Psychologist debunks 8 myths of mass scale | Todd Rose

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Psychologist Todd Rose debunks 8 myths so mainstream we all believe them.

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Collective illusions — false assumptions about society that many people share — have existed for thousands of years in many different ways. Today, because of social media and modern technology, they have become even more common.

One example of a collective illusion is the commonly held belief that everyone wants fame, wealth, and power. That’s not true. Most of us want lives of purpose and meaning. But because of false assumptions, many of us spend our lives chasing things that won’t fulfill us.

Another example of a collective illusion is the pervasive idea that the U.S. is an irredeemably divided nation. Sure, Americans have plenty of disagreements. But fundamentally, they have more in common than they might think.

As former Harvard professor and bestselling author Todd Rose explains, the antidote to collective illusions is becoming a more authentic individual, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of how our innate drive to conform to social norms often works against that.

0:00 What is a “collective illusion”?
2:43 How myths invade private opinion
4:54 Myth: Other people can’t be trusted
8:32 Myth: Success is wealth, status, and power
11:12 Myth: Social media reveals what society thinks
13:56: Myth: Group consensus is vetted and factual
17:53: Myth: Elite jobs matter to us
21:11 Myth: America is on the verge of civil war
24:18 Myth: People want university degrees
26:57 Myth: Cultural norms exist to protect you


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About Todd Rose:
Todd Rose is the co-founder and president of Populace, a think tank committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives in a thriving society. Prior to Populace, he was a faculty member at Harvard University where he founded the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality and directed the Mind, Brain, and Education program. Todd is the best selling author of Collective Illusions, Dark Horse, and The End of Average. He lives in Burlington, Massachusetts.


Read more of our stories on society’s collective illusions:
Is free will an illusion?

Are you superior to others? Or is it an illusion?

Penn Jillette: The year that shattered America’s illusions


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