Created with Sketch.
The Bigger Picture
67 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
Ep. 16 - Prof. Sam Gosling: What Your Room Says About Your Personality, and How Physical Spaces Affect Our Psychology
In today’s episode, I spoke with Prof. Sam Gosling, a personality researcher from UT Austin. To start with - we should first ask ourselves - what is personality? There are endless theories and frameworks that try to describe, explain, and predict a person’s characteristic nature - as well as many different approaches to studying and measuring an individual’s personality.In this episode, Sam gave us his take on what personality actually means and explained the different levels of analysis that we should pay attention to when venturing into this field. Throughout his career, Sam has studied how our personalities are reflected in the physical spaces that we inhabit. What do our rooms, offices, and homes say about who we are? How can we learn more about someone’s personality, just by observing their room or office for instance? We spoke about all of the different clues we should look for when observing someone’s space - as well as which personality traits are the most easily detectable. Sam’s fascination with physical spaces doesn’t stop there however. Recently, he’s focused on the question of how can architecture after our psychology? How can the layout and design of a physical space influence our moods, cognitions, and behavior? What kinds of rooms promote inspiration and creativity on the one hand, or rest and rejuvenation on the other. Our physical environments can have a profound impact on our psychological states, but to this day, little research has focused on systematically asking and answering these questions. We explored how architects can use psychology research to design spaces that take these psychological effects into account - and how, hopefully, one day, this could mean an evolution in the entire field of architecture itself. So if you’d like to know how our personalities shape the spaces we inhabit, as well as how these same spaces can affect us - stay tuned for today’s episode.
124 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
Ep. 15 - Prof. Bernard Berofsky: Having Free-Will in a Somewhat Determined World, A Compatibilist's View
In today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Prof. Bernard Berofsky, an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy from Columbia University, who in his career has explored topics such as free-will, determinism, liberation, autonomy, and creativity. Bernard is an exceptional philosophical thinker, and his devotion to the pursuit of knowledge and truth is an inspiring one. This conversation was a deep dive into the mind of an analytical philosopher. In some parts, we explored the deeper philosophical arguments around these ideas, and in others we spoke about how they can be related and applied to our everyday lives. First of all, you might be asking yourself, what is this idea of free-will and determinism? What is the big dilemma here? Well this is a huge question that has been occupying philosophers for ages - and it asks - do we, as humans, have free-will over our choices? Or is the universe we live in already predetermined, which would mean that everything that ever was and ever will be is like a play with a clear script that’s just waiting to play out. And in this predetermined world, the choices we feel we have full control over are just an illusion and are actually a result of all of these different forces unfolding. There are different schools of thought around this matter - some philosophers are incompatibilists, meaning they believe that we can’t have both free-will and determinism, it must be either or. Of these, we have the determinists, who are adamant about there being no free-will whatsoever, and that if we do have any feeling of being able to freely make decisions in our lives - this is simply an illusion. Other philosophers believe that nothing is determined and that everything is up for grabs so to speak, that we are free, autonomous agents able to freely make decisions and to control our own fates. Prof. Berofsky, on the other hand, is a compatibilist. He believes that free-will and determinism can coexist. Certain things about our world and our existence are indeed determined, however, we still have quite a bit of free-will that allows us to actively participate in the shaping of our destinies.
81 minutes | Sep 12, 2021
Ep. 14 - Prof. Ran Barkai: The Life of Prehistoric Man, Cave Paintings, & Altered States of Consciousness
In today’s episode, I got to speak to Prof. Ran Barkai, an archeologist from Tel Aviv university. Archeology is a fascinating field that provides us with a very real, physical, sensory connection with our past. By uncovering certain objects, remnants, and markings left behind by prehistoric man, we can paint a picture of what the life of our early ancestors was really like. Each new discovery adds to this tapestry of history, and the new technological advancements we have today help make our estimations of the past even more accurate. One of the exciting discoveries that Ran and his team have found is that of cave paintings - that were so deep within the caves - that the prehistoric humans that ventured in there must have used fire to light their way. What Ran and his colleagues were able to show was that at such depths - due to the lack of circulation - lighting a fire would cause oxygen levels to lower to such a degree - that a state of hypoxia would be induced in these early painters. In other words, early humans were no strangers to altered states of consciousness. They would enter these trance-like states in which they would embark on spiritual journeys and paint on the cave walls. We spoke about the possible meanings behind these cave paintings, and Ran’s ideas on how these altered states of consciousness were intentional and deliberate, and were used by prehistoric man to expand their awareness, call forth insights, and ultimately - to find solutions to different existential problems they may have been facing. We ventured into some Jungian territory in this episode as well, discussing how in the psyche of early man, there was much less distinction between the subject and the object, or the internal world and the external world. Early humans were most likely much more in tune with their environments. There always remains the question though of whether or not we’re romanticizing the past and wishfully projecting characteristics onto early humans - such as their heightened awareness and respect for nature and strong sense of community. We can only do the best we can in painting this picture of the life of our early ancestors. But I believe that even if we are romanticizing certain elements of our history, this longing for simpler times - in which we were more connected with nature, family, and community - can help shed light on precisely those elements that we are most hungry for today in our modern world.
126 minutes | Aug 12, 2021
Ep. 13: Science for the Public Good, the Future of Innovation, and Uniting the Humanities and the Sciences
How can scientific innovations transform society? What can learning about different cultures teach us about ourselves? What can learning about our past teach us about our future? And what do we truly need in order to drive scientific progress?In today’s episode, I spoke with Prof. Nicholas Dirks, the President of the New York Academy of Sciences, former Chancellor of UC Berkeley, and former dean of the Humanities at Columbia university. Nicholas started his academic journey in history and anthropology, having been fascinated with Eastern cultures, especially India, from a young age. Throughout his career, Nick has embodied the spirit of the interdisciplinary approach and the pursuit of furthering human knowledge through investigation and exploration. This conversation was definitely a hopeful one. We spoke about the role of science in our society, the wonderful innovations that science is able to produce, and we also spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration, for true scientific progress to be made. Another theme we explored is that science cannot exist on its own, it must be grounded in fundamental questions of how it can benefit the public good. Some questions came up of how we can communicate the principles of science to the public in a better, more effective way and we explored the question of where the public’s mistrust for science actually comes from. One thing that really hit home for me was Nick’s call for an open minded, curious, and exploratory approach to the scientific pursuit. It’s easy for us to lose that child-like curiosity for the world when met with the demands of daily lives, but Nick has found a way to keep that spirit of inquiry very much alive in his own career, and helps instill it in those around him, now in a large and meaningful scale through his role as President of the Academy. Science is beautiful, and I hope that this conversation in some small way helps to get that message out there. When Nick refers to the New York Academy of Sciences as the Academy, for me it brings forth images of Ancient Greece and Plato’s Academy - which was devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding the mysteries of the universe. The movement of the Enlightenment - on which our modern world of science is based on, was inspired by the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks, who held up the principles of reason, virtue, and liberty. The New York Academy of Sciences is carrying that legacy onward, working to further science and our understanding of the universe - with the goal being to better society and to improve our lives here as humans on this Earth.
62 minutes | Aug 1, 2021
Ep. 12 - Prof. Reuven Dar: A New Outlook on OCD, How It Differs from OCPD, and Why Internal Awareness Matters
In today’s episode, I spoke with Prof. Reuven Dar, a clinical psychologist and researcher, who studies OCD. Ruvi and his colleagues have developed a model that approaches OCD in a different way from the mainstream consensus. They’ve come up with a framework for OCD called “Seeking Proxies for Internal States”. The idea behind this is that individuals suffering from OCD have a harder time accessing their own internal states. And in order to deal with this, they seek proxies, or things that are external to them, in order to gauge what exactly their internal states are. This is quite a different way of looking at OCD, and it shines a light on the difficulties that these individuals often experience when trying to understand what exactly they themselves are feeling. And so their ritualized and compulsive behavior become these kinds of external crutches that help them gain more certainty around their uncertain evaluations of their own internal worlds. We talked about the different symptoms of OCD and how they can manifest on a spectrum. One of the important notes that came from this was that, like other psychological disorders, a diagnosis of OCD is only made when the symptoms are truly interfering with the individual’s life, functioning, and well-being.Ruvi and his colleagues have done something that I particularly admire. They’ve looked at a certain accepted consensus and said “we’re not quite sure it’s accurate”. When ideas are widely accepted in any field in science, it’s hard to reopen that area of inquiry for further examination and to perhaps reevaluate certain things that were held to be true. Any endeavor that takes a second look at things with fresh eyes is a laudable step towards the pursuit of truth and is in my opinion, embodying the true spirit of science.
79 minutes | Jul 25, 2021
Ep. 11 - Prof. Leo Corry: The Evolution of Science, Science & Religion, and the Importance of the Humanities
In today's episode, I spoke with Prof. Leo Corry, a historian and philosopher of mathematics and science, and the former dean of the Humanities at Tel Aviv university. Leo has studied mathematics, history, and philosophy, and has such an extensive mapping of the history and evolution of science and mathematics, as well as how different cultural and social movements worked together and created the environment that made certain technological advancements and progressions in humanity’s understanding of the world. We spoke at length about the philosophy of science, how we need to stay humble in the face of uncertainty, and how for the greater part of history, science and religion have been married to one another, science having been born out of religion, with the fundamental goal of both being to understand the world and the universe we find ourselves in. We talked about the point at which science became divorced from religion, to the extent that today most people would find the two antithetical to one another. I believe that taking this zoomed out approach helps us better understand how science evolved to where it is today and gives us context for our own modern ways of thinking. For more information on Leo:Leo's WebsiteLeo's Blog
60 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
Ep. 10 - Dr. Yulia Golland: Synchronizing with Others, Social Neuroscience, and the Individual & the Collective
What does it really mean to be on the same wavelength with someone? Is there any truth to these kinds of metaphors? Dr. Yulia Golland shows that on a certain level - yes there is.Dr. Yulia Golland is a social neuroscientist who studies interpersonal synchrony. In other words, she studies how people get in-sync with one another. Human beings are inherently social creatures, and we are constantly shaping and being shaped by our social environments. A lot of this communication happens verbally, but the majority of it happens below our conscious radar, on levels that we may not be aware of. When we interact with someone else, sometimes we can have the feeling that we’re clicking or that we’re on the same wavelength, so to speak. What these metaphors help us describe is that feeling when we feel a sense of rapport and connectedness with the other person. We’ve all had these experiences, but what Yulia does is show that not only do we experience these moments of connectedness subjectively, but she also shows that objectively there are neurological and physiological markers that also become synchronized during such interactions. So, to a certain extent, the saying that “you and I are on the same wavelength” is much more literal than we would have thought. Yulia and I spoke about the different ways in which this propensity to synchronize with others affects us, and we really got into the good, the bad, and the ugly of interpersonal synchrony. We spoke about the social nature of humans, and how there is no individual without a community around him. The interplay between the individual and the collective is eternal and the boundaries between self and the other are never quite clear. In a sense, we’re immersed in a social network, that network is a part of who we are and we define ourselves based on the social context we’re in. This social nature means that we have evolved to be so sensitive and receptive to the social cues around us that we do this subconsciously and automatically. I personally love research that takes mysterious phenomena like our propensity to sync up with one another - and grounds it in a secure scientific base of research - and that’s exactly what Yulia does in her research.
45 minutes | Jun 20, 2021
Ep. 9 - Dr. Elran Haber: The Microbiome, Computational Biology, & Integrating Business and Science
Did you know we have trillions of bacteria, yeast, and virus cells living within us? How does this "microbiome" affect our health and well-being? Today we spoke about the microbiome with Dr. Elran Haber, who is the CEO of Biomica, an emerging biopharmaceutical company developing innovative microbiome-based therapeutics for the treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases, with a specific focus on immuno-oncology and GI related disorders. Their company is composed of an A-Team of brilliant scientists from Israel and from around the world. Elran and I spoke about the microbiome at large, what it is, why it’s a fascinating new frontier of research, and how we can apply this new knowledge in our own lives to improve our health and longevity. We got to hear about the exciting new interventions that Biomica are developing, as well as other success stories that have been popping up in the field. It’s amazing to think that there’s an entire ecosystem living within us, and that our body and that ecosystem are in constant dialogue and are constantly affecting each other. What’s particularly cool about this new discovery is that it gives us a new framework through which we can judge whether something will be beneficial to our health or not. For instance, maybe we eat something that has a lot of vitamins and low calories, so we think it’s good for us - but if it messes with our microbiome, we’re going to have a problem. Now that's only one way in which this field is creating an entire shift of how we look at health, disease, and treatments. Dr. Haber serves as Biomica’s Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Biomica, he served as Therapix Biosciences (Nasdaq, TASE: TRPX) CEO leading the company to a successful IPO on Nasdaq and advancing the Company's programs to clinical stage. He spent more than 10 years as Chairman and board member of several privately held, and publicly traded companies. He’s served in senior executive roles in various life science companies and a private investment firm. Dr. Haber holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science and an MBA in Finance & Financial Engineering, both from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
69 minutes | May 28, 2021
Ep. 8 - Nir Minerbi & Amir Naveh: Quantum Computing, Founding a Start-Up, & Work-Life Balance
Nir Minerbi and Amir Naveh are two of the founders of a quantum computing company called Classiq. So it turns out, quantum computing is a thing. Quantum computing is an exciting new approach that integrates computers as we know them today with the principles of quantum physics. An important distinction between the classic Newtonian physics and quantum physics is that, in Newtonian physics, things are considered causal, meaning, one thing causes the other. So if we have complete knowledge of the past, that means that we can compute the future, and vice versa. But in quantum physics, things get a little more complicated. Objects, such as atoms, are neither particles nor waves, but instead, are a weird combination of the two. We can’t be 100% certain where things actually are and how they move. So in this paradigm, if we have complete knowledge of the past, we can only make probabilistic predictions of the future. And so quantum computing introduces this probability factor into the mix.The way regular computers are built today, the entire system is built on the binary code, just a string of ones and zeros can make everything that our laptops and phones do possible. In quantum computing, things get a little more complicated. Because we no longer have ones and zeros, but instead, the entire machinery is based on probabilities. Sounds like science fiction, I know.Nir and Amir did an amazing job in simplifying this complex topic, starting from a background of how quantum physics evolved, to the emerging industry of quantum computing, and the role they hope their company Classiq will play in this new field. We also got into their journey being founders of a start-up, and spoke at length about their philosophies around work-life balance, personal growth, and how to cultivate a company culture of family and excellence.
83 minutes | May 16, 2021
Ep. 7 - Dr. Orly Flakowicz Idan: Psycholinguistics, How Language Shapes Thought, and the Magical Power of Words
How do words shape our thoughts and our reality? How can changing one word dramatically impact people's opinions? What really is the importance of being precise in your speech?Orly studies psycholinguistics, which is the meeting place between psychology and linguistic studies. In particular, she researches how language can affect our attitudes, emotions, and responses. We spoke about the research she’s done in the field of conflict resolution and negotiations, where she and her colleagues have shown that different wordings, often very subtle, can have a substantial impact on how we perceive different texts and messages.It’s incredible how much our language and the words we choose to use shape our reality and our interpersonal relationships. Language is this miraculous human instinct, and it’s such an integral part of our experience that we often take it for granted. So I hope this conversation will help shed some light on some of the different aspects of language - how it works, how we acquire it, and how it affects our thoughts and our reality.
80 minutes | May 16, 2021
Ep. 6 - Prof. Danny Hamiel: How to Build Resilience & Making Psychology Scalable
What makes some people resilient, and others not? How can we make psychology scalable? Prof. Danny Hamiel is a clinical psychologist by trade and a researcher. Danny's bigger picture is to promote well-being on a larger scale. He is the head of the Cognitive-Behavioral unit in the Tel-Aviv university mental health center and is the director of the unit for school interventions at the Cohen-Harris Center for Resilience, which has been chosen by the Israeli Ministry of Education as the national program for school interventions to promote resilience and help children deal with daily stressors and to cope with trauma. These programs are especially important in cities that are at high risk for mass disasters. Danny has devoted his life to developing programs and interventions that promote well-being in the community and that are scaleable, and we speak about how he thinks we can apply the insights of psychology in a way that improves many people's lives rather than just a few. We spoke about CBT, which is a more modern approach to psychotherapy, and what he thinks makes third-wave CBT the way to go. Danny really opened my eyes in this conversation to the strengths of CBT and the amazing changes it can help people make, in a relatively short time frame, by putting most of the focus on the here-and-now.
53 minutes | May 16, 2021
Ep. 5 - Prof. Eilon Solan: Game Theory & Emergent Ethics
How are game theory, math, and values related? In this episode, we spoke about Game Theory and its different applications in real life with Prof. Eilon Solan from Tel Aviv University. Eilon holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Hebrew university. Besides his fascination with math, Eilon is also a fan of sci-fi and he authored two science fiction books in Hebrew.One of the topics we spoke about is the exciting idea of emergent ethics arising out of game theory models. One of the things that we discover after investigating different models of game theory is that the best long term strategy in many games is a cooperative strategy. So in a sense, in game theory, the idea of cooperation can be "mathematically proven".
59 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Ep. 4 - Prof. Gilad Hirschberger: Political Psychology & Existential Threats
How can insights from political psychology help us improve the debate between the right and the left? In this episode we spoke with Prof. Gilad Hirschberger, an experimental social and political psychologist who studies collective threats and their relevance to group survival concerns and to intergroup relations. Based on a multidimensional existential threat (MET) model that he developed, he studies how the shadow of past threats, such as the Holocaust, and the specter of threats looming in the future can influence attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions.In our conversation, we spoke about how his MET model can provide us with a different lens through which we see politics, and how his framework can help create a healthier dialogue, allowing the right and the left to work through disagreements, recognize each other's value, and to overall help us make progress and get out of the political rut in which we find ourselves.Gilad received his BA in psychology from Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Bar-Ilan University. He then went back to Berkeley to complete his post-doctorate. Currently, Gilad is an Associate Professor of psychology at IDC.
56 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Ep. 3 - Prof. Daniel Levy: Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Free Will & Determinism
Have you ever asked yourself, "Do I really have free-will? Or is everything that happens already pre-determined"? If so, you're in luck.In this episode we spoke with Prof. Daniel Levy, a cognitive neuroscientist and the dean of the school of Psychology at IDC. Daniel's research focuses on understanding the processes of the human mind, specifically on different aspects of memory and attention. Notably, Daniel began his explorations of psychology through the humanities and the study of philosophy, leading to much exploration around the philosophy of consciousness and free-will. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and did his post-doctoral fellowships on human memory at the University of California in San Diego and Bar-Ilan University. He's also taught cognitive neuroscience at the Weizmann Institute.To this day he remains fascinated by the integration of psychology and philosophy, and has written about the neuroscience of Free Will, where he gives his unique take on the matter by integrating neurobiology with one of the most pressing questions in the study of philosophy, which is - do we have free will? If you want to learn more about how neuroscience can help us settle the debate between free-will and determinism, this episode is definitely for you.
58 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Ep. 2 - Dr. Guy Hochman: Behavioral Economics, Rational Decision Making, & Moral Behavior
Are we rational? Are we as moral as we think we are? Can we really trust ourselves to make rational ethical decisions? In this episode, we have Dr. Guy Hochman, who is a senior lecturer and the head of the MA program in Behavioral Economics here at IDC.Guy received his PhD in organizational psychology from the Technion university and then went on to complete his post-doctorate at Duke University under the supervision of Prof. Dan Ariely. His research focuses on heuristics and biases, behavioral economics, pro-social and anti-social behavior, and the cognitive processes that underlie decision making.We got into some of the basics of behavioral economics and the revolutionary way that this field incorporates the human element into economic research. We'll also explore the idea of ethical decision making, and how such research can help us promote moral behavior and bring about a more ethical society.
54 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Ep. 1 - Prof. Shimon Schocken: Computers, Education, & Building a University
In this episode, we spoke with Prof. Shimon Shocken, the founding dean of the school of Computer Science at IDC.After being a tenured professor at NYU for 10 years, Shimon came back to Israel to take part in building a new academic institution from scratch. Over the years, Shimon was also a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford, and served as chairman of the Computer Science Curriculum committee of Israel's Ministry of Education from 2009 to 2012. Shimon is a passionate educator, and has developed revolutionary courses such as NandtoTetris and Matific, which we spoke about in this episode.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021