64 episodes

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.

People Who Read People: A Behavior and Psychology Podcast Zachary Elwood

    • Science
    • 4.5 • 84 Ratings

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.

    The awe and the horror of existence, with Kirk Schneider

    The awe and the horror of existence, with Kirk Schneider

    A talk with Kirk Schneider, an existential-humanistic psychologist and therapist, and the author of many books, including Existential-Humanistic Therapy, Awakening to Awe, The Polarized Mind, and more. We talk about: how existential psychology is about facing the givens of life (e.g., fear of death, isolation, meaninglessness, freedom) and why that can be so helpful to people; how our society tends to avoid talking about these deep questions and stresses; the psychology that drives extreme polarization and narcissism; and more. 

    • 56 min
    Conversation analysis and persuasive language, with Elizabeth Stokoe

    Conversation analysis and persuasive language, with Elizabeth Stokoe

    A talk with Liz Stokoe, a conversation analysis (CA) researcher and the author of "Talk: The Science of Conversation." This is my second episode focused on CA. Topics discussed include: What are some of the most useful learnings from CA, in Liz's view? Does the common perception that men and women talk differently have much scientific support? How do the "turns we take" help define us in others' eyes? Why is the "most communication is non-verbal" concept wrong and yet so popular? What do people get wrong with their focus on "rapport"?  What can CA teach us about political polarization dynamics and how to persuade others or avoid angering others?  

    • 53 min
    How many Trump supporters really believe the election was rigged?, with Tom Pepinsky

    How many Trump supporters really believe the election was rigged?, with Tom Pepinsky

    A talk with political scientist Thomas Pepinsky, who has studied, amongst other things, beliefs that elections aren't legitimate. Topics discussed include: How much can we deduce from U.S. surveys that show high distrust in election legitimacy (from both conservatives and liberals)? To what extent do Trump supporters really believe the 2020 elections were rigged? If Trump had succeeded in overturning the 2020 election, what would life in the U.S. be like? 

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Inherent aspects of social media that amplify divides and bad thinking

    Inherent aspects of social media that amplify divides and bad thinking

    This is a piece that I, Zach Elwood, wrote about the ways in which social media (and internet communication more broadly) may be amplifying us-versus-them polarization and extreme thinking.  Much of the mainstream coverage of how social media may be amplifying divides and making people unhappy is on product-specific features and algorithms. But what if there are inherent aspects of internet communication that amplify animosity and bad thinking, no matter the format or structure of the tool? What if "the medium is the message" in some way? This piece examines the psychological processes by which social media may be deranging us and talks about strategies for reducing unhelpful group-versus-group animosity. 

    • 39 min
    Artificial intelligence and the nature of consciousness, with Hod Lipson

    Artificial intelligence and the nature of consciousness, with Hod Lipson

    A talk with roboticist and artificial intelligence researcher Hod Lipson. Topics include: how close we are to self-aware machines; research strategies that will likely yield self-aware machines; what it takes for something to be self-aware; the risks of AI; how such research can help us better understand human minds and behavior.  

    • 49 min
    Does video surveillance decrease crime?, with Eric Piza

    Does video surveillance decrease crime?, with Eric Piza

    A talk with criminologist Eric Piza about how video has affected crime rates. Topics discussed include: what the research shows about video surveillance and crime reduction; what factors make camera presence more likely to be effective; the effectiveness of police body cams; some practical ideas for how one might discourage crime at one's property; and the role of America's huge number of guns on violence by police. 

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
84 Ratings

84 Ratings

Tattooed Fish ,

Eye and mind opening

This is a great podcast in my opinion for the open minded, and open hearted person! The episodes make you think, and wonder and self reflect. That’s one thing I personally enjoy about it. Listening to several episodes I have definitely learned a lot and see things in a different light.
Thank you for the work you put into your podcast.

3smie ,

One of my top favorite

Binging on this all day for fun. I’m only 3 shows in and feel like I understand myself and others a lot more than I did this morning.

Keep up the good work 👏🏽🧠💡

bruin1962 ,

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!

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