psychology

On Teasing

We all know teasing when we see it or experience it, but what role does it play in human interactions? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as they explore hurtful, playful and educative teasing.

Kirk Allen and Maladaptive Daydreaming

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. 

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. 

The Ship of Theseus

An ancient ship rots in the harbor and so we restore it piece by piece until nothing of the original ship remains. Is it still the same ship? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss one of history’s more mind-boggling thought experiments. 

The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive

What’s the key to a lasting myth, a captivating religion or a sensational film pitch? Some cognitive scientists and anthropologists argue that the key is a minimally counterintuitive narrative: the right balance of the mundane with just a dash of the unreasonable and unexpected. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the minimal counterintuitiveness effect. 

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. 

Illusory Truth Effect, Part 1: The Big Lie

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. 

From the Vault: Sexbots

Sex between humans and machines is nothing new in the world of science fiction. Their forms range from angelic mechanoids to victimized humanoids, but the robotic lover is almost always an expression of purely human anxieties. Yet as real-world technology advances, we’re left to ponder the emerging form of the sex bot -- and the possibilities range from mere animate fetishes to therapeutic surrogates. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager consider arguments for and against the embrace of synthetic paramours.(Originally published March 30, 2017)

The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity

When you hear the word “neuroplasticity,” you probably think of it in terms of a young brain’s ability to learn or an older brain’s struggles to rebound from injury. The possibility of a neuroplasticity-boosting drug remains one of medicine's true holy grails, but is there a dark side? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the balance of plasticity and stability in the human mind. 

I Ching: The Book of Changes

The Book of Changes stands as one of the most important divination texts in human history -- and a foundational text of Chinese culture in general. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the I Ching. How does it work? How does it relate to other divination traditions and why do humans, concerned with uncertainty, turn to randomness generators?