Blog

#37. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics – Dr. Liza Bolton

https://youtu.be/KS2pOAnq1bQ The use of stats and throwing around numbers in conversation is incredibly common, yet statistics itself is poorly understood. Dr. Liza Bolton from  @universityofauckland discusses the dark art that is statistics. Using examples, she takes us through some misconceptions and dispels the notion that numbers don’t lie. We cover how to identify the best ice cream store, how to not be fooled when stats…

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#36. Drugs 101: Cannabis – Professor. Tim Karl

https://youtu.be/VcopxLLrZgk Professor Tim Karl of Western Sydney University. He joined to give us a basic overview into the world of cannabinoids. He spoke about what happens in our brain when we use/abuse cannabis and all the different components the plant has. This podcast covers where research is in terms of the benefits of medical marijuana, some of the concerns which people need to be aware…

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EA #4. Atheism After Near Death Experiences – Dr. Alex Fry

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are common amongst those coming close to death and profoundly impact how they make sense of the world. Dr. Alex Fry of the University of Bournemouth draws on interviews with atheists who have had a NDE to explore whether death anxiety motivates attempts to make sense of the world and the extent to which the dominant belief systems in the UK shape…

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#35. International Law and Armed Conflict – Prof. Alberto Costi

https://youtu.be/Na7-6V1OR_Q As the term “international law” is brought up frequently in discourse these days we sat down with Professor Alberto Costi to get an introduction into international law and laws of armed conflict. We cover how international law works and how it is implemented? Who can be held accountable for breaches in international humanitarian law? Where do non-state actors fit in? The nuances within the…

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#34. How Virtual Reality is Reshaping Neuroscience – Dr. Chris Maymon

https://youtu.be/AtsAGMNewHA?si=B_9XrDyk4WGK0HGu On this episode, Dr. Christopher Maymon, Head of the Virtual Reality lab at Victoria University of Wellington delves into the captivating realm of VR and emotion research. Explore with us as we dissect groundbreaking studies and innovative experiments, uncovering the intricate interplay between VR experiences and human emotions. From  negative emotions like fear and disgust to the the more obscure positive emotions like awe….

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#33. So Emotional – Assoc. Prof. Gina Grimshaw

https://youtu.be/oS2ZlUjXFQ0?si=Wjzf5rK3LJSTdHRf Associate Professor Gina Grimshaw leads the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at Victoria University of Wellington. She joins to talk about emotions and her research on how emotional states affect cognitive processes like attention, language, and executive control. Gina also gives us an intro into multiple aspects of emotions such as the association of emotions with colors and why artificial intelligence is poor at…

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#32. Elite Dominance and Inequality in Academia – Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Orhan

https://youtu.be/yCMDMRCAHLM Dr. Mehmet Orhan, Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at EM Normandie Business School joined us to talk about authorship inequality, elite dominance, and the ethical and problematic issues of doing science and academic careers. It covers issues such as unequal opportunities and bias in journal publications and how this inequality of research output can influence societies. Dr. Orhan also talks about how…

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EA #3. Unholy Catholic Ireland – Dr. Hugh Turpin

https://youtu.be/RqUhHIJPFcg Dr. Hugh Turpin of Oxford University joins Feryl and Sahir on the podcast to share his work on  the decline of Catholicism in Ireland and the factors which have led to it. We also cover his current research with the Explaining Atheism project about understanding how Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland, 3 regions with strong religious identities have seen steep declines in religious beliefs…

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EJOP #1. Muslim Women’s Experiences of Identity and Belonging in Switzerland – Rachael Loxston

https://youtu.be/4mYn9tUelK4 For the very first episode of our collaboration with Europe's Journal of Psychology, Rachael Loxton joins to discuss her research paper titled “Liberty Can Be for You One Thing, and for Me Something Different”: Muslim Women's Experiences of Identity and Belonging in Switzerland. This paper investigates how these concepts are experienced by Muslim women in Switzerland, a minority group targeted in the political campaign…

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EA #2. The Rise and Fall of Rituals – Dr. Martin Lang

https://youtu.be/A72VvZ3H0YM Dr. Martin Lang is assistant professor at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. And is the Director of the Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA). He joins us to talk us through how rituals form and the roles they have played in fostering cooperation. We discuss the benefits of rituals in reducing anxiety and his current work on why we are seeing a decline…

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#31. AI and Māori/Indigenous Data Sovereignty – Dr. Karaitiana Taiuru

https://youtu.be/dYO5McgvKWg Dr. Karaitiana Taiuru is a Māori technology ethicist specializing in Māori rights with Artificial intelligence, Māori Data Sovereignty and Governance with emerging digital technologies and biological sciences. He brings his extensive expertise in advocacy for digital Māori rights and data sovereignty and experience in roles including  Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor – Expert Advisory Committee on Artificial Intelligence. We discuss the…

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#30. Unravelling the Role of Dopamine – Dr. Kate Witt

https://youtu.be/mqxHSmz1nV8 Dr. Kate Witt, lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, joins to discuss her research on Dopamine. Dopamine is an integral neurotransmitter, mainly associated with pleasure and motivation. Dr. Witt's work uses a genetically modified animal model to understand changes in behaviour focusing particularly on anhedonia (the inability to experience joy or pleasure), asociality (lack of social interactions) and avolition (lack of motivation). Support us…

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EA #1. Explaining Māori Deconversion from Christianity in Aotearoa (New Zealand) – Dr. Sara Rahmani

https://youtu.be/dd2ZI-fxIRs For the first episode of our Explaining Atheism series, Dr. Sara Rahmani from the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Victoria University of Wellington joins us to talk about her project exploring Māori atheism. It explores the individual, sociocultural and historical processes contributing to Māori deconversion. https://www.explainingatheism.org/research-projects/explaining-mori-atheism-in-aotearoa-new-zealand Support us and reach out!Instagram: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTikTok: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTwitter/X: @SmoothBrainSocFacebook: @thesmoothbrainsocietyMerch and all other links: Linktreeemail: thesmoothbrainsociety@gmail.com

EA #0. Introduction to the Explaining Atheism Project

https://youtu.be/ct_dmuvuKjQ Smooth Brain Society is collaborating with the Explaining  Atheism Project to bring you a brand new series focusing on non-religion.  Over the course of the series we will have multiple guests from across the world explaining the factors which lead to atheism or non-belief and how religion has changed over time. This introductory episode talks about the program, what its aims are and why…

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#29. Place Cells: How we know where we are – Prof. Kate Jeffery

https://youtu.be/W-Br7q_9ZAw Professor Kate Jeffery, Head of School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. Discusses her work on our idea of place, space and navigation. We get an introduction to place cells which are the neurons in the brain which help us identify our location in space. We speak about how these were discovered how they work and where research on our understanding…

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#28. Memory and Wrongful Convictions – Dr. Faye Skelton

https://youtu.be/AJ4IrFApbYU Dr. Faye Skelton is the program lead for Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology at the Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. She joins us to talk about miscarriages of justice, factors involved in wrongful imprisonment, false confessions and memory issues which affect eye witness testimony. Lastly, Faye talks about how some of these can be fixed and tools which may help in future identification like police…

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#27. I’m not rude, I’m just face blind (Prosopagnosia) – Dr. Tirta Susilo

https://youtu.be/ZIoZ-SNXNuA Some people are poorer at identifying faces. Dr. Tirta Susilo, Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, talks about what prosopagnosia is, what research tells us about how we perceive faces and objects, and what about those who have super face recognition abilities? Support us and reach out!Instagram: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTikTok: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTwitter/X: @SmoothBrainSocFacebook: @thesmoothbrainsocietyMerch and all other links: Linktreeemail: thesmoothbrainsociety@gmail.com

#26. What is Artificial Intelligence?- Dr. Andrew Lensen and Amer Hussain

https://youtu.be/nOOEu-9YzF8 Dr. Andrew Lensen and Amer Hussain from the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington come on the podcast to talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI). They cover how it works, the different types of AI, ethics around data protection and the shortfall in the current laws to protect people when it ultimately takes over.  Support us and reach out!Instagram: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTikTok:…

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#25. Politics, Rugby and Emotion Regulation: A snapshot of New Zealand (2023) – Prof. Marc Wilson and Terise Broodryk

https://youtu.be/dp2Yl8BFge8 It's election and rugby world cup time in Aotearoa New Zealand and Professor Marc Wilson and his team from Victoria University of Wellington are surveying the nation on aspects ranging from general well-being to politics in order to get a snapshot of the people of the country. Marc along with co-researcher Terise Broodryk join us to discuss the survey, some of the preliminary findings…

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#24. Perception of Ambiguous Images and False Memories – Dr. Marina Wimmer

https://youtu.be/k5VYFhYuGI4 Dr. Marina Wimmer, Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University calls in from Scotland to talk about the perception of ambiguous figures, “seeing” images without any stimulus and the development of false memories. She talks about her research with children on the development of cognitive processes underlying these phenomena Support us and reach out!Instagram: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTikTok: @thesmoothbrainsocietyTwitter/X: @SmoothBrainSocFacebook: @thesmoothbrainsocietyMerch and all other links: Linktreeemail: thesmoothbrainsociety@gmail.com