Can even a single-celled organism truly learn? In Episode 70, Jeremy Gunawardena with the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School talks with us about his replication of an experiment originally conducted over a century ago, which suggested that at least one single-cell organism – the trumpet-shaped Stentor roeseli – is able to carry out surprisingly complex decision-making behaviors
What factors best predict success at college among youth formerly in foster care? Royel Johnson discusses his systematic literature review of research on the college success of this historically underserved population.
How can research improve the lives of livestock, even as they’re on their way to slaughter? In episode 67, Temple Grandin from the Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences talks with us about her work on promoting improved communications between academic researchers and those in the animal agriculture industry.
Did you catch that? In episode 66, Katherine Wood from the University of Illinois discusses her research with the scientist behind the famous “Invisible Gorilla” experiments, Daniel Simons, into if and when people notice unexpected objects in inattentional blindness tasks
Can your doctors’ beliefs about the efficacy of a treatment affect how you experience pain? In episode 65, we’re joined by Luke Chang from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College. He talks with us about his research into socially transmitted placebo effects, through which patients can pick up on subtle facial cues that reveal their doctor’s beliefs about how effective a treatment will be.
Why are bold, broad, and terse depictions of science perceived as more important, robust and generalizable than nuanced ones? In episode 63, we’re joined by Susan Gelman from the University of Michigan, who talks with us about her research into the use of generic language in scientific papers.
When real-time fMRI neurofeedback improves people’s symptoms long after treatment, might that influence the guidance that’s provided to patients, and also inform the design of future clinical trials? In episode 60, we’re joined by Michelle Hampson from Yale University’s School of Medicine. She discusses her finding that people suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders may benefit from real-time fMRI neurofeedback, not only while inside the brain scanners, but also for weeks afterwards.
Just how rampant is scientific misconduct? In episode 51, Elisabeth Bik talks with us about her research suggesting that as many as 35,000 papers in biomedicine journals may be candidates for retraction due to inappropriate image duplication.
Are adolescents’ technology use really related to depression, suicide and ADHD, or might it be no worse for kids than eating potatoes? In episode 47, Amy Orben from the University of Oxford discusses her explorations into how researchers’ biases can influence their analysis of large datasets. Her article “The association between adolescent well-being and digital technology use,” was co-authored with Andy Przybylski and published on January 14, 2019 in the journal Nature: Human Behaviour.
Might enabling computational aids to “self-correct” when they’re out of sync with people be a path toward their exhibition of recognizably intelligent behavior? In episode 46, Neera Jain from Purdue University discusses in her experiments into monitoring our trust in AI’s abilities so as to drive us more safely, care for our grandparents, and do work that’s just too dangerous for humans.
To what extent could “coming out” be a useful analogy for the process of coming to identify as Deaf? In episode 44, Laura Mauldin from the University of Connecticut discusses her research into this question as detailed in her open-access article “‘Coming out’ rhetoric in disability studies: Exploring its fit with the Deaf experience” published in the Spring 2018 issue of Disability Studies Quarterly.
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 in Mainz, Germany discusses his research analyzing the gasses emitted in cinemas, as described in his article “Proof of concept study: Testing human volatile organic compounds as tools for age classification of films,” published on October 11, 2018 in the journal PLOS One.
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 our conversation with P.J. Capelotti from Penn State University Abington concerned terrestrial archaeology. In part two, we talk about his explorations of aeronautical and aerospace archaeology, as chronicled in his recent book Adventures in Archaeology: The Wreck of the Orca II and other Explorations published on September 14, 2018 by the University Press of Florida.
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, archaeology, and anthropology of exploration as he writes about it in his recent book Adventures in Archaeology: The Wreck of the Orca II and other Explorations published on September 14, 2018 by the University Press of Florida.
While various vertebrates have been taught to learn humans’ concept of “zero,” might too honey bees, even though their brains have thousands of times fewer neurons? In episode 31 Adrian Dyer from RMIT and Monash University in Australia talks with us about his work first teaching bees to count and then extrapolate what they’ve learned to infer zero.
“No matter whether you think you can or can’t,” the saying goes, “you’re right.” Neil Lewis, Jr. from Cornell University talks with us about about his research into what differentiates students who experience difficulty in college as signaling its importance from those that make it mean that completing college is impossible. His article “No pain no gain? Social demographic correlates and identity consequences of interpreting experienced difficulty as importance” was published with Cristina Aelenei and Daphna Oyserman in the January 2017 issue of Contemporary Educational Psychology.
Righting a 200 year old mistake: Armita Manafzadeh from Brown University talks with us about how her simulations of pterosaurs’ range-of-motion demonstrate that the ancient reptiles almost certainly couldn’t have flown like most paleontologists have long thought. Her article, “ROM mapping of ligamentous constraints on avian hip mobility: implications for extinct ornithodirans” was published on May 23, 2018 with Kevin Padian in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Science.
What can prehistory tell us about the origins of modern birds? Bhart-Anjan Bhullar from Yale University talks with us about how the discovery of a 95 million year old Ichthyornis fossil in 2014 revealed some unexpected insights into the minds — and mouths — of today’s birds.
In celebration of LGBTSTEMDay, we talk with Bryce Hughes of Montana State University about his research into the factors that influence the retention of LGBQ students in STEM programs.
Might police shootings of unarmed African Americans have anything to do with state-level structural racism? Anita Knopov from Boston University joins us to talk about her study “The Relationship Between Structural Racism and Black-White Disparities in Fatal Police Shootings at the State Level.”
We set out talk with David Kernot from Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group about William Shakespeare’s true identity, but soon discovered his work has implications on national security and suicide prevention, as well as diagnosing Alzheimer’s years before it can be otherwise identified. In episode 23 of Parsing Science, David talks with us about the many applications of his research into training algorithms to uncover peoples’ personalities from their written words.
What might migration patterns tell us about how modern languages came about? Vanderbilt University’s Nicole Creanza talks with us about her research into how migration during the colonial era contributed to the development of the creole language, Sranan.
By now, we’re all familiar with the idea that social media can – and has – been used to spread untruths. But why does this work? Soroush Vosoughi from MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center talks with us in episode 20 about his research into how false news disseminates differently than true news on Twitter.
Anna-Sophia Wahl — a neuroscientist with the Brain Research Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich, as well as a physician with the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany — talks with us about her open-access article “Optogenetically stimulating intact rat corticospinal tract post-stroke restores motor control through regionalized functional circuit formation.
Niki den Nieuwenboer from the University of Kansas’ School of Business talks with us about her research on how middle-managers can manipulate organizational structures to coerce their staff into unethical behaviors to inflate both of their apparent performance.
In this episode we talk with Folarin Kolawole from the University of Oklahoma about his research into how the reactivation of faults can lead to earthquakes in places where they’ve never before occurred in recorded history.
Adam Morris from Harvard University’s Department of Psychology talks with us about his game theory research into why people engage in retribution with little regard for its effectiveness, yet they respond to punishment from others with flexibility based on costs and benefits.
Reproducing research results can help accelerate the scientific progress. In the second half of this two-part episode, Tim Errington and Brian Nosek from the Center for Open Science share insights from their the Center’s replication of a high-profile anti-cancer treatment study.
The rich archaeological records of human space exploration can tell us much about human behavior, geopolitics, and the history of science and technology. In this episode we’re joined by Alice Gorman of Flinders University in South Australia. Alice tells us about her research that explores archaeological perspectives derived from the artifacts left by humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972.
A picture may be worth 1000 words, but can we also teach computers to create stories from the stories that lie inside our images? In this episode, Devi Parikh of Georgia Tech’s school of interactive computing discusses her work training computers to determine the semantic meaning within images.
Can stereotypes about Christians really limit who pursues science? In this episode, Kim Rios from Ohio University discusses how self-concepts and group identities may change how we look at the role of religion in science.
How well can doctors and nurses really predict the outcomes of their ICU patients? In this episode, Scott Halpern from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, discusses how he and his colleagues explored the accuracy of ICU physicians and nurses in predicting the health outcomes of their patients.
What matters more in getting cited — what you say or how you say it? In our first episode of the show we’re visited by Ryan Kelly from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. He talks with us about his article “Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science.