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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Jun 23, 2022

Welcome back to another exciting and informative episode of the Rational Reminder Podcast, a show all about finances and how to get the most of your money responsibly. To make the right decisions regarding your investments, besides the knowledge and understanding of financial systems, you also need to understand the psychology behind your decisions. To help us unpack this complicated and interesting subject is Professor Vanessa Bohns, a Social Psychologist and Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Cornell University. Professor Bohns has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia and is the author of You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters. The topic of the book is exactly what today’s show is about, as we delve into the intricacies of human behaviour and decision-making. In today’s episode, we learn about the influence that people have on one another, how people perceive one another, the human behaviours that scammers take advantage of, why people worry about saying the wrong thing, what the default behaviour of people is, why people struggle to say no to a request, and so much more! Don’t miss out on this fascinating episode with special guest and expert, Professor Vanessa Bohns!


Key Points From This Episode:


  • How much impact and influence people have on one another. [0:03:09]
  • What people tend to notice about other people. [0:04:50]
  • Why people don’t realize what other people are paying attention to. [0:08:58]
  • How being in the presence of other people affects experiences. [0:10:31]
  • Whether communicating with someone about a shared experience amplifies it. [0:12:41]
  • Reasons why some people are underconfident in their social lives. [0:13:20]
  • Problems that stem from underconfidence. [0:15:52]
  • The consequences of underestimating how much people like us. [0:18:02]
  • Why people worry about saying the wrong thing. [0:20:53]
  • Whether it is default to believe or disbelieve when assessing information. [0:22:55]
  • The impact of people interacting with people anonymously. [0:26:01]
  • How the default to believe people impacts receiving advice from experts. [0:27:22]
  • The authority on a subject can switch between domains of expertise. [0:31:19]
  • Ways in which scammers take advantage of behavioural biases. [0:32:22]
  • Problems caused by people being dishonest or spreading false information. [0:34:47]
  • Approaches to ensure that you are not spreading misinformation unintentionally. [0:36:04]
  • Why asking for what you want is so effective. [0:38:21]
  • Whether asking for what you want becomes easier over time. [0:40:33]
  • The effect that money has when asking for something. [0:42:24]
  • Differences in response to small or large requests. [0:43:48]
  • How responses differ between direct and indirect requests. [0:45:23]
  • What effect asking in person as opposed to over email or text have on responses. [0:47:20]
  • Reasons behind the hesitancy for people to ask for what they want. [0:49:04]
  • Why people find it difficult to reject a request from someone. [0:50:36]
  • Whether saying no in person is the same as saying no over email. [0:52:12]
  • Feeling guilty and whether you should feel bad asking for things. [0:53:52]
  • How people generally respond to unethical requests. [0:56:21]
  • Find out if people with authority realize how much influence they have. [0:59:01]
  • Approaches to help people be more aware of their influence. [1:00:58]
  • A rundown of the impacts of not being aware of other people has. [1:05:12]
  • We end the show with Professor Bohns sharing her definition of success. [1:07:41]