Home

This is a podcast about understanding, analyzing, and predicting human behavior, hosted by me, Zachary Elwood. This podcast is for anyone who wants to understand people better, whether you want to use that knowledge for your own benefit, or if you just want to increase your understanding of and empathy for others. I interview people from a wide variety of fields, from jury consultants to interrogation experts to forensic linguistic analysts to relationship researchers to Russian/English translators to door-to-door salesmen to political polarization experts to restaurant managers to bus drivers.

Basically, it’s a bunch of stuff I’m interested in, tied together by my interest in psychology. Learn more about my poker behavior/tells work and other research and writing. I make no money on this podcast and spend a good amount of time on it, so if you want to show your appreciation and encourage me to do more, please leave me a rating on iTunes and/or throw me some money on Patreon. I’m on Twitter, too.

Popular podcast platforms:

Episodes

This section displays episode summaries. To see some popular episodes or see all episodes in a single list, keep scrolling down.

What does research say about social media effects on polarization?, with Emily Kubin

A talk with researcher Emily Kubin (twitter: @emily_kubin) about her and Christian von Sikorski’s recent study reviewing more than 100 studies on how social media may be affecting political polarization. Their paper is called “The role of (social) media in political polarization: a systematic review.” We discuss her research, why polarization is a problem in…

Understanding behavior and psychology as a drummer, with Ben Tyler

A conversation with Ben Tyler, professional musician, about how understanding behavior and psychology have played a role in his musical career. Ben’s own music project is called Small Skies (Twitter: @smallskies), and he has worked and toured with many other bands. Specific topics include: what cues and signals from other musicians is he making use…

Why are we drawn to the past?, with Jannine Lasaleta

A talk with Jannine Lasaleta, who’s done research on the effects of nostalgia. Her research has shown how nostalgia makes us more loose and carefree with money. We talk about why nostalgia is such a positive and attractive feeling for humans: how it can be a way for us to build meaning, establish consistency of…

Is paying so much attention to politics hurting us societally and emotionally?, with Chris Freiman

If you pay a lot of attention to politics, but doing so makes you miserable, this might be one you want to listen to. I talk with Christopher Freiman (Twitter @cafreiman), political philosopher and author of the book Why It’s OK to Ignore Politics. For many people, voting and paying attention to politics is a…

How has polarization affected beliefs about U.S. election security?, with Jennifer Cohn

A talk with Jennifer Cohn (Twitter @jennycohn1), election integrity advocate, about American election security. Since 2016, Jennifer has been warning that our elections are insecure in many ways; you can read some of her writings on this topic on Medium. Her stance hasn’t changed but, after Biden won and Trump claimed that the election was…

Does blaming “media” help us avoid responsibility?, with Elizaveta Friesem

Elizaveta Friesem (www.elizavetafriesem.com) thinks and writes about media and our relationship to it. Her recently published book is 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…

Reading poker tells, with poker pro Dara O’Kearney

An interview with professional poker player Dara O’Kearney (twitter @daraokearney) on the subject of poker tells (poker behavioral patterns). Dara is also the co-host of The Chip Race, a very popular poker podcast. We talk about how important poker tells are versus strategy, about how Dara’s thoughts on poker tells have changed over time, and…

Why are American cops so violent? (pt 2), with police captain James Mitchell

Second interview of recently retired police captain James Mitchell (first episode link). We continue tackling the question: when we see an American cop doing something that seems clearly over-reactive and overly violent, what are the factors that influenced that cop to behave that way? In our first talk, our focus was on mental health and…

Why do so many people “want to watch the world burn”?, with Kevin Arceneaux

An interview with Kevin Arceneaux, a researcher on the “need for chaos” research project, which found that a surprising number of people (up to 40%) expressed antisocial views about society in either agreeing with or not rejecting statements like “When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking ‘just let them…