Psychology graduate students discuss science behind hook-ups on podcast


Miriam Rousseau

Graduate students Lucy Hunt, Jennifer Shukusky and Brian Wilkey host the “Those Love Geeks” podcast. Hunt, Shukusky and Wilkey provide information and advice on love, sex and relationships.

Alex Wilts

Sex and hook-ups are only a few of the topics discussed on, a student-run website featuring podcasts focused on academic research involving relationships.

Brian Wilkey, Lucy Hunt and Jennifer Shukusky, human development and family sciences graduate students, created the website and its podcast to inform listeners of scientifically proven information about human attraction and relationship trends. 

“It can take a long time for the public to find out about [relationship] study findings, and then they’re getting [information] from journalists who may not get it quite right,” Hunt said. “We thought, ‘Why not just give the correct information directly to whoever wants to listen?’”

Wilkey, creator and producer for the podcast, said he came up with the idea when he transferred from Texas A&M University to UT and was unable to get involved in the local theater scene.

“I wanted to do something that was kind of dramatic and something big,” Wilkey, who was elected as Graduate Student Assembly vice president Thursday evening, said. “They say do what you know, and what I happened to know was relationship science.”

Wilkey said the greatest challenge for the beginning episodes, which began airing in October 2012, was having the right equipment. A year after starting the project, Wilkey said the group purchased equipment from a friend that upgraded the sound quality of the podcast.

“We have a mixing board now and the correct mics,” Wilkey said. “Now the challenge is time.”

According to the students, it takes about three hours a week to prepare the literature, set up the equipment, create the podcast and then edit the audio content afterward.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re a graduate student, three hours becomes precious pretty quickly,” Hunt said. “But we love [the podcast]. We’re committed to it.”

Wilkey said despite the technical issues in early episodes, he has always been confident in the content they produce because of the conversational form of the podcast.

“We like to have fun,” Wilkey said. “If you listen to the episode we do on ovulatory cycle change and how that makes a difference, you’ll hear me just use the word ‘follicular’ over and over again because it’s my favorite word. It’s not even in context. Then Jennifer’s like, ‘You’ve got to stop saying that word.’”

According to Shukusky, the universality of relationships is part of what makes the podcast and the field of relationship science interesting.

“I feel like somewhat everyone is always trying to get into a relationship, maintain a relationship or get out of a relationship,” Shukusky said.  “To me, this is applicable to everyone. I’m studying everyone.”

The Love Geeks will post their next podcast episode Thursday and will discuss nontraditional forms of relationship initiation.