“This is Your Brain on Sports" is a new podcast from Sports Illustrated in which SI executive editor Jon Wertheim and Tufts University psychology professor Sam Sommers look at the hidden side of games, athletes, owners, and officials. In this week’s episode we take the title of the podcast quite literally, peeking under the hood at the mind of the sports fan.
Our guest is Mina Cikara, a social neuroscientist and Harvard University professor. Cikara talks about her research using MRI technology to take images of fans’ brains as they follow their favorite sports teams. She explains that there’s one thing that sometimes gives fans even more pleasure than watching their favorite team win: seeing a hated opponent lose. Cikara and Sommers discuss what these brain snapshots tell us about human nature more generally, and how they help explain the brighter and darker sides of sports fan behavior.
Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and check back every week for a new episode.