The Backdrop podcast is a monthly interview program featuring conversations with UC Davis scholars and researchers working in the social sciences, humanities, arts and culture. Hosted by public radio veteran Soterios Johnson, the conversations feature new work or expertise on a trending topic in the news.
16 - Muhammad Haroon on How Social Media Algorithms Can Foster Political Radicalization
A new study from UC Davis suggests that artificial intelligence recommendation algorithms on sites like YouTube and TikTok can play a role in political radicalization. In this episode, UC Davis Computer Science Ph.D. Student Muhammad Haroon, who led the study, discusses how the study was designed, what the team found, and a new digital tool they created to mitigate the radicalizing effect of social media platform AI Algorithms.
15 - Lisa Ikemoto on the Ripple Effects of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision
The consequences of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade go far beyond the immediate right to terminate a pregnancy. Some of the ramifications are only now being realized, months after the court’s landmark abortion ruling.
In this episode of The Backdrop, Lisa Ikemoto, professor at the UC Davis School of Law, details some of the far-reaching ramifications of the court’s Dobbs decision, which touch on issues of privacy, equality, eugenics, disability rights and medical research.
14 - Paul Griffin on How Climate Risk Could Bring a Series of Recessions
New research finds the economy could be plunged into recession — or a series of recessions — because financial markets don’t account for climate risk. Without a better knowledge of the risk posed by extreme weather events, the average investor can only hope that the next extreme event won’t trigger a sudden correction.
Paul Griffin, Distinguished Professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, has been studying this ”unpriced risk” and how it can affect markets and the economy.
In this episode, Griffin discusses the magnitude of climate risk, what companies and governments can do lessen the risk and how people can lower their financial exposure to it.
13 - Clifford Saron on the Scientific Study of Meditation
Clifford Saron, a neuroscientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and the MIND Institute, leads the Shamatha Project, one of the most ambitious and comprehensive longitudinal studies of meditation ever conducted.
In this episode, Saron discusses the findings so far of the Shamatha Project; what science can tell us about the tangible effects of meditation; and how mindfulness affects our physical, mental and emotional health.
12 - Victoria Juharyan on the Destruction of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage
Victoria Juharyan discusses the destruction and threat of destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage during the Russian invasion. The visiting assistant professor in the Department of Russian and German at UC Davis teaches literature and philosophy. She has been active in the effort to preserve Ukrainian culture.
11-Paul Eastwick on the Science of Romantic Relationships
The Backdrop explores the mysterious and complicated topic of human relationships.
UC Davis Psychology Professor Paul Eastwick investigates how people initiate romantic relationships and the psychological mechanisms that help romantic partners remain committed and attached.
In this episode of The Backdrop, Eastwick discusses the latest research on finding the best partner, how compatibility is constructed in a relationship, and whether men and women really approach relationships differently.
Really interesting and topical
Engaging discussion on a very current topic.