Adam Ruins Himself

Oct 02 2019

In the season finale, Adam battles with his inner self-doubt over how biases affect the show. He then exposes the shortcomings of story-telling, and the influence (or lack thereof) of advertising on the series' integrity.


Blindspot bias states that we’re more likely to recognize bias in OTHERS than in YOURSELF.

Irene Scopelliti, Carey K. Morewedge, Erin McCormick, H. Lauren Min, Sophie Lebrecht, Karim S. Kassam. “Bias Blind Spot: Structure, Measurement, and Consequences.” Management Science 61.10(2015).

One study asked 661 people if they felt they were more biased than average, and only ONE PERSON said yes.

Shilo Rea. "Researchers Find Everyone Has a Bias Blind Spot.Carnegie Mellon University, 8 Jun 2015.

So everything is filtered through YOUR perspective: YOUR attitudes, YOUR opinions. That's called: 'Myside Bias.

Keith Stanovich, Richard F. West and Maggie Toplak. "Myside Bias, Rational Thinking, and Intelligence.Current Directional in Psychological Science (2013).

CONFIRMATION BIAS still influences the show That’s when you search for information that conforms to your EXISTING beliefs.

Raymond S. Nickerson. “Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises.” Review of General Psychology 2.2(1998).

It states that the LESS someone  knows, the MORE LIKELY they are to  mistakenly OVERESTIMATE their knowledge and abilities.

Justin Kruger and David Dunning. “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77.6(1999).

The Dunning-Kruger effect has been proven over and over again, in experiments with amateur poker players, beginner drivers, and even DOCTORS!

David Dunning. “The best option illusion in self and social assessment.” Self and Identity 18.4(2018).

“Studies show it's way easier to identify someone who knows LESS than you than someone who knows more.”

David Dunning. “Gullible to Ourselves.”  20th Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology (2018).

"To become more competent -- you should seek to always be learning."

Justin Kruger and David Dunning. “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77.6(1999).

"And one of the best things we can do to avoid mistakes from OTHER types of biases is consult other people around us."

Albert E. Mannes. “Are We Wise about the Wisdom of Crowds? The Use of Group Judgments in Belief Revision.” Management Science 55.8 (2009).

"...solicit feedback, ask how you might be wrong, and consider all the alternatives to your first idea."

Charles Lord, Mark Lepper, and Elizabeth Preston. “Considering the opposite: A corrective strategy for social judgment.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 47.6 (1984).

"But that STORY left out a TON of nuance!"

David Merritt Johns and Gerald M. Oppenheimer. “Was there ever really a ‘sugar conspiracy’?” Science 359.6377 (2018).

"But in the last few  years, historians have discovered it was really only a MINOR BLIP on the Dutch economy."

Anne Goldgar. Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age. The University of Chicago Press, 2007.

"And THAT version was repeated so frequently, eventually historians and economists started mistaking the HYPERBOLE for real HISTORY."

Anne Goldgar. “Tulip mania: the classic story of a Dutch financial bubble is mostly wrong.” The Conversation, 12 Feb 2018.

"A study that looked at over 700 papers on climate change found that those with narrative storytelling were more widely cited and circulated!"

Ann Hillier, Ryan P. Kelly, and Terri Klinger. “Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science.” PLoS ONE 11.12 (2016).

"And, we tend to remember facts MORE * ACCURATELY if they come in story form!"

Benedict Carey. “This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It).” The New York Times, 22 May 2007.

"Like 'affective conditioning.' That's when advertisers put their product next to things you ALREADY like, to give you positive associations with it."

Art Markman. “What does advertising do?” Psychology Today, 31 Aug 2010.


Stefano Ruggieri and Stefano Boca. “At the Roots of Product Placement: The Mere Exposure Effect.” Europe’s Journal of Psychology 9.2 (2013).

"Another advertising trick is Priming. That's when ads show us a specific BEHAVIOR to condition us to EMULATE it."

Jennifer L. Harris, John A. Bargh, and Kelly D. Brownwell. “Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior.” Health Psychology 28.4 (2009).

"Research shows that children younger than eight don’t understand what a commercial is, and often accept their claims as FACT."

Melissa Dittmann. “Protecting children from advertising.” Monitor on Psychology, Jun 2004.

"A review of menstrual product ads showed that they heightened insecurity in young women."

M.R. Simes and D.H. Berg. “Surreptitious Learnings: Menarche and Menstrual Product Advertisements.” Health Care for Women International 22.5 (2001).

"...drink MORE energy drinks when commercials suggest that drinking them is MANLY."

Rachel Giese. “How Energy-Drink Companies Prey on Male Insecurities.” The New Yorker. 28 Nov 2015.

"Digital marketing experts estimate we see somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 every day."

Joshua Saxon. “Why Your Customers’ Attention is the Scarcest Resource in 2017.” American Marketing Association. 2017.

"Advertisers spent nearly 10 BILLION dollars on product placements in 2017."

PQ Media. “Global Branded Entertainment Marketing Forecast 2018.” 2018.

"Gatorade PIONEERED the practice with their very own 'Sports Science Institute.'"

Deborah Cohen. “The truth about sports drinks.” The BMJ, 18 Jul 2012.

"We found that shocking fact that even WATER BRANDS have commissioned their own shady, suspect studies!"

 Aaron Carroll, “No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day.”The New York Times, 24 Aug 2015.