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Infinite scrolling. Push notifications. Autoplay. Our devices and apps were designed to keep us engaged and looking for as long as possible. Now, we’ve woken up from years on social media and our phones to discover we've been manipulated by unaccountable powers using persuasive psychological tricks. But this isn’t the first time.

In this three-part series of The Stakes, we look at the winding story of the science of persuasion -- and our collective reaction to it. In this episode: A once-famous psychologist who became embroiled in controversy, and how the Unabomber tried to kill him. Already heard this one? Continue to part two.

We hear from:

Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College

Nicklaus Suino, writer, martial arts expert, attorney and business consultant

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.

WNYC’s health coverage and The Stakes is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Thanks to Lizette Royer Barton at the Center for the History of Psychology and Diana Bachman at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan for the use of the educational films “Battle for the Mind” and “Heads and/or Tails” featuring psychologist James McConnell.

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