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12 Jan 2021

Bots’ Meddling in the 2020 Presidential Election – Emilio Ferrara

How are automated social media bots manipulating our political discourse? In episode 91, Emilio Ferrara from the University of Southern California discusses his research into bots' amplification of conspiracies theories across more than 240 million tweets regarding the 2020 U.S. presidential elect......
Listen to the episode...Bots’ Meddling in the 2020 Presidential Election – Emilio Ferrara
29 Dec 2020

Pet Project – Eric Tourigny

What do changes in our beliefs about the death of our pets over the past century say about the relationship we have with our companion animals? In episode 90, Eric Tourigny from Newcastle University's School of History, Classics and Archaeology discusses his research into historic pet cemeteries a......
Listen to the episode...Pet Project – Eric Tourigny
15 Dec 2020

Drones Revealing the Past – Jesse Casana

How can drones help us find settlements long-lost to time? In episode 89, Jesse Casana from Dartmouth College's Department of Anthropology discusses his research into using multi-sensor drones to collect data about a major Native American settlement in what is now Southeastern Kansas. His article ......
Listen to the episode...Drones Revealing the Past – Jesse Casana
23 Nov 2020

Early Galaxies’ Formation – Arianna Long

How did the earliest and largest clusters of galaxies form? In episode 88, Arianna Long from the University California - Irvine talks with us about her research into the emergence of massive dusty star-forming galaxies that developed billions of years ago. Her article “Emergence of an Ultra-Red Ul...
Listen to the episode...Early Galaxies’ Formation – Arianna Long
10 Nov 2020

Silencing an ALS Gene – Tim Miller

How could a gene that causes one type of ALS be switched off? In episode 87, Tim Miller from the Washington University in St. Louis discusses his research into therapies that target the single strands of DNA or RNA which cause many cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou G......
Listen to the episode...Silencing an ALS Gene – Tim Miller
27 Oct 2020

Fool Me Once Again – Darwin Guevarra

Can we knowingly fake ourselves out? In episode 86 of Parsing Science we talk with Darwin Guevarra from Michigan State University about his research exploring how placebos sometimes have the power to reduce neural markers of emotional distress, even in cases in which people are told told that they......
Listen to the episode...Fool Me Once Again – Darwin Guevarra
13 Oct 2020

Hot Girl Summer – Kyesha Jennings

How are Black women using social media to develop community and identity? In episode 85 we talk with Kyesha Jennings from North Carolina State University Department of English about her analysis of what the wildly popular meme "hot girl summer" - drawn from lyrics by hip-hop phenomenon, Megan Thee......
Listen to the episode...Hot Girl Summer – Kyesha Jennings
29 Sep 2020

Why Narcissists Are “Never Wrong” – Tori Howes and Ed Kausel

Should I have done something differently? Or could nobody have seen it coming? In episode 84 Satoris "Tori" Howes from Oregon State University-Cascades and Edgar "Ed" Kausel from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile join us to discuss their research into the malleability of narcissists' memory...
Listen to the episode...Why Narcissists Are “Never Wrong” – Tori Howes and Ed Kausel
15 Sep 2020

Adhering to Prohibitive Taboos – Manvir Singh

Why do religious leaders abstain from some pleasures? In episode 83, Manvir Singh from Harvard University's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology discusses his research into why shaman healers among the a group of people off the coast of Indonesia observe costly prohibitions, such abstinence or......
Listen to the episode...Adhering to Prohibitive Taboos – Manvir Singh
1 Sep 2020

Moderating Spanking’s Lasting Impacts – Nicole Barbaro

Does spanking really mess up kids' lives? In episode 82, Nicole Barbaro from Western Governors University Labs talks with us about her research into the factors that determine the answer to this question. Her study “The effects of spanking on psychosocial outcomes: revisiting genetic and environme...
Listen to the episode...Moderating Spanking’s Lasting Impacts – Nicole Barbaro
18 Aug 2020

Picking Apart Conspiracy Theories – Tim Tangherlini

Is it an actual conspiracy, or just a theory about one? In episode 81, Tim Tangherlini from the University of California Berkeley’s Folklore Program discusses his research into how conspiracy theorists interpret and use what they believe is “hidden knowledge” to connect multiple human interactions...
Listen to the episode...Picking Apart Conspiracy Theories – Tim Tangherlini
4 Aug 2020

The Metaethics of Moral Claims – Jordan Theriault

How do our brains respond when people behave in unpredictable ways? In episode 80, Jordan Theriault from Northeastern University discusses his research into a set of brain regions which, when activated by a variety of social tasks, can provide insights into how we judge the moral objectivity or su......
Listen to the episode...The Metaethics of Moral Claims – Jordan Theriault
21 Jul 2020

A Marijuana Breathalyzer – Neil Garg

What's that on your breath? In episode 79 of Parsing Science we talk with Neil Garg from UCLA about his research into the fundamental chemistry necessary for the creation of a small, electronic test of marijuana that works by way of a simple electrochemical oxidation process similar to that used i......
Listen to the episode...A Marijuana Breathalyzer – Neil Garg
7 Jul 2020

Mosquito-inspired Biotechnology – Richard Bomphrey

What if mosquitos weren't just annoying bugs, but instead were bio-inspiring features? In episode 78, we talk with Richard Bomphrey from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College about how mosquitoes can detect surfaces using the airflow caused by the movement of their own wings … and th...
Listen to the episode...Mosquito-inspired Biotechnology – Richard Bomphrey
23 Jun 2020

How Black Politicians Matter – Trevon Logan

What impact did Black politicians have during the Reconstruction? In episode 77, Trevon Logan from The Ohio State University's Department of Economics discusses his research into the election of Black politicians after the Civil War ended in 1865, which led to increased tax revenues that were put ......
Listen to the episode...How Black Politicians Matter – Trevon Logan
9 Jun 2020

When Ignorance is Bliss – Emily Ho

Why do some of us choose to remain ignorant of information that - though perhaps unpleasant - could help us make better informed decisions in the future? In episode 76, Emily Ho from Northwestern University’s Department of Medical Social Sciences discusses her research into why we keep our heads i...
Listen to the episode...When Ignorance is Bliss – Emily Ho
26 May 2020

Birds’ Evolution Across Mass Extinctions – Daniel Field

Might a 66.7-million-year-old "turducken" be the world's oldest bird? In episode 75, Daniel Field from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge discusses his research into a bird that mashes up features from chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Its fossil provides the best evidence......
Listen to the episode...Birds’ Evolution Across Mass Extinctions – Daniel Field
12 May 2020

Parroting Probabilities – Amalia Bastos

Very few animals can combine information to adjust their predictions in a flexible way by using domain-general intelligence as humans do. In episode 74, Amalia Bastos from the University of Auckland discusses her research demonstrating that kea parrots can make predictions based in probabilities, ......
Listen to the episode...Parroting Probabilities – Amalia Bastos
29 Apr 2020

Anything but Pedestrian – Courtney Coughenour & Jennifer Pharr

Are drivers of more expensive cars really the jerks we make them out to be? In Episode 73, Courtney Coughenour and Jennifer Pharr from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas discuss their research into what differentiates drivers who are likely to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks from those who do...
Listen to the episode...Anything but Pedestrian – Courtney Coughenour & Jennifer Pharr
14 Apr 2020

The Plight of the Tiger – Akchousanh Rasphone

Are wild tigers now extinct in Laos? In episode 72, Akchousanh "Akchou" Rasphone from Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit discusses her research which concludes that improvised snares appear to have decimated the country's wild tiger population, a species whose worldwide population is now......
Listen to the episode...The Plight of the Tiger – Akchousanh Rasphone
31 Mar 2020

Why We Love & Exploit Animals – Verónica Sevillano

Why is it that we treat various species of animals so differently? In episode 71, Verónica Sevillano with the Autonomous University of Madrid discusses her research applying social psychology and conservation biology to understand the relationships people have with animals. Her chapter, "Animals a...
Listen to the episode...Why We Love & Exploit Animals – Verónica Sevillano
17 Mar 2020

The Minds of Single-celled Organisms – Jeremy Gunawardena

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 - t......
Listen to the episode...The Minds of Single-celled Organisms – Jeremy Gunawardena
3 Mar 2020

Cuttlefish in 3D Glasses – Trevor Wardill

Why Velcro 3D glasses onto cuttlefish? In Episode 69, Trevor Wardill from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota discusses his research into the previously unknown ability of the cephalopod to see in stereo vision. His article, “Cuttlefish use stereopsis t...
Listen to the episode...Cuttlefish in 3D Glasses – Trevor Wardill
18 Feb 2020

Undergraduates Formerly in Foster Care – Royel Johnson

What factors best predict success at college among youth formerly in foster care? In Episode 68, Royel Johnson from Pennsylvania State University's Department of Education Policy Studies discusses systematic literature review of research on the college success of this historically underserved popu...
Listen to the episode...Undergraduates Formerly in Foster Care – Royel Johnson
4 Feb 2020

Ivory Towers and Abattoirs – Temple Grandin

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 i......
Listen to the episode...Ivory Towers and Abattoirs – Temple Grandin
21 Jan 2020

Hiding in Plain Sight – Katherine Wood

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. She discusses her and Si...
Listen to the episode...Hiding in Plain Sight – Katherine Wood
7 Jan 2020

Transmitting Placebo Effects – Luke Chang

Can your doctor's 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, throu...
Listen to the episode...Transmitting Placebo Effects – Luke Chang
10 Dec 2019

Global Decline of Homicide – Mateus Rennó Santos

The global decline of births from 1990 and 2015 has to a reduction in the proportion of people aged 15-29. So might this explain why the world’s homicide rate has dropped by nearly 20%? In episode 64, we’re joined by Mateus Rennó Santos from the University of South Florida. He talks with us about ...
Listen to the episode...Global Decline of Homicide – Mateus Rennó Santos
26 Nov 2019

Extraordinary Claims, Ordinary Evidence – Susan Gelman

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. Her......
Listen to the episode...Extraordinary Claims, Ordinary Evidence – Susan Gelman
12 Nov 2019

Ritual Pain for Social Gain – Dimitris Xygalatas

Sure, you might have a tongue piercing. But would you consider something far more extreme for a bump on the social ladder? In episode 62, we're joined by Dimitris Xygalatas from the University of Connecticut, who talks with us about how extravagant and painful rituals can foster greater subjective......
Listen to the episode...Ritual Pain for Social Gain – Dimitris Xygalatas
29 Oct 2019

Hearing Better than a Barn Owl – Saptarshi Das

How can what engineers learn from how barn owls pinpoint the location of the faintest sounds apply to their development of nanotechnologies capable of doing even better? In episode 61, we're joined by Saptarshi Das, a nano-engineer from Penn State University, who talks with us about his open-acces......
Listen to the episode...Hearing Better than a Barn Owl – Saptarshi Das
15 Oct 2019

Enduring Effects of Neurofeedback – Michelle Hampson

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 dis......
Listen to the episode...Enduring Effects of Neurofeedback – Michelle Hampson
1 Oct 2019

Does Practice Make Perfect? – Brooke Macnamara

In striving to develop expertise, are 10,000 hours of deliberate practice really required, and must it be guided by a teacher or coach? In episode 59, we're joined by Brooke Macnamara from Case Western Reserve University. She'll discuss her attempted replication of the study which led to the mantr...
Listen to the episode...Does Practice Make Perfect? – Brooke Macnamara
17 Sep 2019

The Neuroscience of Terrorism – Nafees Hamid

What can brain scans of radicalized jihadists tell us about how they react to what they perceive as attacks on their sacred values? In episode 58, we're joined by Nafees Hamid from Artis International who talks with us about his article “Neuroimaging ‘will to fight’ for sacred values: an empiric...
Listen to the episode...The Neuroscience of Terrorism – Nafees Hamid
3 Sep 2019

Not-So Big Personality Traits? – Karen Macours

What changes when we attempt to measure personality outside of the contexts where the instruments were developed and validated? In episode 57, we're joined by Karen Macours from the Paris School of Economics about her research into practical issues with using a popular Big Five personality measure......
Listen to the episode...Not-So Big Personality Traits? – Karen Macours
20 Aug 2019

Taking Heat in Space – Naia Butler-Craig

How can a satellite the size of a loaf of bread take the heat of operating in the extreme conditions existing in space without overheating? In episode 56, we're joined by Naia Butler-Craig from the Georgia Institute of Technology to discuss her open access article “An investigation of the system a...
Listen to the episode...Taking Heat in Space – Naia Butler-Craig
6 Aug 2019

Fishing for Color – Zuzana Musilová

How do some fish see color in the black-and-white world of the ocean's depths? In episode 55, Zuzana Musilová, an evolutionary biologist at Charles University in Prague, discusses her research into the unique way that some fish in the deep ocean’s darkness may be able to see in color. Her article ...
Listen to the episode...Fishing for Color – Zuzana Musilová
23 Jul 2019

Collective Memories – Ida Momennejad & Ajua Duker

Can communication across networks of people be optimized to share information, while at the same time lessening the likelihood of information bubbles and echo chambers? In Episode 54, we're joined by Ida Momennejad and Ajua Duker from Columbia University and Yale University, respectively, to discu......
Listen to the episode...Collective Memories – Ida Momennejad & Ajua Duker
9 Jul 2019

Behind the Curtain of Algorithms – Been Kim

Might we be better able to understand what's going on inside the "black box" of machine learning algorithms? In episode 53, Been Kim from Google Brain talks with us about her research into creating algorithms that can explain why they make the recommendations they do via concepts that are relatabl......
Listen to the episode...Behind the Curtain of Algorithms – Been Kim
25 Jun 2019

Bending the Laws of Physics – Andreas Schilling

"Nothing in life is certain," writes MIT mechanical engineer Seth Lloyd, "except death, taxes and the second law of thermodynamics." But is this necessarily so? In episode 52, we're joined by Andreas Schilling with the University of Zurich, who discusses his development of an amazingly simple de......
Listen to the episode...Bending the Laws of Physics – Andreas Schilling
11 Jun 2019

Double Trouble – Elisabeth Bik

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. Her open-access article, “Analysis and Correction of In...
Listen to the episode...Double Trouble – Elisabeth Bik
28 May 2019

Wisdom & Madness of Crowds – Wataru Toyokawa

When in Rome, should you really do as the Romans do? In episode 50, Wataru Toyokawa from the University of Konstanz in Germany discusses how observing and imitating others in crowds can at times enhance collective ‘wisdom’ ... while other times it can lead to collective ‘madness.’ His article, "So...
Listen to the episode...Wisdom & Madness of Crowds – Wataru Toyokawa
14 May 2019

Men Without Work – Carol Graham

Why are less-than-college-educated White men in the US so much less happy and more desperate than their international counterparts? In episode 49, Carol Graham from the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland talks with us about her research into why younger out-of-work men in the Uni......
Listen to the episode...Men Without Work – Carol Graham
30 Apr 2019

Sampling Music Networks – Mason Youngblood

Can the sharing of drum break samples among musicians help us better understand how networks of artists collaborate? In episode 48, Mason Youngblood from the City University of New York discusses his research into the cultural transmission of digital music samples through collaborative networks of......
Listen to the episode...Sampling Music Networks – Mason Youngblood
16 Apr 2019

Forking Paths of Kids’ Screen Time – Amy Orben

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 ......
Listen to the episode...Forking Paths of Kids’ Screen Time – Amy Orben
2 Apr 2019

Trusting Our Machines – Neera Jain

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 ...
Listen to the episode...Trusting Our Machines – Neera Jain
19 Mar 2019

The Wonder of STEVE – Liz MacDonald

In episode 45, Liz MacDonald from the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, discusses in her research into STEVE, a previously unrecorded atmospheric phenomenon discovered by citizen scientists in late 2016 that appears as a ribbon of flickering purple and green light in the night sky. Her open-acce......
Listen to the episode...The Wonder of STEVE – Liz MacDonald
5 Mar 2019

Becoming Deaf – Laura Mauldin

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: Explor......
Listen to the episode...Becoming Deaf – Laura Mauldin
19 Feb 2019

p-Hacking Business – Ron Berman

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, might the manipulation of statistics in marketing research be costing companies millions? In episode 43, Ron Berman from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business discusses in his open-access article "p-Hacking and False Discovery in A/B ......
Listen to the episode...p-Hacking Business – Ron Berman
5 Feb 2019

Voyeuristic Birds – 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 their singing and dancing during courtship rituals – but only while in the presence of an audience of other birds....
Listen to the episode...Voyeuristic Birds – Masayo Soma


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