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Smooth Brain Society

Author: Smooth Brain Society

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In an attempt to change the way information is presented, we’ll be speaking to researchers, experts, and all round wrinkly brained individuals, making them simplify what they have to say and in turn, hopefully, improving our understanding of a broad range of topics rooted in psychology. Join us as we try to develop ourselves, one brain fold at a time.
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47 Episodes
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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 nicknamed the “burka ban.” We go through the key research questions, backg...
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 their attempts to do so.Support the Show.Support us and reach out!https://smoothbrainsociety.comInstagram: @thesmoothb...
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 in recent years. We cover his book "Unholy Catholic Ireland: Religious Hypocrisy, Secular Morality...
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 in certain rituals along with the rise of non-theism, particularly in nations with greater existential security.Suppo...
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-zealandSupport the Show.Support us and reach out!https://smoothbrainsociety.comInstagr...
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 such work is even needed? Feryl interviews the core team members Dr. Aiyana Willard and Dr. Conn...
Finley Ngarangi Johnson and Colleagues introduce 'Ngaruroro' which is a new model for Māori wellbeing. Fin, who is a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington and a Researcher at the Ministry of Social Development, talks about the effort put into designing the new measure. the themes it covers and some of the issues faced when designing a wellbeing measure for the complexities of different Māori identities.Their paper can be accessed here : https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/21/4/445The ep...
World Refugee Day is on the 20th of June each year and is dedicated to refugees all around the world. We spoke to Kodrean Eashae and Luis Perez from Voice of Aroha. Voice of Aroha does incredible work highlighting the stories of refugees and minority communities in New Zealand with the aims of assisting in grassroots change. Host of Me, Racism and I, Thoraya Abdul-Rassol Kodrean, joins as co-host. Our guests share their stories and speak to issues migrants and refugees face in New Zealand, th...
The Catholic church is the only religious entity to hold a seat in the United Nations through the Vatican city’s status as a state. Geo Robrigado, Law graduate and former President of the Victoria University of Wellington Student Union, speaks about his research in law, international relations and politics focusing on how the Catholic Church maintains its political relevance. We go through the influence of the church and how it has been evolving over time to cater to the new generations. Cove...
Prateek Shankar and Valerie Navarrete are founders of the Jungle Publics, a group trying to foster interdisciplinary discussions and reimagine how we relate to our planet and each other. They come on to talk about their first major publication titled "Planetary Melancholia". The article is written with Center for Complexity and the Global Arts & Cultures department at the Rhode Island School of Design. It covers a wide range of discussion points around the current state of the planet look...
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 are mischaracterized in media and politics, why we worship the nat 20 dice roll and is the...
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 of and how the media often misrepresents findings in this space.Support the Show.Support us and reach out!https://smoothbrains...
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 Geneva Conventions and examples of past and present cases regarding genocide and why the current law is ...
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. Dr. Maymon talks us through how VR is reshaping research and ho...
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 detecting emotions. Support the Show.Support us and reach out!http...
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 the academic system is setup against young researchers through w...
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 issues facing indigenous commun...
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 the Show.Support us and reach out!https://sm...
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 of place and direction is going.Support the Show.Support us and reach out!https://smoothbrainsociety.comInstagram: @thes...
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 facial composites.Dr. Faye Skeltonhttps://www.napier.ac.uk/people/faye-skelton&nb...
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