311. Nobody’s Fool with Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris

Deception is everywhere. Fake psychics, dodgy investment deals, cults, and pesky scam calls can be hard to detect, even for the smartest or most vigilant individuals. This poses the question of what makes us vulnerable and what precautions we can take? 

Joining us for this episode are two exceptional cognitive scientists, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. Through studies and findings from their highly anticipated book, “Nobody’s Fool, Why We Get Taken In, and What We Can Do About It ” they provide us with valuable insight into how to navigate the treacherous world of deception. 

In this fascinating conversation, Christopher and Daniel unveil the cognitive biases that plague us all while offering practical ways to safeguard ourselves from being duped. Drawing upon real-life situations, they come equipped with an arsenal of tactics that can be incorporated into your daily life and that won’t breed paranoia or leave you in a perpetual state of vigilance—quite the opposite! Their goal is to provide you with the knowledge to navigate life confidently, cautiously, and securely.

Listen and Learn: 

  • Is everyone susceptible to being duped?
  • How have Daniel and Christopher become savvier at recognizing scams as a result of writing and researching their book, Nobody’s Fool?
  • Daniel’s clever suggestion for protecting your family from scam calls  
  • How ‘truth bias’ can make us more vulnerable in day-to-day life 
  • Why do we often fail to see something that’s right in front of us? Even something so glaringly apparent?
  • Principle of focus: what does it mean, and how is it used as a means to deceive?
  • How our beliefs and expectations can deter us from seeing what is actually there and how to avoid falling victim to the trap
  • Why it’s crucial to consider all of the information that you’re missing when interpreting information or data that is presented to you
  • How can we protect ourselves from being fooled when the risk is high?
  • The “illusory truth effect”: why do we have a tendency to treat familiarity as a sign of fact?
  • How can we find that balance between accepting the truth bias and being cautious?


About Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris:

Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris are the authors of the 2010 New York Times Bestseller, The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, which has been translated into 20 languages. They have collaborated on research for more than 25 years, and they jointly received the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize (given for research that “first makes you laugh and then makes you think”). They have contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and other national publications, and their work has appeared in science museums worldwide. They spent nearly a decade researching and writing Nobody’s Fool.

Dr. Daniel Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory and has courtesy appointments in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising and the Gies College of Business. Dan received his B.A. from Carleton College and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives. For more information, visit

Dr. Christopher Chabris is a cognitive scientist who has taught at Union College and Harvard University and is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. His research focuses on decision-making, attention, intelligence, and behavior genetics. Chris received his Ph.D. in psychology and A.B. in computer science from Harvard University. He is a chess master, poker amateur, and games enthusiast; for three years he wrote the “Game On” column in The Wall Street.

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Episode 311