The Dark Side of Smart

Intelligence is associated with coming up with more convincing bullshit and with being a better liar, but not associated with a better ability to recognize one’s own bias.Photograph by ArTono / Shutterstock

Manipulative communication surrounds us. With misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic, “cheap” and “deep” fakes of elected officials, and targeted ads and emotionally exploitative social media algorithms, it can begin to feel like all communication is manipulation. 

Well, as it turns out, this is the thesis of an influential  by evolutionary biologists and John Krebs. The cynicism behind this statement can make many people uncomfortable. When we think about communicating, we tend to think about our own thoughts and feelings rather than how we might be influencing others. One major reason an

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