Have you ever found yourself totally immobilized in the face of a decision? Why is deciding on something so difficult, whether it’s deciding what to have for dinner or whether we should move across the country? This week, we talk with neuroscientist David Redish about what is actually happening in our brains during the decision-making process. Then, we're joined by Lifehacker’s managing editor Virginia Smith to figure out how our moral, social and legal frameworks inform the decisions we make.
On this smaller episode we’re diving into the topic of small talk. Is it there real value in shooting the breeze, or is it just inane jibber-jabber? Wherever you stand on the topic, you’re going to be called on to engage in small talk sooner or later—so how do you get more comfortable with it? Our producer asked the people who are probably the most fluent in small talk: bartenders. Then, Melissa and Alice are joined in the studio by Lifehacker staff writer Nick Douglas to discuss their varied feelings on idle chitchat, and if there’s any value in talking about the weather.
This week we’re talking about impostor syndrome—the psychological phenomenon wherein people question their successes and have an internalized fear of being discovered as a fraud. We’ll hear from Lifehacker’s staff writer, Nick Douglas, who explains why he keeps something called a “brag file.” We’ll also chat with clinical psychologist Dr. Jessamy Hibberd, author of the book The Impostor Cure. And our producer takes to the streets to find out how people deal with their own feelings of inadequacy.
We all think we’re experts at “doing nothing,” but there’s a difference between numbing out by staring at Facebook and truly letting your mind rest. There are concrete benefits to doing absolutely nothing—like actually being present in your life and noticing what’s around you. To help us constructively veg out, we’ve brought in essayist Pico Iyer, Lifehacker’s Human Resource Columnist Rob Walker, and artist and educator Jenny Odell, whose new book teaches us how to resist the “attention economy.” We recommend listening with your feet up and your eyes closed.
Memory is a strange thing. What is a “memory,” anyway? Where does it live? And where did we put our keys? We’re unlocking the secrets of memory and how to improve ours with a little help from our friends. First, we’ve got staff writer Nick Douglas with a technique that will help you learn anything. Then staff writer Beth Skwarecki explains just how scientists sucked the memory out of one snail and put it in another—and what this means for all of us. Finally, four-time USA Memory Champion Nelson Dellis talks to Alice and Melissa about how he went from being a guy with an average memory to a, well, champion. And we play a memory game that listeners can play, as well.