Do you want to understand people better? Understanding people better can help us be more effective in our work, our personal lives, and in many everyday situations. Seeing others more clearly can also help us connect better with them, reduce our anger, and lead happier lives.

I’m Zach Elwood. On this podcast I talk to people from a wide range of professions about how they read behavior and use psychology in their work. Popular episodes include: relationship tells, interrogation techniques, poker tells, and spotting fake online reviews, to name a few. There are more than 100 episodes.

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About me

I’m most known for my work on poker tells (aka, poker behavior). My first poker tells book, Reading Poker Tells, has been translated into eight languages.

I’m also known for my work in the political conflict resolution space. Towards that, I’ve written a book called Defusing American Anger.

My independent research on deceptive online activity has been featured in NY Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere. Here’s my Twitter.

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If you enjoy this podcast, please share it with others, and/or write me a review on Apple Podcasts. If you want to support my work, get a premium subscription., or sign up for my depolarization-aimed Substack. Other ways to show appreciation: subscribe to it on YouTube or Apple or Spotify (or wherever). You can also sign up below to get updates. 

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Episode deep Dives

Deep dives include summaries, transcripts, source and resource links, and listening options.

Bullshit behavior experts, with Dr. Jack Brown

This episode is about what I refer to as “behavior bullshit.” There are many self-proclaimed behavior experts spreading bad, misleading, and irresponsible concepts about human behavior, and some of these people are quite popular. This episode focuses on Jack Brown (Twitter: @drgjackbrown), one of the more egregious offenders amongst behavior bullshitters. Other topics discussed include:…

Understanding MAGA anger, with ex-Trump voter Rich Logis

For the purposes of depolarization, it’s important to understand the us-vs-them narratives that surround us. This is a talk with Rich Logis (perfectourunion.us), who describes his journey as going “from ultra-MAGA to Never-Trump.” Rich was a vocal pro-Trump activist, who’d written many political op-eds and had his own political podcast, and who switched to being…

Examining strategies of some common scams, with Martina Dove

A talk with Martina Dove (martinadove.com), author of the book The Psychology of Fraud, Persuasion and Scam Techniques, about some common scams you and people you know might encounter (phishing scams, “pig butchering” scams, romance scams, wrong-number-text scams, and more). We discuss how these scams work, and some strategies for avoiding them.  Episode links: Some…

The spectrum of narcissism: from healthy self enhancement to toxic narcissism, with Craig Malkin

Craig Malkin (drcraigmalkin.com) is the author of the popular book Rethinking Narcissism: The Secret to Recognizing and Coping with Narcissists, in which he describes the spectrum of narcissism: how it can be healthy to have positive illusions about one’s self and one’s life, as long as those illusions don’t become pathologically unhealthy and toxic. Transcript…

Resolving conflict in our relationships, with marriage counselor Bill Doherty

A talk with Bill Doherty, a relationship therapist (thedohertyapproach.com) and the co-founder of Braver Angels, a political depolarization-aimed group (braverangels.org). A transcript is below. Topics discuss include: his approach to couples counseling; thoughts on dealing with the common situation where one partner is much more interested in healing the relationship than the other; the importance…

Understanding the behavior of people under anesthesia, with Ashita Goel

A talk with anesthesiologist Ashita Goel about her work. Topics include: the sometimes strange behaviors of people under anesthesia; the hypnotic and “truth serum”-like effects of anesthesia; factors in determining drug dosage; the various states one can put people into; why anesthesiologists often seem outgoing and fun; the viral video of the man who woke…

Psychological factors in conspiracy theory beliefs, with Mikey Biddlestone

A talk with psychology researcher Mikey Biddlestone (Twitter: @biddlepsych), who specializes in studying conspiracy theory beliefs, about some psychological factors that can make beliefs in conspiracy theories more likely. We talk about “just world” beliefs (beliefs that the world is largely just and fair) and how those might relate to conspiracy-minded thinking. Other topics discussed:…

Understanding the behavior of autistic people, with Barry Prizant

A talk with Barry Prizant (barryprizant.com), author of the influential book Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism, and co-host of the Uniquely Human podcast (www.uniquelyhuman.com). The focus of our talk is on understanding the experiences and behaviors of autistic people. Topics discussed include: understanding the underlying causes behind the sometimes seemingly inexplicable behaviors…

How does anxious body language affect a job interview?, with Simonne Mastrella

A talk with Simonne Mastrella, author of the research paper Acting Anxious: The Impact of Candidates’ Anxious Nonverbal Behavior on Interview Performance Ratings. Topics discussed include: the design of the study; her findings; whether results differed by gender or by the nature of the job; how perceptions of anxiety and “warmth” are related; and the…