Posts Tagged: ‘consciousness’

Method actors, wrestlers, undercover cops and online avatars all raise perplexing questions about the nature of self.

What happens when we drape our lives in layers of fiction — and what would we find buried beneath it all?

In this episode, we discuss the place where cover and identity collide in the human mind. It’s a topic we first raised in our “Wrestling With Kayfabe” episode — so if you skipped that one because of the wrestling content, I urge you to give it a second chance.

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There’s long been a line of thought that the explanation for the altogether odd phenomenon of contagious yawning — feeling the overwhelming urge to yawn after observing another person yawn — is found in the empathy of the individual observing the yawn. The idea goes that the more empathetic among us are the most susceptible to contagious yawning and research shows this hypothesis tends to hold up among humans and higher apes.

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I once said that if you’re wearing a lab coat you can pretty much do anything you want to a rat. This sentiment was shouted down via email by a number of lab researchers who listen to the podcast. Since the early 20th century, a number of states have had on the books laws that provide standards of treatment for lab animals and in 1966 lab animals finally came under federal protection in the U.S. Animal Welfare Act. Since then the treatment of animals used in experimentation has been defined and further regulated by successive measures over the following years.

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How do individuals relate to reality? How has humanity attempted to interpret its position in the universe? From navel-gazing to the geocentric universe and beyond, the search for humanity’s place has become a long — and mind-blowing — enterprise.

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