122 | Brain Food | Why We Do What We Do

There are certain foods that can improve your cognitive performance. Or maybe not. There is evidence supporting the health benefits of some diets over others, but none that shows the neurological benefits of a specific food. Although the claims that brain-food proponents make are not totally inaccurate and are generally good advice, they wildly exaggerate the outcomes of their programs and trick you into buying their stuff. In this discussion, we review the science behind antioxidants, supplements, and other “brain foods,” which ones work and which ones don’t.

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121 | A Brief Introduction to Punishment | Why We Do What We Do

We’ve all heard of it. We all know what it is. But technically most people use the term imprecisely relative to behavior scientists. Did you know that there is a distinction between positive and negative punishment? Or that perhaps one of the biggest take aways that punishment is an effect, not a process? This discussion briefly introduces the concept of punishment without an in-depth and nuanced explanation for now. We are just laying the groundwork for grander things to come!

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120 | Sign Language With Primates | Why We Do What We Do

People have been curious about the language of other species, and specifically if other species can learn human language. In the 1960’s and 1970’s some researchers in the United States believed that they had broken the species language barrier by teaching primates sign language. But where are all of the signing apes now? Shane and Abraham discuss the history and controversy of the trials and attempts to teach language to primates.

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119 | Twin Studies | Why We Do What We Do

In 2018, astronaut Scott Kelly went into space for a year while his identical twin brother stayed on earth. The purpose was to study genetic changes that occur by spending time in space. Twin studies have been a staple of psychological research since the late 1800s. But many people don’t know about the underlying philosophy of twin studies, how they have been used, and what we can learn from them. Turns out this research method is a lot less robust than it seems. Learn about what the “shared experience” hypothesis is and how it weakens the execution of psychological research and testing using twins.

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118 | Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Schools | Why We Do What We Do

Positive and Negative Reinforcement are very misunderstood terms. Both of these are incidental processes that occur without deliberate manipulation from teachers or administrators. However, teachers and administrators do intentionally use positive and negative reinforcement strategies. Listen in to learn what these might look like in a school setting and a thorough description of what those processes are.

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117 | Who Still Uses Behavior Modification? | Why We Do What We Do

Many people have expressed concern over various corporations using “behavior modification” to increase consumer engagement. Specifically, there is concern that these strategies create addictive behaviors. We thought this would be a good time to answer the questions: what is behavior modification? Who still uses behavior modification? And, how does behavior modification work? You might be surprised to learn how common this process is and how many places this still occurs.

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116 | Why Are Some People Picky Eaters? | Why We Do What We Do

Why are some people picky eaters? Is it because of evolution? Parenting? Some combination of both? The outcomes of poor nutrition from food selectivity go further than the health effects. Learn about the psychological damage of picky eating and how it starts in the first place. Shane and Abraham summarize a slew of research articles that explain how and why some people become picky eaters.

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115 | Leaning Over the Edge: The Call of the Void | Why We Do What We Do

Sometimes you might find yourself entertaining self-destructive thoughts such as jumping from a high place, or driving off the road. Edgar Allen Poe referred to this as the “Imp of the Perverse.” But why do we experience these things? Does everyone experience this? What does it all mean? Shane and Abraham take the jump and dive into this topic that lures us over the edge. Listen in as we unpack what is happening when we have these strange impulses to do harm.

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114 | A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock 'N Roll: The Psychology of Music Preference | Why We Do What We Do

Why do people like the types of music that they like? Is it a reflect of your inner personality? Is it just what your friends or parents listened to? Is it hardwired in your brain? Is it some combination of all of those things? If you’ve ever wondered why people like music that seems baffling to you, or wondered why you like the music that you prefer, then this is the episode for you! If not, then we still have a really fun discussion with the classic duo Abraham and RyanO.

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113 | You Know Less Than You Think: The Dunning-Kruger Effect | Why We Do What We Do

A common cognitive bias we have is that we tend to think we are better informed and experienced in things that we really are. The examples are practically endless and everyone does it. What are you worse at than you think? Listen in as Shane and Abraham (Shanebraham) describe the study that started a tsunami of research on basic human fallibility. Also, find out what lemons have to do with a bank robbery in the late 1990’s…

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112 | Expelled: Racial Inequality in School Discipline With Dr. Kent McIntosh | Why We Do What We Do

When you control for other factors, minorities are far more likely to receive office discipline referrals, detention, and expulsion. How far does racial inequality go in school discipline? What can be done to mitigate this problem? Dr. Kent McIntosh is the director for Educational and Community Supports in the College of Education at the University of Oregon and an expert in disproportionality in school discipline. He joined us for a discussion on this important topic that goes deeper than you might think.

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111 | Too Many Choices! Option Paralysis | Why We Do What We Do

Sometimes we find ourselves faced with so many options that we choose to do nothing at all. What is the deal with that? Shane and Abraham discuss the theories regarding why we freeze in the face of overwhelming options and some strategies to overcome feeling paralyzed by choosing.

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110 | Diagnosing Mental Health Disorders | Why We Do What We Do

One of the most controversial and interesting topics in psychology is understanding how we diagnose mental health disorders. Shane and Abraham explain the history of diagnosis, list some of the diagnostic systems around the world, and some of the major criticisms of these systems. Learn something new about how we diagnose mental health issues.

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109 | The Downfall of Mental Hospitals | Why We Do What We Do

Did you know that in the middle of the 20th century there was an effort to move individuals suffering from mental health issues out of the sometimes terrible hospital conditions out to… well not much it turns out? Shane takes the lead on this well-researched and important historical look at how we have treated individuals with mental health issues, where they ended up, and where we are today.

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108 | How to Study | Why We Do What We Do

Cramming for a test? Find yourself struggling to remember things that you just read when studying for class? Just interested in getting better at one particular skill? Don’t care? Well then this episode is for you! Shane and Abraham (Shanebraham) discuss some of recommended study methods, how they might work, and what the research says. Even if you don’t need to learn to study, there’s something to learn in this discussion about memory and developing habits.

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107 | Child Development Part 2: Birth Through the First Two Years | Why We Do What We Do

Returning for a second discussion of the initial stages of human development, RyanO and Abraham discuss the various birthing processes. In addition, we talk about some of the basic developmental milestones of the first two years of life and raise some awareness around important issues affecting the health and well-being of infants. Do you know how to test that a baby has expected functionality immediately after birth? We will explain that too!

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106 | Child Development Part 1: Pregnancy | Why We Do What We Do

Human beings go through a fascinating journey from conception throughout pregnancy. It’s kind of amazing how effectively humans reproduce given a surprising fact you may not know about how the success rates of pregnancy. RyanO and Abraham discuss the nuances of development in utero and how our experiences in the womb begin the process of learning. Tune in for details about that and more in the first part about child development.

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105 | What's Going On With Weighted Vests? | Why We Do What We Do

Some people use clothing with weights added on children to “help” them manage their challenging behaviors. This is commonly used with children with an autism diagnosis who demonstrate what are called stereotyped behaviors or stereotypy. How are these supposed to work? What does the research say. Don’t worry, Shane and Abraham have you covered. Check out our discussion of the philosophy and research on the use of weighted vests.

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104 | Why We Do What We Do Turns 2! | Why We Do What We Do

Hey, we are pretty excited that we have been able to be sharing our podcast with you for two years! Today we discuss where we’ve been and what we have planned for the next year. We are excited to announce some new things, and we’ll recall some of the bright spots of the last two years. Here’s to another year.

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103 | Bullying in Schools with Dr. Scott Ross and Brooke Wagner | Why We Do What We Do

Bullying is an interesting problem in schools. What is it? Is it over recognized or under recognized? What works in reducing bullying? This week we are joined by Dr. Scott Ross, the director of the Office of Learning Supports at the Colorado Department of Education, and Brooke Wagner, the PBIS regional implementation coach in Reno, Nevada, who talk about what bullying is, how historical treatments of bullying have been problematic, and how to manage bullying behavior in schools.

Listen in, and remember that you can reach us directly at 775.525.0908, at info@wwdwwdpodcast.com, through the comments below OR on social via @wwdwwdpodcast or #wwdwwdpodcast.

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