While we can’t predict the outcome of the midterm elections, two things are certain: there will be winners and there will be losers. Today’s show is all about winning and losing, starting with the brain chemistry of champions. And we’ll examine the victors and the vanquished in the natural world through the parasite-host relationship.
Plus, we’ll take a look back at political losers throughout history, including Samuel Tilden, who never got over his loss to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.
The Psychology of Winning
- Dr. Ian Robertson is a neuroscientist and chair in psychology at Trinity College Dublin who studies the ways the brain responds to winning and losing. He wrote about his findings in the book The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure.
The Mind of an Athlete
- Like politics, the world of sports is a place where wins and losses are clearly defined, but what goes on in the minds of athletes as they battle for the win? Cally Carswell visited the Portland Boxing Club in Maine to find out.
- Cally's story comes to us from the Salt Radio Institute. You can listen to it at PRX.org.
Parasites & Hosts
- Science writer and New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer wrote about current research on parasites which can control the behavior of their hosts, turning them into sacrificial vessels for their own, parasitic survival. His article, “Nature’s Nightmare Mind Suckers” appeared in the November issue of National Geographic.
- You can watch a video on these terrifying creatures at this link.
- We’re continuing our attempt to stay above the contemporary partisan fray with the ghostly victors and vanquished of elections past. Brady Carlson, NHPR’s host of All Things Considered, and Word of Mouth’s sometime awesomator, joins us to discuss. He is also hard at work on his forthcoming book, Dead Presidents: An American Adventure.
- You can see video from some of the concession speeches at this link: Political Losers: The Concession Speech