Podcasts

Can meditation help us to do good?

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Many people think that meditation can not only have an impact on stress and illness, but can also improve prosociality. But meditation and prosociality are multi-dimensional constructs: so what exactly are we talking about here? 

Listen to my conversation with Dr Ute Kreplin at the School of Psychology, Massey University in New Zealand as we talk about her research examining this link, and how the way stadies are carried out can affect the sorts of results they report and how we need to be careful about how we interpret them.

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-20299-z 

And here is the abstract for context:

Many individuals believe that meditation has the capacity to not only alleviate mental-illness but to improve prosociality. This article systematically reviewed and meta-analysed the effects of meditation interventions on prosociality in randomized controlled trials of healthy adults. Five types of social behaviours were identified: compassion, empathy, aggression, connectedness and prejudice. Although we found a moderate increase in prosociality following meditation, further analysis indicated that this effect was qualified by two factors: type of prosociality and methodological quality. Meditation interventions had an effect on compassion and empathy, but not on aggression, connectedness or prejudice. We further found that compassion levels only increased under two conditions: when the teacher in the meditation intervention was a co-author in the published study; and when the study employed a passive (waiting list) control group but not an active one. Contrary to popular beliefs that meditation will lead to prosocial changes, the results of this meta-analysis showed that the effects of meditation on prosociality were qualified by the type of prosociality and methodological quality of the study. We conclude by highlighting a number of biases and theoretical problems that need addressing to improve quality of research in this area. 
 

I hope you enjoyed this show. If you dis enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

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How the sting of rejection shapes the pleasure of revenge #42

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What is revenge? How can we understand this dark emotion? The sayings, 'revenge is sweet' and that 'revenge is a dish best served cold' are revealing.

Listen to my conversation with David Chester, Assistant Professor at the Psychology Department of Virginia Commonwealth University, as I talk with him about his programme of research over the past few years looking at dimensions of revenge and how we relate to this complex emotion. We also touch upon the idea of social pain and loneliness, how one of the worst forms of pain for a human is to be ignored, and how films often depict time slowing down when it portrays violence - believe me, its and interesting and wide-ranging conversation!

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://davidchester.weebly.com/uploads/5/4/1/5/54152559/2016-52939-001.pdf

And here is the abstract for context:

 

How does emotion explain the relationship between social rejection and aggression? Rejection reliably damages mood, leaving individuals motivated to repair their negatively valenced affective state. Retaliatory aggression is often a pleasant experience. Rejected individuals may then harness revenge's associated positive affect to repair their mood. Across 6 studies (total N = 1,516), we tested the prediction that the rejection-aggression link is motivated by expected and actual mood repair. Further, we predicted that this mood repair would occur through the positive affect of retaliatory aggression. Supporting these predictions, naturally occurring (Studies 1 and 2) and experimentally manipulated (Studies 3 and 4) motives to repair mood via aggression moderated the rejection-aggression link. These effects were mediated by sadistic impulses toward finding aggression pleasant (Studies 2 and 4). Suggesting the occurrence of actual mood repair, rejected participants' affective states were equivalent to their accepted counterparts after an act of aggression (Studies 5 and 6). This mood repair occurred through a dynamic interplay between preaggression affect and aggression itself, and was driven by increases in positive affect (Studies 5 and 6). Together, these findings suggest that the rejection-aggression link is driven, in part, by the desire to return to affective homeostasis. Additionally, these findings implicate aggression's rewarding nature as an incentive for rejected individuals' violent tendencies. 

I hope you enjoyed this show. If you dis enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

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Mental health research: Male footballers, LGB Youth, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy psychoeducation

[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6207629/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard-mini/tdest_id/448900" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Welcome to this special conference edition of Who cares? What's the point?

In January 2018, I traveled to Cardiff in Wales, UK for two days to participate in the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference. When I was there, I was fortunate enough to talk with three researchers about the fascinating work they were doing. So, this show has not one, but three interviews and research topics.

First, you'll hear me talking with Dr Susan Wood on male professional footballers and their experiences of mental health difficulties and help-seeking. Second, I speak with Dr Katherine Rimes about the psychosocial factors associated with suicide attempts, ideation and future risk in lesbian, gay and bisexual youth. And finally, I speak with Jessica Cartwright on her evaluation of a transdiagnostic acceptance and commitment therapy psychoeducation intervention (also know as ACT) in a community setting.

For this edition, I have attached the abstracts as JPEG files as there wasn't an electronic version available. You can find the details of the study and the institutional affiliations of the researchers there.

This podcast edition was produced with the support of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society. A big thank you goes out to them.

If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show. You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

Check out this episode!

How do you choose a mental health app for your smartphone? #40

[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6097625/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard-mini/tdest_id/448900" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] At some times in our lives, we might want to get support with our mental health and wellbeing. Perhaps we are struggling with a particular issue, or maybe we want to be proactive and take steps to make sure we are adopting healthy practices to keep us on top of things. These days, we have our smartphones with us almost all the time, and this is a natural place for many people to turn to for support or inspiration. But how do you go about choosing a mental health or wellbeing app? And do you know if it is a good one or not?

Listen to my conversation with David Bakker, a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Monash University in Australia. We talk about his recent research reviewing mental health apps, and some evidence-based recommendations for future app development. Finally, we talk about his involvement in developing some if these apps as part of a team that is working to improve the choices for people using these apps, and the clinicians who might be working with them.

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4795320/

And here is the abstract for context:

Background

The number of mental health apps (MHapps) developed and now available to smartphone users has increased in recent years. MHapps and other technology-based solutions have the potential to play an important part in the future of mental health care; however, there is no single guide for the development of evidence-based MHapps. Many currently available MHapps lack features that would greatly improve their functionality, or include features that are not optimized. Furthermore, MHapp developers rarely conduct or publish trial-based experimental validation of their apps. Indeed, a previous systematic review revealed a complete lack of trial-based evidence for many of the hundreds of MHapps available.

Objective

To guide future MHapp development, a set of clear, practical, evidence-based recommendations is presented for MHapp developers to create better, more rigorous apps.

Methods

A literature review was conducted, scrutinizing research across diverse fields, including mental health interventions, preventative health, mobile health, and mobile app design.

Results

Sixteen recommendations were formulated. Evidence for each recommendation is discussed, and guidance on how these recommendations might be integrated into the overall design of an MHapp is offered. Each recommendation is rated on the basis of the strength of associated evidence. It is important to design an MHapp using a behavioral plan and interactive framework that encourages the user to engage with the app; thus, it may not be possible to incorporate all 16 recommendations into a single MHapp.

Conclusions

Randomized controlled trials are required to validate future MHapps and the principles upon which they are designed, and to further investigate the recommendations presented in this review. Effective MHapps are required to help prevent mental health problems and to ease the burden on health systems

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show. I had a try of MoodMission - it certainly looks interesting. You can find out more and try it too here: http://moodmission.com/

If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

Check out this episode!

What's behind the rising tide of anger on the internet? #39

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Recent local and world events seem to have triggered, or perhaps have reflected and amplified increasingly polarised views. These views can be expressed online in ways that come across as angry

Join me as I talk with Ryan Martin, Psychology Chairperson and Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in the USA as we talk about his paper exploring the ways that anger is expressed and experienced online, and our conversation about how this might apply to social media and our emotional development and processing.

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/cyber.2012.0130

And here is the abstract for context:

Despite evidence that anger is routinely expressed over the Internet via weblogs, social networking Web sites, and other venues, no published research has explored the way in which anger is experienced and expressed online. Consequently, we know very little about how anger is experienced in such settings. Two studies were conducted to explore how people experience and express their anger on a particular type of Web site, known as a rant-site. Study 1 surveyed rant-site visitors to better understand the perceived value of the Web sites and found that while they become relaxed immediately after posting, they also experience more anger than most and express their anger in maladaptive ways. Study 2 explored the emotional impact of reading and writing rants and found that for most participants, reading and writing rants were associated with negative shifts in mood.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show.  If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

My big news is that I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

Check out this episode!

Home alone: Why people believe others' social lives are richer than their own #37

[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6065952/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard-mini/tdest_id/448900" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] People usually tend to over-estimate their own capabilities and qualities compared to others. For examples, people tend to believe they are more intelligent, trustworthy, moral and happier than others, as well as making better leaders, and drivers. However, when it comes to thinking about our social lives, what little we know seems to indicate that we think other people have more rich, vibrant and satisfying social lives than we do ourselves.

Join me as I talk with Sebastian Deri - postgraduate researcher at Cornell University in the USA - as we talk about his paper about a series of 11 experiments designed to explore how we compare our social lives to others and where our pessimistic bias might come from.

Here is the link to the abstract of the paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29189037

Although decades of research show that people tend to see themselves in the best possible light, we present evidence that people have a surprisingly grim outlook on their social lives. In 11 studies (N = 3,293; including 3 preregistered), we find that most people think that others lead richer and more active social lives than they do themselves. We show that this bias holds across multiple populations (college students, MTurk respondents, shoppers at a local mall, and participants from a large, income-stratified online panel), correlates strongly with well-being, and is particularly acute for social activities (e.g., the number of parties one attends or proximity to the "inner circle" of one's social sphere). We argue that this pessimistic bias stems from the fact that trendsetters and socialites come most easily to mind as a standard of comparison and show that reducing the availability of extremely social people eliminates this bias. We conclude by discussing implications for research on social comparison and self-enhancement.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show.  If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

My big news is that I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

Check out this episode!

Who cares? What's the point? 2016-17 - Building a science communication podcast

I have been hosting and producing Who cares? What's the point? - my science communication podcast - for a year now. There was an opportunity to talk about my creative journey over this year at the Science Communicators of New Zealand annual conference last week, so I took it up and gave a short presentation there. The conference was inspiring to me, so I have decided to carry on for another year and see where the podcast takes me. Here's the slides from my talk that give some details about why I started this project, what I aimed to achieve and how successful I was. There's some hard and real lessons that I have learned about how to build (and lose) and audience, and what might happen next. Check the video below to find out more.

Thanks for listening, (and for being willing researchers too).

https://youtu.be/nL-gLqpSXRA

Do teachers believe in "neuromyths" just as much as everyone else?

[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6028013/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard-mini/tdest_id/448900" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] There are some commonly held misconceptions in the general public about how the brain works and how it affects how we learn - these are often called "neuromyths." We know that the general public can fall prey to these much of the time, but what about our educators? And if teachers believe in these neuromyths, what does it mean for how they teach, or how schools allocate their resources? And can we protect against falling for these neuromyths by better training?

Join me as I talk with Kelly Macdonald - doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Houston, and Asst Professor Dr Lauren McGrath at the University of Denver - both in the USA - as we talk about their paper exploring belief in neuromyths by educators and the general public, and how we can change things.

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5554523/

Here is the abstract for some context:

Neuromyths are misconceptions about brain research and its application to education and learning. Previous research has shown that these myths may be quite pervasive among educators, but less is known about how these rates compare to the general public or to individuals who have more exposure to neuroscience. This study is the first to use a large sample from the United States to compare the prevalence and predictors of neuromyths among educators, the general public, and individuals with high neuroscience exposure. Neuromyth survey responses and demographics were gathered via an online survey hosted at TestMyBrain.org. We compared performance among the three groups of interest: educators (N = 598), high neuroscience exposure (N = 234), and the general public (N = 3,045) and analyzed predictors of individual differences in neuromyths performance. In an exploratory factor analysis, we found that a core group of 7 "classic" neuromyths factored together (items related to learning styles, dyslexia, the Mozart effect, the impact of sugar on attention, right-brain/left-brain learners, and using 10% of the brain). The general public endorsed the greatest number of neuromyths (M = 68%), with significantly fewer endorsed by educators (M = 56%), and still fewer endorsed by the high neuroscience exposure group (M = 46%). The two most commonly endorsed neuromyths across all groups were related to learning styles and dyslexia. More accurate performance on neuromyths was predicted by age (being younger), education (having a graduate degree), exposure to neuroscience courses, and exposure to peer-reviewed science. These findings suggest that training in education and neuroscience can help reduce but does not eliminate belief in neuromyths. We discuss the possible underlying roots of the most prevalent neuromyths and implications for classroom practice. These empirical results can be useful for developing comprehensive training modules for educators that target general misconceptions about the brain and learning.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show.  If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

My big news is that I have started a Patreon campaign for the show, where you can support the production and development of my creative process through a small monthly contribution to help me kick it up another level - and get the show back to a weekly basis. Please, visit the campaign page at Patreon.com/sarbjohal

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

Check out this episode!

The number of photos we take has increased hugely. How does this change our experience of life? #35

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For many of you listening to this podcast, taking photos of things and people in our lives has become much more common, as well as documenting our experiences of life. Understanding how the act of taking photos may get in the way of or increase our pleasure in these activities seems like an important topic for research. Implicitly, we may hear the message that we should stop taking so many photos and just be in the moment and enjoy our experiences without trying to record everything. But is this true? Does photography - especially using our smartphones - get in the way? 

Join me as I talk with Asst Prof Alixandra Barasch, based in the Stern Business School, New York University, USA. 

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-pspa0000055.pdf

Here is the abstract for some context:

Experiences are vital to the lives and well-being of people; hence, understanding the factors that amplify or dampen enjoyment of experiences is important. One such factor is photo-taking, which has gone unexamined by prior research even as it has become ubiquitous. We identify engagement as a relevant process that influences whether photo-taking will increase or decrease enjoyment. Across three field and six lab experiments, we find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies. This occurs when photo-taking increases engagement with the experience, which is less likely when the experience itself is already highly engaging, or when photo-taking interferes with the experience. As further evidence of an engagement-based process, we show that photo-taking directs greater visual attention to aspects of the experience likely to be photographed. Lastly, we also find that this greater engagement due to photo-taking results in worse evaluations of negative experiences.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show. Its good to be back after my break. If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

 

Check out this episode!

The language of ageism, and how we use it against ourselves #34

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There has been a lot of recent attention on gender pay equity, the re-emergence of racism in western societies, and how youth mental health has been an increasing concern in recent years. However, the way we talk about older people, and indeed, how older people view and talk about themselves is also revealing of deeper attitudes and biases.

Join me as I talk with Assoc Prof Dr Tracey Gendron, based in the Department of Gerontology in the School of Allied Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA. 

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week's show:

https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/56/6/997/2952876/The-Language-of-Ageism-Why-We-Need-to-Use-Words

Here is the abstract for some context:

Purpose:

Language carries and conveys meaning which feeds assumptions and judgments that can lead to the development of stereotypes and discrimination. As a result, this study closely examined the specific language that is used to communicate attitudes and perceptions of aging and older adults.

Design and Methods:

We conducted a qualitative study of a twitter assignment for 236 students participating in a senior mentoring program. Three hundred fifty-four tweets were qualitatively analyzed to explore language-based age discrimination using a thematic analytic approach.

Results:

Twelve percent of the tweets (n = 43) were found to contain discriminatory language. Thematic analysis of the biased tweets identified 8 broad themes describing language-based age discrimination: assumptions and judgments, older people as different, uncharacteristic characteristics, old as negative, young as positive, infantilization, internalized ageism, and internalized microaggression.

Implications:

The language of ageism is rooted in both explicit actions and implicit attitudes which make it highly complex and difficult to identify. Continued examination of linguistic encoding is needed in order to recognize and rectify language-based age discrimination.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show. Its good to be back after my break. If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at www.whocareswhatsthepoint.com

You can also email the show at contact@whocareswhatsthepoint.com

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link: www.sarbjohal.com/iTunes

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps: www.sarbjohal.com/wcwtp

Lastly, find us on www.facebook.com/wcwtp too

Thanks for listening. Share the show! Tell your friends!

 

Check out this episode!