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Podcast Profile: Minds Matter

podcast imageTwitter: @bethfisher_1@avamadesousa
44 episodes
2022 to present
Average episode: 57 minutes
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Categories: Two Hosts

Podcaster's summary: Learn from cutting edge researchers in neuroscience and psychology with PhD students Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa. On Minds Matter, we explore a range of subjects, from conspiracy theories to falling in love, to nostalgia. We discuss the neuroscientific and psychological research behind these issues while talking through our own personal experiences.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:08 UTC. Episodes: 44. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2024-Apr-04 • 64 minutes
S3: E15 Your Mind on Great Ape Social Cognition with Dr. Laura Lewis
What do the social lives of chimps and bonobos reveal about human cognition? Join us as biological anthropologist & comparative psychologist Dr. Laura Lewis tells us about the social structures of our closest living relatives & shares her research on how chimps and bonobos remember friends and foes and manage their social attention. Beth and Ava discuss how to think about the similarities and differences between humans and other great apes.
2024-Mar-17 • 53 minutes
S3: E14 Your Mind on Learning & Memory with Dr. Oded Bein
How do we store information in the brain? How do we know when one memory should end and another begin? We speak to Dr. Oded Bein who explains how we use schemas to organise information. Dr. Bein discusses how we segment our experiences to store as our memories and how these processes might be different for people with anxiety. We also give some tips to improve memory and Ava and Beth reflect on how schemas might influences their perspectives. 
2024-Mar-05 • 48 minutes
S3: E13 Your Mind on Emotion Regulation & Conflict with Dr. Rachel Low
When something's bothering you, do you tend to suppress those emotions or sit with them? Dr. Rachel Low joins us to discuss her research on emotion regulation in individuals, relationships, and families. Learn about how parents' emotion regulation styles might spill over to their children, and how just one person suppressing their emotions in a romantic relationship can undermine relationship satisfaction. Beth and Ava talk about their own patterns of emotion regulation.
2024-Feb-11 • 61 minutes
S3: E12 Your Mind on Sex and Relationships with Dr. Jessica Maxwell
Is sexual chemistry just natural compatibility, or can it grow from effort and work? Dr. Jessica Maxwell shares her research exploring how sexual beliefs influence well-being in both long-term and casual relationships. We discuss how individual differences, like attachment styles, shape our relationship preferences, from one-night stands to long-term monogamy. Plus, stay tuned for practical tips for maintaining passion in long-term relationships!
2024-Jan-28 • 62 minutes
S3: E11 Your Mind on Rumination with Dr. Rachel Bedder
How often do you play negative experiences over in your head? If this is a painful pattern of thinking, why would we do this? This week we talk about rumination with Dr. Rachel Bedder, she explains why we ruminate and how it is different from worry. Dr. Bedder discusses her computational model of rumination and we learn how we can apply these models in real life. Ava and Beth reflect on their own thought patterns.
2024-Jan-21 • 53 minutes
S3 E10: Your Mind & Action on Culture and Social Class with Dr. Kimin Eom
How does culture shape our actions towards the environment and our responses to global crises? Dr. Kimmon Eom joins us to discuss how different cultures and socioeconomic statuses influence the willingness to engage in pro-environmental actions. He also shares work on how pandemics and fear of contagion may make even the unprejudiced support xenophobic policies. Beth and Ava have an honest conversation about their own experiences with social class.
2024-Jan-02 • 53 minutes
S3 E09: Your Mind on (Good) Conversation with Dr. Emma Templeton
What makes a for a good conversation? Why do we feel we 'click' with some people and not others? This week we speak to Dr. Emma Templeton about research on conversation. She discusses why gap length between two conversation partners is important into understanding our connections and why this may have different meanings between strangers and friends. Ava and Beth share how they feel about conversations with strangers, can your take a guess to who loves conversations with strangers 100% of the time?
2023-Dec-10 • 49 minutes
S3E08 Your Mind on the Gut Microbiome with Dr Aya Osman
Are we really what we eat? Research on the gut microbiome suggests we really are! This week we speak to Dr. Aya Osman who researches how the gut microbiome influences our brain and behaviour. Dr Osman explains the role of the gut microbiome in addiction and autism and how we can study these connections. We learn what foods are best for a healthy gut. Ava and Beth discuss their personal experiences with the gut microbiome with some pretty rogue stories!
2023-Nov-26 • 51 minutes
S3 E07 Your Mind on Consciousness with Dr Anil Seth
One of the biggest mysteries in science is, what is consciousness? This week we speak to Dr Anil Seth about how we can study consciousness and where the field is at the moment. Dr. Seth discusses how our experience can be considered a controlled hallucination and what all this means for AI. Ava and Beth reflect on their views which somehow relates back to Terminator 2.
2023-Oct-29 • 56 minutes
S3E06: Your Mind & Memory on Aging with Dr. Tarek Amer
What happens to our memories as we age? Dr. Tarek Amer challenges the idea that memory decline is inevitable as we get older. Tune in to find out when older adults' 'sticky' memories not only aid in recollection but also enhance creativity, potentially giving them an edge over younger folks.
2023-Oct-15 • 55 minutes
S3E05 Your Mind on Cognitive Effort with Dr. Laura Ana Bustamante
How do you decide to do your maths homework or play a video game? Why does maths homework feel like more effort than the video game? This week we speak with Dr. Laura Ana Bustamante about how cognitive effort effects the decisions we make. She speaks about her research relating cognitive to physical effort, how we can increase our willingness to exert effort and the relationship between anxiety and cognitive effort. Ava and Beth discuss their own approaches when it comes to effort.
2023-Oct-01 • 63 minutes
S3E04: Your Mind on Guilt with Dr. Hongbo Yu
When guilt strikes, how do you respond? Is it a rush to make things right or an urge to evade? Dr. Hongbo Yu is joins us to delve into the complexities of guilt, its neural bases, and the surprising role our eyes play in magnifying or mitigating those guilty feelings. Plus, Beth and Ava share some personal perspectives on eye contact.
2023-Sep-17 • 51 minutes
S3E03: A Conversation about Women's Health with a Patient-Researcher, with Elle Murata
Elle Murata is a neuroscience Ph.D. student specializing in the impact of sex hormones on the brain. When she noticed something was off with her own menstrual cycle, she found herself having to advocate for her own health to receive proper care. In this conversation, Elle shares her journey to find answers about her own health, and insights from her lab about the effects of sex hormones on our brain's functions.​
2023-Sep-03 • 59 minutes
S3E02 Your Mind on Reality and Imagination, with Dr Nadine Dijkstra
How do we tell our imagination apart from reality? Although it may seem like a simple process we often get the two confused. This week Dr. Nadine Dijkstra shares with us her research on the reality threshold and how this helps us determine what is real and what is not! Ava and Beth discuss top-down and bottom-up processes in perception and how reality can seem blurry at times.
2023-Aug-20 • 63 minutes
S3E01 Your Mind on Compassion, with Dr Julian Scheffer
We are back for season 3! To start off the season we talk with Dr. Julian Scheffer about his research on compassion. Dr. Scheffer tells us about the cognitive costs of compassion and how effort may effect our decision to feel compassion for others. We discuss how compassion compares to empathy and why it is beneficial to feel compassion at all!
2023-Apr-16 • 46 minutes
S2E18: Your Mind on Medical Mistrust: Exploring the Experiences of Minoritzed Individuals with Dr. Kimberly Martin
In this episode, we explore experiences of minoritized individuals in healthcare. Dr. Kimberly Martin shares her research on COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy among Black Americans, and challenges the common attribution to the Tuskegee experiments, sharing research on the critical role of current experiences in shaping medical mistrust. In addition, Dr. Martin shares her personal journey of transitioning from a career as a dancer to academia.Shownotes:
2023-Apr-02 • 55 minutes
S2E17: Your Mind on Deception, with Dr. David Markowitz
Do you ever wonder how often people lie on dating apps? Or how language can reveal people's lies about groups they dislike? Dr. David Markowitz joins us to share his research on the frequency and types of lies people tell. He also discusses whether and how lies, like fake news, can be detected by humans or AI. Beth and Ava share their own experiences with deception on dating apps and discuss how dehumanization is measured in research.
2023-Mar-19 • 53 minutes
S2E16: BONUS EP - Questions for a Literary Theorist on Consciousness Research with Dr. Mette Høeg
This week we sat down to chat with Dr. Mette Leonard Høeg who is a literary theorist and philosopher studying theories of consciousness. Dr. Høeg speaks about how we can use works of literature in the field consciousness research. We discuss everything from free will to what future societies might be imagined from different theories of consciousness!
2023-Mar-05 • 63 minutes
S2E15: Your Mind on Changing Prejudices & Stereotypes, with Dr. Tessa Charlesworth
Have racism, sexism, and homophobia reduced over time? What about ableism? Dr. Tessa Charlesworth joins us to discuss her research using big data and word embeddings to track shifting attitudes about marginalized groups over the years and decades. We explore the implications of her research on prejudice reduction strategies. Beth and Ava discuss their own experiences with stereotypes of women in STEM.
2023-Feb-19 • 71 minutes
S2E14: Your Mind on First Nations Methodologies, with Dr. Cammi Murrup-Stewart
How does a researcher's positionality affect their research? Why do we use the scientific methods that we do? And how do we even measure success in science? This week on the podcast we speak to Dr. Cammi Murrup-Stewart about her research on well-being for urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youth. Speaking about the First Nations Methodologies she uses, we address the big questions around the structure of scientific inquiry. Ava and Beth reflect on these questions with relation to their own research. ...
2023-Feb-05 • 54 minutes
S2E13: Your Mind on Dance, with Dr. Emily Cross
Why do we love to dance? What makes dance different from other movements? This week on the podcast we speak to Dr. Emily Cross about her research on the neuroscience of dance. Dr. Cross explains why we prefer to watch certain dances over others and how emotion is central to dancing. Ava and Beth discuss their aesthetic experiences with art in general, leading to very different opinions!
2023-Jan-22 • 57 minutes
S2E12: Your Mind on Meditation & Mindfulness, with Dr. Sarah Strohmaier
Is more of a good thing always better? We know this isn't the case with exercise and eating, but does the same idea apply to meditation and mindfulness? This week on the podcast Dr. Sarah Strohmaier talks about her research on 'dose' meditation. Her research found that more mindfulness isn't always the best approach. We discuss how mindfulness and meditation help reduce anxiety and stress and what brain regions are involved in these processes. Ava and Beth share their own experiences with meditation practic...
2023-Jan-08 • 62 minutes
S2E11: Your Mind On Moral Curiosity, with Dr. Jordan Wylie
Have you ever wondered why we are drawn to characters like Tony Soprano, even though he carries out morally bad actions? One possible explanation is our moral curiosity. This week on the podcast Dr. Jordan Wylie helps us understand what moral curiosity is and why we are allured by morally ambiguous characters. Dr. Wylie also speaks to us about her research on ‘phantom rules’, rules such as jay-walking that are rarely enforced, as well as how our moral values influence what we believe about harm-reduction po...
2022-Dec-11 • 62 minutes
S2E10: BONUS EP - Questions for a Buddhist Monk
A Minds Matter bonus episode! This week we step away from the research questions and have a chat with a Buddhist monk. Bhikkhu Sadaro (Kevin Berryman) is a Buddhist monk from the Ajahn Chah forest meditation tradition who has been practising for the last 17 years. We speak to him about everything from enlightenment, love, loss, and the self.
2022-Nov-27 • 68 minutes
S2E09: Your Mind on Hierarchy, with Dr. Sa-Kiera Hudson
How do you feel about hierarchies? Dr. Sa-Kiera Hudson joins us to discuss how the answer may influence empathy and intergroup conflict. Support for hierarchies can lead not only to reduced empathy, but to increased counter-empathy for competitive groups. We further discuss what happens when hierarchies intersect and how psychology can study multiple identities (race, gender, sexual orientation) simultaneously.
2022-Nov-13 • 69 minutes
S2E08: Your Mind On Modeling & Active Inference, with Noor Sajid
Have you ever wondered why some days you order your same favourite meal whereas others you decide to try something new? How do we know when we should exploit previous choices or explore new possibilities? In this episode, Noor Sajid discusses her work on active inference, a framework that can answer this problem. Noor uses active inference to investigate many properties of our brain and behaviour, including why two brain lesions can be better than one. Ava & Beth talk through the basics of modeling and ...
2022-Oct-30 • 67 minutes
S2E07: Your Mind on Good & Bad Sleep, with Dr. Lauren Whitehurst
What actually makes for good sleep? Dr. Lauren Whitehurst joins us to discuss how the brain, and crucially, the rest of the body, interact to support cognitive functions like memory consolidation and insight. Dr. Whitehurst shares how vital sleep is to overall health, and what happens when some communities systematically get less sleep than others. Beth & Ava discuss their own experiences with sleep spilling over into other facets of life.
2022-Oct-16 • 67 minutes
S2E06: Your Mind on Resilience & Grief, with Dr. Lucy Hone
Resilience is a word we hear all the time, but what does it actually mean to be resilient? In this episode, Dr. Lucy Hone discusses her work on resilience and well-being. Sharing her own lived experience with grief, Dr. Hone explains resilience doesn’t mean being fine all the time. We discuss how we can improve our resilience along with the science behind the ideas of gratitude and learned helplessness.
2022-Oct-02 • 50 minutes
S2E05: Your Mind on Motivation, Perception & Biases, with Dr. Yuan Chang Leong
Do we see things the way they really are or do our biases and motivations influence our perception? Dr Yuan Chang Leong discusses his research on how our motivations influence how we see the world. If we are biased to see the world differently to others, can we ever really understand someone with different political beliefs? We discuss why we have these biases at all and how they may help us live better lives.
2022-Sep-18 • 70 minutes
S2E04: Your Mind on History, Guns & Racism, with Dr. Gerald Higginbotham
One of the first and strictest gun laws passed in the United States was the Mulford act of 1967, sparked by lawmakers perceived threat of the Black Panthers. Thus, the launch of the gun restriction movement was a targeted effort to limit Black Americans' gun access. How does this history influence attitudes about guns in the U.S. today? Dr. Gerald Higginbotham discusses the importance of history as a context in which to consider present-day attitudes, and how our own perceptions of history, like how long ag...
2022-Sep-04 • 56 minutes
S2E03: Your Mind on Loneliness & Social Connection, with Dr. Elisa Baek
Why do some people amass have friends effortlessly while others remain isolated? Dr. Elisa Baek tells us about her work using social network analysis to examine the differences between the brains of well-connected and lonely people. Dr. Baek also shares why those with the most friends might not be the most magnetic or charismatic, but might rather be those with the strongest need to belong.
2022-Aug-21 • 56 minutes
S2E02: Your Mind on Language & Emotion with Dr. Ajay Satpute
What comes first, language, or emotion? In this episode, Dr. Ajay Satpute shares his work examining how the brain and mind interact with language to create and process emotion. Is jumping when seeing a spider the same as worrying about a loved one passing away? Why do we call so many different experiences 'fear'? We discuss how we can apply this knowledge to our everyday lives, including mental health.
2022-Aug-08 • 41 minutes
S2E01: Your Mind on the Self with Dr. Kelsey Perrykkad
To kick off season 2, we are joined by Dr. Kelsey Perrykkad, a post-doc at Monash University. Dr. Perrykkad tells us about her work on understanding the self, in the framework of predictive processing. We discuss what predictive processing actually is, whether people can change, and why the self feels the way it does... and more!
2022-May-16 • 45 minutes
S1E11: Your Mind on Boredom
Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa bring you a Minds Matter episode on a very exciting topic: boredom. We promise it's more interesting than it seems! Boredom has been linked to creativity and imagination, but also to depression and self-destructive behaviors. In this episode, we examine what boredom is, and whether we should lean into it or run from it.
2022-May-16 • 53 minutes
S1E10: Your Mind on Art & Beauty
Does abstract art leave you feeling in awe or annoyed? Art can provoke powerful experiences, making one feel overcome by the experience of beauty. Are there beauty universals based in evolution and biology, or is beauty in the eye of a culturally conditioned beholder?In this episode of Minds Matter, Beth and Ava enter the fray to examine what neuroscience and psychology can add to the debate on aesthetics.
2022-May-16 • 51 minutes
S1E09: Your Mind on Curiosity
Do you consider yourself to be a curious person? If you are, you might have better relationships, be less aggressive, and less affected by rejection. Sounds nice right? On this episode of Minds Matter, Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa discuss curiosity, and whether this is a trait that can be trained.​Tune in for a deep dive into the brain on curiosity, how it helps memory, and why so many people are fascinated by morbid content, like car crashes and true crime.
2022-May-16 • 48 minutes
S1E08: Your Mind on Empathy
Empathy has been touted as the answer to the world's crises, while also been pointed to as a potential hindrance to morality. How can researchers be so divided? In this episode of Minds Matter, Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa explore empathy's various definitions, its possible grounding in 'mirror neurons', and whether the empathy lives up to its hype or notoriety.
2022-May-16 • 59 minutes
S1E07: Your Mind on Dreams
The elusive nature of dreams has led some to believe that they serve as a tool to uncover our unconscious desires, solve problems, and maybe help us catch a stroke of genius. While most of us barely remember our dreams in the morning, some lucid dreamers can control all aspects of their night-time hallucinations.In this episode of Minds Matter, Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa discuss the science behind what we dream, why we dream, and whether lucid dreams could be a promising form of therapy.
2022-May-16 • 59 minutes
S1E06: Your Mind on Conspiracy Theories
Conspiracy theories have always existed, but with the global pandemic keeping us locked inside and glued to the internet, it seems that these beliefs are becoming more and more common. But are conspiracy theories really on the rise and is social media to blame?​In this episode, Beth Fisher and Ava Ma de Sousa look into the psychological mechanisms behind these fringe beliefs, the harms they may cause, and who is potentially susceptible (spoiler: it's all of us).
2022-May-16 • 56 minutes
S1E05: Your Mind on Mindfulness
The billion-dollar industry of mindfulness promises us reductions in anxiety, knowledge of our true selves, and general transcendence... or something. This episode, Beth and Ava look at what the science of mindfulness does and doesn't tell us about the brain, cognition, and even the self.​Come along for the ride as we breakdown the hype around mindfulness, even venturing into potential dark sides of meditative practices.
2022-May-16 • 60 minutes
S1E04: Your Mind on Music
When we listen to music, our brains light up like fireworks. While listening starts in the auditory cortex, processing also involves memory, emotion, social and motor regions. Clearly, music can make us feel a whole lot, and we’ve all got a vague idea that musical practice can make you ‘smarter’, but how?This week, Beth and Ava are diving into what makes music so powerful. From AC/DC to Drake to Donk - what makes music so universal yet so variable?
2022-May-16 • 57 minutes
S1E03: Your Mind on Love
When it comes to love, science has been a bit slow to realize that romantic relationships don't have to be between one man and one woman. But, a lot of research can be salvaged since the various stages of love (excitement, nervousness, attachment...) are experienced pretty similarly for anyone, regardless of gender, culture or relationship structure.So, what does happen to our brain, thoughts and behaviour when we fall in love? Neural data tells us that it's like addiction or even OCD, but how viable and us...
2022-May-16 • 50 minutes
S1E02: Your Mind on Nostalgia
Getting lost in bittersweet memories of the past might not seem like the most productive use of your time. But, research shows nostalgia can actually be a great coping strategy to deal with negative emotions. ​So, should you plunge yourself into long and languid daydreams about your glory days? Not necessarily. This week Beth, Noah and Ava explore what triggers nostalgia, the contents of these kinds of memories, and how individual differences influence the effects of nostalgia on the brain and mind.
2022-May-15 • 54 minutes
S1E01: Your Mind on Nature
Take a hike! We mean that in a nice way, seriously. This week we’re talking about the effect of the great outdoors on our brains. Research has shown that being in nature helps us de-stress, makes us exercise, and even helps broaden and focus our attention. But can we isolate what exactly about nature makes it so good for us?Beth, our resident Australian country girl, Ava, a city girl who almost never went outside, and Noah, who grew up somewhere in the middle, discuss the research & our own experiences ...