A podcast about understanding human behavior, hosted by Zachary Elwood (twitter: @apokerplayer). Interviews with people from a wide range of fields about how understanding people aids them in their endeavors, with an occasional focus on the psychology of political polarization.
What does research say about how social media affects polarization?, with Emily Kubin
A talk with Emily Kubin, who recently, with her co-researcher Christian Von Sikorski, did a comprehensive review of 121 studies on social media effects on political polarization. We talk about her research, why polarization is a problem, the different types of polarization (affective vs ideological), our psychology tendency to become us-versus-them in our thinking, her own opinions on what social media is doing to us, and the mechanisms by which social media may be amplifying polarization.
Understanding behavior and psychology as a professional musician, with Ben Tyler (aka Small Skies)
An interview with Ben Tyler, a professional musician and musical educator based in Portland, Oregon, about reading and understanding people in the musical world. Topics include: reading fellow band members' gestures and eye contact in jazz and other musical performances; being able to tell when audiences are having a good time or not; how practicing improvisation can make us more flexible; and the social aspects of the musical world. Ben's personal musical project is called Small Skies.
Nostalgia and our attraction to the past, with Jannine Lasaleta
A talk with Jannine Lasaleta, who has researched the psychological effects of nostalgia, including how nostalgic feelings make people more loose and uncaring with money. We talk about the connection between our desire for nostalgia and our desire to engage in old-fashioned or ancient or "authentic" activities . We talk about how our attraction for these things might be connected to our search for meaning, our desire to have a consistent and stable sense of self, and our attempt to fend off existential anxieties related to meaninglessness and isolation.
Is paying so much attention to politics hurting us?, with Chris Freiman
If you're someone who pays a lot of attention to politics, but feels that doing so makes you miserable, this may be an important listen. What if someone were to tell you that paying attention to politics is not a morally correct way to spend your time and energy? Political philosopher Chris Freiman is the author of Why It's OK to Ignore Politics. He makes a case that paying a lot of attention to politics is often a waste of time, and may even be immoral compared to other ways you could be spending your time and energy. We talk about how our collective focus on and anger about politics may be contributing to society's us-versus-them animosity and polarization (which may be the root cause of our dysfunction).
How has polarization affected beliefs about election security?, with Jennifer Cohn
Jennifer Cohn is an attorney and election integrity advocate. Since 2016 she has been drawing attention to problems with U.S. election security and was frustrated during the Trump admin years to see the GOP block efforts to improve security. Now that GOP has become the party of "the election is illegitimate", things have swung the other way and it is Democrats who seem unwilling to acknowledge flaws that many on that side were willing to talk about up until recently. We talk about how politics and polarization can impact attempts to solve election security problems, and she gives insights on the problems she sees with elections.
Does blaming "media" help us avoid personal responsibility?, with Elizaveta Friesem
Elizaveta Friesem thinks and writes about media and how we relate to it. Her recent book is called "Media Is Us" and it examines the idea that media is not something "out there" but more something that is part of us, something that happens internally, similar to any other human communication. And perhaps this means that acting as if "media" of various sorts is to blame for various problems is a simplistic way to view the world. We talk about the need for personal responsibility for how we consume media, power dynamics in society, the power of empathy and understanding others, and more.
A Down-to-Earth Intellectual Journey
I have enjoyed listening to this podcast the past few years. I had a role in mitigating workplace conflict via mediation and found the podcast in my quest to improve my skills in interpreting subtext and non-verbal cues. I like Zach's interviewing style and appreciate his efforts to edit each episode to appeal to most listeners. The podcasts have broadened in scope in the past year or so with good results. His humility and curiosity pair nicely and make for pleasant, thought-provoking listening. Keep up the good work!
Cornucopia of Guests discussing hot button issues in academic fashion
Zachary Elwood shows us the deftness for detail and ability to engage in on the spot and unconventional analysis that a professional poker player has, while interviewing guests ranging from political extremists, to political and psychological theorists. He is always well read of his guests going into interviews but isn’t scared to push topics to their most relevant points of discussion relative to today nor challenge guests to find gems of insight that can best be brought out through an interview. One of the best new podcasts out there, especially for those with an interest in social psychology, misinformation, and peak performance through mental training.
Thoughtful, Deeply Interesting Interviews and Commentary
Very happy I discovered this podcast. Excellent interviews with researchers and experts who discuss topics that I, at least, find deeply interesting. Zach also provides sincerely thoughtful and empathetic commentary.