The Psychology of Scams: Why We Fall for Fraud and How to Protect Yourself | Daniel Simons & Christopher Chabris

Splashy headlines, sensational findings and world-first results grab our attention but they also leave us vulnerable to deception. Constantly being skeptical of research is an impractical stance, so how do we avoid being fooled by fraud? Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris tell us exactly how.

Let's make sure that the experiment answers the question, or at least gives us data that we can interpret clearly as opposed to giving, the right result. ~ Dan Simons & Chris Chabris, Episode 365 Share on X

If you’re one of the 13 million viewers of the Monkey Business Illusion video on YouTube, you are already familiar with the work of our guests on this episode, Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. As long time experts in the areas of deception and fraud, they have just published an excellent new book on the topic; Nobody’s Fool: Why We Get Taken In and What We Can Do About It.

In our discussion with Dan Simons and Chris Chabris, we discuss ways to avoid being fooled and scammed based on insights from behavioral science. They talk about how habits and appealing information can make people vulnerable to deception. While being skeptical of everything all the time is impractical, people should be more skeptical when the stakes are high.

Scientific fraud is a growing concern and has hit the headlines again in the field of behavioral science. Dan and Chris outline the problems with current incentives in academic research and a new approach to conducting research that reduces the push for only publishing statistically significant results.

The snapshot takeaway from this monumental discussion though is when trying to figure out who to trust in a world swimming in disinformation, fraud and scams – look for the people who are routinely admit when they’re wrong. These are the people you can trust.

If you want a sign for who to trust, look for people who routinely admit when they're wrong. ~ Chris Chabris & Dan Simons, Episode 365 Share on X

Interviewing Dan and Chris was definitely a highlight of the 350+ episodes of Behavioral Grooves Podcast. We love bringing you insights from the best minds in the field of behavioral science. If you’d like to support our ongoing work, please consider becoming a Behavioral Grooves Patreon member.



(4:04) Welcome and speed round questions.

(6:56) What readers can get out of the book, Nobody’s Fool.

(11:06) Why is a book about deception timely?

(15:31) Who can we trust?

(18:52) The replication crisis in behavioral science.

(21:36) Registered reports – a new method for publishing research.

(23:46) How to ask the right questions.

(26:38) How to detect fraud in scientific papers?

(32:59) The tension between individual choice and incentives in research.

(37:58) Normalizing a lack of confidence in your own research results.

(41:49) The bullshit receptivity scale research.

(45:09) Tips on evading selection.

(50:43) What music Dan and Chris would take to a desert island.

(55:53) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on being fooled.


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AIRDATE: July 16, 2023 EPISODE 365

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The Psychology of Scams: Why We Fall for Fraud and How to Protect Yourself | Daniel Simons & Christopher Chabris