Erik Vance is an award-winning science journalist and writer. Before becoming a writer he was a biologist, rock climbing guide, environmental consultant, and environmental educator.
Lots of people listen to music when they are working because they believe it helps them concentrate and be more productive? Does it? This episode begins by exploring which, if any kind of music really helps your concentration and productivity. https://www.businessinsider.com/10-minute-trick-to-boost-your-productivity-2016-1How suggestible are you? Could you be hypnotized into believing something that isn’t true? What about placebos? If I tell you a sugar pill will cure your headache, will your headache go away? It’s fascinating to think that the human brain can be fooled into thinking and doing things. Science writer Erik Vance is a science writer who has explored why it seems your brain is so suggestible - even if you think it isn't. He is the author of the National Geographic book, Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal (https://amzn.to/2L5ptqn) and he joins me to shed light on this interesting quirk of the human brain and what it means. You know when you go to drug store and right next to the name brand lotion or shampoo or pain reliever is the store brand in a bottle that looks kind of like the name brand but a lot cheaper? So is it the same as the name brand? Listen to discover the answer. (Shopsmart magazine Dec 2014 issue)When you are sick and go to the doctor, you expect the doctor will treat you. And the doctor knows you expect him or her to do something – and so you walk out with a prescription. But there is often a flaw in that process that is leading to a lot of patient overtreatment. Norway neurosurgeon Christer Mjåset has explored this problem and has come up with 4 questions you should ask your doctor went he prescribes a medication or medical test. Hear what they are and discover why this is such an important subject. Dr. Mjåset did a TED talk on this which you can see here: https://www.ted.com/talks/christer_mjaset_4_questions_you_should_always_ask_your_doctor?language=enThis Week’s Sponsors-Fetch Rewards. Download the Fetch Rewards app and use promo code SYSK to receive 4000 points when you scan your first receipt.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who let science lead them down a rabbit hole of curses.Part 1: Science journalist Erik Vance decides to get cursed by a witch doctor for science.Part 2: After taking a rock from Mauna Loa, volcanologist Jess Phoenix starts to worry that her offering to the volcano goddess Pele was not enough.Erik Vance is an award-winning science journalist based in Baltimore. Before becoming a writer he was, at turns, a biologist, a rock climbing guide, an environmental consultant, and an environmental educator. He graduated in 2006 from UC Santa Cruz science writing program and became a freelancer as soon as possible. His work focuses on the human element of science — the people who do it, those who benefit from it, and those who do not. He has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, National Geographic, and a number of other local and national outlets. His first book, Suggestible You, is about how the mind and body continually twist and shape our realities. While researching the book he was poked, prodded, burned, electrocuted, hypnotized and even cursed by a witchdoctor, all in the name of science.Jess Phoenix is Executive Director and co-founder of environmental scientific research organization Blueprint Earth. She is a volcanologist, an extreme explorer, and former candidate for United States Congress. She has been chased by narco-traffickers in Mexico, dodged armed thieves in remote Peru, raced horses across Mongolia, worked on the world’s largest volcano in Hawaii, piloted the Jason2 submersible on an undersea volcano, and explored deep in the Australian Outback. Jess believes science should be accessible to everyone, and that creative possibility is limitless. Jess is a Fellow in The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, a featured scientist on the Discovery and Science Channels, an invited TEDx speaker, and she has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, in Wired, Fast Company, on National Public Radio, on CNN, NBC, and has written for the BBC. She is the host of the podcast Catstrophe! (catastropheshow.com) and has a book coming out in Spring 2020 with Timber Press called Miss Adventure: My Life as a Geologist, Explorer, and Professional Risk-Taker. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Science writer and reporter Erik Vance says today’s brain scientists are like astronomers of old: They’ve unsettled humanity’s sense of itself by redrawing our picture of the cosmos within our own heads. Vance has investigated the healing power of stories and the “theater of medicine” (white coats included). It turns out that the things that make us feel better are often more closely connected to what we believe and fear than to the efficacy of some treatments. In fact, most drugs that go to trial can’t beat what we’ve dismissively called the “placebo effect,” which is actually nothing less than an unleashing of the brain’s superpowers.Erik Vance is a Pulitzer Center grantee and the author of “Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal.” His work has appeared in several publications, including the “New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “Scientific American,” and “National Geographic.“Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Science writer and reporter Erik Vance says today’s brain scientists are like astronomers of old: They’ve unsettled humanity’s sense of itself by redrawing our picture of the cosmos within our own heads. Vance has investigated the healing power of stories and the “theater of medicine” (white coats included). It turns out that the things that make us feel better are often more closely connected to what we believe and fear than to the efficacy of some treatments. In fact, most drugs that go to trial can’t beat what we’ve dismissively called the “placebo effect,” which is actually nothing less than an unleashing of the brain’s superpowers.Erik Vance is a Pulitzer Center grantee and the author of “Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal.” His work has appeared in several publications, including the “New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “Scientific American,” and “National Geographic.“ This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Erik Vance — The Drugs Inside Your Head." Find more at onbeing.org. 
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Creator Details

Location
Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
Episode Count
7
Podcast Count
6
Total Airtime
7 hours, 29 minutes