Is something taking over your brain? Zombified is a new podcast about how we are vulnerable to being hijacked by things that are not us. From microbes hijacking behavior, to humans influencing each other, to our brains being taken over by social media, we talk about why zombification happens, why we are susceptible to it, and what we can do about it. Hosted by Dr. Athena Aktipis, a Psychology Professor at Arizona State University and the founder of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance, and co-hosted by zombie enthusiast Dave Lundberg-Kenrick, “Zombified” takes a radically interdisciplinary approach to the science of zombification. If you enjoy fresh brains, this podcast is for you!
June 5th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 4 secs
disaster, evolution, sex
Are we ready for the apocalypse? In this episode, evolutionary anthropologist Mike Gurven explains how humans have encountered apocalyptic conditions - whether disease, disasters or war - throughout our evolutionary history. We talk with Mike about what the likely scale of destruction was in ancestral apocalypses, how sex helped us bounce back from population decimation, and why we need math to understand how much a part of life death was for our ancestors. This one is definitely dark, but also morbidly inspiring. If we evolved to deal with apocalypses, we might be a hell of a lot more resilient to hellish conditions than we think.
May 29th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 40 mins
film, memory, technology
In this episode, filmmaker Ilana Rein explains how screens zombify us for better and for worse. We talk about the mind-numbing comfort of zoning out on our screens, the creepiness of having Netflix algorithms poking our brains, and how her Alzheimer's afflicted mom avoided getting hijacked by a scammer by covering her computer with a tablecloth.
May 19th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 51 mins
evolutionary psychology, smartphone
What was it like for Zombified co-host Dave Lundberg-Kenrick growing up with an evolutionary psychologist for a dad? Like growing up in a constant existential crisis, says Dave. In this episode we talk with Doug Kenrick, one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology (and Dave's dad) about how our evolutionary history has shaped our brains and behavior, making us susceptible to being parasitized. According to Doug, our evolved motives set up us to be parasitized by all sorts of parasites, from friends and family, to the many social parasites lurking on our computers and smartphones.
May 12th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 13 mins
kids, memes, parenting
Curious what makes for a successful internet meme? In this episode, we talk with Anthropologist and cultural transmission expert Lee Cronk about memes, fake news and lying to children. Lee explains why his kids thought they were going to the planet Zandar when they turned 14, what coney dogs are really made of, and how Nike's marketing department messed up in the 80s. We talk about how our receptivity to taking in information from others is part of what makes humans so awesome, but it also part of why we are so damn vulnerable to being manipulated.
March 24th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 21 mins
education, imitation, kids, mimicry, parenting
In this episode, Cristine Legare explains how imitation is at the heart of what makes us human. Cristine studies how kids learn through imitation, and how this helps kids learn what they need to know in order to survive and thrive in whatever environment they find themselves in. She also explains how our ability to imitate is both a great power and a serious vulnerability. Cristine offers a serious brain share in this inimitable episode.
March 17th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 19 secs
In this episode, psychologist and evolutionary biologist Nichola Raihani talks talks about why being paranoid might not actually be so crazy. Nichola tells us about the many influences on paranoid thinking, the evolutionary reasons why we can be suspicious of others, and she explains the difference between paranoia and conspiracy thinking, If you're a little bit paranoid, or know somebody who is, this episode is for you!
March 10th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 36 mins
corvid19, outbreak, pandemic
Where do pandemics come from? In this Zombified episode, author and science communicator David Quammen talks with us about the origins of viral diseases and the stories behind how pandemics start through and spread. We talk about bats and their role in zoonotic diseases, the origins of AIDS, and David presciently warns of the Zombie Apocalypse by way of single stranded DNA viruses (despite the fact that we recorded this episode before the COVID19 outbreak).
March 3rd, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 20 mins
Have you ever driven onto an airport runway when you were just following your GPS? In this episode of Zombified, we talk to technologist Katina Michael about the risks and opportunities that come from embedding ourselves more and more deeply in technology, and embedding technology more deeply in ourselves. From brain implants to the economic technopocalypse, we hear from Katina about how we can protect our humanity, or at least give it up more gracefully as we relinquish more and more of our autonomy to devices and the algorithms that live inside them.
February 25th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 1 min
babies, microchimerism, pregnancy
While you were in the womb, cells from your mom took up residence inside you. And cells from your baby body transferred to your mom as well, settling down in her tissues and organs. In this episode we talk with evolutionary biologist Amy Boddy about this phenomenon - called maternal-fetal microchimerism - and what it means for our understanding of who we are. If you've had a baby (or a few babies), cells from those babies may be inside your body and brain right now, proliferating and interacting with the rest of you. What are they doing and why? Listen and find out!
February 14th, 2020 | Season 2 | 57 mins 56 secs
placenta, pregnancy, sharks
Did you know that genes from your mom and genes from your dad battled it out inside you (and in your placenta) while you were in the womb? In this episode, Harvard evolutionary biologist, David Haig, explains where babies come from and how they hijack their parents to take care of them. From the intricate details of shark pregnancy to the parenting strategies of plants, David shares both curious sex facts and disturbing strategies of reproduction across the tree of life. And you'll learn more than you wanted to know about the most wonderful and creepy organ of all, the placenta.
February 14th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 34 mins
birth control, health
Has the birth control pill zombified you? Sarah Hill, author of "This is your brain on birth control," shares her personal experience with the pill, her expert knowledge as a hormone researcher and her also perspective on the politics of the pill in this episode. Yes, the pill fucks with us, she says, from messing with our stress system to changing our mating and dating preferences - but that doesn't mean we should get rid of it. If you've struggled with finding birth control that doesn't mess with your brain, dated somebody who has, or you're simply interested in the biology and politics of hormonal contraception and women's health, you'll love this episode.
February 14th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 8 mins
behavior, dating, love
Has love turned you into a zombie? In this episode of Zombified, we talk to evolutionary psychologist and relationship expert Diana Fleischman about the many ways love zombifies us: from romantic relationships to parent-child interactions. She offers tips for how to train your boyfriend, how to resist getting behaviorally conditioned by those you love, and talks to us about when getting zombified in relationships might not really be such a bad thing.
February 14th, 2020 | Season 2 | 1 hr 10 mins
Join us for the live launch of season 2 of Zombified. Athena and Dave chat with are awesome guests Diana Fleischman and Katina Michael about love, technology, the pluses and minuses of monogamy, and how to train your boyfriend. Listen alone or with someone you think you love.
January 20th, 2020 | Season 1 | 33 mins 30 secs
families, love, romance
In this episode, Anthropologist and hormone expert Mark Flinn give us his unique perspective on love: That love is essentially when you enjoy being exploited. He talks about how this 'loving exploitation' plays a role in our romantic relationships and our families. Is Mark's view of love cynical or undyingly romantic? You'll have to listen to find out!
December 19th, 2019 | Season 1 | 39 mins 32 secs
art, behind the scenes, design
Go behind the scenes with Zombified illustrator Neil Smith. In this delicious Zombified Brain Snack mini-episode, Neil tells us about his process for creating our insanely creepy-amazing episode illustrations and we talk about how design in general can take over our brains. If you like design, zombies or just sweat Neil's morbid aesthetic, you'll love this one.
November 6th, 2019 | Season 1 | 44 mins 14 secs
mindfulness, muffins, stress
In this tasty brain snack, we follow up on Mary Davis' suggestions in the Mindfulness Cure episode. Dave reports back about his attempts to de-zombify himself by implementing greater mindfulness in his life and work. Dave and Athena also discover they have very different attitudes about the social implications of distributing muffins in the office.