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The Transformative Ideas of Daniel Kahneman

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain Media

Science, Arts, Social Sciences, Performing Arts

4.639.3K Ratings

🗓️ 1 April 2024

⏱️ 98 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


If you've ever taken an economics class, you were probably taught that people are rational. But about 50 years ago, the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky began to chip away at this basic assumption. In doing so, they transformed our understanding of human behavior. This week, we remember Kahneman, who recently died at the age of 90, by revisiting our 2018 and 2021 conversations with him.

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This is a hidden brain. I'm Shankar Vedantam. The past is not a place where my mind naturally


wonders. My colleagues and friends can tell you that for better or worse, my focus is almost always on what lies ahead. But it's a very specific


moment from the past that I've been thinking about a lot in recent days. It was March 2018 and a snowstorm was headed for New York City.


I wasn't in New York, but that storm was the focus of all my worry and attention. That's because New York was the home of the great


psychologist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. We had invited him to come to NPR


studios in Washington, D.C. to tape an episode with us in front of a live audience that had come in from around the country.


Danny was worried that the storm might keep him from returning to New York and he really needed to get back after the event.


It looked like the storm would derail our plans.


Mother Nature was not gracious that day, but Danny was.


He extended his day in Washington, D.C.


and the conversation I had with him is one of my favorite memories as host of


this show. It's now also a memory that's tinged with sadness. Daniel Kahneman died on March 27th. He was 90 years old.


It's hard to overstate the foundational role that Danny has played in our modern understanding of human behavior


So today we thought we'd bring you a special episode looking back at two conversations ahead with him


What they reveal is how far our understanding


of the mind has come over the past century and how much Danny and his intellectual


partner Amos Tewerski charted a path that has inspired the work of countless other


researchers. Thinking fast, slow and transformative this week on Hidden Brain. If you've ever taken an Econ 101 class, you were probably taught what's long been a core idea in economics.


People are rational. They seek out the best


information, they measure costs and benefits and maximize pleasure and profit.


This idea of the rational economic actor


has been around for centuries.


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