playlist

The value of skepticism

These TED Talks push us to question more — our doctors, our governments and even our own eyes.

  1. 17:36
    Elizabeth Loftus How reliable is your memory?

    Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics — and raises some important ethical questions.

  2. 13:25
    Michael Shermer Why people believe weird things

    Why do people see the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich or hear demonic lyrics in "Stairway to Heaven"? Using video and music, skeptic Michael Shermer shows how we convince ourselves to believe — and overlook the facts.

  3. 11:45
    Mona Chalabi 3 ways to spot a bad statistic

    Sometimes it's hard to know what statistics are worthy of trust. But we shouldn't count out stats altogether ... instead, we should learn to look behind them. In this delightful, hilarious talk, data journalist Mona Chalabi shares handy tips to help question, interpret and truly understand what the numbers are saying.

  4. 14:33
    Al Seckel Visual illusions that show how we (mis)think

    Al Seckel, an expert on illusions, explores the perceptual illusions that fool our brains. He shares loads of cool tricks to prove that not only are we easily fooled, we kind of like it.

  5. 17:03
    Talithia Williams Own your body's data

    The new breed of high-tech self-monitors (measuring heartrate, sleep, steps per day) might seem targeted at competitive athletes. But Talithia Williams, a statistician, makes a compelling case that all of us should be measuring and recording simple data about our bodies every day — because our own data can reveal much more than even our doctors may know.

  6. 21:20
    Peter Donnelly How juries are fooled by statistics

    Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics — and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

  7. 5:16
    Olga Yurkova Inside the fight against Russia's fake news empire

    When facts are false, decisions are wrong, says editor and TED Fellow Olga Yurkova. To stop the spread of fake news, she and a group of journalists launched StopFake.org, which exposes biased or inaccurate reporting in order to rebuild the trust we've lost in our journalists, leaders and institutions. Learn more about the fight against misinformation as well as two critical ways we can ensure we're not reading (or sharing) fake news.

  8. 17:19
    James Randi Homeopathy, quackery and fraud

    Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.)

  9. 11:41
    Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl The virginity fraud

    The hymen is still the most misunderstood part of the female body. Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl share their mission to empower young people through better sex education, debunking the popular (and harmful) myths we're told about female virginity and the hymen.

  10. 17:58
    Christiane Amanpour How to seek truth in the era of fake news

    Known worldwide for her courage and clarity, Christiane Amanpour has spent the past three decades interviewing business, cultural and political leaders who have shaped history. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Amanpour discusses fake news, objectivity in journalism, the leadership vacuum in global politics and more, sharing her wisdom along the way. "Be careful where you get information from," she says. "Unless we are all engaged as global citizens who appreciate the truth, who understand science, empirical evidence and facts, then we are going to be wandering around — to a potential catastrophe."