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Plain English with Derek Thompson

A Psychologist Explains Four Reasons the Internet Feels So Broken

Jay Van Bavel is a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University. His lab has published papers on how the internet became a fun-house mirror of extreme political opinions, why the news media has a strong negativity bias, why certain emotions go viral online, why tribalism is inflamed by online activity, and how the internet can make us seem like the worst versions of ourselves. At the same time, Van Bavel emphasizes that many of the group psychology dynamics that can make social media seem like a dumpster fire are also core to what makes humankind such a special and ingenious species. We discuss the four dark laws of online engagement and the basics of group psychology.
If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com.
Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Jay Van Bavel
Producer: Devon Baroldi
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Plain English with Derek Thompson
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