Positivity Effect by Dr. Tom 010: Mutual Dependence & Effective Altruism - Dr. Jim Davies
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This week I talk with Dr. Jim Davies, The author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make us laugh, movies make us cry, and religion makes us feel one with the universe. Dr. Davies is a cognitive scientist and a frequent contributor to the popular science magazine, Nautilus. Dr. Davies is an award winning associate professor at Carleton University’s Institute of Cognitive Science and director of the science of Imagination laboratory. In 2010, he gave a TedX talk about mistakes people make when imagining their future. Dr. Davies is super intelligent and I can’t wait for you guys to listen. I want you guys really to pay attention to his points about mutual dependence and affective altruism, very interesting stuff.

Dr. Davies on mutual dependence

  • The nature of our species
  • Many species are solitary creatures. (ex – octopus)
  • The human ecological niche requires teamwork
  • We thrive in groups but not as individuals

Your Network of social relationships is more important to longevity and happiness than exercise, diet and stopping smoking” – Susan Pinker (Author of The Village Effect)


Dr. Davies on effective altruism

  • It’s this idea of applying critical thinking in science regarding charity
  • Most people are opportunistic
  • Instead of donating randomly, someone who is an effective altruist will map out their giving and treat charity as a return on investment – “How many lives can I save?”
  • Research shows that people who have a higher level of empathy can be less effective altruists

“Think of it as a positivity mantra, we thrive in groups and not as individuals”

What makes someone compelling

  • Someone that is an extrovert
  • Someone that is warm
  • Someone that you have a feeling they can be trusted
  • Someone that you have a feeling that they are a leader
  • Someone who gives you their full attention during conversation


Soul Food

  • Bill Clinton is very riveting
  • 30m Productivity System & Hacks
  • To remove stress in our day, plan your day and trust your to-do list
  • If an opportunity comes along thats better, always be ready to possibly drop what you’re doing to puruse that opportunity.


What does Dr. Davies want to be remembered for?

  • His book Riveted and the discussions and research that will follow as a result of it


Book recommendation

  • The Village Effect by Susan Pinker
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