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Recent posts

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The Dissenter
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Personality, The HEXACO, And Communication Styles w/ Reinout de Vries

Hello, everybody! Today, I have an interview with Dr. Reinout E. de Vries for you. He is Associate Professor at the VU University Amsterdam and Full Professor at the University of Twente. Together with researchers like Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee, he has worked on the HEXACO model of personality, showing that it provides a more optimal description of personality than the Big Five model and showing that it is, through its addition of Honesty-Humility, better able to predict a number of counterproductive behaviors than the Big Five model. His main research interests are in the areas of personality, communication styles, and leadership. Recent work has focused on the construction of a six-dimensional Communication Styles Inventory (CSI), a Brief HEXACO personality Inventory (BHI), the relation between Impression Management and Overclaiming and HEXACO personality, and on the relation between self- and other-rated HEXACO personality on the one hand and leadership, proactivity, impression management, and overclaiming on the other. He is currently working on lexical studies on sport personality and leadership and followership styles.

In this episode, we talk about personality inventories, with particular focus on the HEXACO and its applications. We also talk about communication styles and the CSI, and the communication styles and personality traits that work the best in the workplace and for leaders.

https://youtu.be/2C6XhahzztU

Link to podasct version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2DPixtk

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The Dissenter
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Game Theory, Evolutionary Biology, And Social Dynamics w/ Kevin Zollman

Hello, everybody! This Thursday, I bring you an interview with Dr. Kevin Zollman. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to his primary appointment at Carnegie Mellon, he is an associate fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, a visiting professor at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (part of Ludwig-Maximilians Universität), and an associate editor of the journal Philosophy of Science. With Paul Raeburn, he is the author of The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting.

In this episode, we talk about game theory applied to biological phenomena and social dynamics. We go through several topics, including evolutionary stable strategies; signaling theory; honest communication and language; behavioral plasticity, and the evolution of culture; social norms; and epistemic communities, and how to improve science production.

https://youtu.be/f_JjVtsaTiw

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2RlAsj4
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The Dissenter
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Virtue Ethics, And Moral Psychology w/ Mark Alfano

Hello, everybody! We start the week with an interview with Dr. Mark Alfano. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Delft University of Technology and the Australian Catholic University. Dr. Alfano uses tools and methods from philosophy and the sciences to explore topics in moral psychology, epistemology, and digital humanities. He studies how people become and remain virtuous, how values become integrated into people's lives, and how these virtues and values are (or fail to be) manifested in their perception, thoughts, feelings, deliberations, and behavior. One of the guiding themes of his work is that moral philosophy without psychological content is empty, but psychological investigation without philosophical insight is blind. He’s the author of books like Character as Moral Fiction, and Nietzsche's Moral Psychology.

In this episode, we focus mostly of Dr. Alfano’s work on virtue ethics and moral character. We first get into issues regarding modern accounts of virtue ethics, the objectivity (or lack thereof) of morality, and what moral character is. We also refer to moral psychology, and the replication crisis in Psychology, with particular emphasis on the literature from social psychology. We talk about thick concepts of virtue ethics, and the is-ought dichotomy. Finally, we address the situationist critique of virtue ethics, what we know about the effects of labelling, and how personality might play a role in different people being differentially susceptible to change. 

https://youtu.be/uJ_iDgD9xGY

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2Rc41Ud
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The Dissenter
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The Psychology of Music w/ Indre Viskontas

Hello, everybody! This Friday, I have an interview with Dr. Indre Viskontas for you. She is a Professor of Psychology at the University of San Francisco, and serves on the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is also the Creative Director of Pasadena Opera. Dr. Viskontas is a neuroscientist and operatic soprano. She holds a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience and a M.M. in opera. She’s the author of How Music Can Make You Better.

In this episode, we talk about the psychology of music. We first go through how music is a construct of our brains and its evolutionary bases. Then we discuss if music is a human universal, and if anyone can learn music. We talk a bit about the neuroscience of music, and catchy tunes and earworms. Finally, we cover some aspects of music appreciation and the acquisition of musical tastes.

https://youtu.be/d2UfQK2oHtM

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2R2SGpv

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The Dissenter
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Cognitive Revolution, Piaget, Foucault, And Evolutionary Psychology w/ Noam Chomsky

Hello, everybody! It’s with the utmost pleasure that I bring you today an interview with Dr. Noam Chomsky. He is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, political activist, and social critic. Sometimes called "the father of modern linguistics", Dr. Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona, and is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media.

In this episode, we go through some of the major highlights in Dr. Chomsky’s intellectual career. We talk about the importance of the cognitive revolution in the 50s/60s, and how behaviorism was dominating back then. We refer to what came to be known as the Chomsky-Piaget debate in 1975, and also address the issue of the modularity of mind. We also discuss evolutionary psychology. Finally, we refer to some of the main points addressed in the debate between Dr. Chomsky and Michel Foucault in 1971, namely human nature from an epistemological perspective and the importance of creativity.

https://youtu.be/HD7Fz0m51eg

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2pYV5X8
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The Dissenter
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Fiction, And Transgenderism w/ Kathleen Stock

Hello, everybody! Today, I release an interview with Dr. Kathleen Stock. She is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex. She has published on aesthetics, fiction, imagination, and sexual objectification. She is currently the vice-president of the British Society of Aesthetics. In her monograph Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation and Imagination (2017) she examines the nature of fictional content. She has expressed critical views on the UK Gender Recognition Act and trans self-identification.

In this episode, we start by talking a little bit about the philosophy of fiction, and the sorts of topics that are explored there. Then, we establish a bridge with the topics of sex, gender and transgenderism, and go through issues about how the topic of transgenderism is being dealt with at a political level in Western society.

https://youtu.be/kL-cDT5FRk4

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2OgPcxU
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The Dissenter
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The Experience Machine, Simulation, And Videogames w/ Mark Silcox

Hello, everybody! Today, I am releasing an interview with Dr. Mark Silcox. He is a Professor and Chair of de Department of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the co-author (with Jon Cogburn) of Philosophy Through Video Games (Taylor & Francis, 2008) and their co-edited Open Court Volume Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy: Raiding the Temple of Wisdom came out in late 2012. He is mainly interested in metaethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of games.

In this episode, we go through a number of topics in the philosophy of videogames and simulated reality. We first discuss the Robert Nozick’s experience machine thought experiment, and several of its philosophical implications, including the nature of reality, our experience of reality, hedonism, and reducing suffering in the world. We also talk about fearmongering surrounding advanced forms of AI, and fearing “black boxes”, and also how we constantly delegate decisions to other people whose decision-making processes we do not understand. We talk about social media, and what it means to have “fake relationships”. We then get into the philosophy of videogames, and we go through the ethics of worldbuilding; how people explore their personal identities through avatars and archetypes; and role-playing in videogames and real life.

https://youtu.be/AWP4mHAx9UA

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2OwT9xf
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The Dissenter
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Intrasexual Competition, Moral Typecasting, And Victim Sanctification w/ Tania Reynolds

Hello, everybody! This Monday, I bring you an interview with Dr. Tania Reynolds. She is a Social Psychology postdoctoral researcher at the Kinsey Institute. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Florida State University under Dr. Roy Baumeister and Dr. Jon Maner. Her research examines how pressure to compete for social and romantic partners asymmetrically affects the competitive behaviors and well-being of men and women. Through a joint appointment with the Gender Studies department, Dr. Reynolds offers courses on human sexuality and sex/gender differences. As a collaborative research team with Justin Garcia and Amanda Gesselman, she hopes to examine the dispositional predictors and physiological correlates of individuals’ romantic relationship experiences, as well as how these associations may differ across gender and sexual orientation.

In this episode, we go through several topics of Dr. Reynolds’ research. We first talk about how men and women’s mate preferences influence their intrasexual and intersexual social dynamics. We also refer to friendships, focusing more on same-sex friendships. We discuss a paper about human patrilocality and how woman needed to establish same-sex friendships with non-kin women during our evolution, and how self-deception might have played a role in intrasexual competition. We talk about sexual economics theory applied to mating contests, and also how men use romantic partners as social signals to other men. We also discuss a little bit the evolution of personality traits, before getting into gender bias in moral typecasting. Finally, we explore the topic of the problems in the workplace and science production that might stem from a culture of victim sanctification and harm-avoidance.

https://youtu.be/n6EWA_Wg3xI

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2NXC54B

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The Dissenter
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Evolutionary Psychology And Pop Culture w/ Catherine Salmon

Hello, everybody! To end the week, I bring you an interview with Dr. Catherine Salmon. She is a Full Professor in the psychology department at the University of Redlands. She is the co-author (with Donald Symons) of Warrior Lovers: Erotic fiction, evolution and female sexuality. She has written chapters in numerous books including Buss' Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and The Literary Animal. She is also a co-editor of the books Evolutionary Psychology: Public Policy and Personal Decisions (with Charles Crawford) Family Psychology: An Evolutionary Perspective and the Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Family Psychology (both with Todd Shackelford), and co-author with Katrin Schuman of The Secret Power of Middle Children. Her primary research interests include birth order and the family, reproductive suppression and dieting behavior, and female sexuality, particularly with regard to prostitution and pornography. Her interest in pop culture also led to co-authoring a chapter on female wrestling fans and their fantasies in Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling.

In this episode, we cover several different topics of Dr. Salmon’s work. We first talk about birth order, parental investment and sibling conflict, and also how there might be parent-offspring conflict over mates. We also refer to evolutionary approaches to dieting behavior and anorexia in women. And then we get into topics of popular culture and consumer behavior, like pornography, romance novels, and slash fiction. Near the end, Dr. Salmon tells us about her upcoming book, co-authored with Barry Kuhle, On the Origin of the Evolution Revolution: Conversations with the Pioneers of Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, and Psychology.

https://youtu.be/pz9XQeX33Kk

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/32N07TX

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The Dissenter

Moral Developmental Psychol...

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The Dissenter
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Division Of Labor, Polygyny, And Personality Across Societies w/ Michael Gurven

Hello, everybody! Today, I am releasing an interview with Dr. Michael Gurven. He is a Professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, chair of the Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit, and also head of the Evolutionary Anthropology and Biodemography Research Group. He is an evolutionary anthropologist aiming to explain behavior and physiological systems as adaptive solutions to competing demands of limited resource allocation. He employs ethnographic field settings as laboratories for testing hypotheses about human variation in behavior, psychology and physiology. Currently his research focuses on two broad, inter-related areas: biodemography of human health, lifespan and aging; and transitions in social and economic behavior. 

In this episode, we first talk about limited resource allocation, and how people have to make trade-offs when investing their material and time resources. Then we discuss how we can use economic games to study human behavior. We talk about marriage and the sexual division of labor, and also mate preferences. We also cover a recent study about the relationship between wealth inequality and polygyny. Finally, we discuss human personality, the problems with the apparent lack of universality of the Big Five, and the niche diversity hypothesis of personality. 

https://youtu.be/p1DRuvoRQdg

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2Q8CFht

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The Dissenter
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Is War Part Of Human Nature? w/ Douglas Fry

Hello, everybody! Before the weekend starts, I bring you an interview with Dr. Douglas P. Fry. He is Professor and Chair in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has written extensively on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution in his own books and in journals such as Science and American Anthropologist. His work frequently engages the debate surrounding the origins of war, arguing against claims that war or lethal aggression is rooted in human evolution. He’s the author or editor of books like The Human Potential for Peace; Beyond War; War, Peace, and Human Nature; and Nurturing Our Humanity.

In this episode, we focus on the anthropology of war. Dr. Fry critiques the evolutionary psychology approach to war. We go through some of the flaws with the archaeological evidence presented by Steven Pinker in The Batter Angels of Our Nature. We then get into the ecological and social conditions that favor war, and critiques about the data Napoleon Chagnon collected on the Yanomamö. We also talk about violence-defusing mechanisms in mammals. We end the interview talking about ways of preventing war in modern societies.

https://youtu.be/uz9xPBQ_CO0

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2NuPq43

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The Dissenter
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Conscience, Morality, and Moral Philosophy w/ Patricia Churchland

Hello, everybody! Another return guest today. This time, it is Dr. Patricia Churchland. She is a Canadian-American Philosopher noted for her contributions to neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind. She is UC President's Professor of Philosophy Emerita at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She has also held an adjunct professorship at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies since 1989. She is a member of the Board of Trustees Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Philosophy Department, at Moscow State University. In 2015, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She’s also the author of a number of books, including Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality, and Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition.

In this episode, we talk about Dr. Churchland’s most recent book, Conscience. We go through what conscience is; the evolution of morality; and some of the neuroscience of morality. We also discuss how we go from our evolved morality to moral intuitions, and how we acquire social norms, and how they change. We talk briefly about the case of psychopaths, free will, and the legal system. Finally, we address how philosophy is limited in dealing with ethics and morality, Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations theory, and the case of disgust sensitivity.

https://youtu.be/tZjNtEnAYFI

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2WSXVZE
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The Dissenter
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Sex Robots, Technology, And The Future Of Human Relationships w/ Diana Fleischman

Hello, everybody! I begin this week with the release of my second interview with Dr. Diana Fleischman. She completed a PhD in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, US, under the supervision of David Buss. She is currently a senior lecturer of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, as well as a member of the Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology group there. Her research interests are hormonal influences on behavior, human sexuality, disgust and, recently, the interface of evolutionary psychology and behaviorism.

In this episode, we talk about the evolutionary psychology of sex robots, and how they might impact men and human society. We talk about why men will be the primary marketing targets, and the several different ways sex robots might have a positive impact in their lives. During the discussion, we also tackle arguments against sex robots, or arguments that suggest their impact might be net negative. 

https://youtu.be/o8L6AjJg5OM

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/32gYfmi

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The Dissenter
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A Savage Order; Decivilization, Dirty Deals, And Recivilization w/ Rachel Kleinfeld

Hello, everybody! Today, I leave you with this interview with Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld. She is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She’s a leading expert on how democracies – including the United States – can improve, with a particular focus on countries facing poor leadership, polarized populations, violence, and corruption. She advises governments, philanthropists, and activists on how democracies make major social change. In 2010, Time magazine named Dr. Kleinfeld one of the top 40 political leaders under 40 in America. She serves on the boards of various for-profit companies and social sector organizations that align with her passion for issues on the intersections of security, human dignity, and empowerment. From 2011–2014 she served on the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which advised the Secretary of State quarterly. She’s the author of three books, the most recent one being A Savage Order: How the World's Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security.

In this episode, we focus on Dr. Kleinfeld’s book, A Savage Order. We talk about different types of political violence, and how they interrelate, including what Dr. Kleinfeld calls “privilege violence”, and we refer to how violence against blacks was legitimized in the US after the civil war. We also discuss the decivilizing process, dirty deals, and the recivilizing process and why the middle class is so important in the latter. Toward the end, we also talk about the policies adopted in Georgia to systemically fighting against corruption, and also why we have to go beyond culture to understand violence, and also to deal with current political issues like mass migration, multiculturalism, and Islam.

https://youtu.be/6Zx-Wcf2wVM

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/326Rq6H

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The Dissenter
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Problems With Theories In Psychology w/ Moshe Hoffman

Hello, everybody! This Thursday, I bring you my second interview with Dr. Moshe Hoffman. He is a Research Scientist at MIT Media Lab & Lecturer at Harvard's Department of Economics. He applies game theory, models of learning and evolution, and experimental methods, to try to decipher the (often subconscious and subtle) incentives that shape our social behavior, preferences, and ideologies. Dr. Hoffman obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and his B.S. in Economics from the University of Chicago. He also co-designed and teaches "Game Theory and Social Behavior" which lays out a lot of the evidence and models behind this approach.

In this episode, we talk about problems in how people come up with explanations to social phenomena in the social sciences, and more specifically, in social psychology. We discuss the levels of analysis through which we can study social phenomena, and why intuitive explanations don’t work. We also refer to perverse incentives in the social sciences. Dr. Hoffman then talks about the example of cognitive dissonance, and the correct interpretation of the phenomenon. In the latter part of the interview, we discuss the aspects of (social) behavior that evolutionary psychology explains well, and where it fails or is not enough.

https://youtu.be/m9Uc0e130hA

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/320orBy

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The Dissenter
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Mating After Children w/ Todd Shackelford and Viviana Weekes-Shackelford

Hello, everybody! Today, I have a double-guest interview for you, with Drs. Todd Shackelford and Viviana Weekes-Shackelford. 

Dr. Todd Shackelford is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology at Oakland University, as well as the Co-Director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab there. He is the editor in chief of the academic journals Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Psychological Science. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Viviana Weekes-Shackelford received her Ph.D. in evolutionary developmental psychology in 2011 from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology and Criminal Justice at Oakland University and Co-Director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab. Her research over the years has been evolutionarily inspired and has had the broader goal of gaining a more comprehensive understanding of violence and conflict in families and romantic relationships. Her research interests and record cut across the psychological domains of forensics, development, social, personality, clinical, and criminology.

In this episode, we talk about what happens in people’s mating lives after they have children. We talk about the trade-offs people need to make between mating and parenting. We refer to how children might get exposed to more violence from step-parents, and how women don’t necessarily need men to raise children adequately. We also discuss how men tend to be more violent, even toward their own children, and the issue of differential investment by paternal and maternal grandparents. We then go into the ways having children might affect their parents’ romantic relationship, and how there are different outcomes for different couples. We also talk about the several ways single parents (both men and women) might see their mate value decrease. Toward the end we also speculate a bit, and discuss why children probably don’t interfere with their parents having more children, and why witnessing their parents having sex and seeing naked people probably does not have a negative impact on children.

https://youtu.be/Obio7sl495U

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/31S2VPo

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The Dissenter
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What People Want From Fiction, And The Art Of Worldbuilding w/ Victoria Dougherty

Hello, everybody! I finish the week with an interview with the lovely Victoria Dougherty. She is the author of The Bone Church, Welcome to the Hotel Yalta, and Cold. She writes fiction, drama, and essays that revolve around lovers, killers, curses, and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, The International Herald Tribune, and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing, and acting in several Czech plays. Her blog – COLD – features her short essays on faith, family, love, and writing. WordPress, the blogging platform that hosts some 70 million blogs worldwide, has singled out COLD as one of the Top 50 Recommended Blogs by writers or about writing. 

In this episode, we talk about fiction, and worldbuilding. We first focus on how to create compelling characters, and we refer to the Game of Thrones series finale as a bad example of it. We also explore the psychology of failed expectations. We then get into how people want meaning from fiction, and how tragedies like war might provide that. We also discuss popular genres and why they are so successful, and how politics and morality might ruin good literature. We finish by talking about how fiction can work as a thought-experiment, and how it is not so detached from things humans develop through culture.

https://youtu.be/T6gTK0dZcQc

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2MKqZPM

I also have a 30-minute Bonus video: https://youtu.be/t8eohZCafn8

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The Dissenter
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On Being Certain w/ Robert Burton

Hello, everybody! Today, I am releasing an interview with Dr. Robert A. Burton. He graduated from Yale University and the University of California at San Francisco medical school, where he also completed his neurology residency. At age thirty-three, he was appointed chief of the Division of Neurology at UCSF Medical Center at Mt. Zion, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. His books include On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind; What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves, and three critically acclaimed novels. He has also written essays, book reviews and op-ed pieces for the New York Times, Salon.com, Aeon, and Nautilus.

In this episode, we focus on some of the main topics of Dr. Burton’s books. We talk about the feelings of knowing, certainty, familiarity, clarity of thought, and déjà vu that we have. We also refer to phenomena like moral dumbfounding and post-hoc rationalization. We discuss the problem with our view of how reason and rationality work, and how we are mistaken about how our own thinking works. We also talk about how different people see the world in different ways, our individual differences, and how religiosity is not going away anytime soon. We refer to the placebo effect, and also to how scientists have to be careful about how their own intuitions might affect how they study the human mind. We end up by discussing a possible way to improve the way we think, through a process of cultural evolution.

https://youtu.be/xrd1Q55U7Ls

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/32LKPQ2
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The Dissenter
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The Evolutionary Psychology of Mating w/ Daniel Conroy-Beam

Hello, everybody! Today, I bring you an interview with Dr. Daniel Conroy-Beam. He is Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He uses an evolutionary perspective to understand how mate preferences are linked to actual mating outcomes. Specifically, he is interested in how mate preferences are integrated with one another computationally in order to make mating decisions. His work combines agent-based modeling of mate choice evolution with studies of real couples to compare and explore candidate algorithms for how people select their mating strategies, evaluate potential mates, and regulate their relationships.

In this episode, we focus on human mating. We talk about some of the most well-established mate preferences. We then get into how people choose mates based on these same preferences, and we focus mostly on Euclidian algorithms, as explored by Dr. Conroy-Beam in his work, and all of the phenomena that we are able to study and understand through them. We specifically address things like relationship satisfaction, mate switching, and mate retention tactics. We also talk about studying sex differences using multivariate analyses, opposite-sex friendships, and mysteries in human mating that we have yet to answer. We end up by talking about some limitations in traditional evolutionary psychology, and how things are expected to progress in the near future.

https://youtu.be/kt7-p53tcdM

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2Jp2BRR

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The Dissenter
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The Neurobiology Of Attachment, Oxytocin, And Synchrony w/ Ruth Feldman

Hello, everybody! This Friday, I bring you an interview with Dr. Ruth Feldman. She is the Simms-Mann Professor of Developmental Social Neuroscience at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlia with joint appointment at Yale Child Study Center. With degrees in music composition (summa cum-laude), neuroscience (with honors), clinical psychology (with honors), and developmental psychology and psychopathology, her approach integrates perspectives from neuroscience, human development, philosophy, clinical practice, and the arts within an interpersonal frame and a behavior-based approach. Her conceptual model on biobehavioral synchrony systematically describes how a lived experience within close relationships builds brains, creates relationships, confers resilience, and promotes creativity. Her studies were the first to detail the role of oxytocin in the formation of human social bonds. Her studies often follow children from infancy to adulthood, address topics that are highly relevant to the general public, and receive substantial media attention. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and received multiple awards, including a Rothschild award, NARSAD independent investigator award (twice), the Zeskind award for best paper in Biological Psychiatry, and the Graven’s Award for research on high-risk infants.

In this episode, we focus on the neurobiology of attachment. We talk about the evolution of attachment, the oxytocin system, and parental investment; biobehavioral synchrony between parent and offspring; how events like postpartum depression, premature birth, and early trauma can disrupt development; and individual and sex differences in predisposition for resilience.

https://youtu.be/IjxhSvzc4HE

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2MvRBUF
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The Dissenter
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The Evolution Of Personality, Intelligence, And Mate Preferences w/ Lars Penke

Hello, everybody! Today, I am releasing an interview with Dr. Lars Penke. He is Full Professor of Biological Personality Psychology at the Georg August University of Göttingen. His research interests include the evolutionary significance of individual differences, social endocrinology, links of somatometric measures of the body and face with psychological traits, the evolutionary psychology of mate choice, romantic relationships and sexuality, neurostructural indicators of intelligence and cognitive ageing, behavior genetics, and life history theory.

In this episode, we talk about personality, intelligence, and mate preferences from an evolutionary perspective. We start with personality, and go through the several different hypotheses for the evolutionary genetics of personality. We also discuss the literature on personality calibration, and the one on birth order effects. We refer to the limitations of personality inventories (including the Big Five), and then talk about how intelligence correlates with different indicators of robust brain development. We talk about the heritability of intelligence, and different approaches to try to identify the genes associated with it, like GWAS and GCTA. Finally, we discuss some literature on mate preferences. We talk about speed-dating scenarios, and what we can learn from them; and changes in women’s sexuality across their menstrual cycle, particularly in the ovulatory phase (or the luteal phase).

https://youtu.be/2Icgg1UrLLo

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2VPSdXZ

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The Dissenter
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The Psychology Of Consciousness And Intelligence w/ Nicholas Humphrey

Hello, everybody! We start the week with an interview with Dr. Nicholas Humphrey. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the London School of Economics, Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the New College of the Humanities, and Senior Member at Darwin College, Cambridge. Dr. Humphrey is a theoretical psychologist, who is known for his work on the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness. His interests are wide ranging. He studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey in Rwanda, he was the first to demonstrate the existence of “blindsight” after brain damage in monkeys, he proposed the celebrated theory of the "social function of intellect", and he is the only scientist ever to edit the literary journal Granta. His books include Consciousness Regained, The Inner Eye, A History of the Mind, Leaps of Faith, The Mind Made Flesh, Seeing Red and, most recently, Soul Dust. He has been the recipient of several honors, including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, the British Psychological Society’s book award, the Pufendorf Medal, and the International Mind and Brain Prize.

In this episode, we talk about the evolution of consciousness and intelligence. We start with consciousness, and discuss the fact that it does not have a universal definition, and if that’s problematic; evolutionary approaches to it; the self; if we should take people’s reports of their own consciousness seriously; if any version of mind-brain dualism can still be relevant; if we can know for sure that other animals are conscious, and what we can learn from their behavior. We then also discuss the evolution of intelligence, and the importance of social life both for consciousness and intelligence. Finally, Dr. Humphrey gives us his account of the evolution of suicide, and its relationship with consciousness.

https://youtu.be/O3y1NWGTEDI

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2pqh3BB

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The Dissenter
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Sex Robots And Human Sexuality w/ Marianne Brandon

Hello, everybody! This Friday, I bring you an interview with Dr. Marianne Brandon. She is a clinical psychologist and Diplomate in sex therapy. Dr. Brandon is the author of Monogamy: The Untold Story, the ebook Unlocking the Sexy in Surrender: Using the Neuroscience of Power to Recharge Your Sex Life, and co-author of the book Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido. Dr. Brandon served as a board member for an International Sexual Health Society, and also co-hosted a sex therapy radio show called “In Bed with Dr. B and Ted”. Dr. Brandon is a member of the Massachusetts Psychological Association; Maryland Psychological Association; the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology; The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists; The Society for Sex Therapy and Research; The International society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health; The Sexual Medicine Society of North America; and the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. Dr Brandon is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Washington D.C., and New York. The following are among the issues in which Dr. Brandon has special interest and training: sex therapy, sexual desire disorders, marital/relationship problems, hypersexual behavior, monogamy and fidelity, affair recovery, depression, cultivating passion in long-term relationships, stress, anxiety, alternative sexual relationships, pain during intercourse, and erectile concerns.   

In this episode, we talk about the effects that advent of sex robots might have on human (romantic) relationships. Dr. Brandon’s first presents a summary of her view on the issue, and how it would affect men more than women. We talk about the issue about speculating about new technologies, and how people usually get things wrong. Then, we discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of sex robots, and also how men and women would be differentially impacted by them, due to their differences in sexual strategies and mating.

https://youtu.be/U0p-L7RiypI

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/31894GG

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The Dissenter
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Nietzsche And Moral Psychology w/ Paul Katsafanas

Hello, everybody! Today, I have an interview with Dr. Paul Katsafanas for you. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boston University. He works on ethics, moral psychology, and nineteenth-century philosophy. He’s the author of the books Agency and the Foundations of Ethics: Nietzschean Constitutivism, and The Nietzschean Self: Moral Psychology, Agency, and the Unconscious.

In this episode, we talk about some of Nietzsche’s insights on human psychology, and how that relates to his moral philosophy. We start off by discussing the importance of studying human nature to do good moral philosophy, and the issues with some approaches in ethics like rationalism and intuitionism. Then we get into some of Nietzsche’s observations on the differences between reflective and unreflective action; the dynamical relationships between the conscious and the unconscious; and how concepts acquired through culture might influence our thinking. Referring to topics directly related to morality and ethics, we also talk about freedom, agency, and responsibility; Nietzschean drives; and the Will. We finally discuss Nietzsche’s morality, and if it was relativistic or subjective.

https://youtu.be/o7LxgsSZbZk

Link to podcast version (Anchor): http://bit.ly/2B1AByQ

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