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Who cares? What's the point?

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New Zealand






One year of Who cares? What's the point?

Hi all, I have been hosting and producing Who cares? What’s the point? – my science communication podcast – for a year now. There was an opportunity to talk about my creative journey over this year at the Science Communicators of New Zealand annual conference last week, so I took it up and gave a short presentation there. Here’s the slides from my talk that give some details about why I started this project, what I aimed to achieve and how successful I was. There’s some hard and real...

Duration: 00:14:13

Do teachers believe in "neuromyths" just as much as everyone else?

There are some commonly held misconceptions in the general public about how the brain works and how it affects how we learn - these are often called "neuromyths." We know that the genral public can fall prey to these much of the time, but what about our educators? And if teachers beleive in these neuromyths, what does it mean for how they teach, or how schools allocate their resources? And can we protect against falling for these neuromyths by better training? Join me as I talk with Kelly...

Duration: 00:37:53

The number of photos we take has increased hugely. How does this change our experience of life? #35

For many of you listening to this podcast, taking photos of things and people in our lives has become much more common, as well as documenting our experiences of life. Understanding how the act of taking photos may get in the way of or increase our pleasure in these activities seems like an important topic for research. Implicitly, we may hear the message that we should stop taking so many photos and just be in the moment and enjoy our experiences without trying to record everything. But...

Duration: 00:38:59

The language of ageism, and how we use it against ourselves #34

There has been a lot of recent attention on gender pay equity, the re-emergence of racism in western societies, and how youth mental health has been an increasing concern in recent years. However, the way we talk about older people, and indeed, how older people view and talk about themselves is also revealing of deeper attitudes and biases. Join me as I talk with Assoc Prof Dr Tracey Gendron, based in the Department of Gerontology in the School of Allied Health Professions at Virginia...

Duration: 00:28:57

Regulations of love: How to feel better when relationships end WCWTP#33

Most people will experience a relationship break up. They can be hard to get over. One way to manage this is to try to actively decrease the feelings of love you have for your ex-partner? But does this work? Do people believe they can control their feelings of love in this way? Can you actually do this? Join me as I talk with Asst Prof Dr Sandra Langeslag, based at the Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri - St Louis. We talk about how she tested three strategies...

Duration: 00:32:22

Break until mid-October 2017

Hi all, Just a quick update for you. I'm lucky enough to have recently become a dad again, and I'm also a candidate in the NZ General Election for the Labour Party. So, I'll be taking a break from podcasting for a few weeks, but I'll be back again in the middle of October. Until then, be sure to have a listen to my back catalogue of shows, and subscribe to the show in iTunes or your favourite podcast app, and you'll get pinged when a new show is uploaded. Thanks for listening - and as...

Duration: 00:01:52

It is clear that 4 out of 5 people have experienced a mental health disorder by the time they reach midlife. What do we know about those who don't?

You might be familiar with the often quoted statistic that 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 people experience mental health difficulties. What you might not be aware of is that is the answer if people are answering about what they are experiencing at that particular point in time. Long-term studies following the same people over time show that more than 4 out of 5 people (actually 87%) have experienced a mental health disorder by the time they reach age 38. This radically changes our understanding,...

Duration: 00:40:40

Can the news media play a key role in triggering psychological reactions to terrorism?

In July 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 adults and children in a bombing in Oslo and a subsequent shooting on a nearby island where the Norwegian Labor Party's youth organisation was having their summer camp. I talk with Dr Bertel Hansen of the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark about the impact of that event in Norway on the incidence of trauma- and stressor-related disorders in the neighbouring country of Denmark, and discuss this with respect to of...

Duration: 00:34:25

Scared behind the wheel: How driving anxiety may influence our health and wellbeing

Leaning drive has been a rite of passage in many societies for decades. For many, it is a central part of their everyday lives, especially if they live in rural areas, or where other alternatives aren't as practical or appealing. But what happens if we become anxious about driving? How might that shape our lives and wellbeing? In this show I speak with Dr Joanne Taylor, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Massey University in New Zealand. Here is the link to the paper we talk...

Duration: 00:34:31

Integrated consciousness: A framework for making sense of the world around and within us #29

Consciousness is a curious and complex phenomenon. There are many ideas about what consciousness means and how it comes about, but I came across a compelling and relatively simple argument when I attended TEDFest this year - where the TED2017 conference was livestreamed for TEDx conference organisers from around the world, all convened in New York. In this show I speak with Dr Anil Seth from the Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex in the UK....

Duration: 00:43:00

The surprising upside of worrying #28

Worrying can be described as the process of unpleasant thoughts that keep coming back and cause us to be anxious or distressed. Although it's certainly true that worrying is often seen as a problem, there is increasing evidence that it can also be seen in positive ways too. In this show I speak with Associate Professor Kate Sweeny from the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside in the USA. Here is the link to the paper we talk about in this week's...

Duration: 00:30:18

The recycled self: How our identity relates to whether we recycle a product or not #27

If you drink coffee and buy that in a shop, the barista might call out your name - which may be written on your disposable cup - when it's ready. Does the fact that your name is written on the cup have an influence on whether you choose to recycle it or not? Even if they spelled your name wrong? Everyday, we make decisions about whether to keep or dispose of objects that we have purchased or obtained. Often, the decision can boil down to whether we recycle or trash the object in question....

Duration: 00:31:42

1747 people talk about their experience taking antidepressants

About 1 in 9 adult New Zealanders receive a prescription for antidepressants each year. Although we think they are generally helpful for people, we know surprisingly little about what it might be like to take them. This week I speak with Associate Professor Dr Kerry Gibson from the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand to find out more. Here is the link to the paper we talk about in this week's...

Duration: 00:28:31

Do we fear death less after a 'near-death experience'?

'Near-death experiences' come up often in films and novels - the idea of a 'white light' or experiencing meeting loved ones from years before. But are there common aspects to these experiences? And what sorts of consequences might they have once you have them? This week I speak with Dr Natasha Tassell-Matamua, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Massey University, New Zealand to find out more. Here is the link to the paper we talk about in this week's...

Duration: 00:36:04

Your access to 12 episodes and over 4 hours of parenting advice from Dr Sarb Johal on @RNZ 's @NinetoNoon show #24

Welcome to this special edition of Who cares? What's the point? The podcast about the mind for people who think. In this short show, I talk briefly about my role as a parenting commentator on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon show over the past 5 years. In these show notes, you can find links to 12 shows with over 4 hours of conversations about parenting between myself and Kathryn Ryan, the host of the show. Here's a list of the show links with a brief description of each show, in reverse...

Duration: 00:04:19

We know that divorce and health are linked - but how exactly does this link work? #23

It is pretty well established that the experience of marital; separation and divorce is a risk for a range of poor health outcomes, even many years after the event. But how are these events linked? Although the association is established, the pathway between the two is not well understood. In this episode, I talk with Professor David Sbarra, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona in the USA, where he is also the Director of Clinical Training in the Doctoral Program in...

Duration: 00:33:21

How climate change affects us mentally and socially, whether you believe in it or not #22

When you think about climate change- psychology and mental health may not be the first thing that you think of. However, the two are very much connected. As well as possible mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, psychological responses to climate change such as fatalism, fear, helplessness and resignation are growing. These responses might be keeping us from addressing the core causes of and developing solutions for our changing climates and the consequences of this, as...

Duration: 00:40:37

How do 3-4 year olds think about hide and seek? #21

Have you played hide and seek with a small child and found them in seconds as they sit in the middle of the room with their eyes covered, convinced that you can't see them? In this episode, I talk with Asst Professor Henrike Moll, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern California in the USA. In this conversation, we focus on Henrike's work looking at the social-cognitive development of pre-schoolers and how they appear to apply a principle of bidirectional social...

Duration: 00:26:55

When we think about our own death, do we become more open to religious ideas? #20

Do we become more religious when we think about our own death. Or at least, less religiously skeptical? In this episode, I talk with Dr. Jonathan Jong, currently a Research Fellow at Coventry University, and Deputy Director of the Brain, Belief and Behaviour group there. He is also the Research Coordinator of the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. In this conversation, we focus on Jonathan's PhD work - in New Zealand - on understanding the...

Duration: 00:47:46

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's a key discovery about how human memory is related to motion WCWTPs2e7

In this episode, I talk with Mark Schurgin, Graduate Fellow based in the Visual Thinking Lab at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. We talk about Mark's work combining his experience and knowledge of vision research memory, investigating how basic knowledge that we have about how the world works - our 'core knowledge' supports our memory about objects. We talk more about how Mark discovered this, and implications for processes such as machine learning for autonomous self-driving...

Duration: 00:41:10

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