by Robert Gressis
In this dialogue, Robert Gressis (UC Northridge) and Hugo Mercier (French National Center for Scientific Research, Not Born Yesterday) discuss how human belief and manipulation work, and Hugo’s research about why people aren’t as manipulable as we sometimes think.
01:24 Hugo’s thesis: when it comes to communication, people are not easily manipulated, but hard to manipulate. 07:19 If people aren’t easily manipulated, then how does Hugo explain the success of Hitler, Pol Pot, and Trump? 16:07 Aren’t people easily manipulated by leaders who share their political orientation? 21:00 Do people really believe the crazy things they espouse? 28:36 What is the connection between belief and behavior? 35:45 Sperber and Mercier’s “interactionist” theory of reason 41:00 Twitter as a counterexample to the interactionist theory of reason 48:18 Are people good at arguing? 53:13 Rational rioters and the extraordinary heterogeneity of crowds