135 – Robin Hanson on ‘The Elephant in the Brain’

Robin Hanson is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is the author of The Age of Em and co-author of the new book The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life which is a facilitating look into the real reasons that motivate people and society.

In this episode, Isaac and Robin dive into some of the ideas from Elephant in the Brain and unravel the reasons why people continue to do things that don’t seem to work or help them achieve their stated goals.

Topics Discussed:

  • Robin’s new book, The Elephant in the Brain
  • Split-brain patients
  • The reasons for vague language
  • The lack of correlation between medicine and health
  • Using gifts to show how much we care
  • The cost of violating norms
  • Why religious people are healthier and wealthier
  • Demonstrating group loyalty through ritual
  • Religion and politics
  • Signaling and education
  • Our choices have audiences
  • How signals change over time


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