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!
February 16th, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 30 mins
friends, social networks
Do you ever have the feeling that your friends are talking about you behind your back? In this episode we talk with interdisciplinary social scientist Tamas David-Barrett about why we might actually want our friends to talk about us behind our backs. We also talk about how smaller family size has caused a fundamental shift in the structure of the social networks that we inhabit, and chat about giving unusual gifts to strangers at Burning Man. Listen to this episode and get caught in Tamas’s web of intriguing ideas, fascinating findings and sensational stories!
February 10th, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 38 mins
influence, peer pressure, virtue signaling
If all the cool kids jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too? Should you? Many of us grew up with parents, guidance counselors, and school assembly lecturers teaching us to resist peer pressure, go our own way, and ignore the zombie crowd. And people online will quickly call you out for “virtue signaling” and “humble bragging” if you so much as mention how you rescued that eagle that got hit by your yacht. But are peer pressure and virtue signalling all bad? In today’s episode, we talk with brilliant (and popular!) economist and author Robert H. Frank about when you should go along with the crowd, and when you should get the crowd to go along with you. Listen to it, and then brag about it to your friends!
December 22nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 17 mins
disaster, emergency, survival
What do you do when the shit hits the fan, and the government isn’t there to help? When need overwhelms infrastructure, we all need to work together to survive, but figuring out how to actually help each other isn’t so easy. This episode’s guest, Clyde Cain, leads the Louisiana Cajun Navy, which is a group of volunteers that help people during floods, storms and other emergencies. Clyde talks about how to stay calm during a disaster and what drew him to this unconventional life of service.
November 3rd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 15 mins
american hysteria, apocalypse, conspiracy, fake news, illuminati, prejudice, zombie
Who is really behind conspiracy theories? From the idea that the CIA killed Kennedy to the idea that people actually walked on the moon, we’ve all heard conspiracies ranging from the slightly plausible to the downright bizarre. But where do these theories come from? Are they themselves created by some nefarious shadow government? Or do they arise naturally as people attempt to make sense of the world. If you're curious to know the truth behind conspiracy theories, listen to this episode with guest Chelsey Weber-Smith. Chelsey is the host of the American Hysteria podcast, a former conspiracy theorist and expert on American cultural history. In this episode, Chelsey talks about growing up with a prepper parent, a close encounter with Bohemian Grove and the strange history of conspiracy thinking in America. Check this episode out - but only if you’re prepared for the truth!
October 14th, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 23 mins
competition, soccer, sports
Have you been zombified by competition? On this week's episode we talk with sociologist and assistant director of the Global Sport Institute at ASU about his experience as a competitive athlete, and his experience as a parent and coach, helping kids get the benefits of sports without becoming completely competified. No matter if you're a professional athlete, or spend all of grade school being picked last in gym class, you'll enjoy Scott's take on how sports and competition can be a force for good in today's zombified world.
October 6th, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 22 mins
addiction, beer, coffee, drugs
Drugs on the brain? From coffee and beer to opiates and bath salts, drugs have fascinating effects on our behavior, our desires and our personalities. In this episode we talk to addiction expert and clinical psychologist Matt Meier about being under the influence. We cover the serious side and the silly side of the many ways that drugs can zombify us. Once you start listening to this episode, you won't be able to quit.
October 2nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 20 mins
apocalypse, survival, trust, zombie
Who you gonna call in the zombie apocalypse? In this extraordinarily apocalyptic episode, we talk with Cam Carlson - one of the leaders of the Zombie Research Society, a doctor of public health, and an active duty officer in the US Navy - about how to put together your Z-team. We cover everything from the most important zombie apocalypse survival skills, to the challenges of going it on your own, to the all-important skill of how to build trust among strangers in the post-apocalyptic world. Also, Dave discusses the circumstances in which he would eat his dog.
October 2nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 20 mins
apocalypse, cats, parasite, toxoplasma gondii, zombie
We've all seen how disease changes our behavior, but did you know that there are diseases that actually hijack our brains? In this episode we talk with immunologist and evolutionary anthropologist Jessica Brinkworth about the parasite toxoplasma gondii, perhaps best known for it's presence in kitty litter. Jessica explains the many ways that toxo zombifies us and other mammals, hijacking even our own cells to make them little zombies bent on perpetuating toxo. Toxoplasma gondii also plays a role in human behavior, affecting risk taking behaviors and vulnerability to schizophrenia. The toxopocalypse expands even outwards to the ecosystems we are embedded within, threatening species in our oceans and beyond. If you've ever wondered what evil lurks in your cat box, you'll definitely want to listen to this episode.
October 2nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 1 hr 17 mins
apocalypse, art, cats, dance, medicine, pandemic, survival, zombie
Join Zombified hosts Athena & Dave for an apocalyptish afternoon as we launch Season 3 of the Zombified podcast. We talk with immunologist Jessica Brinkworth and zombie apocalypse survival expert Cam Carlson about our current apocalyptish times. We also chat with Channel Zed director Ilana Rein, collaborating producer Erica O'Neil and host of the Dr. Zed Show, Joe Alcock. Don't miss the special appearance from Carl Flink and Black Label Movement. They join us in hazmat suits and describe their plans to dance their way from Minnesota to Arizona in an RV as part of Channel Zed's new reality show, Unreal World.
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).