I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project. I study cooperation across systems from human sharing to cancer. I'm also the chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting. To learn more about the work we do in my lab, visit my lab website at AktipisLab.org.
April 7th, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 17 mins
fake news, media literacy, social media
Do you feel like your neurons are getting taken over by your smartphone, tablet, computer or TV? Then the infopocalypse has probably already infiltrated your brain. In this episode, journalist and media literacy expert, Kristy Roschke, explains how we get hijacked by the constant stream of information we consume from our devices. She also shares tips for keeping your brain safe from manipulative information that could compromise you, hurt those you love, or destroy civilization all together. Listen now to protect your brains—and the world!
March 23rd, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 13 mins
science communication, storytelling
What would your kids do if they were stuck in the zombie apocalypse and you were nowhere to be found? That’s the premise of Shabam!, a podcast where the story of the zombie apocalypse is a vehicle for explaining science and infrastructure to audiences of all ages. We talk to creators, Josh Kurtz and Wendy Roderwiess, about the challenges of communicating scientific ideas and how to use engaging storytelling and silly voices to create a compelling narrative that is both interesting and informative. Listen with your kids, so they learn how to survive if you get eaten by a zombie!
March 16th, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 17 secs
Does politics turn us into zombies? We talk with law professor, Mary Ziegler, about the politics around the abortion debate and how a personal, medical issue can get hijacked for political ends. We also chat about the ways that politics can make us see others—specifically those who don’t agree with us—as zombies. If you think you or somebody you don’t agree with might be a zombie, you’ll definitely want to listen to this episode.
March 9th, 2021 | Season 3 | 1 hr 1 min
anthropology, hunger, ik, starvation
What happens to humans when they are not just hungry, but truly famished? In this episode we talk with anthropologist Cathryn Townsend about the ways that starvation can change who we are and how we relate to one another. She completed fieldwork with the Ik people of Uganda who were vilified as selfish and nasty by Colin Turnbull 50 years ago when he observed their society mid-famine. Cathryn explains how the Ik are just as generous as the rest of us—and why it’s problematic to blame culture for human selfishness. This is the episode you’ve been hungering for.
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.