Ep 173: An Interactive Neuron and Map Using ThingLink

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Every once in a while a really cool tool comes along and I like to show everyone the fun I had with it. In this video episode I show how I easily made an interactive image of a neuron and an interactive map containing videos and locations for some of the major studies in psychology. Do you know where, for example, “Bobo doll” study was done? How about the spot where “Marion Keech” received her message from the alien race called the “Clarion” which revealed the inner workings of cognitive dissonance? Find out how to make your own fun and easy interactive image in this episode of The Psych Files.
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Ep 171 Psych Files Brief #5: The Allure of Red Dresses, Telling Jokes to Babies, and What a President Looks Like

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 coming out of the fascinating field of psychology.
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Ep 163: Psych Files Brief #4: Animals Smiling, Yogurt De-Stressing, and the Psychology of Success

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 neurotransmitter GABA which helps quiet down your neurons. I also talk about the work of female psychologists: Carol Dweck on the psychology of success, and and a tribute to Evelyn Hooker whose research helped in removing homosexuality from the DSM in 1973.
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Episode 138: Zombies – 6 Reasons Why We Are So Fascinated By Them

Image of zombiesAfraid of zombies? Heard about the coming zombie apocalypse? Have you watched the TV show [easyazon-link asin="B0049P1VHS"]The Walking Dead[/easyazon-link] or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps [easyazon-link asin="B002WY65VU"]Zombieland[/easyazon-link] or [easyazon-link asin="B0002ABURA"]Dawn of the Dead[/easyazon-link])?

Zombie Fascination
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 seems to enjoy watching the undead get really dead.

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Looking for a fun way to enjoy learning more about psychology? Then purchase my ebook: Zombie Psychology. In this 22-page PDF, I explore:

  • how Sigmund and Anna Freud‘s ideas apply to zombies (the Death Instinct and Ego Defense Mechanisms)
  • the connection between zombies and Terror Management theory
  • Just World belief and zombies
  • I address the explanation that only the more primitive parts of the brain are active in a zombie. Is this possible? Find out in the ebook and learn a little about the brain along the way.

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Zombie Fascination

  • Film-goers have always loved a good scare, and a shambling collection of neuron-challenged corpses make a pretty terrifying story. And if my zombie-obsessed 14-year-old son is a representative sample, blowing the undead away with heavy weaponry has a solid adolescent demographic appeal. But there’s no question, at least in my mind, that zombies (and Godzilla) are an allegorical representation of our fear that science and the technologies it spawn will lead to our destruction. – James Turner, Forbes Magazine article

  • People are fascinated by phenomena such as ESP, psychokinesis, communicating with the dead, ghosts, vampires, and zombies in part because [they] allow for the possibility of some essence or aspect of us surviving beyond death. One could speculate that these forms of the supernatural are growing in popularity, along with their positive counterparts, superheroes, because of lessened faith in traditional religious conceptions of the supernatural…

    Zombies also deny the finality of death – here are these beings who are functioning after they have died. It’s not a pretty afterlife, but if this is possible, better forms may also be out there.

    …because zombies are “already dead” we can be guilt free and gleefully watch them killed in every way possible no matter how grisly, vicariously aggressing against this substitute source of our fears with complete abandon.”

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    Episode 132: Opera on the Brain

    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.

    • Kleber, B., Veit, R., Birbaumer, N., Gruzelier, J., & Lotze, M. (2009). The Brain of Opera Singers: Experience-Dependent Changes in Functional Activation. Cerebral Cortex, 20 (5), 1144-1152.
    • Cerebral Cortex
    • Zarate, J.M. and Zatorre, R.J. (2008). Experience-dependent neural substrates involved in vocal pitch regulation during singing. NeuroImage, 40, 1871–1887.
    • Kleber, B. Birbaumer, N., Veit, R. Trevorrow, T. and Lotze, M. (2007). Overt and imagined singing of an Italian aria. NeuroImage, 36, 889-900.
    • Buonomano DV, Merzenich MM. 1998. Cortical plasticity: from synapses to maps. Annu Rev Neurosci. 21:149-186.
    • Elbert T, Pantev C, Wienbruch C, Rockstroh B, Taub E. 1995. Increased cortical representation of the fingers of the left hand in string players. Science. 270:305-307.
    • Gunji A, Ishii R, Chau W, Kakigi R, Pantev C. 2007. Rhythmic brain activities related to singing in humans. Neuroimage. 34:426-434.
    • Nielsen JB, Cohen LG. 2008. The Olympic brain. Does corticospinal plasticity play a role in acquisition of skills required for high- performance sports? J Physiol. 586:65–70.
    • Opera singing in the brain scanner