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Think with Pinker: better decision making explored in new BBC series

Professor Steven Pinker

New 12-part OU/BBC series Think with Pinker explores the intricacies of decision making, inviting listeners to discover how to make better decisions themselves.

Professor Steven Pinker has spent his life thinking about thinking, and for this series, he created a critical thinking toolkit that he hopes will help us make better decisions about everything. Prominent thinkers, including Bill Gates, Hannah Fry and Siddartha Mukherjee, join him, along with people dealing with the consequences of irrationality, as he sets out to steer us away from common fallacies and logical traps set by our own animal brains.

The series covers topics such as the ongoing relationship between human expertise and statistical evidence; patterns in the randomness of everyday experiences and the dangers of over-interpreting coincidences; and why so many people believe in quackery and conspiracy.

Professor Derek Matravers is the academic consultant for the series. “Part of what motivates Professor Pinker is understanding the hurdles that trip us up when we try to think clearly about things. Such understanding is very important when social media can serve as a megaphone for misinformation. Clear thinking is almost the definition of philosophy, so we jumped at the chance to be involved.”

“Clarity of thought and expression is taught on all of The Open University’s Philosophy courses. One of the topics, concerning why we are less rational than we think we are, is discussed extensively in the third level course, Key Questions in Philosophy.”

Professor Derek Matravers, the OU expert working on the series, introduces two famous thought experiment quizzes which you can take to discover how rational you are – take the quizzes and discover more about the series on the Broadcast & Partnerships website

You can listen to the series on BBC Sounds and on BBC Radio Four on Thursdays at 16:00.

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