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3 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
Saying Goodbye To Science Diction
Dear Science Diction listeners, It is with sadness that we announce the finale of the Science Diction podcast. Starting with a simple newsletter and a passionate audience, the Science Diction podcast grew to serve up episodes on topics as varied as meme, ketchup, and juggernaut. It has been a joy to share these stories with you for the last two years. In celebration of Science Diction, we are sharing with you now a final mini-episode, a look back on this labor of love. You can relisten and read past editions of Science Diction anytime by visiting www.sciencefriday.com/ScienceDiction. If you find yourself longing for more science esoterica, we invite you to join us at our weekly trivia nights. Hosted by Diana Montano and a variety of guest experts, they are a free, and absolutely nerdy, delight. On behalf of Johanna, Elah, and everyone that has contributed to making Science Diction, thank you for listening!
23 minutes | Dec 21, 2021
American Chestnut: Resurrecting A Forest Giant
We have a favor to ask! We want to know more about what you like, what you don’t, and who you are—it’ll help us make better episodes of Science Diction. Please, take our brief survey. Thank you! At the turn of the 20th century, the American chestnut towered over other trees in Eastern forests. The trees would grow as much as 100 feet high, and 13 feet wide. According to legend, a squirrel could scamper from New England to Georgia on the canopies of American chestnuts, never touching the ground. And then, the trees began to disappear, succumbing to a mysterious fungus. The fungus first appeared in New York City in 1904—and then it spread. By the 1950s, the fungus had wiped out billions of trees, and effectively finished off the American chestnut. Now, some people are trying to resurrect the American chestnut—and soon. But not everyone thinks that’s a good idea. Guests: Sara Fitzsimmons is Director of Restoration, North Central Regional Science Coordinator, and Regional Science Coordinator Supervisor at the American Chestnut Foundation. Susan Freinkel is the author of American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree. Neil Patterson Jr. works at the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY, and is a member of the Tuscarora Nation. Bart Chezar is a chestnut enthusiast, and volunteers with the Prospect Park Alliance. Footnotes & Further Reading: Listen to oral histories from people who grew up with the American chestnut. Credits: This episode of Science Diction was produced by Shahla Farzan and Johanna Mayer. Elah Feder is our Editor and Senior Producer. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer, and they sound designed this episode. Lauren J. Young contributed research, and Danya AbdelHameid fact checked the episode. Our Chief Content Officer is Nadja Oertelt.
17 minutes | Dec 7, 2021
Vocal Fry: Why I’m Not Getting A Voice Coach
For decades, vocal fry lived a relatively quiet existence. It was known to linguists, speech pathologists and voice coaches, but everyday people didn’t pay much attention to it. But then in 2011, people started noticing it everywhere. So what happened? What is vocal fry? Why does host Johanna Mayer use it? What's her problem? And is it really that bad? Guest: Lisa Davidson is the chair of the Linguistics Department at NYU. Footnotes & Further Reading: Check out this article on young women as linguistic trendsetters. Read the full study from 2011. Learn more about people’s negative reactions to vocal fry. Credits: This episode was produced with Kevin McLean, along with Johanna Mayer. Elah Feder is our Editor and Senior Producer. Daniel Peterschmidt is our Composer, and they sound designed and mastered the episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
20 minutes | Nov 23, 2021
Juggernaut: Indian Temple Or Unstoppable Force?
In 2014, a grad student in Kolkata named Ujaan Ghosh came across an old book by a Scottish missionary. And as Ghosh paged through the book, he noticed the missionary kept using a word over and over: Juggernaut. But the missionary wasn’t using it the way we do today—to mean an unstoppable, overwhelming force. He was using it to talk about a place: a temple in Puri, India. So Ghosh dug further, and as he grasped the real story of where the English word, juggernaut, had come from, he realized there was just no way he could keep using it. A transcript of this episode is being processed and will be available within a week. Guests: Chris Egusa is an audio producer and 2020 KALW Audio Academy fellow. Dylan Thuras is co-founder of Atlas Obscura, and host of the Atlas Obscura podcast. Ujaan Ghosh is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read Ujaan Ghosh’s article on the origins of the word “juggernaut.” Learn more about Jagannath Temple in Atlas Obscura. Listen to more episodes of the Atlas Obscura podcast. Credits: This episode was a collaboration between Science Diction and Atlas Obscura. It was produced by Johanna Mayer and Chris Egusa, and edited by Elah Feder and John DeLore. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer, and Danya AbdelHameid fact checked the episode. It was mixed by Luz Fleming.
22 minutes | Nov 2, 2021
Jargon: We Love To Hate It
Head on over to plainlanguage.gov, and you’ll find a helpful table, dedicated to simplifying and demystifying military jargon. On one side of the table, there’s the jargon term, and on the other, its plain language equivalent. “Arbitrarily deprive of life”? Actually just means “kill people.” “Render nonviable”? Also means “kill people.” “Terminate with extreme prejudice”? “Kill people.” This table is just one of many resources on plainlanguage.gov—from checklists to plain language training to thesauruses. The website was created by an unfunded government group of plain language activists who make it their mission to translate government communications into regular old, plain language. But jargon isn’t just a government problem. It pops up in nearly every field, and it seems like it annoys most of us. So why do we use it? And is there anything actually good about it? This episode was inspired by a question from a listener, Jafar, who asked about the word “recrudescence” and why we tend to use fancy words when simple ones would work just fine. If you have a question about a word or phrase, leave us a voicemail! The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guests: Joe Kimble is a plain language advocate and professor emeritus at WMU-Cooley Law School. David Lipscomb is Director of the Writing Center at Georgetown University, and Vice Chair of the Center for Plain Language. Alejandro Martínez García is a researcher at the National Research Council in Italy. Footnotes & Further Reading: For a challenge, try to explain science using only 1,000 of the most common words. For all your plain language writing needs, take a look at plainlanguage.gov. Learn more about the history of the plain language movement in the United States. Read a study on how our brains react to concrete vs. abstract language. Read more about how jargon affects citations in scientific papers. Credits: This episode was produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer and Editor Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer. Special thanks to Jana Goldman, Bill Lutz, and especially Karen Schriver for background information on the plain language movement.
15 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Algebra: From Broken Bones To Twitter Feuds
When high schooler Gracie Cunningham posted a TikTok asking where algebra came from, she probably didn’t expect to become a viral sensation. There were the usual Twitter trolls, but some unexpected voices also began piping up, causing a flurry in the math world.Thank you to Chad, the listener who suggested that we do an episode on algebra. If you have a suggestion for a word or episode, leave us a voicemail. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to email@example.com. Guests: Steven Strogatz is a Professor of applied mathematics at Cornell, and Visiting Professor at National Museum of Mathematics.Eugenia Cheng is a mathematician and Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the author of x + y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read Eugenia Cheng’s full response to Gracie. Take a peek at al-Khwarizmi’s The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. Credits: This episode was produced by Johanna Mayer and Lauren Young. Our Editor and Senior Producer is Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our Composer. Danya AbdelHameid contributed fact checking. Our Chief Content Officier is Nadja Oertelt.
25 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
CORRECTION: In this episode, we say that there were only two names left on the 2021 list of Atlantic hurricane names until we resume use of the Greek alphabet letters. In March 2021, the World Meteorological Association decided to end the use of the Greek alphabet, and provided a list of supplementary names instead. This episode is a re-broadcast. It originally aired in November 2020. Every year, the World Meteorological Organization puts out a list of 21 names for the season’s hurricanes and tropical storms. But in 2020, the Atlantic hurricane season was so active that by September, we'd flown through the whole list of names and had to switch to the Greek alphabet. Thus, Hurricane Iota became the 30th named storm of the season. We’ve only had to dip into the Greek alphabet once before, in 2005. But the practice of naming hurricanes goes back to the 19th century, and it was a bumpy ride to land on the system we use today. In this episode: The story of a meteorologist in Australia, a novel, and a second-wave feminist from Florida—and how they brought us hurricane names. Guests: Christina M. Gonzalez is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.Liz Skilton is a historian and the author of Tempest: Hurricane Naming and American Culture. Footnotes & Further Reading: For more hurricane history, check out A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin. To learn more about Roxcy Bolton and the fight to change the naming system, read Liz Skilton’s article “Gendering Natural Disaster: The Battle Over Female Hurricane Names.” Credits: Science Diction is hosted and produced by Johanna Mayer. Our editor and Senior Producer is Elah Feder. We had story editing from Nathan Tobey, and fact checking by Michelle Harris. Our composer is Daniel Peterschmidt. Chris Wood did sound design and mastered the episode. Special thanks to the Florida State Library & Archives for allowing us use footage from Roxcy Bolton’s oral history interview. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
17 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
Knock On Wood And Tsunami
Journalists Kevin McLean and Shalina Chatlani join us for a round of Diction Dash, where Johanna tries - and usually fails - to guess the true meaning or origin of a word. If you’re curious about a word, get in touch! Give us a call, leave a message, and we might play it on the show. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guests: Kevin McLean is a producer at the Science Communication Lab.Shalina Chatlani is the health care reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read the full study on the link between a desire for control, and reliance on superstitions under stress. Credits: This episode was produced by Daniel Peterschmidt, Johanna Mayer, and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer and mastered this episode. We had fact checking help from Robin Palmer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
25 minutes | Aug 31, 2021
The Rise Of The Myers-Briggs, Chapter 3: What Is It Good For?
When Isabel Briggs Myers imagined that her homegrown personality test would change the world, she couldn’t have pictured this. Today, millions take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator each year. Countless organizations use it, from General Motors to the CIA. But there’s one field that mostly rolls its eyes at the test: psychology. In our final chapter, Isabel rescues her indicator from the verge of extinction, but has to make some compromises. And we explore what the Myers Briggs does (and doesn’t) measure, and why people love it despite psychologists' complaints. Listen to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of this series. Guests: Merve Emre is a writer and English professor at the University of Oxford. Annie Murphy Paul is a science journalist and author. Dan McAdams is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University. Quinisha Jackson-Wright is a writer and the author of Working Twice as Hard. Jeffrey Hayes is the President and CEO of the Myers-Briggs Company. Rich Thompson is Senior Director of Global Research at The Myers-Briggs Company. Peter Geyer is a Myers-Briggs practitioner in Melbourne Australia. Footnotes & Further Reading: Check out Merve Emre’s book, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing. Read Annie Murphy Paul’s book, The Cult of Personality Testing. Credits: This episode of Science Diction was produced by Johanna Mayer, Chris Egusa, and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer, and they mastered the episode. We had fact checking help from Sona Avakian. Special thanks to Peter Geyer for providing archival audio. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
23 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
The Rise Of The Myers-Briggs, Chapter 2: Isabel
At first, it seemed like Isabel Briggs Myers would have nothing to do with personality typology. That was her mother Katharine’s passion project, not hers. But when Isabel enters a tumultuous marriage, she discovers that her mother’s gospel of type might just be the thing to save it. In Chapter 2, Isabel picks up her mother’s work, and decides to transform it into a marketable product—but first, she has to convince a group of skeptical PhDs that it actually works. Along the way, one particularly dogged researcher notices some issues with her indicator, threatening to undo everything she’d worked for. If you’re new to the series, listen to Chapter 1. Guest: Merve Emre is a writer and English professor at the University of Oxford. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read Merve Emre’s book, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing. Credits: This episode was produced by Johanna Mayer, Chris Egusa, and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Our music was composed by Daniel Peterschmidt, who also mastered this episode and helped with archival research. We had fact checking help from Cosmo Bjorkenheim. Peter Geyer provided us with archival audio. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
22 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
The Rise Of The Myers-Briggs, Chapter 1: Katharine
If you’re one of the 2 million people who take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator every year, perhaps you thought Myers and Briggs are the two psychologists who designed the test. In reality, a mother-daughter team created the test essentially at their kitchen table. In this episode, we look at the unlikely origins of the Myers-Briggs, going all the way back to the late 1800s when Katharine Cook Briggs turned her living room into a “cosmic laboratory of baby training” and set out to raise the perfect child. In this three-part series, we uncover the strange history of the most popular personality test in the world, and how two women revolutionized personality testing—for better or for worse. Guest: Merve Emre is a writer and English professor at the University of Oxford. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read Merve Emre’s book, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing. Credits: This episode was produced by Johanna Mayer, Chris Egusa, and Elah Feder. Our music was composed by Daniel Peterschmidt, who also mastered the episode. Fact checking by Danya AbdelHameid. Archival audio was provided courtesy of Peter Geyer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
11 minutes | Aug 3, 2021
Honeymoon: A Bittersweet Beginning
Honeymoon: It just seems like a word that would have a lovely story behind it, doesn’t it? When a listener named Eric emailed us from Centerville, Ohio asking about the word, that’s what we were hoping to find. Instead, we found a more bittersweet origin stretching all the way back to an early modern poem. Plus: We take a look at what’s going on in our brains during the honeymoon period—and whether it’s all downhill from there. If you want us to cover a word on the show, get in touch! Give us a call, leave a message, and we might play it on the show. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to email@example.com. Guest: Christine Proulx is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri. Footnotes & Further Reading: Read the full John Heywood poem where the word "honeymoon" appears for the first time. Learn more about what’s happening in your brain during the honeymoon phase. Read the full study on how researchers used an fMRI to find activity in the ventral tegmental area of the brains of people who recently fell in love. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer, and they mastered the episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer. Special thanks this week to Michael Lorber and Helen Fisher. See you soon.
27 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
It'll Never Fly: When Gene Names Are TOO Fun
In 1910, a fruit fly geneticist named Thomas Hunt Morgan noticed something strange in one of his specimens. Out of his many, many fruit flies—all with brilliant red eyes—a single fly had white eyes. This fruit fly turned out to be a very big deal. From those white eyes, Morgan eventually figured out that genes can be sex-linked, confirmed that genes exist on chromosomes, and won the Nobel prize. But he also cemented his legacy another way, with what he chose to name that gene: "white". It might sound uninspired, but it kicked off a tradition that decades later gave us names like spatzle, hamlet, and ken and barbie. Here and there, a name went too far, but overall, fanciful names brought joy to researchers and worked well until genes like these were discovered in humans, and everything went awry. Johanna and Senior Producer Elah Feder team up with Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist to talk about fruit flies, genes, and whether it’s ok to name a gene after a German noodle. Plus, after much demand, we bring you... the origin of "defenestration"! Guests: Helen Zaltzman is the host of The Allusionist. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Our composer is Daniel Peterschmidt. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
14 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
What Do You Call A Tiny Octopus That’s Cute As A Button?
What pigment do we owe to the squid? And what do you name a teeny tiny octopus that’s cute as a button? In this episode of Diction Dash, we’re talking about those clever and often tentacled marine invertebrates: Cephalopods. Diana Montano, Science Friday’s resident trivia maestro, quizzes Johanna. But this time, Johanna calls in reinforcements—from Science Friday host Ira Flatow himself. If you want us to cover a word on the show, get in touch! Give us a call, leave a message, and we might play it on the show. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This episode is part of Science Friday's annual Cephalopod Week! Join the cephalo-bration. Guests: Diana Montano is the Outreach Manager at Science Friday. Ira Flatow is the Host of Science Friday. Footnotes & Further Reading: Join Science Friday’s annual Cephalopod Week celebration of our favorite, often tentacled, marine invertebrates. In the episode, we mention Science Friday’s video on the Adorabilis—check it out, and prepare to say “awww.” For a detailed explanation of how to pluralize “octopus,” Merriam-Webster has your back. Sponsor a cephalopod! With every donation of $8 made during Cephalopod Week, you’ll get a special Cephalopod Badge, featuring your choice of ceph, your first name and city. You’ll find it swimming in our very own Sea of Support. Credits: This episode of Science Diction was produced by Johanna Mayer with Diana Montano and Katie Feather. Elah Feder is our Senior Producer. Daniel Peterschmidt composed all our music and they mastered this episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
28 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Language Evolves: It’s Literally Fine
If you read the title of this episode and cringed, you’re not alone. At Merriam-Webster, editors and lexicographers receive countless letters grousing about the addition of certain words to the dictionary. And here at Science Diction, we get our fair share of emails pointing out our linguistic missteps. But the more you dig into the origins of words, the more you notice that when it comes to language, “correctness” is a slippery concept. In fact, some of our most beloved English words - nickname! newt! - were born of mistakes. In this episode, Merriam-Webster lexicographers Emily Brewster and Peter Sokolowski explain the mistake-ridden origins of our words, how language evolves, and how wrong becomes right. Plus, we answer a listener question about the most exported word in the English language. Guests: Emily Brewster is a Senior Editor and Lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. Peter Sokolowski is a Lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer and Editor Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt composed our music, and they mastered this episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
15 minutes | May 25, 2021
Serendipity and Syzygy: Fortunate Accidents
How did a country's name end up inside the word, “serendipity"? And what’s a “syzygy"? And, more importantly, why does it have so many y’s? Over the past year, several listeners have written to us asking about these two words. Now, we answer—with a little help. Eli Chen and Justine Paradis join us for a round of Diction Dash, where Johanna tries (and usually fails) to guess the correct origin or meaning of a word. If you want us to cover a word on the show, get in touch! Give us a call, leave a message, and we might play it on the show. The number is 929-499-WORD, or 929-499-9673. Or, you can always send an email to email@example.com. Guests: Justine Paradis is a reporter and producer for Outside/In from New Hampshire Public Radio. Eli Chen is senior editor of Overheard at National Geographic. Footnotes & Further Reading: More on how a syzygy helped free the Suez ship at the Wall Street Journal Read The Three Princes of Serendip Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Senior Producer and Editor Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt composed all our music. Fact checking by Robin Palmer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
13 minutes | May 11, 2021
Ambergris: How Constipation Becomes A Luxury Product
Last month, Science Diction received a letter from a listener named Ben. He wanted to know about ambergris, a strange substance that washes up on beaches from time to time. So today, we’re talking about this thing that for centuries, rich people coveted, rubbed on their necks, and even ate, all without having any idea what it really was. If they had known, they might have put their forks right down. Plus, Science Diction now has a phone number! If you, like Ben, want us to cover a certain word, you can call in, leave us a message, and we might play it on the show. Call 929-499-WORD or 929 499 9673. Or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest: Christopher Kemp is the author of Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris. Special thanks to Ben Gartner for emailing us and inspiring this episode. Footnotes & Further Reading: To learn more about ambergris, read Christopher Kemp’s book Floating Gold. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and senior producer Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer. Robin Palmer helped fact check this episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
16 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Orphans Delivered The World's First Vaccine
When the first COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency use last December, it felt like - at last! - our nightmare was nearly over. Then came reports of botched distribution efforts, from broken websites to factory mix-ups. Scientists created the vaccine in record time, but it was beginning to look like that might’ve been the easy part. But if you think vaccine distribution was a logistical nightmare in 2021, try doing it in the early 1800s. In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered that cowpox worked as a vaccine against smallpox. All you had to do was pop a cowpox sore on someone’s skin and transfer the lymph fluid (a.k.a. pus) into a cut on a second person. Soon, they'd develop a few sores, but when they recovered, they'd be immune to smallpox, a far more serious disease. This worked well enough for short distances, but when smallpox began to destroy Spanish colonies in the Americas, Spain had to figure out a way to move the vaccine across the ocean. Their solution was resourceful, effective, and very ethically dubious. Science writer Sam Kean brings us the story of the world's first vaccination campaign. Guest: Sam Kean is a science writer, author of The Bastard Brigade, and host of the podcast Disappearing Spoon from the Science History Institute. Footnotes & Further Reading: Listen to our episode on the origin of the word ‘vaccine.’ Listen to a full episode about this story on Sam Kean’s podcast, Disappearing Spoon. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Elah Feder. Elah is our Editor and Senior Producer. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
25 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Diction Dash: You Asked, We Answer
Over the past year, you’ve sent us words you want us to cover on the show. And for months, we let those suggestions pile up into a list of nearly 200 words. Today, we begin to chip away at that lexical mountain. A team of Science Friday producers set out to tackle five listener-suggested words and quiz Johanna about their meaning or origin in a game we’re calling, Diction Dash. Feel free to play along... or just listen to Johanna get all the answers wrong. We still want your suggestions! If you want us to cover a word on the show, send an email to email@example.com. We’ll add it to the lexical mountain. Guests: Kathleen Davis is a Producer at Science Friday. Diana Montano is Events Producer at Science Friday. Lauren J. Young is a Digital Producer at Science Friday. Christie Taylor is a Producer at Science Friday. Alexa Lim is Senior Producer at Science Friday. Credits: Science Diction is produced by Johanna Mayer and Elah Feder. Elah is also our editor and senior producer. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer. Robin Palmer helped fact check this episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.
29 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Introvert: The Invention Of A Type
In 2013, introverts staged their comeback. For decades, they’d been told to get out of their shells and *smile*, while those showy, gregarious extroverts were held up as the American ideal. But when one author published a kind of introvert’s manifesto, she sparked an introvert pride movement. Since then, the war of the ‘verts has only escalated, with self-identified introverts accusing extroverts of being shallow and incessantly chatty party monsters, and extroverts declaring introverts self-absorbed shut-ins who are just jealous because extroverts are actually happy. (A contention that studies support.) It all feels like a very 21st Century, internet-era drama. But the history of the dubious and divisive introvert-extrovert binary began 100 years ago, when Carl Jung fell out with Sigmund Freud, and tried to make sense of where they’d gone wrong. In the process, Jung coined a couple of new terms, and unleashed an enduring cultural obsession with cramming ourselves into personality boxes. Guests: Dan McAdams is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University. Wiebke Bleidorn is a professor of psychology at the University of California Davis. Kelly Egusa is producer Chris Egusa’s sister, and a proud introvert. Footnotes & Further Reading: For an introvert’s manifesto, check out Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.Looking for a personality test backed by science? This one comes closest. Curious about the 18,000 words in “Trait Names: A Psycho-lexical Study”? Read them here. Read the 2019 study that suggests that introverted people feel happier when they force themselves to act extroverted. (And you can also check out a different study from the same year that adds a wrinkle to this finding.) Take a look at a study that analyzes the Big Five personality dimensions as they relate to career success. Credits: This episode was produced by Chris Egusa, Johanna Mayer, and Elah Feder. Elah is our Editor and Senior Producer. Daniel Peterschmidt is our Composer and did sound design for this episode. They wrote all the music, except for the Timbo March by Tim Garland from the Audio Network. Robin Palmer fact checked this episode. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer. This season of Science Diction is sponsored by Audible.
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