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UnDisciplined: The Political Scientist And The Experimental Psychologist

This week on UnDisciplined, we're going to talk about the factors that influence our moods. How do the institutions around us inspire us to take action? And how do the things we put into our bodies impact the way we see the world?

We'll be joined by Sandra Sunram-Lea of Lancaster University in England. Her team's research, recently published in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews, was a meta-analysis of 31 studies showing that sugar consumption does not have a beneficial effect on mood. 

We're also speaking with Jay Jennings, a postdoctoral fellow at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and the Center for Media Engagement at at the University of Texas. His recent research shows a striking correlation between declines in local newsroom staffing and political competition in mayoral races. 

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including Inheritance with geneticist Sharon Moalem and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His forthcoming book, Superlative, will look at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways.