Commute = Classroom

Commute time can either suck your life force, or it can become a valuable part of your development. So, yes, there are tons of great Podcasts on the subject of Physical Therapy / Physiotherapy from many angles, and I encourage you to listen and learn. But what I’m going to share today are 3 Non-PT Podcasts… for PTs.

1)     The You Are Not So Smart podcast, hosted by David McRaney.  There are tons of great episodes here, primarily on psychology, cognitive biases, social patterns, scientific thought and all things thinking. I cannot state enough how important these types of topics are for the practicing PT, primarily because, no matter what the injury or body part, we all treat people.  They’re all great, but… Some highlight episodes:

  • Learned Helplessness. In this episode the psychology of learning is on display. The discussion revolves around a few studies and the concept of learned helplessness is described and discussed.  ” Stuck in a bad situation, even when the prison doors are left wide open, we sometimes refuse to attempt escape. The evidence suggests that learned helplessness in people is connected to the pessimistic attributional style. In this episode, you’ll learn how it keeps people in bad jobs, poor health, terrible relationships, and awful circumstances despite how easy it might be to escape any one of those scenarios.”
  • The Dunning-Kruger Effect. Physios? No, not that Dunning, not that Kruger. This podcast explores the Dunning-Kruger bias effect, which makes you think you are way better at something than you are (so to speak). It has to do with why you think your business idea will work, even when everyone else has done it that way and failed. “… nescience is prescience in negative. It is the state of not knowing, but stronger than that. It’s not knowing something that can’t be known. It’s not even knowing that you can’t know it. For instance, your cat can never read or understand the latest terms and conditions for iTunes, thus if she clicked on “I Agree,” we wouldn’t consider that binding. There are vast expanses of ignorance that your cat can’t even imagine, much less gain the knowledge about those things required to rid herself of that ignorance.” If that teaser got you interested, you’ll enjoy the conversation, give it a listen.
  • Magicians and Scams. “Before we had names for them or a science to study them, the people who could claim the most expertise on biases, fallacies, heuristics and all the other quirks of human reasoning and perception were scam artists, con artists and magicians.” Be on the lookout for deception…!
  • An Inbetweenisode with Steven Novella. This episode covers some cool cognitive biases along with why / how the human brain puts conspiracy theories together. If you ever wondered how a person could actually believe and rationalize a mega conspiracy into existence, it’s explained here. All, of course, applicable to your thinking as a physio on some level or another!
  • Doctors. Great episode, starting off talking about the overly emotional reactions (panic) to the Ebola outbreak and how populations react to media (relate to Text Neck!). About 20 minutes in it gets into some really great content on providing care.  Medical training is a baseline, but people are after trust, a listener and someone who has feelings.
  • *there are also blog posts, such as this one on Confirmation Bias. 

2)    The Brain Science Podcast.  If you have a brain or think brains are neat, or even like discussions of consciousness and thought, you’ll like the content of this podcast! Some highlights:

  • Exercise and the Brain. Woah, this one goes into all the hormonal, chemical and neurophysiological changes that occur with exercise. You think exercise just changes the ability of tendons to take load, or for hypertrophy of some sort? Good lawd, it effects every system, and wonderfully so. This one gets you pumped up to treat many conditions with exercise, as well as have a few different “why“s in your explanation-tool-belt for those Therex unitz you’re billing. You can say you’re” down-regulating ion channels!” and such…
  • Consciousness as Social Perception. Questions about movement control leading to questions of consciousness and cognitive control and social behaviors. Boom squad. Listen.
  • There are more on neuroplasticity, neurobiology, reading and brain, mirror neurons and on… if you like that sort of thing, dig in.

3)   RadioLab Podcast. A truly wonderfully produced podcast (by far the best edited and entertaining of the group) that covers topics dealing with… life. The topics are often applicable to medical conditions you may have seen, conflicts that you may have, perceptual questions, etc. In any event, it will make you much more interesting at social events (*you will be able to talk about more than PT …!) Some highlights:

  • Colors. “To what extent is color a physical thing in the physical world, and to what extent is it created in our minds? We start with Sir Isaac Newton, who was so eager to solve this very mystery, he stuck a knife in his eye to pinpoint the answer. Then, we meet a sea creature that sees a rainbow way beyond anything humans can experience, and we track down a woman who we’re pretty sure can see thousands (maybe even millions) more colors than the rest of us. And we end with an age-old question, that, it turns out, never even occurred to most humans until very recently: why is the sky blue?”
  • Words. One of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard, ever… when I young man learns of words… enough said. Additionally some interesting things about word formation and memory.
  • Cut and Run. Why do Kenyans dominate long distance running?
  • The Bitter End. A discussion with physicians of where health care falls into end of life choices.
  • Placebo. Ok, so you know I had to throw in an episode about Placebo! This is a great one, and does cover some very cool cases of placebo’s treating “powers.”

So get out there and expand your horizons! There is a plethora of content out there, this is just a slice. Hope some of them will spark an interest, keep your brain humming, be a technical mental break from PT topics, but still provide value to the life you live.

*If you want more direction, Dr. Spencer Muro is my trusted podcast resource.

Matt D

6 thoughts on “Commute = Classroom

  1. Great post again Matt. If you are a fan of this stuff, (and since you posted Brain Science Podcast, I think you are), a must read once your drive is over is Dr. Ginger Campbell’s book: Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty

    Here she brings together her two interviews with Dr. Robert Burton, author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not; (for the drive:
    Always humbling, and talks about the biology and relationships of our ‘aha’ moments, and why we can get a little too grooved in our beliefs.


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