As students of psychology, we are accustomed to poring through journal articles and course-approved textbooks to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. While these resources are the cornerstones of scientific research, there are myriad other ways to enhance our understanding of our chosen disciplines – namely through podcasts!
Although a relatively new arrival to the field of science, podcasts have been wholly embraced by the scientific community with many major journals such as Nature, Cell and PNAS, featuring podcast programmes tailored to interested members of the community. One of the reasons that podcasts are so successful is that they offer an alternative portal to the scientific world. Not only do they document and discuss current research findings by visiting labs and reporting from the field, but they also take the listener behind-the-scenes by interviewing leading scientific experts who work in a wide range of disciplines.
Furthermore, podcasts are particularly beneficial to aspiring researchers and clinicians as they cover a wide breadth of pertinent topics, which are communicated in a manner that is accessible to students.
We at JEPS have compiled a list of our favourite podcasts, for those of you who are interested in boosting your brains via a lively and enjoyable medium. The podcasts detailed below are suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students of psychology and neuroscience. In addition, each of these podcasts can be downloaded from the podcasts app on IOS and android devices or directly from the websites (all of which are listed below).
Radiolab is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and it is produced by WNYC. The show focusses on topics that are predominantly scientific and philosophical in nature, thus it is an enticing option for both students of psychology and neuroscience. What differentiates this podcast from many others is its distinctive production style. Interviews are interspersed with stories, thought experiments, and original music such that listeners of all ages and backgrounds remain engaged from start to finish. The programme succeeds in communicating often complicated and ambitious topics to a global audience, which makes it an ideal starting point for anyone looking for a smooth transition into the thought-provoking world of podcasts.
Episode Length: Full Episodes (One Hour); Shorts (15 – 30 minutes)
The Brain Science Podcast is hosted by Ginger Campbell MD. During this time, the host interviews a leading expert about their work in a brain-related field, with topics ranging from brain plasticity, chemistry, imaging and cell biology to developmental and neurodegenerative disorders. This immersive and informative podcast caters for listeners of all backgrounds by summarising key ideas in the field as well as sharing recent discoveries from neuroscience research.
- Brain Anatomy Revealed
- Exercise promotes Brain Plasticity
- The Autistic Brain
- How do you feel?
- What do Mirror Neurons Do?
Episode Length: 40 minutes to one hour
Philosophy Bites is hosted and produced by philosophers David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. As students of psychology, we often become fixated on a particular research topic, which exists in a highly specialised field of study. While we may believe that other methods and disciplines are irrelevant to our particular research goals, this could not be further from the truth. It is for this reason that Philosophy Bites is essential listening for all students of psychology. This podcast highlights the importance of philosophical thinking for current day psychological research. In many ways, the topics discussed by the hosts provide an overarching context for the objectives and goals harboured by modern-day psychology.
- Ted Honderich on What it is to be Conscious
- Simon Blackburn on Narcissism
- Cassim Quassam on Conspiracy Theories
- Shelly Kagan on Speciesism
- Williamson on the Appeal of Relativism
Episode Length: 15 – 25 minutes (approximately)
Naked Neuroscience Enhanced
Naked Neuroscience Enhanced is a strand of the popular Cambridge University and BBC radio show Naked Scientists, hosted by Hannah Critchlow, PhD. The aim of this podcast is to disseminate neuroscience research findings in an engaging and lively manner to a global public audience. This podcast is highly interactive, which makes it invaluable to undergraduate students who are interested in better understanding how the brain and nervous system work. Often recorded on the road, the listeners are transported to all corners of the globe, from a brain bank in New Zealand to a yogic laughter clinic in Cambridge.
- Tickling your Brain: Why Do We Laugh?
- Paying Attention to ADHD
- How to Nurture a Child’s Brain
- Morality and Motivation
- Is Technology Tweaking our Brains?
Episode Length: 30 minutes (on average)
The Brain Matters Podcast is hosted by Matt Davis and Anthony Lacagnina. This podcast is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students, however as the topics are quite specialized, they may be of more interest to graduate students of neuroscience. What differentiates this podcast from both Brain Science and Naked Neuroscience Enhanced is that this program is hosted and produced by graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. This angle is particularly beneficial to students as the hosts place a considerable emphasis on discussing the career trajectory of the interviewee, which provides a valuable insight into the challenges and rewards of life as a research scientist.
- Decisions in the Brain with Dr. Nao Uchida
- Discovering Circuits with Dr. Massimo Scanziani
- Alcohol and the Fetal Brain with Dr. Rajesh Miranda
- Making the Most of Memory with Dr. Wendy Suzuki
- What Can you Remember? With Dr. Anthony Wagner
Episode Length: 40 minutes (on average)
All in the Mind
All in the Mind is hosted by psychologist Claudia Hammond and produced by the BBC. The aim of this podcast is to communicate psychological research to a global audience on current research in the field. Similar to the neuroscience-focused podcasts, All in the Mind features interviews with many leading researchers on topics ranging from mental health policies and media portrayals of mental health to body dysmorphic disorder and perinatal obsessive compulsive disorder. Although this podcast would be engaging for both undergraduate and graduate students of psychology and neuroscience, it would particularly appeal to students with an interest in clinical, counselling and health psychology.
- Money and Motivation; Street Therapy and Insanity Law
- Taxi Drivers; Mental Illness and Work; Neuroscience and the Law
- Romanian Orphanage Babies: 21 Years On
- Psychology of Voting; Media Portrayals of Mental Health; Designer Asylum
- Ageless Psychiatry; From DNA to the Brain; Recipe of Life
Episode Length: 28 minutes (exactly)
Are there any other podcasts that we forgot to include and that you think deserve a mention? Please include any suggestions in the comments!