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This is a podcast aimed at better understanding other people, and better understanding ourselves. 

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I’m Zach Elwood, a former professional poker player and the author of some well known books on poker tells. I’ve also written a book aimed at reducing toxic polarization in America. For my podcast, I talk to people from a wide range of backgrounds and professions about how they read and predict behavior, and use psychology. Some episode compilations:

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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 on political polarization (for example, my book Defusing American Anger). My independent research on deceptive online activity has been featured in NY Times, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and more.

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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 podcast subscription, or sign up for my depolarization-aimed Substack newsletter. Other ways to show appreciation: subscribe to this podcast 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.

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:

Behavioral indicators of good and bad relationships, with psych researcher Brandi Fink

An interview with Brandi Fink, a psychology researcher and an assistant professor at UNM Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Brandi 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 abuse. She once worked with the famous relationship researcher and…

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…