Two Psychologists Four Beers

Two Psychologists Four Beers

Two psychologists endeavor to drink four beers while discussing news and controversies in science, academia, and beyond.

Episodes

October 4, 2023 81 mins
Andrew Devendorf joins Alexa and Yoel to discuss his work on "me-search" (or self-relevant research) within clinical psychology. He talks about the prevalence of mental health difficulties within the field, and the harmful taboos against speaking openly about them. And, he shares his own reasons for studying depression and suicide, and how he has been discouraged from citing personal experience as a motivation for his work. Their c...
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Playing devil's advocate, Yoel and Mickey mount a criticism against the scientific study of mindfulness. What is mindfulness? Can we measure it? Is mindfulness-based therapy effective? Can mindfulness improve the quality of attention beyond the meditation cushion? Are effects of mindfulness mostly placebo effects produced by motivated practitioners and adherents? Should we be impressed by mindfulness meditation’s supposed effects o...
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Yoel and Alexa are joined by Joe Simmons to talk about fraud. We go in-depth on a recent high-profile fraud case, but we also talk about scientific fraud more generally: how common is it, how do you detect it, and what can we do to prevent it? This is a re-release of Episode 73, originally released on September 29, 2021. Special Guest: Joe Simmons.
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August 30, 2023 67 mins
Jennifer Gutsell joins Alexa to discuss the controversy surrounding Yoel's experience interviewing at UCLA. They focus on a post, written by Alexa, in which she pushes back against defenses of "viewpoint diversity" and argues that the graduate petition advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) was a brave effort that should be taken seriously. Jennifer elaborates on these ideas, suggesting that there are some views tha...
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Harkening back to episode 73, Alexa and Yoel discuss recent evidence of fraud documented in the Data Colada blog post "Clusterfake." The post is the first in a series of four, which will collectively detail evidence of fraud in four papers co-authored by Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino. First, the co-hosts dive into the details, with Alexa soberly (in both senses of the word) explaining the revelations of calcChain...
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May 17, 2023 58 mins
In heated political debates, people are often accused of being hypocrites, lacking consistent foundational values. Today, Yoel and Alexa discuss a recent paper by David Pinsof, David Sears, and Martie Haselton, that challenges the commonsense notion that political belief systems stem from our core values. Instead, the authors propose that people form alliances with others, and develop political beliefs that serve to maintain those ...
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Yoel and Alexa discuss a recent paper that takes a machine learning approach to estimating the replicability of psychology as a discipline. The researchers' investigation begins with a training process, in which an artificial intelligence model identifies ways that textual descriptions differ for studies that pass versus fail manual replication tests. This model is then applied to a set of 14,126 papers published in six well-known ...
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March 8, 2023 69 mins
Alexa and Yoel chat with Paul Bloom about his newest book, Psych: The Story of the Human Mind (https://amzn.to/3ZrycHk). The book, built from Paul's popular Introduction to Psychology course, is an opinionated overview of the field of psychology but also a window into his deep fascination with the mind. Yoel and Alexa spend some time picking Paul's brain, inquiring about writing, and teaching, and how to avoid boredom. But Paul has...
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Andrew Devendorf joins Alexa and Yoel to discuss his work on "me-search" (or self-relevant research) within clinical psychology. He talks about the prevalence of mental health difficulties within the field, and the harmful taboos against speaking openly about them. And, he shares his own reasons for studying depression and suicide, and how he has been discouraged from citing personal experience as a motivation for his work. Their c...
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Alexa and Yoel discuss the much trodden topic of implicit bias from a less trodden perspective: that of the general public. Offering insight into the public's views is a paper by Jeffrey Yen, Kevin Durrheim, and Romin Tafarodi, which explores public thinking about the implicit association test (IAT) through an examination of the New York Times comments section. These comments demonstrate varying reactions to the idea that negative ...
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Yoel and special guest Rachel Hartman discuss the recent ouster of Klaus Fiedler, the former Editor in Chief of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, over allegations of racism and abuse of power. They try to untangle a complicated story of peer review gone awry, explain the dueling open letters condemning and supporting Fiedler, and critically evaluate the allegations against him as well as the process that led to his...
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December 7, 2022 63 mins
In a recent article, psychologists Webb and Tangney document their experience collecting psychology data online using Amazon's crowdsourcing platform MTurk. Alarmingly, the authors conclude that ultimately only 2.6% of their sample was valid data from human beings. Yoel and Alexa weigh in on these findings, discussing what researchers can reasonably expect from online studies and platforms, and how their personal experiences have i...
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Yoel and Alexa are joined by Spencer Greenberg, founder of the behavioral science startup incubator Spark Wave and host of the Clearer Thinking podcast. He describes how he became fascinated with psychology and behavior change, and how he's been working to provide empirically-backed strategies for everday tasks, like making decisions or forming habits. He also offers an alternative perspective on open science, arguing that a phenom...
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November 9, 2022 57 mins
With grad school application deadlines around the corner, Alexa and Yoel discuss how, exactly, that process works. Big picture, they talk about their goals in selecting graduate students to work on their labs, and whether they've gotten good at the process. They also examine typical application requirements - including recommendation letters, personal statements, GPAs, and (sometimes) the GRE - and consider which they'd keep, and w...
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October 26, 2022 72 mins
Yoel and Alexa discuss a recent paper, written by Hughes, Srivastava, Leszko, and Condon, that created and validated a new index of "occupational prestige." The index is intended to provide a tool to measure the third component of socioeconomic status, alongside income and education. The cohosts consider how occupational prestige might lead to differential treatment, or even unrealistic expectations ("is anyone in this hotel a doct...
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Paul Bloom joins Yoel and Alexa to talk about the glamour and humiliation of teaching psychology at the college level. They discuss how they've changed their approaches to teaching over the years, and whether they've become more skilled or more out of touch (or both). Alexa shares her experiences teaching about morality and evolution to a predominantly Christian student body, Yoel laments the fact that his students aren't more disa...
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Inspired by a recent Atlantic article ("The Myth of Independent American Families" by Stephanie H. Murray) Alexa and Yoel consider what it means to live in an indiviualistic society. At an abstract level, they discuss different visions for interdependence, from communes to church communities to welfare states. On a more personal note, they reflect on ways that they depend on, and support, people in their families and communities, a...
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Yoel and Alexa are joined by Stefan Uddenberg, a social perception researcher and author of the paper "Deep Models of Superficial Face Judgments." This paper was the focus of a previous episde - "A Face for Podcasting" - in which the co-hosts discussed the research, and the resulting controversy. Now, Stefan offers a new, insider perspective. He begins by offering a deeper explanation of the work, noting that a large, diverse set o...
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August 3, 2022 73 mins
As the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) starts gearing up for their 2023 conference, Alexa and Yoel debate some of the organization's recent efforts to be more anti-racist and politically engaged. First, the co-hosts discuss debate over moving the conference from its originally scheduled location (Atlanta, Georgia) due to the state's restrictive abortion laws. They consider how boycotting (or, as SPSP ultimately...
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Yoel and Alexa chat with Jennifer Cox and Lauren Kois, co-directors of the Southern Behavioral Health and Law Initiative. Established in 2020, the initiative was created to address the dearth of mental health resources for people who become involved with the legal system. Jennifer and Lauren walk our co-hosts through common scenarios that can occur when a person with mental illness encounters the legal system, some of which involve...
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