#30 How The Internet Is Messing With Our Brains. Abigail Baird: How Do We Fix It?

We love our smartphones, tablets, laptops and game consoles. But what is the explosion in mobile technology doing to our brains?

Our guest, Professor Abigail Baird, is a developmental psychologist, expert on the teenage brain and mother of two young children. She says technology has great benefits, but also could have a negative impact on our conversations, memory and social life. 

The brain's craving for novelty - for constant stimulation and instant gratification - makes our tech toys seem irresistible. So how do we put balance in our lives?

Abigail's fixes include time-out zones and no-screen places and events. Parents, she says, "should consider what is best for their families.  For instance, I love the idea of 'no phone in the car.'"

Another tip for parents is to beware of tethering - when college students sometimes call home at least several times a day.

"Hard as it is for parents, once kids head off to college, they really need to rely on their interpersonal networks at school, not calling home." 

Another fix: "As adults we have to set good examples to our children and not get too attached to our own screens."

#23 The Dangers of Confirmation Bias with David McRaney: How Do We Fix It?

More than ever America is divided into political tribes.  One person's truth is somebody else's lie. This show is about confirmation bias and filter bubbles: How our brains play tricks on us as we try to make sense of the world.

David McRaney, host of the entertaining and popular podcast, "You Are Not So Smart", is our guest. His show is "a celebration of self-delusion."  David, who calls himself a psychology nerd, is passionate about the need for all of us to have some understanding of how our brains work. He is the author of two recent books:  "You Are Not So Smart" and "You Are Now Less Dumb."

Confirmation bias helps us separate into rival political and cultural camps.  "This is the thing almost from which everything else springs, because it is the natural default way that human beings tend to make sense of the world," says David.

With the growth of Google and social media site, such as Facebook and Twitter, it's easier for us to deny the truth of anything that challenges our preconceived view of the world. We can retreat into our own personal corner of the internet.

Behavioral economics, neuroscience and modern psychology challenge our sense that we make logical, sensible decisions.   Our show looks at what confirmation bias means to our democracy.