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The unpublished stories behind the
world’s most compelling science,
as told by the researchers themselves.

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p-Hacking Business with Ron Berman

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, could the manipulation of statistics in marketing research be costing companies millions? In episode 43,...

Listen to the episode p-Hacking Business – Ron Berman


Voyeuristic Birds with Masayo Soma

Could birds' courting behaviors change when they're being watched? In episode 42, Masayo Soma from Hokkaido University discusses her research into monogamous songbirds which intensify...

Listen to the episode Voyeuristic Birds – Masayo Soma

A Sniff Test of Stress with Jonathan Williams

Might the chemicals we exhale while watching movies tell us about the emotional stress that we're experiencing? In episode 41, Jonathan Williams from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry...

Listen to the episode A Sniff Test of Stress – Jonathan Williams

Cognitive Biases on the Supreme Court with Jonathan Feingold and Evelyn Carter

Can cognitive biases and heuristics regarding race influence U.S. Supreme Court decisions? In episode 40, Jonathan Feingold and Evelyn Carter from the University of California, Los Angeles...

Listen to the episode Cognitive Biases on the Supreme Court – Jonathan Feingold & Evelyn Carter

Archaeology of the Recent Past (Part 2 of 2) with P.J. Capelotti

While we often associate archaeology with the study of cultures whose eras have long-since come and gone, artifacts from the recent past can tell us about culture as well. Part one of...

Listen to the episode Archaeology of the Recent Past (Part 2 of 2) – P.J. Capelotti

Archaeology of the Recent Past (Part 1 of 2) with P.J. Capelotti

Ordinary objects from the recent past often hold secrets about our cultural history. In episode 38, P.J. Capelotti from Penn State University Abington talks with us about the history,...

Listen to the episode Archaeology of the Recent Past (Part 1 of 2) – P.J. Capelotti

Illusions in the Periphery with Ben Balas

What can the chance discovery of an illusion tell us about how our eyes and brains work together? Ben Balas from North Dakota State University talks with us in episode 37 about his...

Listen to the episode Illusions in the Periphery – Ben Balas

Plasticity & Face Recognition with Marlene Behrmann

While we can't regenerate limbs, might our brains have greater plasticity than commonly thought? In episode 36, Marlene Behrmann from Carnegie Mellon University, discusses her 3-year...

Listen to the episode Plasticity & Face Recognition – Marlene Behrmann

Playing with Science History with Jean-François Gauvin

Almost lost to history, these toys quite literally put quantum mechanics at one’s fingertips. In episode 35, Jean-François Gauvin from Université Laval in Canada discusses how he...

Listen to the episode Playing with Science History – Jean-François Gauvin

Decoding Cancers' Expression with Mike Feigin

Because 98% of the human genome doesn't serve a direct role in gene expression, many biologists have long thought of them as nothing but "junk DNA." But might they hold the key to helping...

Listen to the episode Decoding Cancers’ Expression – Mike Feigin


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Doug Leigh

Doug Leigh, Ph.D., is a Professor with Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. His research interests are psychometrics, machine learning, and science communication.
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Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins, Ph.D., is a Professor at George Washington University in Washington DC. His research interests are needs, needs assessments, instructional design, and human-technology collaboration.
Empathic Accuracy - Michael Kraus
Empathic Accuracy - Michael Kraus
Empathic Accuracy - Michael Kraus Empathic Accuracy - Michael Kraus
@rwatkins says:
To wrap things up, Doug and I were interested in knowing where Michael might place his research within the bigger context of emotions research. Here, he discussed whether emotion is a real and naturally evolved trait in humans, rather than one that we invented.
@rwatkins says:
Small effects - especially when meta-analyzed, like Michael did across his studies - can point toward big benefits, so we wondered if Michael believes that his study might potentially have value for researchers in other disciplines.
@rwatkins says:
Reading the emotions of others is a major hurdle for the kinds of Artificial Intelligence systems that we interact with in everyday life, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Here, Michael explains what predications he predicts that future empathic accuracy research might have on the design of AI systems.
@rwatkins says:
Michael's fourth study examined empathic accuracy in A real-world contexts where voice-only modes of communication are common: voice chat in the workplace. He discovered that it too led participants to focus more attention on speech content and vocal cues than did facial expressions. The study was preregistered with the Center for Open Science at a time when preregistration was less common than it is today. Michael talked with us next about what led him to decide to preregister that study.
@rwatkins says:
Michael's studies involved a variety of unique interventions. So Doug and I asked about these variations in interactions and why he believes that they were important.
@rwatkins says:
Studies previous to Michael's had explored the role of voice along with visual cues on empathic accuracy. That research suggested that voice played little role in participants' abilities to correctly identify the emotions others were feeling. Michael, however, questioned some of these findings, and decided to explore questions similar to those of previous studies. Here he explains why and how he did so.
@rwatkins says:
Touch can also be a primary sensor for understanding the emotions of others. A gentle touch to one’s cheek evokes emotions quite different than a slap to the face. We asked Michael where touch fits in his research into empathic accuracy.
@rwatkins says:
Similarly, Ryan and I were curious in learning what led Michael to decide to have participants in the second study interact with each other in the dark, as well as what kind of situations this might mimic in the real world outside of the lab. Michael explains.
@rwatkins says:
Doug and I wondered about those recordings of two friends teasing each other in michael’s first study, so we circled back to ask what led him to choose to study that kind of social interaction as a stimulus.
@rwatkins says:
Michael's first experiment revolved around previously-recorded conversations that took place between two friends who were teasing each other. For his first study, he recruited 300 people to either watch these videos with the sound on … watch the videos, but with the audio muted … or listen only to the audio without the video … then assess how each of the friends' felt during the conversation. Finding some support for the idea that people perceive emotions more accurately through voice-only than visual-only or multi-sense communication, Michael carried out a second experiment in which 266 people were paired together and videotaped having conversations either in a lighted room, or in a darkened room, but with the camera's night vision feature activated. Again, people in the experiment were somewhat better at judging their partner's self-assessed emotions when they could only hear their voice. Then, in his third experiment, Michael recruited 600 people to watch and listen to the lighted-room video recording, a video of an interaction recorded using night vision … or an audio-only recording of the interaction. Here, he talks with us about why he chose to do this and what he found.
@rwatkins says:
Michael's article covers a series of unusual experiments regarding empathic accuracy, the details of which we'll discuss in a moment. Next, Michael explains what inspired this line of research, and summarizes how the various studies fit together.
@rwatkins says:
A footnote on the first page of Michael's article dedicates it to Zoe, so we began our conversation by asking Michael who Zoe is, and why his paper is dedicated to her.
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