human condition

From the Vault: Satanic Panic

What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Robert Lamb and Christian Sager enter a world of religion, fear and demons of the mind. (originally published April 16, 2015)

Motivated Numeracy and the Politics-ridden Brain

If science were a candle in the dark, we’d need only spread its light to combat climate change denial and vaccine conspiracy theories. But what if the problem is more complex than that? What if a quirk of human cognition enables us to remain willingly in the dark, even as we hold the very candle? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the concept of motivated numeracy. 

From the Vault: The First Monster

Humans love monsters, but when did we first dare to dream up bestial hybrids and chimerical horrors? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider the 35-40 thousand-year-old Löwenmensch statues. Who created these images of lion-headed men? What do they represent and what do they reveal about human cognition? (Originally published October 27, 2017)

Kirk Allen and the Cooperative Illusion

We all daydream and many of us funnel our imagination into creative acts. But what happens when these exercises overpower us? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the strange case of nuclear physicist Kirk Allen, whose imagination may have gotten the better of him -- and his psychoanalyst. Dive into the world of cooperative illusions and maladaptive daydreaming. 

Galactic Civilization’s End

If a technological civilization manages to survive itself, how will it fare against the larger challenges of a changing and hostile universe? If humanity ascends the Kardashev scale, how will our unrecognizable and godlike descendants cope with the end of the universe itself? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for an exploration of the cosmic end times. 

Illusory Truth Effect, Part 2: Fight the Lies

If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a two-part discussion of untruths, the human mind and just what you can do to fight the big lies at work in your world. 

Machine Consciousness and P-Zombies

If a machine told you it was conscious, how could you tell if it was lying? Indeed, how can you tell that any random human in your life is lying when they speak of their own consciousness. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a stirring discussion on AI consciousness, philosophical zombies and the coming techno-cognitive dilemma. 

The Great Eyeball War, Part 2

Are apps, smart phones and social media sucking us dry? As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, the modern media experience certainly depletes our attention. Learn all about the ramifications of this dystopian reality, as well as some tips to combat these neurological vampires.

The Great Eyeball War, Part 1

Are apps, smart phones and social media sucking us dry? As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, the modern media experience certainly depletes our attention. Learn all about the ramifications of this dystopian reality, as well as some tips to combat these neurological vampires.

The Proteus Effect

What effect does a virtual reality avatar have on the user? Can it alter your identity? Can it change how you behave in the real world? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the Proteus Effect, named for the shape-shifting, formless Greek sea god.