Your gut instinct is usually wrong

Sean Illing talks with former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Don't Trust Your Gut. Seth argues that the way we make decisions is wrong, outdated, and based on methods or conventional wisdom that lead us astray from getting what we want. Sean and Seth discuss the idea of using data in place of our own intuition and reason to help us through things like online dating, picking a place to live, and being a better parent. Plus, how can we trust "experience sampling" studies that rely on self-reporting, when — after all — everybody lies? Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (@SethS_D), author References:  Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Dey Street; 2022) Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Dey Street; 2018) Moneyball (dir. Bennett Miller, 2011); based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton; 2004) "Capitalists in the Twenty-First Century" by Matthew Smith et al. (Quarterly Journal of Economics v. 134 (4); 2019) The Mappiness Project, created by George MacKerron and Susanna Mourato "Machine learning uncovers the most robust self-report predictors of relationship quality across 43 longitudinal couples studies" by Samantha Joel et al. (PNAS v. 117 (32); 2020) "Are You Happy While You Work?" by Alex Bryson and George MacKerron (The Economic Journal v. 127 (599); Feb. 2017) "Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year" by Matthew Killingsworth (PNAS v. 118 (4); 2021) "The Amount and Source of Millionaires' Wealth (Moderately) Predicts Their Happiness" by Grand Edward Donnelly et al. (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin v. 44 (5); May 2018) “When Choice Is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” by Sheena S. Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper (J. of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(6); 2000) "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New EvidenceFfrom the Moving to Opportunity Project" by Raj Chetty et al. (American Economic Review v. 106 (4); 2016) "Education Doesn't Work" by Freddie deBoer (Substack; Apr. 12, 2021) "Predicting political elections from rapid and unreflective face judgments" by Charles C. Ballew and Alexander Todorov (PNAS v. 104 (46); 2007) Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity — What Our Online Lives Tell Us About Our Offline Selves by Christian Rudder (Crown; 2015)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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