“The older and wiser we get, the more bewildering our past decisions can seem.”

This American Life tells stories about people who revisit past decisions, including a story it did a year ago about a groundbreaking study that was discredited, but seems to have some truth to it anyway:

A year ago, we did a story about a study that found that a simple 20-minute conversation could change someone’s mind about controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion. But a few weeks after we aired the story, the study was discredited. A couple of researchers decided to redo the experiment the right way, and released their results this week.

The initial study was done in two parts, with political canvassers gathering data about their methods and a researcher compiling it. The researcher was discredited, but the initial data is still good. A new researcher looked at the findings and determined:

… a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months.

This American Life played tapes of the canvassers’ work. Changing minds starts with respecting the perspective of the person who disagrees with you.


Comedian Chris Gethard has a new podcast called Beautiful Stories by Anonymous People, where people can call in to talk to him about anything for an hour. Our editor, Joel Lovell, tells us about his favorite episode thus far – featuring a man who calls in desperately seeking Chris’ guidance.

And this cringeworthily hilarious segment:

Senior Producer Brian Reed tells Ira about a book entitled “Now I Know Better,” where children write cautionary tales recounting horrific accidents they’ve endured. He also interviews one of the book’s contributors about his childhood mishap.

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