A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
Ted Slingerland on getting drunk

Ted Slingerland on getting drunk

How we sipped, danced and stumbled our way to civilisation

Introducing Ted

This is the final Load of BS before the Christmas holidays, and I’ve saved you a cracker (excuse the pun). Not only is Ted Slingerland a seductive and stimulating speaker, he also takes us into a world we know only too well at this time of year - lashings of alcohol.

Last year, Ted wrote Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilisation, the story of booze through human history, how it bonds us together, how it fosters creativity and innovation, how it of course can do us damage; but centrally why it most certainly is not an evolutionary mistake.

There is so much more to Ted than this however and I highly recommend you explore his 2015 book Trying Not to Try: The Ancient Art of Effortlessness and the Surprising Power of Spontaneity which discusses the paradox of being spontaneous without trying too hard, written through the lens of early Chinese philosophy.

Plenty more here on Ted’s distinguished academic career and links to his brilliant talks at TED and Google among other.

Ted and I in mid recording

Show notes

  • An odd intellectual profile: how Ted developed interests in Chinese philosophy, evolutionary and cognitive sciences, and the story of alcohol

  • How do you try not to try, on command?

  • Importance of building downtime into one’s days to do creative work

  • Alcohol’s role in civilisations through millennia

  • Advantages of getting ’buzzed’ now and again

  • Depressing the Pre Frontal Cortex to enhance creativity

    • Getting back to our 7-year-old self

  • Writing on Negroni

  • Alcohol: an evolutionary mistake? Why does evolution allow it to taste so good?

  • Masturbation and other non-costly evolutionary hijacks

  • Junk food and costly impacts on the body

  • Beer before bread theory

  • ‘In vino veritas’: should we be suspicious of sobriety?

  • Levelling the playing field for non-drinkers

  • The end of the 3 Martini lunch

  • Distillation and isolation: introduction of distilled liquor in 1600s and its impact on our consumption

  • How increasing the base wages of US bar servers will reduce driving fatalities and violence

  • Micro-dosing psilocybin to enhance creativity

    • A safer alternative relaxation of cognitive control vs alcohol?

  • Socialising in alternative realities vs. our human need to be psychically together

Breaking for the holidays

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Till next time,


Podcast music: Tamsin Waley-Cohen's Mendelssohn's violin concerto

A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast dives deep into the psychology of what makes elite performers tick; how they think about success and failure, how they find and maintain peak performance, how they manage fear and adversity, how they make decisions under pressure, how they deal with risk and uncertainty.