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Two Psychologists Four Beers

Science Podcasts

Two psychologists endeavor to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.

Two psychologists endeavor to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.




Two psychologists endeavor to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.




Episode 95: What are Teachers Good For? (with Paul Bloom)

Paul Bloom joins Yoel and Alexa to talk about the glamour and humiliation of teaching psychology at the college level. They discuss how they've changed their approaches to teaching over the years, and whether they've become more skilled or more out of touch (or both). Alexa shares her experiences teaching about morality and evolution to a predominantly Christian student body, Yoel laments the fact that his students aren't more disagreeable, and Paul claims that critical thinking is...


Episode 94: Individualism, Interdependence, and Student Loans

Inspired by a recent Atlantic article ("The Myth of Independent American Families" by Stephanie H. Murray) Alexa and Yoel consider what it means to live in an indiviualistic society. At an abstract level, they discuss different visions for interdependence, from communes to church communities to welfare states. On a more personal note, they reflect on ways that they depend on, and support, people in their families and communities, and whether it would be desirable to increase those levels of...


Episode 93: Facing a Social Media Mob (with Stefan Uddenberg)

Yoel and Alexa are joined by Stefan Uddenberg, a social perception researcher and author of the paper "Deep Models of Superficial Face Judgments." This paper was the focus of a previous episde - "A Face for Podcasting" - in which the co-hosts discussed the research, and the resulting controversy. Now, Stefan offers a new, insider perspective. He begins by offering a deeper explanation of the work, noting that a large, diverse set of facial images, is essential for studying how people are...


Episode 92: Should SPSP Stay Out of It?

As the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) starts gearing up for their 2023 conference, Alexa and Yoel debate some of the organization's recent efforts to be more anti-racist and politically engaged. First, the co-hosts discuss debate over moving the conference from its originally scheduled location (Atlanta, Georgia) due to the state's restrictive abortion laws. They consider how boycotting (or, as SPSP ultimately decided, not boycotting) fits with the organization's...


Episode 91: Decriminalizing Mental Illness

Yoel and Alexa chat with Jennifer Cox and Lauren Kois, co-directors of the Southern Behavioral Health and Law Initiative. Established in 2020, the initiative was created to address the dearth of mental health resources for people who become involved with the legal system. Jennifer and Lauren walk our co-hosts through common scenarios that can occur when a person with mental illness encounters the legal system, some of which involve long waits in understaffed state hospitals with little...


Episode 90: Freelance Kinkology (with Aella)

Independent researcher Aella joins Yoel and Alexa to talk about her experiences doing freelance social science. Their discussion touches on some far-ranging topics, from the upsides of Twitter microfame to the humbling experience of questioning one's faith. At one point, they consider the compromises - good and bad - that come from catering to one's critics. Aella also discusses a recent funded research project where she asks people about their sexual fetishes. Special Guest: Aella.


Episode 89: What's Wrong with Social Media?

Mickey returns with the hot takes you know and love. He joins Yoel and Alexa to discuss Jonathan Haidt's recent Atlantic article, "Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid." Haidt claims the answer is social media, but the cohosts aren't fully convinced. To shed a bit more light on the matter, they turn to an article by Amy Orben and Andrew Przybylski which provides a rigorous analysis of the relationship between social media use and well-being. In the end, Mickey...


Episode 88: Many Many Labs

Earlier this year, the last of five "Many Labs" projects was accepted for publication at Collabra: Psychology, representating the culmination of a nearly-decade long series of multi-lab replication efforts. In this episode, Alexa and Yoel consider what they've learned from Many Labs 1 through 5, including insights about replication, expertise, and the impact (or lack thereof) of small effects. They also discuss their own connections to the project - Yoel as an original author, and Alexa as a...


Episode 87: The Distracting Nature of Nudges

Originating within the behavioral sciences, "nudging" has received attention as a way to achieve broad societal change by promoting small, individual adjustments. We're told, for instance, that if we all do our part reduce our carbon footprints we can stave off climate change. In today's episode, Yoel and Alexa consider a critique of "nudging" offered by Chater and Loewenstein. These authors argue that individual-level interventions often fail to accumulate to impressive societal change, and...


Episode 86: A Face For Podcasting

Yoel and Alexa discuss a recent study that examines the facial features that people perceive as "smart," "dorky," "trustworthy," or a number of other traits. The study quickly captured a lot of attention, eliciting both fascination and anger. The cohosts turn to Twitter, and to Alexa's undergraduate students, to attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the criticisms and suspicions expressed about the work. In the process, they consider whether glasses make you look smart, and whether...


Episode 85: People Dealing With the Pandemic Pretty Well, Study Finds

Originally, Yoel and Alexa set out to discuss a study examining stress and decision-making during the pandemic. However, they get sidetracked by the ways that data are packaged - first by APA, and then by NPR - into a newsworthy account that may not tell the whole story. They identify ways in which the summary statements and headlines may exaggerate or twist the data into a more interesting narrative. Despite their skepticism, they consider NPR's advice about how to improve day-to-day...


Episode 84: Check Your Values?

Alexa and Yoel fight some more, this time over whether or not science should be value free. They consider a position taken by W. E. B. Du Bois, who argued that social change was only possible if scientists focused solely on finding truth. In the process, they consider whether scientists should ever keep findings to themselves, and discuss the merits of leaving the value judgments to the politicians. In the end, they somehow conclude that it is fine that they never justify their alphas. Next...


Episode 83: Grand Challenges

Yoel and Alexa discuss the "grand challenges" of psychological science, as identified in a recent survey of APS members. While usually nauseatingly agreeable, the two find many points of contention when it comes to psychology's shortcomings - from the kinds of diversity worth wanting to the value of decolonizing your syllabus. In the end, they make amends by agreeing that psychological science is, unfortunately, unlikely to solve climate change. And, along the way they express their...


Episode 82: Psychology Worth Knowing

Yoel and Alexa embrace their credulous sides and consider concepts from psychology that have importance for people in their private and public lives. Each of us lists the three social psychological ideas that we think are most relevant to people's lives - the kinds of things we would teach if we could give just one lecture. There are areas of consensus, but at some point Alexa wonders what Yoel has against insurance. We also discuss our inability to meaningfully discuss international...


Episode 81: Against Retribution

Alexa moonlights as a guest and answers Yoel's questions about her recent paper, in which she argues that the criminal justice system should abandon retribution. Alexa claims that when we ask if someone is blameworthy, we are asking social scientific questions: Were they rational? Were they being coerced? Were they acting out of character? We discuss some aspects of the social scientific evidence - from vignettes about soaping windows to group-to-individual inference - and consider whether...


Episode 80: The C-Word (with Julia Rohrer)

Personality psychologist and methodologist Julia Rohrer joins the show to talk about causal claims, strategic ambiguity, and how tough it is to tell what empirical claims many psychology papers are making. To illustrate, we subject Yoel's first paper, "Conservatives are more easily disgusted than liberals," to some vigorous post-publication peer review. We also discuss what makes Julia most hopeful about psychology, as well as the recent progress in alcohol-free beer. Special Guest: Julia...


Episode 79: All About Authenticity

Alexa and Yoel talk authenticity. What is it? Is it good to have it? And why does Alexa score higher on it than Yoel? We talk about a draft paper examining how people infer authenticity in themselves and others, and a recently-published paper suggesting that supposedly highly authentic people might just be motivated to present themselves that way. Plus, Alexa drinks some listener-supplied beer, with favorable results, and we discuss who the most famous academic is.


Episode 78: Meehl on Theory

Alexa and Yoel are back with more amateur philosophy of science. This time, we do a deep dive into a paper by the legendary Paul Meehl: "Appraising and Amending Theories: The Strategy of Lakatosian Defense and Two Principles that Warrant It." What can this classic paper tell us about how to do better research? We also talk about lactose, tandem bicycles, and New Year's resolutions (not in that order).


Episode 77: Against Method?

Alexa and Yoel tackle Paul Feyerabend, the wild man of philosophy of science. What can we learn from his "anything goes" argument for methodological anarchy? We go deep on the first five chapters of Feyerabend's most famous work, "Against Method," and discuss his (maybe not entirely serious) arguments for extreme theory proliferation, ignoring the data, and Chinese herbal medicine. Also, we discuss which Christmas album is superior: Sia or Dolly Parton.


Episode 76: Preregistration (What is it Good For)

Alexa and Yoel talk about objections to preregistration. Does preregistration imply that researchers can't be trusted? Does it mean that they can't use their best judgment? When might preregistration be unhelpful? We also discuss researcher degrees of freedom in a recent paper testing Cardi B's maxim that "hoes don't get cold." Plus: ketchup on ice cream, and Alexa's controversial replacement for Daylight Savings Time.