Ep 229: What Makes a Song Popular? How We Detect Melody

MichaelBiopsychology, Cognition, Intelligence and Language, Emotion9 Comments

Why are some songs popular? Guess what – psychologists actually know a lot of the answers. In this episode we’ll listen to excerpts from Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah, as well as Noisestorm’s Ignite, Adele’s Someone Like You, the Enterprise Theme from Star Trek, and even two pieces of music from the motion picture Koyaanisqatsi. We’ll especially deconstruct Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” … Read More

Ep 171 Psych Files Brief #5: The Allure of Red Dresses, Telling Jokes to Babies, and What a President Looks Like

MichaelBiopsychology, Development, Social Psychology1 Comment

A whole bunch of fascinating studies in this episode of The Psych Files! I cover the “Red Dress Effect“, what exactly we’re looking for in the facial characteristics of our leaders, how dark rooms might make you more likely to cheat, and how “contagious yawning” really works. Join me on this jaunt down some of the recent and fun research … Read More

Ep 163: Psych Files Brief #4: Animals Smiling, Yogurt De-Stressing, and the Psychology of Success

MichaelBiopsychology, Cognition, Intelligence and Language2 Comments

Do animals smile? Do they feel emotions and if so how many kinds of feelings do they share with us? In this episode we also take a look at the probiotics in yogurt – how do they affect your thinking and do they might help protect you from stress. It turns out that these probiotics increase the production of the … Read More

Episode 141: Psychology Gets Smart: A New Kind of Lie Detector?

MichaelBiopsychology, Cognition, Intelligence and Language, Critical Thinking, Research and Stats2 Comments

You’ve probably heard that the so called “Lie Detector” test (the polygraph ) doesn’t actually detect when you’ve lied, but rather just takes some physiological measures from your body and these have to be interpreted by experts. Sometimes those experts make mistakes. Join me as I describe a psychological study that tested a new kind of “Lie Detector” – drawings. This study involved Agents, Missions, an Interception, and a mysterious “package”. This is psychology? You better believe it.

Episode 138: Zombies – 6 Reasons Why We Are So Fascinated By Them

MichaelBiopsychology, Cognition, Intelligence and Language, Emotion14 Comments

Have you watched the TV show Walking Dead or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps Zombieland or Dawn of the Dead)? What is so fascinating about the undead? Why do many of us get a strange pleasure out of seeing a zombie get killed? In this episode I explore that strange part of ourselves which for some reason seems to enjoy watching the undead get really dead.

Episode 132: Opera on the Brain

MichaelBiopsychology2 Comments

What part of your brain is lighting up when you’re singing? In this episode I take a look at a neat new study that involved having singers lie down in an MRI while their brains were scanned. Take a look at how your cerebellum, your parietal lobe your somato-sentory cortex and your amygdala are all involved in your ability to sing. I’ll also look at how mental rehearsal can positively affect how well you perform a task.