Home

This is a podcast about understanding other people and understanding ourselves, hosted by me, Zachary Elwood. I interview people from a wide variety of fields, from jury consultants to interrogation experts to forensic linguistic analysts to relationship researchers to door-to-door salesmen to restaurant managers.

I’ve done many interviews about political issues, focused on the psychology of political polarization. I see extreme polarization as the biggest problem facing modern societies, and I think to avoid worst-case scenarios we need more people understanding the psychological reasons behind our divides. See all my politics-related episodes.

My main claim to fame is my poker tells work. I’ve also done some research and writing on political and communication topics. I’m on Twitter. I make no money on this podcast. If you want to show your appreciation (and encourage me to keep going), please leave me a rating on iTunes, or throw me some money on Patreon.

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.

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…

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…