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September 2017
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185: Attribution Theory 2 - Avoiding Fear of Failure

In a continuation from yesterday's episode, Guy Evans examines the link between the psychology of attribution, and fear of failure.


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Direct download: FearofFailureSLHS185.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 11:40pm EDT

184: Attribution Theory 1 - Causes of Behavior

In 2010, basketball superstar LeBron James stunned the sports world by leaving his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in favor of signing with the Miami Heat – a franchise that had skilfully positioned itself to partner LeBron with two other all-star players. For seven electrifying but ultimately disappointing seasons, James had failed to deliver a championship to the team that drafted him into the league, earning a reputation for lacking a 'killer instinct' and being unable to perform under intense pressure. As his failures became more frequent and his flaws more evident, basketball pundits and fans alike lamented the fact that unlike his predecessors, James didn’t quite have what it took to get the job done. Despite his often meager supporting cast, his inability to win at the highest level was more often than not attributed to his own personal psychological weaknesses.


Fast forward to June 2012. Lebron had won his first National Basketball Association title after nine professional seasons, winning the Most Valuable Player trophy in the process. Almost predictably, the narrative had now changed: no longer was he a ‘choker’ in high-stake situations, or lacking in competitive spirit as previously claimed. Analysts now used his triumph to illustrate that after absorbing their criticisms for nearly a decade, he had finally ‘got it’. In other words, his long-awaited victory was attributed to the apparent evolution in his own personal characteristics. 


However, while his play remained stellar and his improvement had continued in the previous two seasons, the most obvious change related to his performance was consistently overlooked. By teaming up with two other players relatively close to his level, he had now made his chances of winning infinitely higher. It could be argued that commentators made a fundamental attribution error by underestimating the influence of the situational factors at play (his decision to switch teams), and overestimating the influence of personal factors (such as his ability to perform under pressure).


This podcast explores the psychology of attribution. Broadly speaking, attribution theory concerns the reasons we generate to explain the behavior of ourselves and others. Download today's podcast to learn more about this very pervasive, far-reaching theory that has quite important real world implications. 


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Direct download: AttributionTheory1SLHS184.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 8:10pm EDT

183: The Art of Storytelling, with Anne Bernays

Anne Bernays, novelist, teacher, and daughter of the 'Father of Public Relations' Edward Bernays, returns to the show to discuss creativity and the art of storytelling.


Check out Anne's book 'What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers'


For more:



Direct download: AnneBernaysWriterSLHS183.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

182: Here We Are Now (Remembering Kurt Cobain of Nirvana)

Kurt Cobain was in many ways of a man of contradictions – he was outspoken yet introverted, sensitive but sinister, fiercely loyal and still full of contempt for the place he was from. In the final analysis, this was arguably his essence – the same personality trait that helped produce timeless music also reflected a very tortured soul. Although he and his band grew uncomfortable with the success and attention arising from the release of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – dubbed the ultimate anthem for the apathetic kids of Generation X – Cobain would later reveal in a Rolling Stone interview that he was ‘trying to write the ultimate pop song.’ In typical fashion, he had, of course, appeared on the front of the same magazine with a T-shirt reading ‘corporate magazines still suck’ some two years earlier.


Regardless of your taste in music – a very subjective art form if there ever was one – a strong argument can be made that Kurt Cobain was a particular kind of genius. Accepted definitions of genius recognize individuals with the capacity to demonstrate remarkable intellect, particularly with respect to creative and original work. While his lyrics were, on paper, relatively unremarkable and actually the subject of ridicule at the time – his rare, perhaps puzzling charisma is what drew people to him. Much like his fellow American icons John Lennon and Tupac Shakur, he was never the best in his genre from a technical standpoint, and amateur musicologists are quick to point that you need not be a master guitarist to emulate the chord progressions found in Nirvana’s music. But leaving a lasting impression is not so much about what is being done - rather, it is about how it is being done. And how Kurt Cobain was able to take alternative rock mainstream, hitting a cultural touchstone in regards to the teenage rebellion so prevalent at the time, is the reason that his songs are still dissected two decades later.


[Heart-Shaped Box]


I remember the first time I heard Nirvana – like much of my early musical discovery, it was indirectly courtesy of my older brother whose room was above mine. Although I didn’t understand why, there was something about the alternating soft verses and hard choruses that resonated strongly. Years later, Nevermind remained part of the soundtrack of my teenage years, and you can clearly see the influence of its lead single by simply looking at the name of this podcast! I have a vague memory of the day Cobain died, and despite his undeniable magnetism, subconsciously I knew that someone that had killed themselves was no-one to idolize. And still, even in the years following 1994, he remained strikingly likable in the form of old interviews and magazine clippings. I smirked when viewing the famous Top of the Pops live performance for the first time, laughed at his sarcasm, and pondered what could have been had he lived past 27.




As I got older, I began to view Nirvana in a wider, cultural context beyond my own experiences growing up as a not-particularly angst-ridden youngster. As Alan Light observed in the Guardian earlier this week, the success of the band demonstrated what happens when culture meets capitalism. With the success of the group and its contemporaries, what had begun as the relatively organic grunge phenomenon was assimilated into the marketing slogan known as alternative culture. Suddenly, record companies sought to exploit the public’s new-found interest in the ‘underground’ – and alternative inevitably became just another commercial radio format, its by-product being a host of cookie-cutter bands trying to replicate what was impossible to. No advertising executive could ever have conjured up the generation-defining line ‘Here We Are Now, Entertain Us’ – not to mention the underlying sentiment that accompanied it.


[About A Girl]


Today, I wonder about the long-term psychological ramifications of a generation losing another hero to suicide. Even the most jaded cynic loves the story of a good guy conquering his demons, facing adversity and emerging victorious – the same cannot be said for a tale of success followed by struggle and ultimately, tragedy. Twenty years later, I remain steadfast in my conviction that music is more about feeling than theory, and find myself questioning how possible it is for the next American icon to emerge without being manufactured for us. There was something real about Kurt Cobain, and in that respect, his absence is still felt.


For more:



Direct download: KurtCobainHereWeAreNowSLHS182.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 1:24pm EDT

181: Jeff Sanders of 'The 5am Miracle Podcast' provides practical tips to enhance personal productivity

Jeff Sanders is host of the top-ranked self-help podcast The 5am Miracle. Jeff aims aims to help his listeners bounce out of bed with the enthusiasm needed to tackle their greatest goals and create powerful, lifelong habits. He joined Guy Evans on the Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast to discuss approaching each day with energy, how to enhance personal productivity, and much more. Topics of discussion include:


*Jeff's contention that 5am is the perfect time to start each day - and why!

*Life after college, and the challenges faced by recent Graduates

*The importance of scheduling and prioritizing

*Maintaining a work-life balance

*Perception vs. reality in regards to multi-tasking

*The challenge of ‘switching off’ in a world where we are constantly connected

*Steps to prevent burn-out

*Goal setting

*The benefits of a standing desk!

*Thoughts on the self-improvement/self-help industry as a whole

*Practical strategies to enhance energy and productivity


For more on Jeff, visit his website at or subscribe to the 5am Miracle Podcast.


For more Smells Like Human Spirit:



Direct download: JeffSanders5amMiracleSLHS181.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

180: Austin Aries talks GMOs, Monsanto, and the 'Illusion of Choice'

"Monsanto basically is trying to own food - let's just call it like it is."


These are the sentiments of the multi-talented Austin Aries, professional wrestler by trade and highly knowledgeable in regards to the issue of genetically modified food, and a variety of other pertinent social issues. Austin joined Guy Evans on the Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast to discuss the food-industrial complex, the business practices of Monsanto, his perspective on the U.S. political system, and more!


For more:



Direct download: AustinAriesGMO.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT

179: #CancelColbert, 'Rob Ford Must Go' Reaches 50 Days, and the Military-Entertainment Complex

An action-packed edition of Smells Like Human Spirit with THREE special guests:


Toronto artist and writer Sharon Harris joins us to discuss 50 days of the 'Rob Ford Must Go' movement;


Television writer and editor Tim Molloy weights in on the #CancelColbert social media campaign and all of the associated controversy;


And finally, Author and filmmaker Tom Secker returns to the podcast to share some very interesting new information regarding the involvement of the U.S. Department of Defense in popular cinema. 




For more:



Direct download: CancelColbertSLHS179.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 9:21pm EDT

178: 'Mean World Syndrome' - Television's Role in Shaping Our World View

Today's podcast deals with the phenomena known as 'Mean World Syndrome' - the belief that the world is more dangerous than it really is. The term was coined by the late cultural theorist Dr. George Gerbner as part of his work on cultivation theory, a social theory that examines the long-term effects of television. Specifically, Dr. Gerbner’s research found that heavy TV viewers are more likely to overestimate their risk of being victimized by crime, believe that their neighborhoods are unsafe, and assume that the crime rate is increasing, even when it isn't.


For more, download Episode 178 of SLHS! Enjoy!




Boyd-Barrett, O. and Braham, P. (eds.) (1987). Media, Knowledge & Power. London, UK: Croom Helm.


Cassino, D., Woolley, P. and Jenkins, K. (2012)., May 3 2012.


Condry, J. (1989). The Psychology of Television. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Dominick, J. R. (1990). The Dynamics of Mass Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Evra, J.V. (1990). Television and Child Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Gerbner, G. and Gross L. (1976). Living with Television: The Violence Profile. Journal of Communication, 26 (2), 172-199.


Hall, S. (2003). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London, UK: SAGE Publications.


Jacobs, T. (2013). Reality TV May Warp Viewers' Perception of Actual Reality. Pacific Standard Magazine, September 13 2013.


Livingstone, Sonia (1990). Making Sense of Television. London, UK: Pergamon.


Kelly, M. (2012). Does Watching Fox News Make You Less Informed?, January 30 2014.


McQuail, D. and Windahl, S. (1993). Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communication. London, UK: Longman.


Mander, J. (1976). Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. William Morrow.


Miller, K. (2005). Communications theories: perspectives, processes, and contexts. New York: McGraw-Hill.


O'Sullivan, T., Dutton, B., Rayner, P. (2003). Studying the Media. New York: Oxford University Press.


Riddle, K. and De Simone, J.J. (2013). A Snooki Effect? An exploration of the Surveillance Subgenre of Reality TV and Viewers’ Beliefs About the “Real” Real World. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(4), 237-250.


For more:



Direct download: MeanWorldSyndromeSLHS178.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

177: Podcasting Under Attack

A lawsuit filed in a small Texas town is taking aim at the entire genre of podcasting. A company called Personal Audio, an entity founded in 1996 that is yet to produce a single product, owns a patent on 'disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.' Essentially, Personal Audio argue that they invented podcasting back in 1996. Now through the targeting of podcast pioneers such as Adam Carolla, Marc Maron, and others, their litigation has the potential to make podcasting impossible for those unable to pay licensing fees. 


Personal Audio has been labelled as the quintessential 'patent troll' - that is, a 'non-operating entity...who owns or buys patents for the sole purpose of suing companies or individuals they claim to be infringing on their patents'. As Attorney Daniel Nazer argues, “Personal Audio hasn’t produced podcasts, they haven’t done anything to contribute to podcasts as we know them today. They’re really asking for a cut when they did nothing.”


Whilst Personal Audio has sent demand letters to a number of well-known podcasters, currently they have only sued Adam Carolla, the host of 'the most downloaded show on the entire Internet', The Adam Carolla Show. The cost of Adam's legal defense of this action is estimated to be in the $1.5-2 million range.


You can contribute to the 'Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund' at 


For more:



Direct download: PodcastPatentTrollSLHS177.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

176: Meet The Republican Hipster

With recent polls indicating that the youth are beginning to turn on Barack Obama, the GOP has attempted to capitalize by pushing a new ad campaign built around a previously unknown 30 year old PR pro named Scott Greenberg. The campaign, which has been the subject of much derision and criticism this week, is targeted specifically at 'Millennials' - young people born after 1982 that are said to be much more narcissistic than their predecessors.


In this episode of Smells Like Human Spirit, Guy Evans questions the labels often attached to 'Millennials', and analyzes the puzzling methods used by the GOP to recruit them.


For more:



Direct download: RepublicanHipsterSLHS176.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 8:27pm EDT