The Science of Bullshit with John V. Petrocelli

John V. Petrocelli, an experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University, thinks a lot about contaminated thinking and bad decision-making. In his new book, The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit, he looks at why we’re all susceptible to bullshit (sharing it and receiving it) and also the far-reaching consequences of toxic misinformation. With a little dose of skepticism, a commitment to truth seeking and John’s critical thinking defensive tactics, we can all become bullshit detectives.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • The definition of bullshit;
  • The difference between bullshit and lying;
  • How our own bullshit is often unintentional and unconscious;
  • How to detect bullshit and avoid spreading it.

You can listen to our conversation wherever you stream podcasts (Apple, Spotify, iHeart Radio) or listen here:




John V. Petrocelli is an experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University. His research examines the causes and consequences of bullshit and bullshitting in the way of better understanding and improving bullshit detection and disposal. He is the author of The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit. Petrocelli’s research contributions also include attitudes and persuasion and the intersections of counterfactual thinking with learning, memory and decision making. His research has appeared in the top journals of his field including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Petrocelli also serves an Associate Editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Learn more at petrocjv.sites.wfu.edu.



Kristen Manieri is certified as both a habits coach and a mindfulness teacher. Her book, Better Daily Mindfulness Habits: Simple Changes with Lifelong Impact, will be released this summer. She specializes in: stress reduction, energy management, mindset, resilience, habit formation, rest rituals, and self-care. As the host of the weekly 60 Mindful Minutes podcast, an Apple top 100 social science podcast, Kristen has interviewed over 100 authors and thought leaders about what it means to live a more conscious, connected, intentional and joyful life. Learn more at kristenmanieri.com/work-with-me.

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