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Behavioral Grooves // Ground-breaking insights to human behavior

Behavioral Grooves


Behavioral Grooves // Ground-breaking insights to human behavior

Have You Heard? is where the Pod Bible team meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard? aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! We sent some questions over to Kurt Nelson, PhD (left) and Tim Houlihan (right), the hosts behind Behavioral Grooves, an American podcast about explaining human behaviour…

Tim and Kurt Smiling Behavioral Grooves Podcast Recording

Who are you and what’s your podcast about?

Behavioral Grooves is the podcast that satisfies your curiosity about why you do what you do. Each episode is packed with ground-breaking insights into human behavior, at least two bad jokes that will make you laugh, some personal stories, and a set of tips on how to improve your life, relationships, and wellbeing.

Hosts Kurt Nelson, PhD and Tim Houlihan are two guys whose mutual love of behavioral science and a desire to understand people (including themselves) sparked their idea for the podcast. They want to help listeners “find their groove,” acknowledging the importance of good habits and routines as well as how music is a universal form of communication. It was even the impetus for the name: Behavioral Grooves!

Kurt and Tim have discussions with the world’s brightest thought-leaders in psychology, sociology, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and a cadre of other social sciences to help you explore your curiosities about human behavior. Most importantly, they talk about what those insights can do for you in their unique and often irreverent after-interview banter, appropriately called the “grooving session.” Kurt and Tim focus the podcast on how you can improve your decision-making, your habits and routines, your goals, and your communication, as well as the ethics behind such powerful, and oftentimes unconscious, interventions.

What was the first podcast you ever listened to?

Hidden Brain. Shankar Vedantam was our hero from very early on, who we were excited to finally interview for the podcast back in May this year. We also love Tim Ferris. Both do a great job of preparing, asking good questions, and following conversations down unanticipated paths. We love their styles and find that our podcast interviews often go down some unique rabbit holes, too!

Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?

It was a fluke. We’d launched a meetup in Minneapolis, where we live, and our second meetup featured a guest speaker who’s done some ground-breaking work in behavioral science. We couldn’t believe that there were only 25 people signed up for his presentation and Kurt suggested we record the presentation and turn it into a podcast. He knew that Tim had recording equipment from his work as a musician, so the conversation was completely naïve. We had no idea what we were doing. That was September 2017 four months later, we’d decided that a weekly format was the only way to satisfy our desires to talk with all of the cool people we wanted to.

Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?

Dozens. There are so many that do good work. We’re fans of Hidden Brain (as we mentioned earlier), Tim Ferris, Opinion Science, Deeply Human, The Happiness Lab, Rationally Speaking, Big Brains, You Are Not So Smart, Choiceology, The Psychology Podcast…the list goes on!

Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?

Alan Alda. He is a pioneer in the arena of science communications with his institute at the State University of New York at Stoney Brook. He demonstrates a tremendous passion for the scholarly work that is being done by great researchers and feels compelled to help improve the ways in which their work, especially their findings, are communicated to the general public. We would love to speak with him about this passion.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?

From our guests, we’ve heard over and over again that context matters. Yes, our genes and DNA play very important roles in who we are, but at any given moment, context is king!

As podcasters, we learn something new from every conversation, every production, every publication…it’s a terrifically rewarding life for someone who likes to learn! Our biggest lessons as podcasters include:

  • Be yourself.
  • Be prepared.
  • Stuff happens.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?

With a back catalogue of over 250 episodes, it’s tough to decide…let’s start with this one: Episode 222 “How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful” with Shankar Vedantam, the creator and host of Hidden Brain.  The first 1:45 is a pretty good intro and Shankar is not only a terrific host, but he’s a terrific guest, as well.

Another good way to get started with Behavioral Grooves is to listen to our brief conversation with George Loewenstein and Linda Babcock – in a very, very rare interview – about George’s musings on boredom and how, for some, it can be a painful experience. This is part of our Carnegie Mellon Series and this conversation appears in Episode 67.

Lastly, one of our favorite guests is Annie Duke, who we first interviewed in Episode 31. We were discussing her “Thinking in Bets” book and found ourselves forming a meaningful friendship with her because of this conversation.

Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?

Check out our website: You can also listen to the Behavioral Grooves podcast on any podcast player such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Stitcher or Castbox. And thank you for having us!

Behavioral Grooves - Podcast Final Sq

Listen to Behavioral Grooves now on ACAST, SPOTIFY, and your favourite podcast app.

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