Social Science Bites

Welcome to the blog for the Social Science Bites podcast: a series of interviews with leading Social Scientists. Each episode explores an aspect of our social world. You can access all audio and the transcripts from each interview here. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @socialscibites to keep up to date on the latest activities.

Heidi Larson

Heidi Larson on Vaccine Skepticism

As the toll from the COVID-19 pandemic increased, polling suggests counter-intuitively that resistance to a future vaccine has also risen. Anthropologist Heidi J. Larson identified several likely drivers of this, including scientists themselves.

2 weeks ago
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Sherman James_Rectangle

Sherman James on John Henryism

Epidemiologist Sherman James outlines the hypothesis behind John Henryism – the idea that high-effort coping with expectations of achievement amid poverty or segregation can result in serious damage to the striver’s health.

2 months ago
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exceprt from implicit bias drawing

Seeing Social Science Bites Podcasts in a New Way​​

Since its debut in 2012, the Social Science Bites podcast series every month has brought the voices of the world’s top social and behavioral researchers to the wider world. Looking over that body of work, we realized that mating sound with vision made excellent sense, and so enlisted scientific illustrator Alex Cagan to bring a select number of our podcasts to life via his pen.

3 months ago
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Gurminder K. Bhambra on Postcolonial Social Science

In this Social Science Bites podcast, Gurminder K. Bhambra discusses with interviewer David Edmonds why we should speak about the Haitian revolution in the same breath as the contemporaneous American and French revolutions, how former empires conveniently forget the contributions of their colonies now that those empires have downgraded to mere ‘nations,’ and what lessons we should draw from the current iconoclastic impulse toward imperial statuary.

3 months ago
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Ashley Mears

Ashley Mears on the Global Party Circuit

Ashley Mears describes modern jet-setting club life at the VIP level and the Veblen-esque conspicuous consumption, its “ritualized squandering” in Mears words, that is its hallmark.

4 months ago
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Anne Case on Deaths of Despair

Economist Anne Case didn’t believe her eyes when she first identified the trend of what came to be called ‘deaths of despair’: looking at figures from the 1990s to the most recent data available from 2018, mortality among middle-aged, non-college-educated white Americans rose, stalled, then rose again.

5 months ago
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Hetan Shah on Social Science and the Pandemic

“You don’t have to go back many months,” says Hetan Shah, the chief executive of the British Academy, in this Social Science Bites podcast, “for a period when politicians were relatively dismissive of experts – and then suddenly we’ve seen a shift now to where they’ve moved very close to scientists. And generally that’s a very good thing.”

5 months ago
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Ruth Wodak on How to Become a Far-Right Populist

Depending on your views, far-right populism can represent a welcome return to the past , or a worrying one. The former, argues sociolinguist Ruth Wodak in this Social Science Bites podcast, is one of the hallmarks of far-right populism – a yearning for an often mythical past where the “true people” were ascendant and comfortable.

7 months ago
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Richard Layard on Happiness Economics

Richard Layard remembers being a history student sitting in Oxford’s Bodleian Library on a misty morning, reading philosopher Jeremy Bentham (he of the famed “It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”). As he recounts to interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast, he thought, “Oh yes, this is what it’s all about.”

8 months ago
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Susan Michie on Behavioral Change

While you might think that the essentials of human behavior are pretty similar, one of the things Michie quickly tells interviewer Dave Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast is that it can be unwise to jump to conclusions when studying behavior (or trying to change it).

9 months ago
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Henri Tajfel

Rupert Brown on Henri Tajfel

Rupert Brown, the biographer of Henri Tajfel, talks about the pioneering explorer of prejudice in this Social Science Bites podcast. Brown reviews the roots of Tajfel’s research arising from the Holocaust, and the current repercussions of Tajfel’s personal misdeeds.

10 months ago
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Michele Gelfand on Social Norms

“Social norms are the glue,” cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand tells interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast, “that keep people together.” How much glue do we need? Gelfand describes the “simple tradeoff” between tight and loose cultures: tight opts for more order while loose aims for openness,

11 months ago
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