PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts
Our exciting new series ‘PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts' is a nonfiction podcast exploring social psychology and science. Hosted by the award-winning journalist Lynne Malcolm, each episode dives deep into a single thought-provoking issue in modern-day Australia. With the help of experts, we unlock the psychology behind some of society’s most crucial questions — from the effects of fear-based advertising to unravelling the undercurrent of misinformation and conspiracy theories; and from the hype and hope of mindfulness and meditation, to the complex world of big data.
Episode 1 - Why do we fall for misinformation?
Misinformation is being weaponised in the media and politics, and many fall down the conspiracy theory spiral. In what ways do our brains predispose us to believe in misinformation? How is our current information environment – especially social media – aiding the spread of ‘fake news’? And can you actually convince true believers to drop conspiracy theories?
- Associate Professor Andrew Perfors, Deputy Director of the Complex Human Data Hub at the School of Psychological Sciences
- David Milner, award-winning journalist and columnist at The Shot
Episode 2 - How scary ads change our behaviour
Government and advocacy groups want us all to make healthier and safer choices. Yet, changing undesirable behaviour is notoriously challenging. Why then are fear appeal ads – when done well – such an effective means to jump-start us into action? This episode looks at the ways the Victorian TAC — Transport Accident Commission — leverage fear appeal ads to reduce our road death tolls.
- Associate Professor Cassie Hayward, Social Psychologist, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
- Samantha (Sam) Cockfield, Head of Road Safety at the Transport Accident Commission
Episode 3 - Can big data unlock human psychology?
Today, big data is exploited by corporations and misused by hackers, usually to make money. And we're practically inundated with instances of online privacy and data breaches. But some experts believe we can better harness the power of big data for scientific research. By getting a fine-grained picture of individuals, big data research could vastly strengthen diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions, such as bipolar disorder. Their technology also puts the individual user back in control of their data — and even enables them to profit.
- Professor Simon Dennis, Director of the Complex Human Data Hub
- Troy Hunt, Australian web security consultant, creator of have i been pwnd?, Microsoft Regional Director and MVP
Episode 4 - Mindfulness and mediation: the search for authenticity
Mindfulness and mediation are ancient practices that can now be accessed via your smartphone. Mindfulness is everywhere: we have mindful learning, mindful parenting, mindful business leadership — even mindful soldiers. We’re told these practices reduce stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure. And they're being sold for billions. If capitalism has co-opted something sacred, is it still ‘good’ for us? Learn more about how to navigate the complex world of mindfulness and mediation, and what to look for if you're considering giving these practices a try.
- Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam, Inaugural Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre
- Nerida Lennon, User Experience Designer and Social Researcher at nerida.co
The production team for PsychTalks: Modern life explored by psychology experts is:
- Host: Lynne Malcolm
- Writer and producer: Carly Godden
- Assistant producers: Amy Bugeja and Mairead Murray
- Sound engineer: Arch Cuthburtson
- Music composer: Chris Falk.