Perception Gaps

When perception doesn’t line up with reality

Welcome to Season 1 of “Perception Gaps”

I’m Samantha Laine Perfas, the host of “Perception Gaps.” This 10-part season explores different topics in which people's perception, or what they think is true, doesn't actually line up with reality. We call that a perception gap, and our goal is to help highlight these gaps so we can better understand the world around us. Thanks for joining us on this adventure.

Season 1

Is the U.S. crime rate as high as we think it is? How politically divided are Americans today? Join us as we explore perception gaps in 10 of society’s most divisive issues – and find common ground in the process.

Episode 10: Solving Perception Gaps

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During the last episode of our 10-part series, we have to ask… how do you solve perception gaps? Is it even possible? We look at the science of perception gaps, as well as the media’s role in closing them. Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, NCSE director Ann Reid, the Monitor’s Eoin O’Carroll, sociotechnical researcher Danah Boyd, and the Monitor’s Mark Sappenfield.

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Episode 9: The Role of War

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War… what is it good for? Turns out, perhaps peace. While we continue to fight long and expensive wars around the world, they are much less fatal than in the past. But with how much war has changed through the decades, do civilians really understand its role? Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, researcher Joshua Goldstein, retired soldier and academic Adrian Lewis, and ex-Marine turned novelist Elliot Ackerman.

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Episode 8: The Drug Epidemic

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The opioid epidemic is a frequent headline contender, and was recently declared a national public health emergency. But did you know that there’s another substance that regularly kills twice as many people per year? Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, data scientist Scott Formica, former ‘drug czar’ Michael Botticelli, and prevention specialist Amanda Decker.

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Episode 7: The Generosity Game

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Everything feels like a competition these days. Who is more generous: conservatives or liberals? There’s no easy answer, but data does show that both parties have become less generous in recent years. Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with guests assistant professor Michele Margolis, researcher Nathan Dietz, “Happy Money” co-author Michael Norton, and mother-of-the-host Dana Laine.

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Episode 6: Poverty Progress

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After surveying a global segment of the population, the Gapminder organization in Sweden found that only 10 percent of people knew the state of extreme poverty. Why is it that our perceptions are so… wrong? Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with “Factfulness” author Anna Rosling Ronnlund, academic Bobby Duffy, Gates Foundation chief strategist Mark Suzman, and the Monitor’s Peter Ford.

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Episode 5: A Closer Look at the Gender Pay Gap

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Women take low paying jobs. Women don’t advocate for themselves. The gender pay gap isn’t real. These are some of the myths that persist about gender pay gap. But why does the gap really exist? It’s complicated. Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with guests economist Claudia Goldin, Women 2.0 CEO Kate Brodock, and professor Patricia Deyton.

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Episode 4: The Real Gun Tragedy

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Due to multiple high profile mass shootings, many parents and students fear that a school shooting will happen at their school. But school shootings - and even mass shootings - are statistically rare. This episode, we want to spend some time looking at the biggest culprit of gun deaths in the US: suicide. Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with criminologist James Fox, behavioral scientist Andrew Morral, faculty director Jennifer Stuber, and retired gun shop owner Ralph Demicco.

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Episode 3: Revenge of the Robots

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Who, or what, is stealing American jobs? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not immigrants. In fact, robots are projected to steal even more jobs in the coming decade. A lot of the conversation about lost jobs revolves around fear. But, should it? Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with immigration analyst Alex Nowrasteh, drone instructors Daniel Leclair and Thomas Abbott, the Monitor’s Alfredo Sosa, economist Dany Bahar, and angel investors Semyon Dukach and Eveline Buchatskiy.

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Episode 2: The Other Side

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If you talk to anyone in the US, they’ll tell you that politics are more polarized than ever before. Which is true… technically. But millions of Americans find themselves in the middle. So are we really as polar opposite as it may appear? Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with data scientist Gaurav Sood, the Monitor’s Francine Kiefer, licensed counselor Suzanne Degges-White, Geralyn Smith, and Mimi Teixeira.

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Episode 1: High Crime and Misperceptions

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Have you ever wondered about crime in the US, and how bad it is? A lot of people feel like the world is really unsafe - but would you believe me if I told we were safer now than we’ve been in the last 30 years? It’s true, and it’s what we’d like to call a perception gap. Join host Samantha Laine Perfas, along with criminologists Nicole Rader and Josh Hinkle, and St. Louis Police Captain Perri Johnson.

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Introducing: Perception Gaps by The Christian Science Monitor

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Have you ever thought about how sometimes our perceptions don’t always match reality? These perception gaps happen frequently, and the big question is… why? And what narratives might better help us understand the world? Join executive producer Dave Scott and host Samantha Laine Perfas as they discuss why they created Perception Gaps, a new podcast series by The Christian Science Monitor.