Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson – 16 Surprising Psychology Truths – Gurwinder Bhogal Podcast Summary

Modern Wisdom: #516 – Gurwinder Bhogal – 16 Surprising Psychology Truths | Free Podcast Summary

Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson – 16 Surprising Psychology Truths – Gurwinder Bhogal

  • Gurwinder Bhogal (@G_S_Bhogal) is a programmer and writer. His fields of interest include cognitive biases, mental models, status games, and social media
  • Expect to learn how ideologies make wise people stupid, why tragedy + time = comedy, why loot boxes in Diablo 3 are evil and manipulative, the biggest lesson Chris learned from Joe Rogan, why beauty causes prejudice, and much more.

The fading affect bias

  • The goodness and badness of memories fade over time but the badness fades faster
  • Some bad memories can become good memories, but good memories rarely become bad
  • Why does pain fade faster? Rationalization, downplay, distance, distract (emotional antibodies)
  • Negativity bias – a tendency for people to focus and remember bad news over good news
  • It feels your head up with bad memories and traumatic events

Problem with negative experiences

How to stop the ever-increasing intensity of negative experiences?

  • Fading effect bias acts as a kind of safety valve; releasing negative energy and retaining a sense of hope and motivation
  • It’s like a psychological defense mechanism
  • Bad things fade and become less bad and even can become a perverse source of joy

Regret is good

  • The memories will fade and won’t feel as intense and can even become a source of something valuable or at least funny
  • Regret is a sign of progress
  • If you experienced a bad event and learned from it, then there is no more need to feel any pain
  • Lingering feelings of regret can inform you if there is still something that you need to work on

It’s now impossible to distinguish trolling from sincerity online, partly because shitposts have become so lifelike, and partly because life has become so shitpost like.

The emotion of fear

  • Often, fear is more crippling than that which is feared 
  • We are overstimulated in the digital age, the stimuli are designed to make us feel a whole plethora of emotions
  • The way we act because of our emotions is beneficial to the people that are bombarding us with stimuli
  • The whole social media system is set up in a way to make us chase social approval (dopamine rush, we want more followers, more engagement with our posts, etc.)
  • This is true for every emotion that we can feel (anxiety, anger, desire, happiness, etc.)
  • If you are easily outraged, you are easily manipulated

Few foes crush us more than our emotions, so a victory over our enemies requires victory over our feelings about them.

Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.”


  • Looking at history, every authoritarian became crazier over time
  • Part of the reason for that is that people are so afraid of telling the truth so they tell them what they want to hear and inflate their ego
  • Stalin is the perfect example; when he was dying, nobody called the doctor because they were terrified of doing anything without his wishes
  • He was ruthless and known to kill people if they gave him the bad news
  • People didn’t want to tell him anything he didn’t want to hear
  • It’s not just authoritarians, it’s also people that are respected a lot, and even tech giants (we don’t want to displease Twitter to get banned)
  • It’s a limit on honesty

Deferred Happiness Syndrome

If I just do this, then I’ll be happy.

  • We tend to escape our lack of happiness on some arbitrary thing/problem that we believe we need to resolve to become happy 
  • What happens is that the problems never end
  • Understand that your life is happening now (the space in which you can decide and act), not in your hopes and memories
  • If you are delegating your problems to your future self, you are creating a chain because your future self tends to act a lot like you. Sooner or later, you have to make a stand

Taleb’s surgeons

  • You’re considering two people for a job, one pretty and one ugly, but their achievements are equal. Who do you hire?
  • The ugly one accomplished just as much while having a bias against them

Always factor in other people’s prejudices

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