191: What the internet can tell us about human nature (Seth Stephens-Davidowitz)

August 20, 2017

There are a lot of sensitive topics about human nature that would be interesting to study, such as people’s sexual behavior, or how racist people really are. Researchers studying those questions have always faced the problem that we tend to lie on surveys — but we don’t lie to Google. This episode features Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, economist and data scientist, and author of the book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Seth and Julia discuss the insights new research gives us into which parts of the USA are more racist, what kinds of strategies reduce racism, whether the internet is making political polarization worse, and the sexual fetishes and insecurities people will only admit to their search engine.

Transcript (PDF)