked about how liberals and conservatives name their children, the rise of intuitionism, having dinner with a sports star rather than a rock star, and of course, he spoke in-depth about conspiracy theories.

Most importantly, he walked us through some key aspects of how to have a conversation with someone who is on the opposite side of the conspiracy-theory belief system and, interestingly enough, it begins with empathy. Listen to the entire episode to hear all his insights and research anecdotes. They’ll put a smile on your face as well as fresh ideas into your brain!

We have been fans of his work for some time and are grateful that Eric shared his insights with us. We think you’ll become a fan, too, if you’re not already one.

[NOTE: This episode is republished from our interview with Eric in episode #172 from Sept 2020.]

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


(3:17) Welcome and speed round.

(10:17) What characteristics predict whether you will believe in conspiracy theories?

(19:24) People rely on heuristics in times of uncertainty.

(24:48) Have conspiracy theories increased since Covid?

(27:03) What factors make us more likely to believe conspiracy theories?

(32:36) Do religious people tend to believe more in conspiracy theories?

(38:47) Why Donald Trump appeals to conspiracy theorists.

(42:50) How to talk to your relatives about their conspiracy theories?

(45:33) What music does Eric listen to?

(53:19) Grooving session with Tim and Kurt discussing Eric's work.


Eric Oliver, PhD: https://political-science.uchicago.edu/directory/eric-oliver 

Jonathan Haidt, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt 

James Frazer, “The Golden Bough”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough 

Katherine Surma on Credulity: https://www.jericoliver.com/uploads/1/1/8/9/118973414/surmaoliver3.5.18-final.pdf 

Laurie Santos, PhD: The Joe Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GimHHAID_P0 

Steve Kerr: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Kerr 

Colin Kaepernick: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Kaepernick

Charles Manson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Manson 

Andy Luttrell, Episode 175: Pro’s and Con’s of Persuasion When Issues are Moralized: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/andy-luttrell-pros-and-cons-of-persuasion-when-issues-are-moralized/

Kwame Christian, Episode 178: On Compassionate Curiosity, Social Justice Conversations, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/kwame-christian-on-compassionate-curiosity-social-justice-conversations-and-cinnamon-toast-crunch/

Musical Links

LCD Sound System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqq3BtGrpU8 

Kurt Weil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Weill 

Phillip Glass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M73x3O7dhmg 

Keith Richards and Chuck Berry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERVLy-ltjHs 

Misinformation is like a virus, spreading quickly and propagating in a way that doesn’t benefit its host. Andy Noman describes harmful ideas as acting like “mind parasites” that deploy clever tactics to infect our thinking by circumventing our mental immune systems. And we’re even more susceptible to bad ideas than we realize. 

So how do we immunize ourselves against mind parasites? Can we reach herd immunity? Can we critically think our way out of this epidemic of unreason? After 30 years of research on this topic, Andy has concluded that the traditional models of critical thinking are not up to the task in our hyper-connected world. We need a more comprehensive framework for inoculating our minds against viral nonsense. 

Andy Norman is an award-winning author who teaches philosophy at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. He has recently published his new book, “Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think”: https://amzn.to/3o6OjbU. We are thrilled to welcome Andy as part of our series on understanding more about Conspiracy Theories. Our conversation with Andy reveals details of his framework for strengthening our own mental immunity. We hope you enjoy listening!

Subscribe to Behavioral Grooves on your podcast player so you are notified about our new episodes. Next week we will be hearing from Prof. Eric Oliver about how to talk to our friends and family about conspiracy theories.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through our Behavioral Grooves Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. We also love reading your reviews on the podcast, which help others find our content.


(3:37) Welcome and speed round questions.

(6:20) We are experiencing an epidemic of unreason. 

(8:17) How can we immunize ourselves against disinformation? 

(14:10) How our identity can affect our mental immunity.

(17:54) A framework for mental immunity. 

(21:11) Thinking in probabilities instead of in black & white.

(26:08) Why acknowledging other people's truths can have a surprising effect. 

(29:38) The objective difference between a good idea and a bad idea.

(32:25) Arguing with someone who only cares about themselves.

(38:54) Is there a chance we will reach mental herd immunity?

(44:13) What music is on Andy’s playlist?

(47:11) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim talking about how to apply Andy’s work.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think” by Andy Norman: https://amzn.to/3o6OjbU 

Ludwig Wittgenstein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein 

Socrates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates 

Dan Kahan, “Identity Protective Cognition”: https://bit.ly/2YxM3Sk 

Episode 176: Annie Duke on How to Decide: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/annie-duke-on-how-to-decide/

Musical Links

Mark Knopfler “Piper to the End”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsrKWwx3x7o

How do you respond to someone who says “the earth is flat” or “Covid is a hoax”? Before we can try and reason with conspiracy theorists, we must first understand the reason they have ventured down that path. Lee McIntyre has spent years researching science deniers and has found a common set of traits in their behavior. He also argues that we shouldn’t sit back and assume conspiracy theories are harmless. Find out more from Lee in this episode about how to talk with science deniers and how even to change their minds about the facts.

Our Conspiracy Theories Series continues this month with Lee McIntyre, author of the new book “How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason”: https://amzn.to/3qaV134. To gather research for the book, Lee attended a flat earth convention to understand more about the followers who believe in the flat earth conspiracy. His findings are enlightening. 

Lee is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and an Instructor in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. He’s had a distinguished career in teaching and researching issues that we found fascinating.

Next week we continue our Conspiracy Theories Series with Andy Norman, author of the enthralling new book, “Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think”: https://amzn.to/3o6OjbU. We learn about how bad ideas can infect our minds and how we can boost our own mental immunity. Subscribe to Behavioral Grooves on your podcast player so you’re the first to be notified when we publish a new episode. 


(9:33) Speed Round

(11:36) Lee’s experience attending a Flat Earth Convention.

(14:56) How people become convinced by conspiracy theories.

(17:09) The value of having face to face conversations.

(22:10) How to have those difficult conversations with your family and friends.

(26:08) The 5 common traits of science deniers.

(31:31) Is the educational system really teaching us about how science works?

(36:23) Why should we take science deniers seriously?

(38:53) Why is science denial growing?

(43:27) Political identity and science denial. 

(58:14) The music that got Lee through Covid

(1:06:14) Grooving Session with Tim and Kurt discussing what they talked about with Lee.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason” by Lee McIntyre: https://amzn.to/3qaV134

McIntyre, L. “Calling all Physicists” American Journal of Physics 87, 694 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1119/1.5117828

Beyond the Curve documentary: https://www.netflix.com/title/81015076

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway: https://amzn.to/3q39Y7m

Cranky Uncle: https://crankyuncle.com/

You’re Not So Smart Podcast: https://youarenotsosmart.com/podcast/

Behavioral Grooves Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves 

Musical Links

The Beatles “Here Comes the Sun”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQetemT1sWc

The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJDJs9dumZI

The Beatles “Something”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UelDrZ1aFeY

The Beatles “Blackbird”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Man4Xw8Xypo

The Beatles “Hide your Love Away”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8nLraecPRY

The Beatles, The Medley on the Flipside of Abbey Road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAIUxGn9lCI

The Beatles “Because”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL0tnrl2L_U

The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtUH9z_Oey8

Host of Hidden Brain podcast, Shankar Vedantam talks with us about the powers: both useful and harmful, of our delusional thinking. Nations are an example of useful delusions; they are an entirely human-made construct, yet they can present us with a unifying, shared identity. 

There is a tipping point, however, at which our beliefs can become harmful to someone else. Shankar defines conspiracy theories as a particular type of self deception which can easily escalate into harmful behavior.

Our conversation with Shankar touches on the Capitol Riots in Washington DC on January 6th 2021, and how conspiracy theories influenced the behavior of the rioters.

Conspiracy theories, I think are a sort of special case of self deception, which...can easily take over into things that are deeply harmful.”

The challenge most of us face though, is how to talk to our friends and family who believe in conspiracy theories. And on that point, Shankar explains the Illusion Of Explanatory Depth and how conversations with our loved ones need to start with an air of empathy and compassion.

You can listen to our full interview with Shankar Vedantam in Episode 222: How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/shankar-vedantam-useful-delusions/. 

This bitesize episode is the introduction to our Conspiracy Theories Series, which will run through the month of November 2021. Over the next few weeks, you will hear from some of the brightest minds in the field of conspiracy theories and science denial. Here is our line up for the month:

  • Nov 7th, 2021: Lee McIntyre discussing his new book, “How To Talk to A Science Denier.” 
  • Nov 14th, 2021: Andy Norman talking about his new book “Mental Immunity”.
  • Nov 21st, 2021: Eric Oliver, a political science professor at the University of Chicago who has studied conspiracy theorists for over 20 years. 
  • Nov 28th, 2021: Howard Rankin, describing his new book “I Think Therefore I Am Wrong.” 

Subscribe or follow Behavioral Grooves on your podcast player so you don’t miss out on this fascinating series about conspiracy theories.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Subscribe to the Behavioral Grooves Newsletter: https://behavioralgrooves.com/ 

Write a review of Behavioral Grooves podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/behavioral-grooves-podcast/id1303870112 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves 

Shankar Vedantam, Episode 222. How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/shankar-vedantam-useful-delusions/

Shankar Vedantam of Hidden Brain: https://hiddenbrain.org/ 

Shankar Vedantam, “Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain”: https://amzn.to/2PUkzlv

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App