Does Reverse Psychology Really Work? (NSQ Ep. 74)

November 14, 2021 @ 5:00am


Also: does knowing your family history affect your identity?

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Relevant Research & References

Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode:


Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology at Arizona State University.
Jack W. Brehm (deceased), professor of psychology at the University of Kansas.
Walter Mischel (deceased), professor of psychology at Columbia University.
Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.
Steven Levitt, professor of economics at the University of Chicago.
Steven Heine, professor of social and cultural psychology at the University of British Columbia.
Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University.
Earl Ray Dorsey, professor of neurology at the University of Rochester.
Ira Shoulson, professor of neurology at Georgetown University.
Kathryn Paige Harden, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.


The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality, by Kathryn Paige Harden (2021).
“Why Many Black Americans Changed Their Minds About Covid Shots,” by Audra D. S. Burch and Amy Schoenfeld Walker (The New York Times, 2021).
“State Lockdowns Have Become Politically Divisive. Here’s How We Can Come Together,” by Daniel T. Willingham (Los Angeles Times, 2020).
“Mail-In DNA Test Results Bring Surprises About Family History for Many Users,” by Nikki Graf (Pew Research Center, 2019).
“Huntington’s Disease,” by Mayo Clinic Staff (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, by Walter Mischel (2014).
“Optimal Expectations and Limited Medical Testing: Evidence from Huntington Disease,” by Emily Oster, Ira Shoulson, and E. Ray Dorsey (American Economic Review, 2013).
“See One Reason Why David Brooks is a Fan of Steven Pinker—The Moment Magazine Great D.N.A. Experiment,” by Nadine Epstein (Moment Magazine, 2012).
“Reactance Versus Rationalization: Divergent Responses to Policies That Constrain Freedom,” by Kristin Laurin, Aaron C. Kay, and Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Psychological Science, 2012).
“Genetic Essentialism: On the Deceptive Determinism of D.N.A.,” by Ilan Dar-Nimrod and Steven J. Heine (Psychological Bulletin, 2011).
“Fear of Health Insurance Loss Among Individuals at Risk for Huntington Disease,” by Emily Oster, E. Ray Dorsey, Jan Bausch, Aileen Shinaman, Elise Kayson, David Oakes, Ira Shoulson, and Kimberly Quaid (American Journal of Medical Genetics, 2008).
Choosing My Religion: A Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief, by Stephen Dubner (2006).
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini (1984).
Psychological Reactance: A Theory of Freedom and Control, by Sharon S. Brehm and Jack W. Brehm (1981).


Tags: Angela Duckworth, family history, genealogy, Rebecca Lee Douglas, reverse psychology, Stephen Dubner

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