Adam Ruins Everything

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 37: Professor Stephan Lewandowsky on the Backfire Effect

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On Adam Ruins Everything, we're all about using persuasive, rational arguments to bring awareness to a topic and hopefully change some minds along the way. But as our expert Professor Stephan Lewandowsky points out, that can lead to the opposite result, known as the backfire effect. The backfire effect says that the more you try to change someone's mind, the less likely you are to actually change it. What is more effective is to restate facts, provide alternative narratives, and ask questions that poke holes in that person's argument.
 
Stephan appeared on Emily Ruins Adam Ruins Everything and is the Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol in the UK.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 36: Nikole Hannah-Jones on the Rippling Effects of Redlining and Segregation

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Many people have an idyllic view of the suburbs. You can have a lawn! Access to good schools! Safety! But much of that American dream has been historically reserved for white people. On this week's episode, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who appeared on Adam Ruins the Suburbs, joins us on the podcast to discuss racist federal housing laws like redlining, which prevented African American families from buying homes in certain neighborhoods in post-World War II America. This had disastrous rippling effects on the African American community; these laws made it harder for them to accrue wealth over the years and join the middle class. And even when these laws were ultimately deemed illegal under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, many didn't have the money to move into wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. This continues to have repercussions today - segregated neighborhoods means segregated schools, which means education resources are of course going to the wealthier, whiter school districts.
 
Nikole is an award-winning investigative reporter who covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. She currently writes extensively on modern-day school segregation throughout the country. You can find her fantastic story for This American Life, "The Problem We All Live With," on the recent desegregation of the Normandie School District in Missouri here.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Professor Natasha Dow Schüll On How Casinos & Slot Machines Are Designed to Facilitate Gambling Addiction

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When it comes to gambling, there's a perception people get addicted because there's always that glimmer of hope they can hit the big jackpot. But according to our podcast guest, Natasha Dow Schüll, many gamblers, and more specifically many slot machine gamblers, get addicted because they're in the "zone" - the feeling players describe when they're completely absorbed in a game. They don't really care about winning; rather they want to escape the world and become subsumed in their game.
 
Natasha, who appeared on Adam Ruins Vacations, says casinos also facilitate this addiction by designing the most optimal gambling experience which keeps gamblers playing...and playing...and playing. This ranges from the perambulant layout of the casinos themselves to the ergonomic design of the slot machine chairs, to the games' false wins that create an illusion of winning. Casinos are now even taking advantage of big data systems which track users' gambling preferences to incentivize players to stay in their chairs as long as possible. Like most other serious addictions, gambling addiction has dangerous ramifications; it can lead to divorce, bankruptcy, jail time and even suicide, so it's important that these casinos are monitored in some fashion.
 
Natasha is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is also the author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 34: Dr. Joann Elmore and Dr. Janie Lee on Why Mammogram Screenings are More Complex Than We Imagined

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For decades women have been told that they should start getting yearly mammograms at age 35. We think of it as a no-brainer, and mammograms do save lives. But their effects are much more complicated than we originally anticipated. Dr. Joann Elmore, who appeared on Adam Ruins Hospitals, explains how doctors can do a better job communicating the facts with their patients about mammograms. One in ten women who receive their annual screenings are routinely called back for additional testing. This is part of the screening process in the United States, and a failure to communicate that with patients can cause unnecessary anxiety. Furthermore, many women are also overdiagnosed, meaning they might have cancer but it may not be the aggressive kind and we should discuss appropriate treatment accordingly. Joann recommends that women begin talking to their doctors about breast cancer and mammograms slightly in their 40s and begin routine mammograms, meaning at least every two years, between ages 50-74.
 
Dr. Joann Elmore is a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, as well as an affiliate investigator with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Group Health Research Institute. She is joined by her colleague Dr. Janie Lee, who is an Associate Professor of Radiology and the Section Chief of Breast Imaging at the University of Washington.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 33: Anne Curzan Talks Grammar and the Flexibility of Language

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We've all done it. Corrected someone for saying 'literally' when they weren't being literal or for saying 'good' instead of 'well'. Professor Anne Curzan, who is this week's podcast guest, says it's normal to notice dialectical differences between different communities but we shouldn't shame people for talking as they do.

Anne, who appeared on Adam Ruins What We Learned in School, explains how grammar rules are not fixed in the English language. Language is constantly evolving and we’re the ones who get to shape it -- not dictionaries! So we can all stop correcting each other and just appreciate our different ways of speaking. On the podcast, Anne and Adam discuss how we should think of the dictionary as a field guide rather than the authority on language, how young people think about language and texting, and how Anne helped choose 2000's word of the millennium! Anne is an English Professor at the University of Michigan where she researches the history of English and lexicography. She is also a member of both the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel and the American Dialectical Society.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 32: Kevin Hall Gives Us the Skinny - Losing Weight and Keeping it Off is Hard

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It's rare to hear about a researcher from the National Institute of Health collaborating with a reality TV show. But that's exactly what Dr. Kevin Hall, a clinical researcher at the NIH, did after watching episodes of The Biggest Loser. Kevin's lab investigates how metabolism and the brain adapt in response to a variety of interventions to diet and physical activity. After watching the cast lose dramatic amounts of weight over the show's season, he wondered how that affected their long-term health.

 
Kevin actually visited the set of The Biggest Loser to monitor the contestants' health and six years later, he brought the former contestants to the NIH to research how their body adjusted since the competition. He found they surprisingly maintained a very low metabolic rate even though they regained most of their lost weight. So even if you have the incredible willpower to shed those pounds, it's ultimately really difficult to maintain that weight loss. What we can do is be more forgiving of ourselves and relieve some of the pressure to diet.

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 31: Courtney Jung on the History of Formula Feeding and Why It Gets a Bad Rap

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One of the most controversial topics is whether mothers breastfeed their babies versus formula feed. In a society that is so obsessed with being natural and organic, formula feeding is seen as unhealthy and irresponsible. In fact, the benefits of breastfeeding as compared to formula feeding are pretty marginal.
 
Courtney Jung, who appeared on Adam Ruins Having a Baby, discussed the myths behind breastfeeding and formula feeding on the TV show. Now she's on the podcast to get rid of formula feeding guilt once and for all! Courtney is a Political Science professor at the University of Toronto and the author of Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

 

 

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 30: Jackie Stevens Exposes the Bizarre World of Immigrations Courts and Detention Centers

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Jackie Stevens, a Political Theory Professor at Northwestern University, has seen first-hand how detention centers and immigration courts violate every assumption we have about how a fair justice system is supposed to work. Contrary to many people's assumptions, immigration courts are part of the executive branch, instead of the judicial branch like our other courts. That means they're not subject to the same due process, like having a jury and requiring public defenders. On the podcast Jackie describes how the system can even fail U.S. citizens; she tells the long and winding case of U.S. citizen Mark Lyttle who got trapped in the system and was erroneously deported to Mexico. Whatever your political stance may be, it's pretty clear this system fails not only the most vulnerable living in our country but even our very own citizens.

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.

Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 29: Pete Hammond Pulls Back the Curtain on Awards Shows

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On Adam Ruins Hollywood, Pete Hammond explained how behind every award show is a whole lot of campaigning. TV networks can spend between two to four million dollars on 'For Your Consideration' shipping costs alone. Pete now joins us on the podcast today to tell us how far TV networks go to campaign for their shows and how on-demand networks like Netflix and Amazon are flushing the Academies with cash and changing the entertainment industry.

 
Pete is the Awards Columnist for Deadline Hollywood, where he covers the Oscar and Emmy Seasons. Before joining Deadline, he was a regular contributing awards columnist for the online and print editions of The Los Angeles Times.
 
Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.

Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

 

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 28: Jean Twenge and Adam Discuss Their Differences on Generational Differences

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Professor Jean Twenge appears on the upcoming season two premiere of the Adam Ruins Everything TV show called Adam Ruins Having a Baby. But the reason Jean's on this week's podcast is to talk about something very different: generations.
 
Last year Adam gave a talk called 'Millenials Don't Exist', which sought to prove generational narratives can be inaccurate and reductive. The presentation actually referred to Jean's career-long work on the subject matter and may have made some jokes at her expense. 
 
A year later, when Adam and his team were researching on Adam Ruins Having a Baby, they came across Jean's work in a very different context - she's conducted extensive research on fertility patterns for women in their later 30s. So they invited her to be an expert on the TV show! While she and Adam were on set, they discussed their differences on generations and decided to continue the conversation on the podcast.
 
Jean is a psychology professor at San Diego State University and is the author of Generation Me and the upcoming iGen.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

 

 

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