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An inexact science

Lisa Cantrell ’07 is pairing cognitive science research and the art of storytelling in a unique new podcast designed to share the answers to some of the most human phenomena.

“What makes people creative?,” “Why is unrequited love so hard to get over?” and “How does religious belief persist?” are some of the questions Cantrell will be tackling in An Inexact Science, a podcast currently under development.

“It’s a podcast that invites science to pull up a chair, stay a while, have a cup of coffee and, heck, stay for dinner,” said Cantrell, a Greenville native who is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California-Davis in the Center for Mind and Brain. “I want to present a show that is focused on human experiences, that features stories from everyday people—funny or sad, whatever it is—and then helps shed light on the experiences through research.”

The podcast is also set up to support the work of local artists, said Cantrell, who started as a visual arts major at Furman before taking a class with Dr. Charles Brewer and discovering her love of psychology. Area musicians provide the tunes for each podcast and local artists are designing t-shirts, mugs, and other promotional materials.

Once complete, each 15- to 60-minute episode will be posted online this fall and will also air on KDVS radio in Davis, Calif., by the end of the year.

To help with funding for the project, Cantrell is accepting donations through Kickstarter through September 12. So far, she has received nearly 80 percent of the funding she needs for her initial goal of $1,380. Her ultimate podcast goal is $4,550.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Furman, Cantrell traveled to Chile to work in an adolescent rehabilitation center and paint in a studio run by a hippie art collective. She spent a year teaching kindergarten in Mexico before returning to the United States to complete her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2013.

Learn more about the project here.

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