Category: Podcast

Episode 30: The psychology of superstitions

This is Episode 30 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

From carefully avoiding cracks in the pavement to saluting every magpie that you meet, superstitious behaviour is really common. But why do we have superstitions? Where do they come from? And are they helpful or harmful? 

To find out, our presenter Ginny Smith talks to Stuart Vyse, former professor of psychology at Connecticut College and author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. Ginny also chats to Laramie Taylor, professor of communication at the University of California Davis, who explains how superstition and magical thinking is linked to being a fan of both fiction and sports.

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Episode 29: Why do people share false information — and what can we do about it?

This is Episode 29 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

Why do people share false information? In this episode, our presenters Ginny Smith and Jon Sutton explore the psychology of misinformation. They hear about the factors that make people more or less likely to share misinformation, discuss strategies to correct false information, and learn how to talk to someone who is promoting conspiracy theories.

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Tom Buchanan, Professor of Psychology at the University of Westminster, and Briony Swire-Thompson, senior research scientist at Northeastern University’s Network Science Institute.

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Episode 28: Why Songs Get Stuck In Our Heads

This is Episode 28 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

Why do some songs get stuck in our heads? In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith explores the psychology of earworms. Ginny hears about the possible evolutionary reasons for why we experience the phenomenon, learns what earworms can teach us about memory — and finds out how to get rid of them.

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Kelly Jakubowski, assistant professor of music psychology at Durham University; Petr Janata, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis; and Michael K. Scullin, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University.

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Episode 27: The Psychologist Presents… At Latitude Festival 2021 — Child Food Poverty

This is Episode 27 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

At Latitude Festival in Suffolk in July, The Psychologist Editor Dr Jon Sutton hosted a conversation in The Listening Post with Greta Defeyter, Professor of Developmental Psychology and founder and Director of the “Healthy Living” Lab at Northumbria University. An expert on food insecurity, social injustice, school feeding programmes and holiday hunger, Professor Defeyter considered why children go hungry, what we can do about it, and how her own experiences of poverty have shaped her. 

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Episode 26: How Has The Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Our Mental Health?

This is Episode 26 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

What impact has the pandemic had on people’s mental health? In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith talks to researchers who have been conducting work throughout the pandemic to understand the toll that it has taken on our wellbeing. Ginny learns about the different factors that can make us more or less vulnerable to these effects, finds out how pregnant women have fared during this stressful time, and also hears about emerging data that finds links between the virus itself and mental health conditions.

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Dr Susanne Schweizer, Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Paul Harrison from the University of Oxford.

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Episode 25: How To Change Your Personality

This is Episode 25 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here

Are our personalities set in stone, or can we choose to change them? In this bonus episode, Matthew Warren talks to former Research Digest editor Christian Jarrett about his new book Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change. Christian discusses the evidence-based methods you can use to alter your personality, whether you’re an introvert who wants to become the life of the party, or you simply wish you were a little more open to new experiences. He also explains how our personalities evolve over the course of our lifespans, even when we’re not consciously trying to change them, and ponders how they might be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change is out on May 18th in the United States and May 20th in the United Kingdom.

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Episode 24: How Children Learn Through Play

This is Episode 24 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

What role does play have in child development? In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith talks to some top play researchers to find out how children learn new skills and concepts through play, and explores what teachers and parents can do to encourage this kind of learning. Ginny also discovers how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way kids play and learn.

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Professor Marilyn Fleer and Dr Prabhat Rai from Monash University, and Dr Suzanne Egan from the University of Limerick.

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Episode 23: Whose Psychology Is It Anyway? Making Psychological Research More Representative

This is Episode 23 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. Download here.

In this episode, Emily Reynolds, staff writer at Research Digest, explores modern psychology’s relationship with race and representation. It’s well-known that psychology has a generalisability problem, with studies overwhelmingly using so-called “WEIRD” participants: those who are Western and educated and from industrialised, rich and democratic societies. But how does that shape the assumptions we make about participants of different racial identities or cultures? And how can top-tier psychology journals improve diversity among not only participants but also authors and editors?

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Dr Bobby Cheon, Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Dr Steven O. Roberts, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

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Episode 22: Drifting Minds — Maladaptive Daydreaming And The Hypnagogic State

This is Episode 22 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

In this episode, Ella Rhodes, journalist for The Psychologist, explores the boundaries between wakefulness and dreaming. What can we can learn about consciousness from the strange transition period between being awake and asleep, known as hypnagogia? And why do some people experience visions and imaginings that take them away for hours at a time?

Our guests, in order of appearance, are Dr Valdas Noreika, lecturer in Psychology at Queen Mary University of London, and Dr Nirit Soffer-Dudek, clinical psychologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel

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Episode 21: How To Stay Connected In The “New Normal”

This is Episode 21 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

What can we do to stay connected in the middle of a pandemic? We’ve all played our part in fighting COVID-19, and for many of us that has meant staying away from our friends and families. In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith explores how this unprecedented period of separation has reinforced the importance of connection. Ginny looks at how video chats compare to in-person interaction, and how psychology could help improve virtual communication in the future. She also examines the importance of touch for reducing stress — and asks whether interactions with our furry friends could make up for a lack of human contact.

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