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

Interview 56. – Dr Roger Bretherton

Roger is Principal Lecturer for Enterprise in the School of Psychology, at the University of Lincoln. He is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was the 2016 recipient of the Vice Chancellors Award for Teaching Excellence. His teaching, research and consultancy centre around Character Strengths and Virtues- the positive qualities of character related to psychological wellbeing. He works extensively in psychological consultancy in the public and private sector.

Interview 38. – Lise Lesaffre

Lise is exploring magic, not that much in practice, but from a cognitive experimental perspective. Her PhD project is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (supervisor Christine Mohr, co-supervisor Gustav Kuhn). In this project, the team investigates how experiencing an “impossible event” can affect people’s magical beliefs and associated cognitive biases (e.g. appreciation of chance). Lise is majorly responsible for developing an innovative design and methodology to investigate people's beliefs, using specific psychic demonstrations, and cognitive measures. She is also interested in the definition, perception and interpretation of magic in various populations (i.e. children, adults, and particular patient populations).

Interview 34. – Dr Rob Nash

Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Aston University in Birmingham. He conducts research on memory and cognition, focusing particularly on understanding factors that bias our memories, or that lead us to remember past events incorrectly.

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