Susan Engel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Founding Director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College. Her research interests include the development of curiosity, children's narratives, play, and more generally, teaching and learning. She has authored 9 books including The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood and the upcoming release The Intellectual Lives of Children.
Prof. Chris French – paranormal beliefs (#126)
Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.
Paul Craven – mind tricks (#123)
Paul is a well-known industry speaker on Behavioural Science – a topic he describes as “understanding how real people make real decisions in the real world”. After three decades in the investment industry, he left Goldman Sachs in 2014 to set up Paul Craven Partners Ltd. to help his clients enhance their communication and sales skills.
Outside of work, he is privileged to be a member of the exclusive Magic Circle, thus bringing an extra psychological perspective on how “your mind plays tricks" to his business talks.
Russ Costa – high risk decision making (#122)
Russ Costa is an Associate Professor of Honors & Neuroscience at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he teaches interdisciplinary courses about minds, brains, behavior, data, and science. He studies attention and perception in the cognitive neuroscience laboratory using electroencephalographic (EEG) techniques, and decision-making and risk-taking outside of it using a set of mixed and ever-evolving approaches. He regularly presents to professional and public audiences in the mountain communities of western North America about decision-making in high-risk environments, including in snow and avalanche terrain.
Prof. Thomas Hills – evolution of cognition (#113)
Thomas Hills suffered from a minor head injury as a child that led to a mild case of retrograde amnesia. He's pretty sure he never actually woke up from that. This returned when he took mefloquine while in Ghana, with its fantastical and often violently lucid dreams. While a PhD student in biology studying how worms search, he continued his psychonautic explorations, looking for the trapdoor in his mind. He floated from Texas to Indiana to Switzerland to the UK. He eventually wound up as a Professor of Psychology, studying mental search and still waiting to wake up.
Stevyn Colgan – QI elf (#90)
Stevyn Colgan is an oddly-spelled Cornishman, the author of eight books and the co-writer of Saving Bletchley Park with Professor Sue Black OBE. He’s been a chef, a comics publisher, a monster maker, an artist, a university lecturer, a brewer and, for 30 years, a London police officer. He’s spoken at TED, the Ig Nobel Prizes, Latitude, Hay, Nudgestock and many other events. He’s been set on fire twice, kissed by a royal, been told to f*** off by a different royal and once let Freddie Mercury try his helmet on for size. Most recently, he spent 10 years as one of the ‘elves’ that research and write the multi award-winning BBC TV series QI, and he was on the writing team that won the Rose D’Or for Radio 4’s The Museum of Curiosity. He now concentrates on writing comedy novels, guesting on podcasts and radio shows, speaking at public events, and co-hosting (with Paul Waters) the writers’ podcast We’d Like A Word.
Prof. Daniel Simons – visual cognition (#74)
Daniel Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives. In addition to more than 100 scholarly papers, he has penned articles for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education (among others). In 2010, he and his colleague Christopher Chabris co-authored the New York Times bestseller, The Invisible Gorilla.
Prof. Elizabeth Loftus – false memory expert (#72)
Elizabeth Loftus studies human memory. Her experiments reveal how memories can be changed by things that we are told. Facts, ideas, suggestions and other post-event information can modify our memories. The legal field, so reliant on memories, has been a significant application of the memory research.
Andy Cope – Happiness Doctor (#71)
Andy is also a ‘recovering academic’. His Loughborough University PhD was 12 years in the making, and his research findings around positive psychology and engagement feed into a series of game-changing keynotes, workshops, and books including ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’. He is also a best-selling children’s author. His ‘Spy Dog’ series has sold in excess of a million copies worldwide.
Dr Gavin Buckingham – psychologist (#62)
Dr Gavin Buckingham was awarded his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen (UK) in 2008, before moving to Canada to take up a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University in Canada. His work there mostly focused on how we perceive weight of, and interact with, objects in the world around us. Around this time, he developed a particular interest in illusions, which have fascinated him ever since. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Department Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, where he leads the Object Interaction Lab