When he isn’t busy teaching in the classroom or working on his own research, Andy Luttrell, social psychologist and Ball State assistant professor of psychology, produces, hosts and edits his own podcast, “Opinion Science.”
Luttrell, a Chicago native, obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology at Eastern Illinois University and his master’s and doctorate degrees in social psychology at Ohio State University. After teaching courses at his graduate alma mater and the College of Wooster, Luttrell came to Ball State in 2017.
Now, he spends much of his time putting together “Opinion Science,” the name for which he selected himself after much consideration.
“To call [the podcast] ‘Opinion Science’ is mostly getting at the idea that we can understand things like opinion scientifically,” Luttrell said. “I also like the juxtaposition of the word ‘opinion’ and the word ‘science.’ We often feel like these two things are different, but the show aims to integrate them together.”
Although the initial idea for the podcast originated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, production didn’t start until the virus had already entered the United States. Luttrell began releasing episodes in February 2020 — a month before the virus was declared a pandemic and began overwhelming most of the world. He then had a new abundance of downtime to continue his work.
Ten Recent Guests
- Zoe Chance, Yale School of Management
- Brian Ahearn, Cialdini Method Certified Trainer
- Melina Palmer, CEO of The Brainy Business
- Josh Compton, associate professor of speech at Dartmouth College
- Daniel Pink, bestselling author
- Jesse Graham, associate professor of management at the University of Utah
- Ashley Amaya, Pew Research Center
- Vanessa Bohns, bestselling author
- Larisa Heiphetz, assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University
- Greg Maio, professor of psychology at the University of Bath (Wales)
“The pandemic was a real launchpad for lots of podcasts because people had the idea as a thing to keep themselves occupied,” Luttrell said. “Whereas my story was more like [the podcast] was something that, at that point, I was ready to start doing. It was a chance to start thinking about how people are coming to this health crisis from different perspectives.”
Luttrell said he tries to highlight various opinions on the podcast, and each episode includes either deep dives into single concepts or interviews regarding various psychological theories and people. The first episode featured Luttrell’s longtime mentee and graduate school friend Jake Teeny, assistant professor of marketing at Northwestern University and a current research partner of Luttrell.
“I've been on multiple podcasts now, but Dr. Luttrell's podcast was by far my favorite experience,” Teeny said. “[‘Opinion Science’ is] the only psychology podcast I actually listen to these days. It's really well done, and he has really informative and entertaining conversations with all sorts of psychologists.”
Although guests like Teeny are experts in their fields, Luttrell said the audience doesn’t have to be. Anyone from any field or level of education has the opportunity to listen to “Opinion Science,” as Luttrell produces the show with the goal of welcoming anyone passionate about psychology.
“The response [to the podcast] has been really great,” Luttrell said. “It’s reaching people out in the world, and it’s really exciting. I think we have hundreds of thousands of downloads on this thing. I hear from teachers from all over the place asking for information or transcripts to include in their classes.”
In addition to the audience being able to learn about psychological concepts and notable people in the field, Luttrell’s podcast gives him the opportunity to expand his own knowledge and abilities.
“I’ve learned that I can have conversations with people better than I would have anticipated,” Luttrell said. “To be able to just sit down one-on-one for an hour with some of these people is daunting, but I have grown a lot of confidence when jumping into conversations with people who I otherwise would have thought I couldn’t [talk to].”
Contact Sarah Olsen with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.