CogNation is a podcast by Rolf Nelson and Joe Hardy, two cognitive psychologists interested in the future of brain science and technology. We explore relevant topics in the areas of cognitive science, technology, AI, and philosophy. Although we dabble with dystopian implications of new technologies (such as the impending robopocalypse), we are led by our curiosity and try to keep it light and fun.
email: [email protected]
August 11th, 2019 | Season 1 | 54 mins 16 secs
brain, cognition, david wulff, psychology, psychology of religion, religion
David Wulff, author of the comprehensive "Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary", talks with us today about some of the issues that psychologists grapple with in studying religion. How can a researcher take a fair and unbiased approach to a topic so fraught with issues of personal belief and faith? How important is belief anyway -- must one sacrifice the intellect to engage in religious practice? David discusses his recent research; his measure of religious tendencies, called the "Faith Q-Sort", has been used internationally to understand how religion manifests differently across individuals
July 25th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 11 mins
asch, authority, brain, cognition, milgram, obedience, social psychology
In the 1960s, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram performed some of the most famous experiments in psychology history, demonstrating that ordinary people could do terrible things in certain circumstances. Joe and Rolf look into the meaning of these experiments from a contemporary view. How are they holding up over 50 years later, and what else have we learned about obedience?
July 3rd, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 22 mins
brain, brown university, cognition, dopamine, genetics, michael frank, motivation, neuroscience
Dr. Michael Frank of Brown University talks to us about dopamine -- how it works in the brain, what his research has done to elucidate the function of dopamine circuits, and some of the genetics behind it. A really fascinating dive into a great topic.
June 17th, 2019 | Season 1 | 47 mins 13 secs
brain, cognition, language, mind, speech, speech synthesis
Joe and Rolf discuss recent research finding that recordings from the brain can be used to reconstruct the speech that is being thought about. Getting into the prospects of mind-reading and other futuristic possibilities, they discuss some of the limitations of research in the area and what makes progress so difficult.
Source material: Speech Synthesis from Neural Decoding of Spoken Sentences by G. Anumanchipalli et al. (2019)
YouTube video of the model
June 4th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 4 mins
brain, cognition, color, concepts, design, neuroscience, psychology, recycling
Our guest is Karen Schloss, who studies the way in which color is imbued with meaning through a lifetime of associations with objects (like bananas and fire trucks) and concepts (like love and politics). We discuss her research, including topics such as:
- What color should recycling bins be?
- A tool that can help designers use color-concept associations in their work
- The "blueberry problem" (why is is that blueberries aren't very blue?)
- How to market a blue banana
- What color heaven and hell should be
May 20th, 2019 | Season 1 | 49 mins 34 secs
blue light, brain, eeg, melatonin, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, sleep
We examine a paper that finds sleep disruption from using tablet computers (as compared to reading a book in dim light). How much should we be worried about the effects of screens on a good night's sleep?
There's good reason to believe that blue light is the main culprit -- recently discovered receptors in the eye that respond to blue light directly connect to brain areas implicated in sleep regulation. We lay out the case....
May 4th, 2019 | Season 1 | 56 mins 26 secs
brain, brent stansfield, cognition, education, future, health care, medical school, medicine
Joe and Rolf talk with Brent Stansfield, who is currently the director of medical education at Wayne State University, about the future of health care and the kinds of value that doctors can provide as artificial intelligence and robotic surgery come of age.
We frame the discussion around the article "Medical Education Must Move From the Information Age to the Age of Artificial Intelligence" by Steven Wartman & Donald Combs.
April 23rd, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 11 mins
brain, cognition, history, intelligence, thinking
We talk about the history of research on intelligence. Is intelligence a real thing? What does it actually refer to, and can it be measured? Joe and Rolf discuss.
April 11th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 4 mins
bci, brain, brain augmentation, brain enhancement, cognition, eeg, hippocampus, mind, perception, tdcs
Rolf and Joe discuss recent developments in brain augmentation technology, including transferring memory in rats, applying electrical stimulation, cognitive training, and others.
March 31st, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 2 mins
brain, ego depletion, self-control, willpower
Is self-control something that we an think of as a resource that can be depleted and replenished? It's been a popular model in psychology for years, but it has come under question recently. We discuss "Why self-control seems like (but may not be) limited", a paper by Inzlicht and colleagues that proposes an alternate model.
March 22nd, 2019 | Season 1 | 54 mins 32 secs
artificial life, brain, christopher langton, cognition, evolution, life, mind
Can we create life artificially? What would that even mean? Rolf and Joe talk about the field of Artificial Life, or "A-Life", which has worked toward the goal from a number of academic disciplines for the past thirty or so years. They think about different approaches, such as software, hardware, and biological artificial life, and consider what it might take to convince us that we have created something that would be considered life.
March 13th, 2019 | Season 1 | 56 mins 2 secs
behavior, brain, cognition, evolution, evolutionary psychology, hero, heroism, michigan, preston, psychology
What makes a hero? Guest Stephanie Preston, director of the Ecological Neuroscience Lab at the University of Michigan, takes an evolutionary look at what might underlie extraordinary acts, done at great personal risk, to help or save the life of others.
March 5th, 2019 | Season 1 | 51 mins 49 secs
cognition, daniel wegner, free will, philosophy, psychology
A discussion of Dan Wegner's "The Illusion of Conscious Will"
February 22nd, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 4 mins
bci, brain, cognition, eeg, fmri, mind, perception
Dr. Adrian Nestor of the University of Toronto talks with us about the state of the art in using EEG to read our percepts and thoughts
February 12th, 2019 | Season 1 | 17 mins 40 secs
brain, cuba, embassy, frey effect, neuroscience, perception, sound
Rolf interviews Dr. Beatrice Golomb as an addendum to our previous show about the Frey Effect
February 12th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 10 mins
brain, cuba, embassy, frey effect, neuroscience, perception, sound
Discussion of the Frey Effect, an interesting phenomenon where sound is perceived from microwave radiation, and has been suggested as the cause of mysterious afflictions at the American embassy in Cuba.