All Episodes

Rittenhouse verdict reactions and political polarization

In this episode, I give some thoughts on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict and how some of the anger and emotion around that is caused by political us-vs-them polarization. If you’re someone who has a lot of emotion and anger about the verdict, and you’re someone who wants America to heal, I think you should give…

The scientific analysis of conversation, with Saul Albert

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I talk to sociology researcher Saul Albert (twitter @saul, website: saulalbert.net) about conversation analysis: the scientific analysis of how humans talk to each other. Topics discussed include: what conversation analysis (CA) is and how it’s done; some interesting CA findings described in Elizabeth Stokoe’s book…

Tracking humans and animals, aka “sign cutting,” with Rob Speiden

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I talk to Rob Speiden (trackingschool.com), who’s an expert in “sign cutting,” which is the tracking of humans or animals over land using clues of physical disturbance. Rob teaches tracking and his site is at www.trackingschool.com. He wrote, along with Greg Fuller, a respected textbook…

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…

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…

Understanding excessive use of force by police (pt 2), with 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…

What is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s tell?, with Jon Hoefling

In this episode, I interview Jon Michael Hoefling, a sports analyst and broadcaster, about a recent story that was making the rounds: a young man named Theo Ash, who has a popular TikTok where he analyzes football, had found a physical tell that Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had: how Roethlisberger positioned his foot before a…

Can gender identity theory itself create more gender dysphoria?, with Carey Callahan

In this episode of the podcast, I interview Carey Callahan (Twitter) about gender dysphoria, gender identity theory, and transgender topics. Carey is a family therapist who writes about gender dysphoria topics, with an emphasis on healthcare; you can find her writing on Medium.com. For more about her, see the resources at the bottom of this post.…

How can we better connect with people?, with Ashley Pallathra & Ted Brodkin

In this episode of the podcast, I interview Ashley Pallathra (twitter) and Edward Brodkin (twitter), co-authors of Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections. Our modern world seems increasingly isolated, in how we separate ourselves from others, in how many of our communal activities and institutions have gone away, in how we are increasingly…

Reading behavior & tells in video games: a talk with Apex Legends pro Nocturnal

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview Brandon Singer, aka Nocturnal (his Twitch, his Twitter) about reading opponent behavior in the video game Apex Legends. We discuss: getting reads of how experienced players are, how much predicting behavior plays a role, how much tilt and mental considerations play a role.…

Reading behavior in tennis, with Carlos Goffi

A talk with experienced tennis player and coach Carlos Goffi about the role that psychology and reading opponent behavior and mood can play in tennis. To learn more about Carlos, visit his site. He’s been coaching for more than 30 years, and has coached John McEnroe and John’s brother Patrick McEnroe, amongst many others. He’s…

Factors in excessive police force, with police captain James Mitchell (part 1)

First of two talks with James Mitchell, a retired police captain who worked in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We talk about the United States problem of police brutality and excessive use of force, with the goal of understanding some of the factors that can lead to unjustified and too aggressive police responses. Topics discussed include:…

Psych and environmental factors in schizophrenia, with Nathan Filer

Note: there is an interview transcript towards the bottom of this page.  An interview with Nathan Filer (Twitter @nathanfiler), author of the non-fiction book The Heartland: Finding and Losing Schizophrenia and the fiction book The Shock of the Fall. Both of these books deal with topics of psychosis and, as Nathan refers to it in…

Interview with an 8-year-old

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview an 8-year-old about such topics as: how she knows other kids want to be her friend; how she knows adults are upset with her; tricks she uses to watch more TV; the etiquette around Infection Tag (one of her favorite games); and her thoughts…

Patient-led research into long-haul COVID-19, with Gina Assaf

This episode of the podcast is a December 2020 interview with Gina Assaf (Gina’s Twitter, and her Covid research Twitter) about her patient-led research on “long haul” Covid, which refers to long term Covid-19 effects that persist longer than is typically recognized as normal. Such long-term covid effects can include exhaustion and cognitive impairment (sometimes…

Why hasn’t big data & data crowdsourcing disrupted healthcare?, with Jamie Heywood

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview Jamie Heywood (his Wikipedia page), about the benefits and challenges of conducting medical/health research using crowdsourcing of real-world, patient-reported data directly from the public. Heywood got his start on this career path when his brother was diagnosed with ALS; Jamie wanted to do everything…

Reading online dating profiles/pics, with Scott

This is the second of two interviews I did about online dating. This is an interview with an acquaintance, Scott, about his experiences with online dating. We focus on the indicators/tells he relies on when looking at people’s online dating profiles/pics to determine if they might be a good match. Scott is a straight man…

Reading online dating profile indicators/tells, with Celia

First of two interviews I did about online dating. This is an interview with an acquaintance, Celia, about her experiences with online dating. We focus on the indicators/tells she uses when looking at online dating profiles/pics to determine if someone might be a good match for her. Episode links: iTunes (embedded below) Spotify Google Play…

On aphantasia (the lack of mental imagery), with Zach Elwood

I learned a few years ago that I have aphantasia, which is, to quote from Wikipedia: “characterized by an inability to voluntarily visualize mental imagery.” Before learning about this, I’d never believed people had actual visual mental images when they imagined things. Honestly, it’s still hard for me to imagine such a thing being possible.…

The role of insults in political and cultural conflicts, with Dr. Karina Korostelina

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview Dr. Karina Korostelina, a social psychologist, about her work studying political insults. Korostelina is the author of Political Insults: How Offenses Escalate Conflicts. She’s a professor at George Mason University, and Director of the Program on Prevention of Mass Violence and the Program…

Examining causes of democracy breakdown and authoritarianism, with Thomas Carothers

In this episode of the podcast, I interview Thomas Carothers, an expert on foreign policy and democracy building. I ask him about the root psychological and social causes of extreme polarization, democracy breakdown, and authoritarianism. A little bit about Thomas Carothers: he’s an expert on international democracy support, democratization, and U.S. foreign policy. He serves…

How social media may be amplifying our divides (a piece I wrote)

In this episode, I read a piece I wrote entitled ‘How social media divides us.’ (And the written piece is recommended over the podcast version.) Much of the mainstream focus on this area has been on product features (e.g., content recommendation algorithms, or choices of emojis) but my piece examines whether there might be inherent…

How does Facebook increase political animosity and polarization?, with Jaime Settle

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview Jaime Settle, a political scientist and professor at William and Mary. She is the author of Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America. In that book, she summarizes thinking on American political polarization and describes the research she’s done, which shows that Facebook likely…

Examining the political impacts of violent protests and riots, with Dr. Omar Wasow

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview Dr. Omar Wasow (here’s his Twitter), an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, and author of a paper entitled “Agenda Seeding: How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites, Public Opinion, and Voting.” In that research, he found that civil rights-related…

An interview with a militant Portland-based antifa/BLM protester

In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview a self-described anti-fascist who has frequently taken part in the more militant and unlawful aspects of the BLM-focused protests and riots that have occurred in Portland, Oregon in the wake of George Floyd’s death. This person has also taken part in physical confrontations…

Evaluating psychiatric patients in the ER, with Dr. Rob Tarzwell

On this episode, I talk with Dr. Rob Tarzwell, a psychiatrist and psych researcher. This is the second time I’ve talked to Dr. Tarzwell: the first was this talk about SPECT brain imaging and his research correlating brain images with conditions affecting mental health. In this episode, I talk with Canadian doctor Rob Tarzwell about…

Examining factors behind offensive speech, with Dr. Timothy Jay

This People Who Read People podcast interview is of Dr. Timothy Jay, a psychologist and expert on the phenomenon of cursing. He has written several books, including Why We Curse, Cursing in America, and We Did What? (here is Dr. Jay’s Amazon author page). On social media, we often see videos of someone saying or…

Can you predict schizophrenia by analyzing language?, with Dr. Neguine Rezaii

The latest People Who Read People podcast episode is an interview with Dr. Neguine Rezaii, a psychiatrist and psychology researcher, about her team’s 2019 research using machine learning finding speech patterns in young adults that were predictive of later psychosis and schizophrenia diagnosis. The two language patterns found in the subjects’ speech were 1) a…

Reading thought patterns in fMRI brain imaging, with Dr. Marcel Just

The 19th “People Who Read People” podcast episode is an interview with Dr. Marcel Just, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, about his work using function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look for brain activity related to specific thoughts. For example: differentiating the brain activity of someone thinking about an apple versus thinking about other…

Indicators of native Russian authorship in English language text, with Dr. Brian Baer

The 18th “People Who Read People” podcast episode is an interview with Dr. Brian Baer, a skilled Russian-to-English translator. Dr. Baer is a Professor of Russian and Translation Studies at Kent State University, where he’s a member of the Institute for Applied Linguistics. He also has worked on several literary translations (see his books on…

SPECT brain imaging, with Dr. Rob Tarzwell

The 17th “People Who Read People” podcast episode is an interview with Dr. Rob Tarzwell. about his work using single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) brain imaging to find indicators of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and brain changes related to dynamic psychotherapy. His research on traumatic brain injury and PTSD appeared 19th…

Rock Paper Scissors: Predicting and influencing opponent behavior

The 16th “People Who Read People” podcast episode is an interview with Jason Simmons, aka Master Roshambollah, arguably the most well-known Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) player in the world. Links to the episode: iTunes Spotify Stitcher Google Play Topics include: (more…) “Rock Paper Scissors: Predicting and influencing opponent behavior”

Psychology and behavior-analysis in bus-driving

The 15th “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with Brendan Bartholomew, a San Francisco bus driver. Besides driving buses, Brendan has written articles for CityLab and the San Francisco Examiner. Links to the episode: iTunes Spotify Stitcher Google Play In this podcast episode, we talk about the role understanding/predicting human behavior can play…

The use of electrodermal activity (aka galvanic skin response) in psychology research

The 14th “People Who Read People” episode is about electrodermal activity (EDA), also known as galvanic skin response (GSR). I interview Dr. Christopher Moyer, PhD, a counseling psychologist with expertise in treatment research and has published research on the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy and the neurological effects of meditation. He also happens to be…

Behavior patterns in social deduction game Secret Hitler

The 13th “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with Polina Vorozheykina, a software engineer based in Portland, Oregon, who also is a skilled player of so-called social deduction games.  Social deduction games typically involve trying to figure out the secret roles and motivations of your opponents based on their actions and behaviors. Examples…

Indicators of fake Amazon reviews, with linguistic researcher Olu Popoola

The twelfth “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with Olu Popoola, a forensic linguistic researcher focused on studying indicators of deception. He’s a doctoral researcher at University of Birmingham U.K. and he also consults as a fraud investigator and corporate trainer on deception detection. Here’s his Twitter account: @oepopoola. Here’s his bio and here’s…

Experiences from a maximum security prison, with Benjamin Moots

The eleventh “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with Benjamin Moots, who spent 15 years in prison, mostly in maximum security settings, for second-degree murder. Ben is on Twitter at @realfishydonk. Links to the episode: iTunes Buzzsprout Spotify Google Play Topics discussed include: (more…) “Experiences from a maximum security prison, with Benjamin Moots”

Indicators of good and bad relationships, with psychology researcher Dr. Brandi Fink

The tenth “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with Dr. Brandi Fink, a psychology researcher and an assistant professor at UNM Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Fink has done a lot of work analyzing the behavior of couples and families experiencing problems, including issues of physical abuse, emotional distress, and drug/alcohol…

Interviews about psychological tactics in door-to-door sales

The latest “People Who Read People” episode is an interview with two people who’ve both had success in door-to-door sales: Conrad Smith, lawyer and founder of marketing firm LeaderShield: He talks to us about his experience being a leading door-to-door salesperson of a well-known home security system. Conrad’s Twitter is here. Dave Mock, former poker…

Restaurant psychology: an interview with service industry pro Robin Dibble

My eighth People Who Read People podcast episode is an interview with Robin Dibble. Robin is an experienced Albuquerque-area service industry professional who’s worked all sides of the business, from waiting tables, to cooking, to managing restaurants and night clubs. Most recently, he helped open and manage Poki Poblano in Albquerque, which just recently shut…

Interview with Robert Drysdale on psychology and behavior in MMA and jiu-jitsu

My seventh ‘People Who Read People’ podcast episode is an interview with Robert Drysdale. Drysdale is a well-known Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts expert, champion, and trainer. If you’d like to know more about him, you can read his Wikipedia. He currently operates a training gym in Las Vegas: Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu. Links to the episode: iTunes…

Podcast interview: Psychology and behavior in fencing, with Seth Baldwin

My sixth ‘People Who Read People’ podcast episode is an interview with Seth Baldwin. Seth is an experienced fencer (swords, not fence posts) who, at the peak of his career, finished 3rd in 2004 at the U.S. National Championships and was 7th alternate for the Olympic fencing team. Links to the episode: iTunes podcast  Spotify podcast…

Podcast interview on social engineering with Jenny Radcliffe

My fifth ‘People Who Read People’ podcast episode is an interview with Jenny Radcliffe (www.jennyradcliffe.com), who goes by the title “The People Hacker”. She’s an expert in social engineering (aka, the manipulation of people to achieve access to goods or information) and non-verbal behavior and psychology. She offers her infiltration services (aka penetration testing or…

Interview about pinball

In August of 2018 I interviewed an acquaintance, Jon Bismut, who’s a big pinball aficionado/player/fan. He’s not a big name in the pinball world, but he knows enough that I thought it would make an interesting interview for people, like myself, who don’t know much about pinball. One thing that initially struck my interest and…

Podcast interview: Interrogation/interview techniques with David Zulawski

My fourth ‘People Who Read People’ podcast episode is an interview with David Zulawski, an expert in interrogation and interview techniques. Zulawski is the cofounder of Wicklander Zulawski and Associates, a company that consults and trains people on interrogation and interviewing. Before starting that business in 1982, he worked in several law enforcement and investigative…

Brian Rast talks poker tells

I was honored to get a chance a couple months ago to talk to high-stakes poker player Brian Rast. The YouTube video is below. It’s rare to get a high-stakes players insights into poker strategy or tells, as many, for good reason, don’t want other high-stakes opponents to get insight about their game. So it’s…

Interview on jury selection psychology and behavioral factors

My third ‘People Who Read People’ podcast was an interview with Dr. Christina Marinakis, an expert on jury selection and voir dire. She is currently the Director of Jury Research at Litigation Insights, a trial consultancy firm. She has also contributed to the second edition of the book Pattern Voir Dire Questions. Some things we…

Analyzing written and verbal statements, with Mark McClish

My second “People Who Read People” podcast features Mark McClish, a former US Marshal, and a longtime trainer of law enforcement personnel in interrogation/interview techniques. He has written two books on his Statement Analysis® techniques: I Know You Are Lying, and Don’t Be Deceived. These are great books; the first book was one of the…

First podcast: featuring stand-up comedian Alex Falcone

I’ve started a podcast, “People Who Read People.” It’ll be me interviewing people from different professions/industries about how they use and interpret psychology and behavior in their work. And yes, the title is a bit of a play on Barbara Streisand’s “People Who Need People” song (which coincidentally is from the musical Funny Girl, which…