The Psychology Podcast

By Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

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Description

Welcome to The Psychology Podcast with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, where we give you insights into the mind, brain, behavior and creativity. Each episode we’ll feature a guest who will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of your self, others, and the world we live in. Hopefully, we’ll also provide a glimpse into human possibility! Thanks for listening and enjoy the podcast.

Episode Date
151: The Replication Crisis
57:27
Today we have Dr. Michael Inzlicht on the podcast. Dr. Inzlicht's  primary appointment at the University of Toronto is as professor in the Department of Psychology, but he is also cross-appointed as Professor at the Roman School of Management, and he is a Research Fellow at the Behavioral Economics in Action group. Michael conducts research that sits at the boundaries of social psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. Along with Yoel Inbar, he hosts the podcast “Two Psychologists Four Beers.”

In this episode we discuss:

  • How serious is the replication crisis in psychology?
  • Can the human social realm ever be removed from scientific critique?
  • Do psychologists need to grow a thicker skin?
  • Academic bullying vs. respectful critique
  • Is there a gendered element to bullying in science?
  • Is ego depletion real?
  • Methodological issues with the ego depletion paradigm
  • Real world ego depletion vs. laboratory-based ego depletion
  • The lack of correspondence between self-report measures of self-control and performance measures
  • The importance of distinguishing between self-control and self-regulation
  • The paradoxical relationship between trait self-control and state self-control
  • The "law of least work" or why we are so lazy most of the time
  • The psychology of boredom
Dec 13, 2018
150: Drunk Science
36:51

Today we have Shannon Odell on the podcast. Odell is a Brooklyn based writer, comedian, and scientist. She co-hosts and produces Drunk Science, an experimental comedy show deemed “a stroke of genius” by Gothamist and a finalist in TruTV’s comedy break out initiative. She also co-created, writes, and stars in the Inverse original series “Your Brain on Blank”, where she explains the science behind how everything-from alcohol to caffeine to puppies- affects the brain. She can also be seen at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she is a Neuroscience PhD candidate studying the epigenetic underpinnings of hippocampal function. You can visit Shannon’s YouTube channel here.

  • How Shannon got into science comedy
  • How science can be funny
  • Similarities between the personalities of comedians and scientists
  • Political correctness in comedy and science
  • How science communication is often so humorless
  • Your brain on… the flu.
  • Your brain on… breakups.
  • Your brain on… puppies.
  • Your brain on… caffeine.
  • Your brain on… social media.
  • Epigenetics and the effects of early life adversity on the brain
  • How science can inform treatment options
  • Barriers for women entering science
Dec 06, 2018
149: The Laws of Human Nature
01:13:05
Today we have Robert Greene on the podcast. Robert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 48 Laws of PowerThe 33 Strategies of WarThe Art of Seduction, and Mastery, and is an internationally renowned expert on power strategies. His latest book is The Laws of Human Nature.
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
  • What is human nature?
  • How to transform self-love into empathy
  • The deep narcissist vs. the the heathy narcissist
  • Abraham Maslow’s encounter with Alfred Adler
  • How to confront your dark side
  • Returning to your more authentic self
  • How people who are one-sided are concealing the opposite trait
  • The importance of not taking yourself too seriously
  • How to see through people’s masks
  • The importance of assessing people’s actions over time
  • Why toxic types have a peculiar sort of charm
  • Healthy people-pleasers vs. toxic people-pleasers
  • How to get in deep contact with your purpose
  • The importance of becoming aware of the "spirit of the generation"
  • How to confront your mortality and open your mind to the sublime
Nov 29, 2018
148: A Gratitude Journey
43:52

Today it’s a great honor to have A.J. Jacobs on the podcast. Jacobs is the author of Thanks a ThousandIt’s All RelativeDrop Dead Healthy, and the New York Times bestsellers The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and My Life as an Experiment. He is a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Get a handwritten thank you card at ajjacobs.com/thanks.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is Project Gratitude?
  • How A.J. went from grumpy to grateful
  • Why A.J. chose coffee as his main source of gratitude
  • The importance of savoring coffee (and everything else in life that matters)
  • Why we should be grateful for the barrister
  • The enemy of gratitude
  • The importance of the “zarf”
  • Where gratitude emerges, according to gratitude expert Bob Emmons
  • They importance of reframing your life
  • Some strategies to increase gratitude in daily life
Nov 22, 2018
147: How the Mind and Culture Evolve
56:37

"It's going to be Okay."-- Steve Stewart-Williams

Today I’m delighted to have Steve Stewart-Williams on the podcast. Dr. Stewart-Williams is a New Zealander who moved to Canada, then to Wales, and then to Malaysia, where he is now an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. His first book, Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life, was published in 2010 and his latest book is The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve.

In this episode we cover the following topics:

  • What would the human species look like from the perspective of an alien?
  • Are humans just evolved fish?
  • How far does evolutionary psychology take us in understanding human nature?
  • What are some common myths about the evolutionary process?
  • How we can be evolutionary “losers” and still be human success stories
  • The distinction between altruism and selfishness
  • Why the evolutionary psychology perspective is not enough to understand human nature
  • How culture evolved among humans
  • The link between human creativity and cultural evolution
  • The potential human conflict between passing on genes vs. passing on memes
  • How culture can amplify our nature
  • Steve answers questions from Twitter
Nov 15, 2018
146: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe
01:25:02
Today it’s an honor to have Dr. Sean Carroll on the podcast. Dr. Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. Recently, Carroll has worked on the foundation of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among others. Dr. Carroll has given a TED talk on the multiverse that has more than 1.5 million views, and he has participated in a number of well-attended public debates concerning material in his latest book, which is entitled “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.”
 
- The meaning of “post-existentialism”
 
- What is “poetic naturalism”?
 
- What is the fundamental nature of reality?
 
- Do “tables” and “chairs” really exist?
 
- The difference between rich ontology and sparse ontology
 
- The Bayesian probability of the existence of God
 
- How the universe evolved
 
- The analogy between psychological entropy and naturalistic entropy
 
- Can we think about the brain in useful terms entropically?
 
- In what sense do we have free will?
 
- How hard is the hard problem of consciousness?
 
- The importance of “existential gratitude”
 
- The link between quantum mechanics and consciousness
 
- Is there life (consciousness) after death?
 
- How can we create purpose, meaningfulness, mattering, morality, and ethics in a natural world?
Nov 01, 2018
145: Motivation, Selling, and Perfect Timing
46:48

Today we have Dan Pink on the podcast. Pink is the author of six provocative best-selling books— including his newest: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. His other books include A Whole New MindDrive, and To Sell is Human. Pink’s books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 38 languages.

In this episode we discuss the following topics:

  • What is the best way to motivate people?
  • The case for “metapay” among self-actualized people
  • How purpose is a powerful motivator
  • The “motivation continuum”
  • The ways contingent rewards can go awry
  • Is it possible to be "unhealthily autonomous"?
  • The importance of “killing your darlings”
  • Dark triad selling vs. cooperative selling
  • The “identity civil war” and zero-sum thinking
  • The new ABCs of communication
  • The myth of the necessity of extraversion for sales success
  • The importance of time management
  • The best and worst times to do…
  • When is the best time to have a mid-life crisis?
Oct 25, 2018
144: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
49:45
Today it’s a great delight to have James Clear on the podcast. Clear’s website, jamesclear.com, receives millions of visitors each month, and hundreds of thousands subscribe to his email newsletter. His work has appeared in the New York TimesTime, and Entrepreneur, and on CBS This Morning, and is taught in colleges around the world. Clear is the creator of The Habits Academy, the premier training platform for organizations and individuals that are interested in building better habits in life and work. His latest book is called “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”.
 
- How the mind is a “suggestion engine”
 
- How James has grown since his last appearance on The Psychology Podcast
 
- The importance of “dichotomy transcendence”
 
- The importance of choosing the best environment for your genes
 
- How was easily fall into “frictionless” habits
 
- How environment design plays a crucial role in habit change
 
- The four laws of behavior change
 
- The multiple levels of behavior change
 
- The link between identity and habit change
 
- The importance of small habits
 
- Why we should stop focusing on goals and focus on systems instead
 
- Why it’s easier to build a new habit in a new environment
 
- How to go from good to great
Oct 18, 2018
143: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are
01:49:25

Today it’s a great honor to have Dr. Robert Plomin on the podcast. Dr. Plomin is Professor of Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King's College London. He previously held positions at the University of Colorado Boulder and Pennsylvania State University. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the British Academy for his twin studies and his groundbreaking work in behavioral genetics. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement (with Kathryn Asbury), and most recently, BluePrint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are.

In this wide-ranging conversation, we discuss the following topics:

  • How Robert became interested in genetics
  • The importance of going “with the grain” of your nature
  • Robert’s twin studies methodology
  • How genotypes become phenotypes
  • How kids select their environments in ways that correlate with their genetic inclinations
  • The genetic influence on television viewing
  • How virtually everything is moderately heritable
  • The effects of extreme trauma on the brain
  • The developmental trajectory of heritability
  • How the abnormal is normal
  • How we could use polygenic information to inform educational interventions
  • The potential for misuse of genetic information to select children for particular educational tracks
  • Recent research on shared environmental influences on educational achievement
  • The “nature of nurture”
  • The variability of heritability across different cultures and levels of SES
  • The role of education on intelligence
  • How teachers can and cannot make a difference
  • The genetics of social class mobility
  • Free will and how we can change our destiny

Further Reading

Fifty years of twin studies: A meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits

The nature of nurture: effects of parental genotypes

Variation in the heritability of educational attainment: An international meta-analysis

Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies

Large cross-national differences in gene x socioeconomic status interaction on intelligence

How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis

Are cognitive gand academic gone and the same g?

A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention

How scientists are learning to predict your future with your genes

Using nature to understand nurture

What makes us who we are? 

Can 'genius' be detected in infancy?

A brief history of everyone who ever lived

The gardner and the carpenter: What the new science of child development tells us about the relationship between parents and children

Oct 11, 2018
142: The Science of Sexual Fantasies
47:15

Today we have Dr. Justin Lehmiller on the podcast. Dr. Lehmiller is a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of the book Tell Me What you Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. Lehmiller is an award winning educator, having been honored three times with the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Harvard University, where he taught for several years. He is also a prolific researcher and scholar who has published more than 40 pieces of academic writing to date, including a textbook entitled The Psychology of Human Sexuality.

On this episode we cover a wide range of provocative and fascinating findings from the largest survey on sexual fantasies of all time. Topics include:

  • The most common sexual fantasies among humans
  • The most taboo sexual fantasy category
  • Fantasy vs. desire
  • Reducing shame for the content of one’s sexual fantasies
  • The relationship between the fantasy-prone personality and sexual fantasies
  • The importance of sexual self-actualization for well-being
  • The benefits of open communication of our fantasies with our partners
  • Sexual orientation vs. sexual flexibility
  • The truth behind widely held stereotypes about BDSM
  • Gender differences in sexual fantasies
  • What your sexual fantasies say about you
  • The sexiest superhero
  • OCD and gender bending
  • Does size really matter?
  • Which fantasy is the least likely to work out when it’s actually acted out?
  • How can more people turn their fantasies into reality in a healthy way?
  • How can we break the barriers in society that prevent us from properly communicating our sexual desires?
Oct 04, 2018
141: Solving the Mysteries of Consciousness, Free Will, and God
01:05:54

Today we have Michael Shermer and Philip Goff on the podcast. Michael is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird ThingsThe Believing Brain, and Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia. Goff is an associate professor in philosophy at Central European University in Budapest. His main research focus is trying to explain how the brain produces consciousness. His first book, which was published by Oxford University Press, is called Consciousness and Fundamental Reality. Goff is currently working on a book on consciousness aimed at a general audience.

In this episode we cover the following topics:

  • Is reasoning the ultimate route to truth?
  • What if human rational faculties can’t comprehend the ultimates realities of existence?
  • Will the hard problem of consciousness ever be solved?
  • Panpsychism as a scientific alternative for explaining consciousness
  • The latest neuroscience of consciousness and its implications for understanding the hard problem of consciousness
  • The insights that can be gleaned through understanding subjective experience
  • Will we ever discover if free will exists?
  • To what extent can our understanding of cognitive neuroscience and genetics can elucidate the extent of our free will?
  • The possibility for “free won’t”
  • Can science ever solve the mystery of the existence of God?
  • How can the science of consciousness, free-will, and God help alleviate fundamental existential concerns of humanity?
Sep 20, 2018
140: Positive Relationships
47:33

Today I’m delighted to have Sara Algoe on the podcast. Dr. Algoe is associate professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. Her expertise spans emotions, relationships, and health psychology. Her basic research questions illuminate the social interactions that are at the heart of high-quality relationships. These include giving to others, expressing gratitude, and sharing laughter.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The main components of “positive interpersonal processes”
  • The effect of gratitude on the other person in relationships
  • The importance of context in positive psychology
  • How positive and negative emotions can co-exist simultaneously
  • The “find, remind, and bind” theory of gratitude
  • The importance of gratitude in everyday life
  • “Meta” positive emotions
  • The essentials vs. luxuries of well-being
  • The validity of gratitude interventions
  • “Gratitude burnout”
  • Appreciation vs. gratitude
  • The need for evil to define the light
Sep 13, 2018
139: The Coddling of the American Mind
50:39

“There are two ideas about safe spaces. One is a very good idea, and one is a terrible idea. The idea of being physically safe on a campus, not being subjected to sexual harassment and physical abuse, or being targeted for something specifically for some sort of hate speech… I’m perfectly fine with that. But there’s another that is now ascendent, which I just think is a horrible view, which is ‘I need to be safe ideologically, I need to be safe emotionally, I just need to feel good all the time. And if someone says something that I don’t like, that is a problem for everyone else, including the administration.’ I think that is a terrible idea for the following reason: I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym. That’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.”

— Anthony Van Jones

Today we have Jonathan Haidt on the podcast. Dr. Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Dr. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures— including the cultures of American progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, and of The New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. His third book, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff, is called The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure.

In this episode we discuss:

  •  “The tumultuous years” on college campuses from 2015-2017
  • Wisdom and its opposite
  • The three great untruths
  • The main aims of Heterodox Academy
  • The importance of exposing students to opposing views on campus
  • The detrimental effects of moral amplification
  • How moral foundations theory helps explain political divides
  • The common humanity of liberals and conservatives
  • The psychological function of having a common enemy
  • How social media amplifies tribalism
  • The rise of antifragility
  • The net effect of “callout culture”
  • The importance of play in early childhood
  • The importance of cognitive behavioral therapy and sharpening your intuitions
  • The importance of both racial/ethnic minority diversity and viewpoint diversity
  • How to help young people flourish in college

Links

Heterodox Academy

Wisdom as a classical source of human strength: Conceptualization and empirical inquiry

Moral amplification and the emotions that attach us to saints and demons

Liberals and conservatives rely on common moral foundations when making moral judgments about influential people

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Tweetdelete

Sep 06, 2018
138: The New Science of Heredity
40:29
Today we have Carl Zimmer on the podcast. Zimmer reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. Since 2004 he was written about science for the New York Times, where his column “Matter” has appeared weekly since 2013. Zimmer has won many awards for his work, including the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science. Zimmer is the author of thirteen books about science. His latest book is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.
 
In this episode, we discuss:
 
- The difference between genetics and heredity
 
- The perils and promises of gene-editing technologies
 
- The potential for unethical application of emerging genetics findings
 
- The potential for misuse of the genetics of intelligence in education
 
- The potential perils of genetically modified mosquitoes 
 
- The potential perils of genetically modified crops
 
- The quirky nature of epigenetics
 
- The existence of “human chimeras”
 
- The limitations of DNA testing
Aug 23, 2018
137: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy
56:28
 "When you turn your back on reality you lose the ability to manipulate reality. One would think that is self-evident. I didn't go into this to not try to find the truth." -- James Flynn*

Today it is an honor to have Dr. James Flynn on the podcast. Dr. Flynn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago and recipient of the University’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Career Research. In 2007, the International Society for Intelligence Research named him its Distinguished Contributor. His TED talk on cognitive and moral progress has received over 3.5 million visits. His long list of books include Are We Getting Smarter?What is Intelligence?Where Have All the Liberals Gone?Fate and PhilosophyHow to Improve Your Mind, and most recently, Does Your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy.

In this episode we cover a wide range of topics relating to intelligence and its determinants, including:

  • Flynn’s attempts to clarify intelligence and its causes
  • The g factor, and what gives rise to it
  • The validity of multiple intelligences theory
  • Intergenerational trends (the “Flynn effect”) vs. Within-generation trends
  • The “social multiplier” model of intergenerational trends in intelligence
  • Individual multipliers vs. social multipliers
  • The multiple causes of black-white differences in IQ
  • Charley Murray and the meritocracy thesis
  • Transcending the politics of intelligence research
  • The dangers of suppressing ideas and research
  • The 20% wiggle room of autonomy on IQ tests
  • The difference between internal and external environment
  • The impact of having a “family handicap” on SAT scores
  • What we can learn from astronomy about human intelligence
  • Toward a meta-theory of intelligence
  • Toward a more humane society

Links

Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents [TED Talk]

Reflection about intelligence over 40 years

Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects”: The IQ Paradox Resolved

The g beyond Spearman’s g: Flynn’s paradoxes resolved using four exploratory meta-analyses 

IQ Bashing, Breadkdancing, the Flynn Effect, and Genes

Men, Women, and IQ: Setting the Record Straight 

The Flynn Effect and IQ Disparities Among Races, Ethnicities, and Nations: Are There Common Links?

The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized 

Twitter Q & A with James Flynn

1. “Would a 100 IQ person today be a genius if transported to the year 1918? If not, why not.” https://twitter.com/robkhenderson/status/1027707019317403650

Flynn: No,  they would just be better adapted in their ability to meet educational demands.

2. “Are you concerned with the growing misuse of genetic causal fallacies in heritability research, and what can be done to make sure that researchers do not assert implications that are not supported by the data? Is this a question of education?” https://twitter.com/NathanH90714587/status/1027690457504002048

Flynn: Whenever I catch them I am disturbed by both bad genetic hypotheses and bad environmental ones.

3. “What has caused the Flynn reversal in Nordic and some other rich countries? Markus Jokela suggested it could be health related.” https://twitter.com/mark_ledwich/status/1027685177231695872

Flynn: See this article in Intelligence by myself and Shayer on IQ decline.

4. “Prof. Flynn has written about the increase in non-verbal reasoning on IQ tests that is attributed to the exposure to analytical/sequential/logical reasoning through technology. What should we do, then, to increase the verbal side of our reasoning, or have we reached the peak?” https://twitter.com/jakub_ferenc/status/1027682377169076224

Flynn: Read good literature and stand out against the trend to read less and less (see Flynn, The Torchlight List  and The New Torchlight List. 

5. “Could the Flynn effect be based at least partially on a trade off, meaning that with change in culture promoting development of skills associated with higher IQ scores, this rise is at a cost of eg working memory?” https://twitter.com/Kapusta2365/status/1027689783219380225

Flynn: I don’t think there is a downward trend in working memory – see Does Your Family Make You Smarter?

6. “Do the intelligence gains the Flynn effect reveals show an in increase in the factor?” https://twitter.com/DabneyPierce/status/1027684042022432768

Flynn: No – see “Reflection about intelligence over 40 years” just posted on the net.

7. “What do you make of American SAT/ACT trends, that is the Asian scores increases and the Native-American scores declines?” https://twitter.com/UnsilencedSci/status/1027682180737130497

Flynn: Sorry I have only looked at black and white.

8. “Does you ever think there will come a time when rational, non-bigoted people can publicly discuss race and gender topics relating to his research?” https://twitter.com/AFIChai/status/1027732647349547009

Flynn: Well I hope so – but there is no trend in that direction.

--

* Quote taken from a lecture Flynn gave at the University of Cambridge on July 20, 2012.

Aug 16, 2018
136: Meaning, Purpose, and Significance
01:22:28
Today we have Michael Steger on the podcast. Dr. Steger is a Professor of Psychology, and the Founding Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose at Colorado State University. He studies the link between meaning in life and well-being, as well as the psychological predictors of physical health and health-risk behaviors, and the facilitators and benefits of engaging in meaningful work.
 
In this episode we discuss the following topics:
 
- The definition of meaning in life
 
- The measurement of meaning
 
- The dark triad and meaning
 
- “The Hitler Problem”
 
- Life satisfaction vs. meaning in life
 
- Different forms of pleasure
 
- The possibility for “meaning exhaustion”
 
- Meaningful work
 
- The difference between coherence, purpose, and significance
 
- Different meanings of purpose
 
- The strongest sources of meaning in life
 
Aug 02, 2018
135: The Rise of Victimhood Culture
51:21
Today we have Bradley Campbell on the podcast. Dr. Campbell is a sociologist interested in moral conflict— clashes of right and wrong and how they are handled. Most of his work examines genocide, which normally arises from large-scale interethnic conflicts. Recently he has also begun to examine the much smaller-scale conflicts on modern college campuses. His latest book, co-authored with Jason Manning is called “The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars.”
  • The clash between victimhood and dignity culture
  • The sociology of genocide and conflict
  • The difference between honor culture, dignity culture, and victimhood culture
  • Victimhood as a form of status
  • Microaggressions on campus
  • Anti-PC culture vs. victimhood culture
  • Distinguishing real victimhood from victimhood culture
  • Conservative victimhood vs. liberal victimhood
  • Those who embrace offensiveness
  • Healthy Activism: vs. Psychopathological activism
  • The main goals of the Heterodox Academy
  • The need for more generosity and forgiveness among differing viewpoints, cultures, and neurodiverse individuals
Jul 26, 2018
134: How to Live with Guts and Confidence
47:05

Today it’s great to have Amy Alkon on the podcast. Amy Alkon is a “transdisciplinary applied scientist”, who synthesizes research findings from various areas, translates the findings into understandable language, and then creates practical advice based on the latest science. Alkon writes The Science Advice Goddess, an award-winning, syndicated column that runs in newspapers across the United States and Canada. She is also the author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck and I See Rude People. She has been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NPR, CNN, MTV, and does a weekly science podcast. She has written for Psychology TodayLos Angeles TimesLos Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Daily News, among others, and has given a TED talk. She is the President of the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society, and she lives in Venice, California. Amy’s latest book is Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living With Guts and Confidence.

 

In this episode you will learn:

 

  • The importance of action for overcoming your fears
  • How people-pleasing backfires
  • How you can use fear as a tool for change
  • How to “impersonate your way to being the real you”
  • Why authenticity is overrated
  • How to have a secure self-esteem
  • How to reduce shame
  • How Amy asked for feedback while she was dating
  • How to have the courage to say “no”
  • Why it’s better to have systems than goals
  • “The importance of “small wins”
  • Why dating is a numbers game

 

  • How to feel more empowered in your life
Jul 12, 2018
133: Humanism, Enlightenment and Progress
55:49

Today it’s a great honor to have Steven Pinker on the podcast. Dr. Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his ten books, including The Language InstinctHow the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and most recently, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Pinker is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York TimesThe Guardian, and other publications. 

In this episode we discuss the following topics:

  • The main thread that runs through all of Pinker’s work
  • Does reducing economic inequality increase happiness?
  • Does increased autonomy lead to increased happiness?
  • How humanism is compatible with spirituality
  • Why we should not confuse evolutionary adaptation (in Darwin’s sense) with human worth
  • The difference between the ultimate and proximal levels of analysis
  • Why Evolutionary Psychology is often so misunderstood
  • Why human nature isn’t necessarily conductive to human flourishing
  • How the laws of the universe don’t care about you
  • Why do intellectuals hate progress so much?
  • What are some indicators of human progress?
  • Why should people care about human progress over the course of history?
  • The myth of the suicide and loneliness “epidemics”
  • Why we enjoy and care more about food and children than oxygen
  • Rates of sexual assault and mental health on campus
  • The increasing divisiveness and irrationality of politics
  • How the recent presidential election was a “carnival of irrationality”
  • Humanistic ethics
  • Can we have a good without a God?
  • The possibility of the unification of knowledge across the arts, humanities, and sciences
  • Toward a third culture
Jul 05, 2018
132: Open Wide and Say Awe
55:16

“How can we use these peak experiences to help people create community that is healthy and to be better human beings?” -- Katherine MacLean

Katherine MacLean, PhD is a research scientist, teacher and meditator. In her academic research (2004-2013) at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University, she studied how psychedelics and mindfulness meditation can promote beneficial, long-lasting changes in personality, well-being and brain function. In the fall of 2015, she co-founded and began directing the Psychedelic Education & Continuing Care Program in New York (www.psychedelicprogram.com), where she has facilitated monthly integration groups for psychedelic users and training workshops for both clinicians and the public. She currently lives on an organic farm and is preparing to be a study therapist on the upcoming Phase 3 trial of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more: katherinemaclean.org

In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover the following topics:

- What happened after Katherine “died” in 2012

- Discovery oriented research vs. practical research on psychedelics

- Effects of psychedelics on “existential distress”

- Potential benefits of psychedelics on end-of-life care and terminal cancer patients

- Potential benefits of MDMA for PTSD

- The existence of “enlightened assholes”

- Skepticism about brain research on psychedelics

- The role of the default network in "ego dissolution"

- Misrepresentation of the default network in the psychedelic and meditation literatures

- Benefits of psychedelics and meditation in combination

- Psychedelics and openness to experience

- From anxiety attack to “beauty attack” 

- The potential for healthy psychedelic integration and increased community

Links

"Open Wide and Saw Awe" | Katherine MacLean | TEDxOrcasIsland

A Systematic Review of Personality Trait Change Through Intervention

Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors

Psilocybin Mushrooms for Treating Depression

Validation of the revised Mystical Experience Questionnaire in experimental sessions with psilocybin

Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness

Cognitive aging and long-term maintenance of attentional improvements following meditation training

Therapeutic effect of increased openness: Investigating mechanism of action in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy

Jun 21, 2018
131: How To Be Yourself
35:50
Today we have Dr. Ellen Hendriksen on the podcast. Dr. Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist who helps millions calm their anxiety and be there authentic selves through her award-winning Savvy Psychologist podcast, which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Her latest book is called “How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety.”
 
What is your real self?
 
What is social anxiety?
 
What is the opposite of social anxiety?
 
What’s the goal of therapy to treat social anxiety?
 
How to be comfortable when you are “caught being yourself”
 
The importance of self-compassion
 
The difference between introversion and social anxiety
 
Techniques to overcome social anxiety
 
The Orchid-Dandelion Hypothesis
 
The relationship between the highly sensitive person and openness to experience
 
The importance of going out and living your life first, and letting your confidence catch up
 
The importance of turning attention “inside out”
 
How perfectionism holds us back
 
The importance of “daring to be average”
 
The myth of “hope in a bottle”
 
Gender differences in the manifestation of social anxiety
 
 
Thanks!!
Jun 07, 2018
130: Finding Your Calling at Work
51:19
Today we have Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski on the podcast. Dr. Wrzesniewski is a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. Her research focuses on how people make meaning of their work in difficult contexts, such as stigmatized occupations, virtual work, or absence of work, and the experience of work as a job, career, or calling. Her current research involves studying how employees shape their interactions and relationships with others in the workplace to change both their work identity and the meaning of the job.
 
Topics incude:
 
- The definition of meaning
 
- The four main sources of meaning
 
- Spirituality as a potential source of meaning at work
 
- The way work allows us to transcend the self
 
- The definition of calling
 
- How to find your most meaningful calling
 
- The importance of “self-resonance”
 
- The difference between consequences and motives
 
- What is job crafting and how can it help you increase your calling?
 
- Is job crafting contagious?
 
- The benefit of collective, team-level job crafting
 
- The impact of virtual work on job crafting
 
- How does meaning shape job transitions?
 
- The effects of occupational regret on people’s lives
May 24, 2018
129: Fuzzy Categories
01:04:15

Nature doesn’t care about our desire to have these clean political categories for legal purposes.” — Alice Dreger

Today I’m really excited to have Dr. Alice Dreger on the podcast. Dr. Dreger is a historian, bioethicist, author, and former professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Dreger is widely known for her academic work and activism in support of people at the edge of anatomy, such as conjoined twins and those with atypical sex characteristics. In her observations, it’s often a fuzzy line between “male” and “female”, among other anatomical distinctions. A key question guiding a lot of Dr. Dreger’s work (and which was the topic of her TEDx talk) is “Why do we let our anatomy determine our fate?” Dr. Dreger is the author of multiple books, including “One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal” and “Galieleo’s Middle Finger Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.”

In this episode, we discuss a wide range of topics, including:

  • How Dr. Dreger got involved in the “Intersex Rights Movement” in the mid-90s
  • The difference between anatomy and gender identity
  • The relationship between our bodies and our personal and social identities and the role of science and medicine in determining this relationship
  • Who gets to tell your body what it means
  • How the mind isn’t the only place where identity exists, and how our identities also exist in the minds of others
  • The future of gender pronouns
  • How we should treat those who do not fit traditional notions of sex, such as the fascinating cases of “androgen sensitivity syndrome” and “congenital adrenal hyperplasia”
  • How we can see more value in variation in anatomy
  • The need for a more reality-based government
  • Why the phrase “identity politics” is distracting and only part of a larger problem
  • The benefits and disadvantages of the “Intellectual Dark Web”
  • The increasing difficulty of being able to tell what is true and what is false in the media
  • Why we spend so much of our energy on tribal politics and avoid the real humanitarian problems in the world
  • Why tribal life is so compelling
  • The need to balance male and female ways of being
  • What an “Intellectual Light Web” might look like
May 17, 2018
128: The Path to Purpose
43:00
Today it’s an honor to have Dr. William Damon on the podcast. Dr. Damon is Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and Professor of Education at Stanford University. Damon’s current research explores how young people develop purpose in their civic, work, family, and community relationships. He examines how people learn to approach their vocational and civic lives with a focus on purpose, imagination, and high standards of excellence. Damon also has written widely about how to educate for moral and ethical understanding. Dr. Damon’s most recent books include The Power of IdealsFailing Liberty 101, and The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life.
 
In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover the following topics:
 
- The definition of purpose
 
- The role of values in purpose
 
- The difference between purpose and meaning
 
- Vicktor Frankl’s “will to meaning”
 
- How purpose is a late developing capacity
 
- The difference between purpose and resiliency
 
- The paths to purpose among young people
 
- Methods for developing purpose
 
- Moral commitment among moral exemplars
 
- Purpose among leaders
 
- The importance of taking "ultimate responsibility" in life
 
- How we are leaving young people unprepared in a civic society
May 10, 2018
127: How to Be an Optimal Human
01:02:50

“The happiest person is the person doing good stuff for good reasons.” 

— Kennon Sheldon

Dr. Kennon Sheldon is a psychologist at the University of Missouri who studies motivation, goals, and well-being, from both a self-determination theory and a positive psychology perspective. He has authored or co-authored multiple books, including “Optimal human being: An integrated multi-level perspective”. Dr. Sheldon has been cited more than 30,000 times, and in 2010, he was named one of the 20 most cited social psychologists.

In this wide-ranging episode we discuss:

  • How Ken went from aspiring musician to leading research on goals
  • Whether the pursuit of happiness is worth it
  • Is happiness in your genes?
  • The link between goals and happiness
  • The what and why of motivated goal pursuit
  • The basic needs of self-determination theory
  • Deprivation vs. growth needs
  • Self-concordance theory
  • The link between values and happiness
  • How much can we use science as a guide to values?
  • Are there some ways of being more conducive to happiness than others?
  • How to get in touch with your OVP (organismic valuing process)
  • Marrying positive psychology and humanistic psychology
  • The relationship between personal goals and personal projects
  • How to know when to change your goals
  • The good life: well-being or well-doing?
Apr 26, 2018
126: Creativity from Constraints
33:13

Today I’m delighted to speak with Patricia Stokes, an adjunct professor at Barnard College who studies problem solving and creativity/innovation. Stokes is author of the book Creativity from Constraints: The Psychology of Breakthrough, which was informed by her psychological research as well as her background in art and advertising.

In this episode, we cover:

– How Patricia went from art and advertising to creativity researcher

– The importance of constraints and variability for creativity

– How constraints can promote or preclude creativity

– Using constraints to solve the “creativity problem”

– How “the solution path defines the goal state”

– The four major constraints on creativity

– How teachers and parents should praise children for optimal creativity

– How to reward the courage to be novel

– The importance of constraints in fashion and literature

– How to explain Lady Gaga’s creativity

Apr 19, 2018
125: The Jealousy Cure
42:55

It’s great to have Dr. Robert Leahy on the podcast today. Dr. Leahy completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the direction of Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy. Dr. Leahy is the past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, past president of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (NYC), and a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical School.

Dr. Leahy has received the Aaron T. Beck award for outstanding contributions in cognitive therapy, and he is author and editor of 25 books, including The Worry Cure, which received critical praise from the New York Times and has been selected by Self Magazine as one of the top eight self-help books of all time. His latest book is The Jealousy Cure: Learn to Trust, Overcome Possessiveness, and Save Your Relationship.

Topics:

  • Why Dr. Lahey wrote The Anxiety Cure
  • The new science of jealousy
  • How jealousy differs from envy
  • Why jealousy evolved
  • What is the downside of intense jealousy?
  • Why we don’t want to get rid of jealousy
  • Are men and women equally jealous?
  • The relationship between attachment style and jealousy
  • What if there really is a reason to be jealous?
  • What are some practical techniques that people can use to cope with their jealousy?
  • The importance of normalizing jealousy
Apr 12, 2018
124: Cybernetics and the Science of Personality
01:13:59

Today I’m really excited to have Colin DeYoung on the podcast. Dr. DeYoung is associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in personality psychology but is especially interested in personality neuroscience. Besides being a prolific academic and researcher, I am also honored to count him as a dear friend and collaborator.

In this episode we discussed wide-range of topics relating to personality, including:

  • The modern day personality hierarchy
  • The “Big Two”: Stability and Plasticity
  • How Carl Jung developed his theory of introversion
  • The latest science of introversion
  • The scientific validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Dopamine as the “neuromodulator of exploration”
  • The two major dopamingeric pathways
  • Why personality variation evolved
  • The neuroscience of conscientiousness
  • The link between compassion and imagination
  • The neuroscience of anxiety
  • The cybernetics of personality
  • Rethinking psychopathology
  • The effects of therapy on personality change

Links

Cybernetic Big Five Theory

The neuromodulator of exploration: A unifying theory of the role of dopamine in personality

Personality neuroscience and the biology of traits

Opening up openness to experience: A four-factor model and relations to creative achievement in the arts and sciences

The neuroscience of anxiety 

Apr 05, 2018
123: Wonder, Creativity, and the Personality of Political Correctness
39:31

Today we have Dr. Jordan Peterson on the podcast. Dr. Peterson has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and business people, consulted for the UN Secretary General, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an adviser to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe. With his students and colleagues at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Dr. Peterson has published over a hundred scientific papers. Dr. Peterson is also author of two books: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which is a #1 bestseller.

In this wide-ranging conversation we discuss the following topics:

– Why “learned irrelevance” is incredibly important

– Why creativity requires keeping a childlike wonder

– How hallucinogens clear the “doors of perception”

– The “shared vulnerability” model of the creativity-mental illness connection

– The neuroscience of openness to experience

– The personality of personal correctness

– The practical implications of gender differences

– The function of the state in helping to make sure there is equality of individual expression

– How agreeableness and conscientiousness orient us differently in the social world

– The difference between pathological altruism and genuine compassion

– The link between pathological altruism and vulnerable narcissism

– The difference between responsibility and culpability

– How to help people take responsibility and make their lives better

 

Links

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson- What the State is For

Jordan Peterson- Future Authoring Program

Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals

Creativity and Psychopathology: A Shared Vulnerability Model

Openness to Experience and Intellect Differentially Predict Creative Achievement in the Arts and Science

Openness/Intellect: The Core of the Creative Personality

The Evolutionary Genetics of the Creativity-Psychosis Connection

Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius? 

The Real Neuroscience of Creativity

Personality and Complex Brain Networks: The Role of Openness to Experience in Default Network Efficiency

The Personality of Political Correctness

Default and Executive Network Coupling Supports Creative Idea Production

Gender Differences in Personality Across the Ten Aspects of the Big Five

Pathological Altruism

Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism

Mar 29, 2018
122: Genius Foods
45:01

Today I’m really excited to have Max Lugavere on the podcast. Max is a filmmaker, health and science journalist, and brain food expert. He is also the director of the upcoming film Bread Head, the first-ever documentary about dementia prevention through diet and lifestyle, and he is co-author, with Dr. Paul Grewal, of the just released book, Genius Foods.

In this episode, we discuss the following:

  • How he got into his line of work
  • How Alzheimer’s may be prevented through diet
  • The biomarkers of aging
  • Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
  • How to understand research on diet and medicine
  • Genius foods you can add to your diet right now
  • His supplement regime
  • The importance of gut health
  • The Hygiene Hypothesis on the rise of autoimmune diseases
  • The only fruits he recommends for a healthy diet
  • Cholesterol—not bad after all?
  •  The emerging research on “psychobiotics” (treating psychological disorders with probiotics)
  • Stress, sleep and exercise
  • Metabolic health and the brain

Links

Follow Max on Twitter

Get his book Genius Foods, which is out now

For everything else Max does 

 
 
Mar 22, 2018
121: The Self, Identity, and Removing the Mask
57:51
This week I'm thrilled to welcome Mark Leary, Ph.D. to The Psychology Podcast! Dr. Leary is the Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and author of The Curse of the Self. His research interests focus on social motivation and emotion, and on processes involving self-reflection and self-relevant thought. He has written or edited 12 books and over 200 scholarly articles and chapters. He was the 2010 recipient of the Lifetime Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity and a 2015 co-recipient of the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. 

During our chat we covered a number of mutual research interests including:
  • Self-esteem, identity and their relationships to behavior
  • The distinction between “instrumental social value" and "relational social value"

  • The human need for belonging

  • The concept of “self-presentation strategies" and their variations:

    • Imposter syndrome

    • Self-promotion

    • Ingratiation

  • The difference between egoism and egotism
 
Links:
 
 Read Dr. Leary's new blog at PsychologyToday
Mar 15, 2018
120: The Devastating Opioid Epidemic
33:57

Today I’m delighted to have actress Kathryn Prescott on the podcast! Kathryn is an actor and photographer, originally from London. Ms. Prescott got her first big break when she was 17 playing Emily, a young lesbian with a homophobic twin sister, in the cult UK TV show “Skins”. A few years later she moved to the US to play the lead role in the MTV teen drama “Finding Carter” and has since appeared in various other projects including ‘To The Bone’, ‘Reign’ and ’24: Legacy’. Ms. Prescott is currently shooting her second season of AMC’s ‘The Son’ and has a movie coming out on Netflix in April called “Dude”.

After joining up with The Big Issue Foundation and Centrepoint in the UK for a photography exhibition to raise money for both organizations, she wanted to do something similar in the US, so she got in touch with Homeless Health Care Los Angeles but decided to do something a little different. Her film explores the cyclical nature of pain and isolation when it comes to addiction while highlighting the devastating effect that the opioid epidemic is having on America’s youth. Mrs. Prescott has been surrounded by addiction throughout her life and people’s reactions to it have always fascinated her.

In addition to listening to this fascinating interview with Ms. Prescott, please watch and share her important video and see other links below:

 

Links

The official website for “Dear You”

“Dear You” on social media: TwitterInstagram, & Facebook

A great podcast explaining how one sentence helped set off the opioid epidemic

Comedian Stuart McMillen explaining the “Rat Park” experiments

Johann Hari’s TED talk on why everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

Kathryn Prescott on twitter

Homeless Health Care Los Angeles

Podcast chat with Maia Szalavitz on rethinking addiction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=PY9DcIMGxMs

Mar 08, 2018
119: A Theory of Awkwardness
24:58
Melissa Dahl is a senior editor covering health and psychology for New York's The Cut. In 2014, she cofounded New York’s popular social science site, Science of Us. Her work has appeared in Elle, Parents, and TODAY.com. Her new book, Cringeworthy, is her first book. 
 
In our conversation, Melissa shares with us:
 
- How awkwardness comes from self-consciousness and uncertainty
 
- How doing improv can help you become less awkward
 
- How we create more drama with ourselves than necessary
 
- What we can do to become more one with our awkwardness
 
- Why the “irreconcilable gap” can lead to awkwardness
 
- How to find the “growing edge” and challenge yourself to have more awkward conversations
 
This episode may be the most awkward episode of The Psychology Podcast yet (and that’s saying a lot!). So you won’t want to miss it! :)
Feb 22, 2018
118: Shades of Pride
29:28

“What is it in the human psyche that allows us to achieve, create, discover, and invent in ways that no other species can?”

This is a question Jessica Tracy explores in her book Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success. Tracy is a professor of psychology, an emotion researcher, and a social-personality psychologist at the University of British Columbia. In our conversation we discuss the established and emerging research on:

  • The 2 distinct expressions of pride (hubristic and authentic), and how they relate to the routes to power (dominance and prestige),
  • The experience and expressions of shame, and how the emotion has made its way into the research on everything from narcissism to addiction,
  • The moral and self-conscious emotions, and the roles they play in decision making.

Thanks to Jessica for coming on the podcast and discussing these fascinating and important lines of research!

Feb 15, 2018
117: Stress Proof
35:21

Dr. Mithu Storoni is a Cambridge-educated physician, researcher and author, interested in chronic stress and its implications on mental well-being, decision-making, performance, and brain health.  In her latest book STRESS PROOF – the scientific solution to protect your brain and body and be more resilient every day, she takes cutting-edge research findings from over 500 published studies and distills them into hundreds of lifestyle-based tricks to help our brains achieve improved mental clarity, increased tranquility, sharper focus, and heightened performance.

In our conversation, Mitthu shares with us:

  • The physical symptoms of stress
  • Tips to improve your emotional regulation
  • The perils of rumination and how to overcome it
  • The physiological differences between acute and chronic stress
  • The benefits of different kinds of meditation (mindfulness, open-monitoring, etc.)
  • The research on how lifestyle interventions (ie. The mind diet, cognitive training) can be used to treat chronic stress

You can find Mithu’s book Stress Proof on Amazon.

Follow Mithu on Twitter @StoroniMithu. 

 

Feb 08, 2018
116: Using Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts
40:28

Today I’m really excited to have James and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski on the podcast. James is Professor of Practice and Director of Education in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania where he cofounded the Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program with Martin Seligman. Suzie is a freelance writer, Psychology Today blogger, and well-being consultant specializing in the science of happiness and its effects on relationships and health. Together, James and Suzie are co-authors of the newly-released book “Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts”. They also give Romance and ResearchTM workshops together around the world.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What people get wrong about relationships
  • What the "relationship gym" is
  • How to cultivate "Aristotelian love"
  • The specific ways positive psychology can help you be happy with a partner
  • The role of gratitude in relationships
  • How to sustain passion in a relationship
Jan 18, 2018
115: Psychedelics and the Founding of Transpersonal Psychology
50:26
James Fadiman is a Harvard-trained psychologist and writer, who is known for his extensive work in the field of psychedelic research. He co-founded, along with Robert Frager, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, which later became Sofia University, where he was a lecturer in psychedelic studies. Fadiman is author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys.

In this episode, we discuss:

- Why he decided to scientifically study the positive effects of LSD

- Why the psychedelic experience is so transformative for so many people

- How the psychedelic experience evaporates boundaries

- The limitations of science

- Fadiman’s experience with Abraham Maslow on an airplane

- The founding of transpersonal psychology

- The potential benefits of "psychedelic therapy"

- How one can have enlightenment without compassion ("false enlightenment")

- The importance of the Bodhisattva Path

- How accepting our multiple selves can increase understanding and compassion

Jan 11, 2018
114: Existential-Humanistic Therapy
30:05

Adventure and awe are key to the perpetuation of vibrant, evolving lives, and in combination with technological advances may bring marvels to our emerging repertoires.” — Kirk Schneider

Kirk Schneider is a psychotherapist who has taken a leading role in the advancement of existential-humanistic therapy and existential-integrative therapy. He has authored or coauthored ten books, including The Paradoxical SelfHumanity’s Dark SideExistential-Integrative PsychotherapyThe Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May), The Polarized MindThe Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, and Awakening to Awe. Dr. Schneider is the 2004 recipient of the Rollo May award for “outstanding and independent pursuit of new frontiers in humanistic psychology” from the Humanistic Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association.

In this episode, Kirk teaches us how we can connect with the mystery and discovery in our daily lives in a way that allows us to feel, sense, imagine, create, wonder, and to feel the dysphoric feelings as well, the poignancy of sadness of hurt or anger, and in essence, experience a larger sense of life and of creative work. Kirk's seminal work in existential-humanistic therapy has helped many people be more open to new possibilities and sensitivities to oneself as well as other people, other species, and have a more profound appreciation of our fleeting time in space. Among these topics, we also discuss the following:

  • What is existential-humanistic therapy?
  • Kirk’s kinship with Rollo May
  • Kirk's debate with Ken Wilbur about "ultimate consciousness"
  • Kirk's vision of an awe-based era in the age of roboticism
  • Kirk's vision of "depth healers"
  • How to preserve the core of humanity in this brave new world

Links

The Spirituality of Awe

Existential-Humanistic Therapy (2nd edition)

The Deified Self: A "Centaur" Response to Wilber and the Transpersonal Movement by Kirk Schneider

Rollo May: Personal Reflections and Appreciation by James F.T. Bugental

Dec 27, 2017
113: Spending Smarter
27:42

“Money is incredible, but some of the things that make it incredible make it difficult to use.”

Dan Ariely

Today I’m excited to welcome Dan Ariely to The Psychology Podcast. Dan is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. Through his research and his (often unorthodox) experiments, he questions the forces that influence human behavior and the irrational ways in which we often all behave. He is author of the bestsellers Predictably IrrationalThe Upside of Irrationality, and several others, and his latest book is Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter.

In our conversation we cover:

  • Why he decided to dedicate a whole book to money
  • How the “pain of paying” affects how much we spend
  • Why we tend to undervalue saving
  • How fairness impacts our perception of value
  • Why bad spending becomes a habit

In this episode you’ll learn how to think about money and spend it in smarter ways. It was great getting to chat with Dan, and interesting to see the overlap between his research in Behavioral Economics and the research coming out of Positive Psychology. Enjoy!

Links:

Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter

https://www.amazon.com/Dollars-Sense-Misthink-Money-Smarter/dp/006265120X [Book]

Follow Dan on Twitter

https://twitter.com/danariely

For more resources and information on Dan and his research

http://danariely.com/

Dec 20, 2017
112: America the Anxious
44:15

The process of being happy has become painfully comically neurotic" - Ruth Whippman

This week I am delighted to welcome Ruth Whippman to The Psychology Podcast. Ruth is the author of America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks. The book has been covered by New York MagazineThe New York TimesThe New York PostThe Washington Post, and VICE, among others.

Today we bring to you spirited discussion topics such as:

  • The cultural differences between America and Britain regarding attitudes about happiness (Ruth moved from London to California 6 years ago with her husband and 2 young sons).
  • Dosage effects of positive interventions—Is it useful to try to feel good all the time?
  • The standards to which we hold motivational speakers, popular science writers, and scientists themselves—Is it okay for standards to differ?
  • The rampant promotion of  "pseudo-growth" among corporate flourishing initiatives.
  • The parenting "happiness rat race".

Enjoy, and if you have thoughts on the episode be sure to leave a comment below!

Links:

You can find Ruth's book America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/America-Anxious-Pursuit-Happiness-Creating/dp/1250071526 [Book]

Follow Ruth on Twitter @ruthwhippman

http://twitter.com/ruthwhippman

Bob Emmons on the Power of Gratitude:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/the_power_of_gratitude [Video]

http://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Emmons-paper-for-Gratitude-Complaint-consultation-September-2017.pdf [Paper]

Dec 06, 2017
111: Not by Chance Alone
01:11:01

"Life is full of lessons, and 'playing the hand you're dealt as well as you can play it' is a good one." -- Elliot Aronson

Today I'm incredibly excited to welcome the legendary Elliot Aronson to The Psychology Podcast. Aronson is an eminent social psychologist who is best known for his groundbreaking experiments on the theory of cognitive dissonance and for his invention of the Jigsaw Classroom, a highly effective cooperative teaching technique which facilitates learning while reducing interethnic hostility and prejudice. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: for writing, for teaching, and for research, and in 2007 he received the William James Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association for Psychological Science, in which he was cited as the scientist who "fundamentally changed the way we look at everyday life.”

Over the course of our in-depth and wide-ranging discussion, Aronson:

  • Shares stories and key lessons from his famous mentors–Abraham Maslow and Leon Festinger–and how each of the two altered the course of his life,
  • Illuminates with examples some of his most fascinating findings in the field of Social Psychology,
  • Offers his take on the replication crisis and on what he calls the "TED-ification" of Psychology,
  • Imparts on us wisdom he's gathered not just as a researcher and psychologist but also as a father and brother.

It was a pleasure to have a legend in the field on the show for such a comprehensive conversation, filled with stories and lessons. Enjoy!

Links:

Elliot Aronson's memoir, Not By Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist, is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Not-Chance-Alone-Social-Psychologist/dp/0465031390 [Book]

To learn more about Aronson's highly effective Jigsaw Classroom (from outcomes to implementation) visit https://www.jigsaw.org/ [Resource]

The Social  Animal - Through vivid narrative, lively presentations of important research, and intriguing examples, Aronson's textbook offers a brief, compelling introduction to modern social psychology https://www.amazon.com/Social-Animal-Elliot-Aronson/dp/1429233419 [Textbook]

(Mentioned) Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003K15IOE [Book]

Nov 22, 2017
110: The Mask of Masculinity
39:52

I look at a man as a symbol of inspiration.
Someone who looks to be of service along his journey.
Someone who experiences fears but has the courage to face them and move forward anyway. Someone who’s loving to all people and creatures in world, including himself.
Someone who can take care of his basic needs and teach others how to live in abundance. Someone who doesn’t judge people but looks for ways to lift others up.
Someone who leaves this place better than the way he found it.
That, to me, is a man.

— Lewis Howes

Today it’s great to have Lewis Howes on The Psychology Podcast! Lewis is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach, author and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and 2-sport All American, Lewis hosts The School of Greatness Podcast, which has received millions of downloads since it was launched in 2013. Howes is also an advisory board member of Pencils of Promise. His latest book is The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives.

Our conversation covers a few key themes such as:

The power of vulnerability and the role it’s played in Lewis’ life
The masks men wear to hide who they truly are and the benefits of taking off these masks
The male role models Lewis personally looks to for inspiration, and what he admires about them
Hope you enjoy my conversation with Lewis, and if you want to learn more about each of the masks mentioned, be sure to check out his new book The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives.

Links:

You can find The Mask of Masculinity on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Mask-Masculinity-Embrace-Vulnerability-Relationships/dp/1623368626/)

You can listen to The School of Greatness on iTunes, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-school-of-greatness-with-lewis-howes/id596047499?mt=2

Follow Lewis on Twitter @LewisHowes https://twitter.com/LewisHowes

Nov 01, 2017
109: The Art of Charm
42:21

Today I’m excited to welcome Jordan Harbinger to The Psychology Podcast. Jordan is an entrepreneur, talk show host, and world-renowned social dynamics expert. As co-founder of The Art of Charm, he has helped develop one of the leading self-development programs in the world, with a special expertise in social capital, relationship-building, and authentic rapport. He is also the host of The Art of Charm Podcast, where he interviews leading entrepreneurs, celebrities, authors, and experts on psychology, human performance, behavioral economics, and success.

In our wide-ranging discussion, Jordan and I talk about:

 

  • How The Art of Charm came to be (and how it evolved to be differ from the pick-up artist movement)
  • What kinds of things go on at his intense, 6-day live programs
  • Where his work at the Art of Charm draws from the world of Positive Psychology
  • Why it’s important to seek expertise from the right places and set healthy expectations
  • Why feeling comfortable in your skin is more of a subtractive process than an additive process, and how to go about achieving this
  • Why we need to delegate nonverbal communication to the level of habit, and some actionable tips for doing so (such as his famous “doorway drill”)
  • Why we should be more open to the idea of outgrowing friends, and signs it’s time to let a friend go
  • How all of this relates to the delicate balance of being and becoming, and the risks inherent in not striving to be your most authentic self

 

This episode offers a lot of food for thought around self development and how we can use scientifically-proven techniques to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Enjoy!

Find Jordan at:

Oct 26, 2017
108: Making Good Decisions
31:19

Today I'm glad to welcome Cheryl Einhorn to The Psychology Podcast! Cheryl is the creator of the AREA Method, a decision making system for individuals and companies to solve complex problems. She is also the founder of CSE Consulting and the author of the book Problem Solved, a Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence & Conviction. Cheryl teaches as an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and has won several journalism awards for her investigative stories about international political, business and economic topics.

In our conversation she takes us through the philosophy behind her unique perspective taking process for making better decisions as well as through each of the steps:

  • The AREA Method gets its name from the perspectives that it addresses: Absolute, Relative, Exploration & Exploitation and Analysis:
    • A, or Absolute, refers to the perspective of the research target. It is primary, uninfluenced information from the source itself.
    • R, or Relative, refers to the perspective of outsiders around the target. It is secondary information, or information that has been filtered through sources connected to the target.
    • E, or Exploration and Exploitation, are really about the human mind. Exploration is about listening to what other people think and believe. Exploitation is about listening to yourself and examining your own assumptions and judgment.
    • The second A, or Analysis, synthesizes all of these perspectives, processing and interpreting the information you’ve collected.

Cheryl also shares stories of the people she encountered along her journey of researching the book and explains a variety of applications of this method. We hope you enjoy this actionable episode, and if you're interested to applying this method to a decision you're struggling with right now, be sure to check out Cheryl's free resources!

Links:

Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence and Conviction is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Solved-Decisions-Confidence-Conviction/dp/163265086X/

What Kind of Problem Solver Are You [Quiz] https://app.areamethod.com/

Downloadable "Cheetah Sheets" [Download] http://www.areamethod.com/downloads/

More examples of the AREA method at work [Case Studies] http://www.areamethod.com/area-at-work/

Follow Cheryl on Twitter https://twitter.com/cheryleinhorn

 

Oct 24, 2017
107: Peak Performance
41:52

This week I’m excited to welcome Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness to The Psychology Podcast. Brad writes for OutsideRunner’s WorldNPR and has a column in the Huffington Post about health and the science of human performance. Steve Magness coaches Olympians and marathoners, lectures at St. Mary’s University on Exercise Science, and writes for numerous publications including WiredSports Illustrated and NY Magazine on the science of performance.

Together they are partners in peak performance, in research, and in writing their latest book Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success.

In this conversation, Brad and Steve teach us:

  • Why the word “performance” can be deceiving and how those of us focused on creative endeavors, who may not think of “performance” as an end goal, can benefit from their research,
  • Why both physical and cognitive rest are crucial for world-class performance in our pursuits, in what’s known as the Paradox of Rest (some of you probably know how much I love a good paradox!),
  • How harmonious passion maps onto their ideas about burnout, and how to identify whether a pursuit is rooted in harmonious or obsessive passion,
  • Why Brad and Steve limit themselves to 24-48 hours of celebration or wallowing after identity-validating or identity-challenging events,
  • How to optimize our routines to achieve peak performance,
  • Why transcendence is one of the most underrated characteristics of peak performance.
Oct 11, 2017
106: The Power Paradox
41:22

"Power is given, not grabbed.” — Dacher Keltner

Today I’m really excited to have Dr. Dacher Keltner join me for his second appearance on The Psychology Podcast!

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the biological and evolutionary origins of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies the science of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and how emotions shape our moral intuition. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and of The Compassionate Instinct.

His latest book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence.

In our conversation we discuss several of Dacher’s ideas surrounding power including:

  • The unique definition of power he presents in the book
  • The recent development in power research of the 2 paths to power:
    • Domination, Manipulation, Coercion
    • Status, Respect, Strong Ties
  • The myth of power stereotypes
  • The problems of power
    • The challenges of getting it
    • The difficulties of maintaining it
    • The dangers of becoming addicted to it
  • The Humility pathway of enduring power

Links:

The Power Paradox is available on Amazon

Follow Dacher’s Greater Good Lab on Twitter

[Book] Good to Great – Jim Collins (mentioned-“The final stage of leadership is service”)

[Book] On Tyranny -Timothy Snyder (mentioned-“People give power to tyrants”)

[Book] Soft Power – Joseph Nye (mentioned)

Oct 04, 2017
105: Popularity and the Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World
29:43

Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D. is board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology, and serves as the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and the Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his research have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, the LA Times, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, TIME magazine, New York magazine, Newsweek, and elsewhere.

In his latest book Popular: The Power of Likeability in A Status-Obsessed World, Prinstein examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness—and why we don’t always want to be the most popular.

In our conversation we cover this and more, with key themes being:

  • Why seeking popularity is actually a basic human need,
  • Why it's not always the "conventionally popular" people who fare best, and how this relates to the (2) different strategies for achieving popularity:
    • Likeability
    • Status
  • How studies can help explain both the basic human needs Facebook serves, and the more general status-seeking phenomenon on social media,
  • What it means to induce a "Popularity Boomerang", and how becoming aware of it can fundamentally change the environment you exist in,
  • How your early experiences of popularity (or lack thereof) are probably helping or hindering how you show up in the world today, and if hindering, how you can overcome its effects,
  • Why  it's more important the raise likeable kids than you might think, and the parenting implications of popularity research,
  • The likeability advantage.

We hope this conversation gives you some insights about popularity that will help you achieve your social, personal, and professional goals. Enjoy!

Links:

Popular: The Power of Likeability in A Status-Obsessed World is out now https://www.amazon.com/Popular-Power-Likability-Status-Obsessed-World/dp/0399563733/

Read an overview of the book and to take the Popularity Quiz http://www.mitchprinstein.com/books/popular-book/

Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchprinstein https://twitter.com/mitchprinstein

For more information on Mitch or his research visit  http://www.mitchprinstein.com/

Sep 27, 2017
104: High Performance Habits
01:10:32

"What are the deliberate habits I can do consciously and consistently to keep getting better?" -- Brendon Burchard

This week I'm delighted to welcome Brendon Burchard to The Psychology Podcast! After suffering depression and surviving a car accident at the age of 19, Brendon faced what he felt were life’s last questions: “Did I live fully? Did I love openly? Did I make a difference?” His intention to be happy with the answers led to his own personal breakthroughs, and ultimately to his life’s purpose of helping others live, to love, and to matter. He spent his 20s researching psychology and leadership, and consulting at Accenture. By age 32, he went out on his own and became a #1 best-selling author, an in-demand high performance coach, a sought-after speaker, and an early pioneer in the online education space.

A #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 Amazon and #1 USA Today best-selling author, Brendon’s books include The Motivation ManifestoThe ChargeThe Millionaire Messenger and Life’s Golden Ticket. His latest book is High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.

In this episode we have an enthusiastic and empirically-informed conversation about:

  • How Brendon's past lead him to become the personal growth expert and multi-media pioneer he is today
  • How thinking about life in terms of these 3 types can help you identify when it's time to take action or level up:
    1. Caged life
    2. Comfortable life
    3. Charged life
  • How these 6 high performance habits can help you achieve long-term success and vibrant well-being:
    1. Seek clarity
    2. Generate energy
    3. Raise necessity
    4. Increase productivity
    5. Develop influence
    6. Demonstrate courage
  • How these 4 key characteristics set successful creatives apart:
    1. Identity
    2. Obsession
    3. Social Duty
    4. Deadline
  • How Brendon thinks about backing his illuminating frameworks with research

We cover several useful frameworks in this episode, so be sure to enjoy it with a pen in hand. If you're like us, you'll want to take a lot of notes!

Links:

Preorder High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

[Resource] You can read the first 2 chapter's of Brendon's book here

[Books] Albert Bandura's work on self efficacy (mentioned)

[Book] The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden (mentioned)  

[Book] How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth M. Kidder (Brendon recommends complementing the reading of his book with this book)

[Twitter] Follow Brendon on Twitter @BrendonBurchard

Sep 20, 2017
103: “Questioning” the Four Tendencies
47:26

This week we're delighted to have Gretchen Rubin on The Psychology Podcast! Gretchen is the author of several books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, Better Than BeforeThe Happiness Project and Happier at Home. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold almost three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. On her popular weekly podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she discusses good habits and happiness with her sister Elizabeth Craft; they’ve been called the “Click and Clack of podcasters.” Her podcast was named in iTunes’s lists of “Best Podcasts of 2015” and was named in the Academy of Podcasters “Best Podcasts of 2016". Gretchen's latest book is The Four Tendencies, which is the main focus of this episode's lively discussion and debate.

The larger themes of our conversation include:

  • The four tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Oblidgers, and Questioners; they refer to the different ways each of us responds to internal and external expectations
  • How Gretchen came up with these 4 categories
  • The ways in which each of these 4 categories may be found to correlate with different "Big 5" personality traits
  • The disadvantages of studying discrete types in the world of personality psychology
  • The level of rigor necessary to distinguish a theory from a fully-formed, brand new personality dimension
  • The place for writing that presents theories built on a more observational and experiential notion of truth, as opposed to a rigorously tested truth
  • The ways that knowing your type can help you harness both your own strengths and those of others

Links:

[Book] The Four Tendencies

[Quiz] Take Gretchen's Four Tendencies Quiz 

[Twitter] Follow Gretchen on Twitter for updates

Sep 13, 2017
102: Rethinking Addiction
45:32

This week we're glad to welcome Maia Szalavitz to the podcast! Maia Szalavitz is one of the premier American journalists covering addiction and drugs. She is a co-author of Born for Love and The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, as well as a writer for TIME.comVICE, the New York TimesScientific American Mind, Elle, Psychology Today and Marie Claire among others. Her latest book is Unbroken Brain, which challenges the idea of the addict's "broken brain" and the simplistic notion of an "addictive personality".

The key themes of our conversation include:

  •  The personal nature of her book and how emergent science has helped her understand her past
  • Where the brain is and isn't to blame in the rise of addiction in individuals
  • "Addiction is not a sin or a choice. It's also not a chronic brain disease."
  • Why many addictive behaviors are adaptive, and the distinction between an "addiction" and a "dependence"
  • "Traits that we think are useless can be useful in some settings."
  • Why she advocates for a shift from belief-cased addiction treatment (ex. 12-step program) to evidence-based treatment
  • "We all learn to become who we are." We end the conversation with a discussion of what this means to Maia and how we can all benefit from reflecting on this idea in different facets of our lives.

Maia offers a paradigm-shifting take on thinking about addiction, and we think you will learn a lot from this episode. Enjoy!

Sep 06, 2017
101: Science and Skepticism
54:24

This week we're excited to welcome Dr. Michael Shermer to The Psychology Podcast. Michael is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He has also been a college professor since 1979 and is currently a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, where he teaches Skepticism 101. In our conversation, Michael sheds light on a smorgasbord of intersections between psychology and skepticism. This episode is also a great primer for those of you who are curious about what it means to think like a skeptic.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The core tenants of skepticism
  • The difference between skepticism and cynicism
  • Whether it's possible--in the eyes of a skeptic--to "prove everything"
  • The evidence-based probability that God exists
  • How individual differences in personality (ex. Agreeableness) play a role in one's proclivity for critical inquiry
  • Whether Michael would consider himself a skepticism "guru"
  • How to suspend disbelief when you need to act but don't have all the evidence
  • Michael's interpretation of the free speech discussion in light of recent events
  • The recent conflation of free speech and hate speech
  • Why we might be better off evaluating human problems relatively (as opposed to objectively)
  • The differences between Atheists, humanists, and skeptics
  • Michael's take on topics discussed by futurists (e.g. The singularity, cryogenics)
  • Whether or not he is scared of death
  • The distinction between meaning

We wrap up the conversation by connecting the science of flourishing to positive psychology, where we cover the loci of focus that can predictably  bring us a sense of purpose, and the distinction between meaning and happiness.

Enjoy!

Links:

Skeptic magazine and other resources on skepticism

Michael's blog for Scientific America entitled "Skeptic"

Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter

You can preorder his new book Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the AfterlifeImmortality & Utopia on Amazon

Aug 30, 2017
100: Why Buddhism is True
50:43

This week we're excited to have Robert Wright on The Psychology Podcast. Robert is the New York Times best-selling author of NonzeroThe Moral AnimalThe Evolution of God, and most recently Why Buddhism is True. He has also written for The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe New York TimesTimeSlate, and The New Republic, and has taught at The University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, where he also created the online course Buddhism and Modern Psychology. Robert draws on his wide-ranging knowledge of science, religion, psychology, history and politics to figure out what makes humanity tick.

In this episode we cover:

  • How "taking the red pill" from The Matrix can be likened to the practice of mediation,
  • How and why "our brains evolved to delude us",
  • If and how Buddhism gets you more in touch with "reality", including the bottom-up processes of cognition,
  • Whether or not one can take parts of the practice too far,
  • How Buddhism can be beneficial for seeing beauty where you didn't before,
  • Why our default state of consciousness isn’t necessarily good,
  • How this book might infer that evolutionary psychology is not a complete explanation for many human tendencies,
  • Why many feelings are illusions and how we know when they are,
  • Why it's true that "the more we engage a 'module' the more power it has",
  • Robert's interpretation of what the Buddha really meant by the "non-self", and how this does or does not conflict with one's sense of identity.

In our conversation, Robert offers Buddhism as a solution for finding and sustaining happiness, exploring the interplay between Buddhist practices and evolutionary psychology in an unprecedented way. You may also find this episode interesting if you're curious about whether it's possible to see the world "accurately" or whether that's even best for one's well being. Enjoy!

Note to Psychology Podcast listeners: This happens to be the 100th episode of The Psychology Podcast. Thank you for your support! It's been a fun journey so far, and we're looking forward to the next 100 episodes!

Aug 16, 2017
99: Growing Grit in Teens
34:09

Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman is a clinical psychologist, certified school psychologist, and author of The Grit Guide for Teens. She’s also authored numerous articles and workshops on topics such as cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, helping children and adults cope with stress and worry, helping people change, and developing grit and self-control. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Caren and I talk about how her work on grit was a natural outgrowth of her clinical practice, and how this led to writing a book specifically for teens. We also cover what she adds to Angela Duckworth’s definition of grit, and her thoughts on some of the controversies surrounding grit, such as the grit vs. conscientiousness debate and the circumstantial factors that affect grit that may be out of one’s control. We also discuss why parenting is different today and the importance of social support in cultivating grit. Lastly Caren sheds some light on things we can pay attention to in order to increase success in achieving our goals, such as the concept of the “two minds” she talks about in her book—the short-term and long-term minds—, effective vs. ineffective goals, why grit for the sake of grittiness isn’t the goal, and why it’s important to connect grit to our values.

Links

The Grit Guide For Teens is out now

All papers mentioned can be found here

http://drbaruchfeldman.com/blog/

https://twitter.com/carenfeldman

Aug 09, 2017
98: Real Love
46:37

Sharon Salzberg is a NYT best-selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. She also cofounded the Insight Meditation Society and is the author of 9 books, the most recent being Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.

In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we get to learn about why Sharon has devoted her life to these ideas, how meditation has impacted her consciousness, what characterizes "real love", what differences exist between the modern-scientific notions of attachment and Buddhist notions of nonattachment, what Loving Kindness practice is, how you can love someone even if you don't like them (and why you should), how to extend compassion to people who are already self-satisfied, why an important component of self-love is accountability, empathy burnout, how stories play a role in love, why love isn't a state, why excitement vs. familiarity in romantic relationships is perhaps a false paradox, and how mindfulness can help you reframe even the most emotionally difficult situations.

Sharon also takes us through her RAIN model for mindfulness:

R -recognize

A - acknowledge

I - investigate

N - nonidentification

Enjoy!

Links:

Buy Sharon's new book Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

Follow Sharon on Twitter

Find Sharon's meditations on:

The Insight Timer meditation app (iOS and Android) 

[Book] Eric Fromm's Art of Loving (mentioned)

Aug 02, 2017
97: Aging Meaningfully
39:54

I’m really excited to have Christina Pierpaoli on the podcast. Christina is a graduate student in the Geropsychological doctoral program at the University of Alabama. Her research explores associations between chronic illness and psychological health in older adults, and she is by all accounts a rising star in the field of psychology.

For our listeners who may not be familiar with the literature, Geropsychology is the psychology of aging. As Christina puts it, this particular field of psychology can be described as “underrated, poorly understood, embryonic, and riddled with all sorts of stigma”. The world and the United States are aging precipitously, with the estimate that by 2030 1 in 5 Americans will be considered an older adult, but few people are talking about it.

In our conversation, Christina offers that “people are uncomfortable with talking about aging because talking about aging invites a conversation of mortality and finiteness” and speaks to the research showing that “the earlier and more often you think about your own mortality, the more gracefully you will live your life.”

Other things we talk about are the differences in language used to describe getting older when we are young vs. when we are older, unique issues older adults face that younger adults don’t, the idea of subjective age vs. chronological age vs. biological age, the role feeling useful plays in  life satisfaction as we age, the idea of loneliness as “the silent killer”, why Christina is so interested in older people, and why she writes a blog about this topic.

Christina brings a unique combination of young and old spirit to the field, a refreshing take on academia and how to get the ideas she finds important into the minds of the people who’d find them useful. No matter your age, you’re sure to get something out of this podcast. Enjoy!

Related Links

Christina’s blog for Psychology Today

Christina’s twitter @youngoldsoul 

Jul 22, 2017
96: Awakening Compassion in the Workplace
53:17

Today I'm really excited to have Monica Worline and Jane Dutton on the podcast, co-authors of the new book Awakening Compassion at Work: the Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations.

Monica Worline, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of EnlivenWork. She is also a research scientist at Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and executive director of Compassion Lab. Jane Dutton, Ph.D., is the Robert L Kahn distinguished University professor of business administration and psychology and cofounder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. She's also a founding member of Compassion Lab.

A central thread in their work is that business has become dehumanized and impersonal. "One of the things that we're seeing as technology takes over more of our work spaces is there's an expectation that people are always available and always on, but that is driving out some of the human connection of work. " Increased busyness, workplace pressures and the distractions of technology increase our attentional load and handicap us from being able to notice the need for acts of compassion. The two define compassion in a way that is distinct from most psychologists.

That is, their definition is a 4-step process:

  • Noticing
  • Interpreting (Making sense of human suffering)
  • Feeling
  • Acting (Responding to human suffering)

In our conversation we unpack what each of these stages entails as well as addressing male vs. female values in the workplace, the role of the "toxin handler" in the ecosystem, why goal-oriented people should consider working on the culture of compassion at work, how to tackle the short term vs. long term horizon challenges of business when building compassionate cultures, and how organizations have become obstacles to compassion at work.

We can only alleviate what we pay attention to.  The demanding culture of work organizations can drive out our capacity to notice the human state of other people. Through their book and speaking, Dutton and Worline hope to empower change agents in a host of settings.

We hope that you leave this episode with a newfound sense of the importance of compassion and with multiple languages to convince others in your organizations to enforce and devote resources to it. Jane and Monica also bring a variety of examples that really crystallize these ideas. It was an honor to speak with these two, and we hope you enjoy the podcast!

Related Links

Awakening Compassion at Work

Paper on the 8 different characteristics often referred to as "empathy" (mentioned)

[Resource] Work of Paul Gilbert on the compassionate mind (fear of compassion scale) (mentioned)

[Book] Toxic Emotions at Work Peter Frost (mentioned)

Jul 19, 2017
95: Strengths-Based Parenting
47:52

Professor Lea Waters, PhD is an Australian academic, researcher, psychologist, author and speaker contributing to the field of Positive Psychology. Most people see improvements as eliminating what's wrong with us, but Lea's work in Positive Psychology expands what we mean by improvement and growth. Her latest book, The Strength Switch, offers parents resources to better build the strengths of young people.

In our conversation, we talk about how Lea has used her strengths in research and storytelling to help parents recognize what biases might be influencing how they parent, and offer techniques for making the switch to a strengths-based approach.

We also dive deeper into the benefits of a strengths-approach by exploring such questions as:

  • How do we identify our child's strengths?
  • How can we tell when a strength is underused?
  • How can we condition ourselves to stop focusing on weaknesses?
  • What is the difference between strengths of talent and strengths of character, and how can each be used in a strengths-based approach to parenting?
  • What is the importance of communication?

This episode is for the parents that listen to the podcast. We hope that this is a thought provoking episode, and that you walk away with both the desire to shift your attention towards building your child's strengths and the desire to use the tools to get there.

There’s a ton of strategies here and we had a lot of fun recording the episode.

Relevant Links:

More info on the book, to register for Lea's forthcoming Strength-Based Parenting Online course, and for other free resources.

[Free Resource] Glossary of Strengths

[Free resource] Strength-Based Quiz

Lea's website

Lea's twitter

Link to episode on communication with Alan Alda (mentioned)

Jul 12, 2017
94: The Latest Science of Attachment
01:17:11

Today we have one of the world's most preeminent attachment scientists, Dr. R. Chris Fraley, on the podcast! Fraley is a Professor at the University of Illinois's Department of Psychology and received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award in 2007 for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of Individual Differences. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we take a deep dive into a few of Chris' many interesting research areas: attachment processes in close relationships, personality dynamics, and development.

Some of the questions we explore are: How are attachment styles measured? How does research on attachment styles differ between children and adults? What are the implications of individual differences in adult attachment styles? How does this relate to internal working models theory? How does all of that relate to one's own motivational account? What are the roles of nature vs. nurture in the development of attachment styles?

Note to our listeners: You may have already gotten the sense that this conversation is a bit technical, mostly geared towards those who are interested in understanding the debate, and the various nuances on the table. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoy the show, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts in the discussion below!
Jul 05, 2017
93: Getting Grit
39:12

On today's episode of The Psychology Podcast, we speak with Caroline Adams Miller about how to to get more grit. Caroline is a certified professional coach, author, media personality, and keynote speaker & educator. In this episode, we discuss what it means to be a positive psychology coach, why she became interested in grit, why millennials may not be as gritty as previous generations, Caroline's definition of "authentic grit", the difference between "selfie" grit and authentic grit, when grit is "good" vs. when it could be harmful, current controversies surrounding grit, when to grit and when to quit, and some practical takeaways to increase your own grit. Wow, we might have just broken a record for the number of times we used the word "grit" in a single paragraph! :) Enjoy, and please contribute to the discussion below.

Relevant Links:

Webite - http://www.carolinemiller.com/

Getting Grit - https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Grit-Evidence-Based-Cultivating-Perseverance/dp/1622039203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492520702&sr=8-1&keywords=getting+grit

Authenticity and GritScientific American

Mindset (Fixed & Growth Mindset) Carol Dweck (mentioned) - https://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Carol-S-Dweck-ebook/dp/B000FCKPHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498310504&sr=8-1&keywords=carol+dweck

Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning (mentioned) - https://www.amazon.com/Maps-Meaning-Architecture-Jordan-Peterson/dp/0415922224/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498310572&sr=8-1&keywords=maps+of+meaning

Grit Angela Duckworth - https://www.amazon.com/Grit-Passion-Perseverance-Angela-Duckworth-ebook/dp/B010MH9V3W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498310605&sr=8-1&keywords=grit

Jun 29, 2017
92: How to Kick Ass
32:06
“If you just laugh at yourself, there is nothing to be scared of anymore.”

Today we have executive, activist, and entrepreneur Sarah Robb O’Hagan on the podcast. O'Hagan is CEO of the fast growing indoor cycling company Flywheel Sports, where she is currently leading the transformation of the business through digital content and services. Prior to this role, Sarah was global president of Gatorade and Equinox, where she reinvented the offering through a significant technology transformation. In this episode, we discuss what it takes to become your extreme you. You will learn how to embrace failure, seize opportunities, and remain confident while igniting your magic drive, staying stubbornly humble, and changing the game! BONUS: Take the Extremer Quiz here.

Jun 27, 2017
91: Become 10% Happier + BONUS Meditation
40:13

Today we have ABC News Anchor Dan Harris on the podcast. Harris is perhaps the most unlikely meditation evangelist, ever. After a panic attack on Good Morning America, he wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir “10% Happier” about what led him to embrace a practice he’d long considered ridiculous. He then started the 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics app with a handful of bona fide meditation teachers, including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, as well as the 10% Happier podcast. On today's episode of The Psychology Podcast, we discuss Dan's personal experience with self-help gurus Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, as well as Western Buddhist psychotherapists, such as Dr. Mark Epstein. As a bonus, there is a 3 minute mindfulness meditation led by Dan himself. Enjoy, and please leave feedback below!

Relevant Links:

Jun 21, 2017
90: Get Out Of Your Mind and Live a Vital Life
01:10:26

It is an honor to have Dr. Steven Hayes, the father of "Acceptance and Commitment Therapy" (ACT), on the podcast this week. In this wide ranging episode, we learn about the "third wave" of cognitive behavioral therapies, and how to have greater psychological flexibility-- the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being, and to change or persist in behavior when doing so serves valued ends. We will learn the 6 core ACT processes, and how they can help you stop fighting the battles within your own head and live a more vital life. The message from today's podcast is that you can choose to live a vital life. This episode will teach you how! Enjoy, and please join in the discussion below.

Jun 14, 2017
89: The Art and Science of Relating and Communicating
34:52

Today we have Alan Alda on the podcast. Alan has earned international recognition as an actor, writer, and director. He has won seven Emmy Awards, has received three Tony nominations, and is an inductee of the Television Hall of Fame. Many people know of his groundbreaking role as Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, but what many people may not realize is that Alda is also ravenously curious about science, and is a wonderful science communicator! In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we discuss how Alda got into science communication, why people are dying because of bad communication, the importance of empathy, theory of mind, and eye contact, the importance of spontaneous communication, the dark side of empathy, and how to improve communication in the bedroom. Enjoy, and please join in the discussion below!

Check out Alan Alda’s new book: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

Jun 07, 2017
88: Intelligence, Genes, Race, and Poverty
51:30

In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Dr. Eric Turkheimer and I take a deep dive into some of the most complex and controversial topics in all of psychology. What is intelligence? How is intelligence measured? Is intelligence meaningful? Is IQ modifiable? Is IQ heritable? What does heritability really mean? Is heritability of IQ the same across social classes? Are there race differences in IQ? If so, what are the potential causes of race differences in IQ? Why does any of this matter? Note to our listeners: This is a very technical discussion, mostly geared towards those who are interested in understanding the debate, and the various nuances on the table. For those who would like to join in the discussion, you can do so below. Enjoy!

Jun 01, 2017
87: Upgrade Your Consciousness
50:31

Today’s guest on The Psychology Podcast is the polymath Daniel Schmachtenberger, a social engineer, evolutionary philosopher, and strategist. This episode discusses a wide range of consciousness-raising issues, including the biology of dysfunction, the philosophy and scientific implications of creating systemic cultural and personal changes, the difference between nootropics and smart drugs, the future of cognitive assessments and the quantified self, the future of customized medical and wellness protocols, aspects of human nature that impede compassion and kindness, how changing the genome will change our entire conception of human nature, what we can do to predispose humans toward perspective taking, emotional resilience, and greater empathy, and how to make a scientifically commensurate ethics and existentialism. As you can see, this episode covers quite the gamut. Enjoy, and please leave comments below!

May 30, 2017
86: Functional and Integrative Medicine
41:27

On today’s episode of The Psychology Podcast, friend of the show Dr. Heather Moday shares her unique medical expertise to help us live healthier, happier and more productive lives. Dr. Moday is a board-certified physician who is passionate about changing the way medicine is practiced in this country. In this episode, Dr. Moday suggests some tips for optimizing gut health to improve mood and cognition, discusses the importance of sleep and how to achieve a better nights rest, and offers a practical model for people looking to detoxify their systems. Dr. Moday also shares her personal vision to change the way medicine is practiced in this country. It’s an especially practical episode, featuring advice from a functional and integrative medicine pioneer on how to live a better life. Enjoy the show!

For more information on Dr. Moday, visit her website at modaycenter.com.

May 24, 2017
85: How to Be Awesome at Life
44:23
Eric Barker is the author of the widely popular blog, "Barking Up The Wrong Tree", and he has a new book out with the same title. Barker is known for his science-informed articles on how to be awesome at life. For today’s episode, we focus on a range of topics relating to being awesome in life, including when to grit and when to quit, whether nice guys really finish last, the perils of self-esteem, how it's who you know instead of what you know that really matters, and how people can achieve success while striking a work-life balance. It's a fun and playful episode that contains a high-level discussion of many of the most researched constructs in psychology today, such as introversion/extroversion, giving/taking, deliberate practice/grit, and much more!
 
To learn more about Eric, check out his blog at bakadesuyo.com

For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out thegreatcoursesplus.com/Psych.

May 17, 2017
84: Increase Your Emotional Agility
59:37

Susan David is one of the world’s leading experts on emotional agility, an important psychological skill that can help us live a fuller life. In this episode, I speak with Dr. David about how to cultivate emotional agility, the paradox of happiness, job crafting, authenticity, and living a life aligned with one’s personal values. I’m especially pleased to present this episode to listeners; it contains pragmatic information to help people get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive!

For more information about Susan David, visit her website susandavid.com.

For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out thegreatcoursesplus.com/Psych.

May 10, 2017
83: Thriving in College (And In Life)
44:16

Friend of the show Dan Lerner stops by to share the latest research on how to thrive in college (and in life). Our conversation covers a wide array of topics related to well-being in the college population, including some of the pitfalls of perfectionism, how to determine your passion and keep it healthy, using character strengths to excel, and how to avoid unproductive social pressures. We also hear about Dan’s experiences working with renown musicians and how achieving great success needn’t come at the cost of your own personal happiness. It’s a fun and enthusiastic episode. We hope you enjoy! Learn more about Dan Lerner at positiveex.com

Sign up with our sponsors at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/psych to receive a FREE MONTH access to over 8,000 lectures from award winning experts!

May 03, 2017
82: The Neuroscience of Leadership
47:25

On today’s episode of The Psychology Podcast, we speak with a neuroscientist who specializes in optimizing workplaces for greater productivity and well-being. Our conversation covers a vast array of useful topics, such as habit formation, public speaking, emotional regulation and proper decision making. We talk about how some of these activities show up in brain scans and discuss how individual’s neurochemistry affects their roles at work. There’s a ton of strategies here and we had a lot of fun recording the episode. Learn more about Friederike’s latest book by visiting theleadingbrain.com.

For some really cool socks, go to Bombas.com/tpp and get 20% off your first order!
Apr 27, 2017
81: How to Captivate People
47:31

Vanessa Van Edwards is a self-described “recovering boring and awkward person,” whose latest book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, provides simple ways to decode people and level-up your relationships and networking abilities. It’s an especially practical episode, which features a handful of actionable strategies to be more effective in the social realm. We discuss research surrounding charisma, eye contact, hand gestures, relaxing one’s voice, and conquering social anxiety! To learn more about Vanessa, visit her website scienceofpeople.com.

Check out the #1 one recipe and fresh ingredient delivery service Blue Apron – get your first three meals free, with free shipping by signing up through blueapron.com/tpp

Apr 25, 2017
80: The Psychology of Creativity
45:49

For this episode of The Psychology Podcast, I chat with my brother from another mother, Dr. James C. Kaufman, as we take deep dive into one of humanity’s most coveted virtues - creativity. We profile creative genius, discuss different forms of creativity, and talk about the links between creativity, IQ and mental illness. This episode features some wonderful new ways to think about your creativity, including the possibility for creativity assessment to reduce racial and ethnic bias. To learn more about James, go to his website jamesckaufman.com. For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out thegreatcoursesplus.com/Psych.

Apr 20, 2017
79: The Gifts of Disability
55:14

Over 50% of people will meet the criteria for a mental illness in their lifetime. On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we want to do our part to encourage people to seek assistance, while celebrating some of the unique strengths of people with brain differences. I speak with expert Gail Saltz about some fascinating gifts that can come with with diagnoses such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. We discuss achieving a balance between receiving proper treatment and cultivating strengths to optimize productivity and well-being. To learn more about Dr. Gail Saltz, visit her website drgailsaltz.com. For some really cool socks, go toBombas.com/tpp to get 20% of your first order.

Apr 18, 2017
78: Boosting Student Resilience
33:56

Dr. Brecher is a clinical psychologist who uses cognitive behavioral strategies to buffer students against the pervasive depression and anxiety present in higher education. We talk about her science-informed recommendations, which include positive psychological activities designed to increase mindfulness, character strengths, self-efficacy, optimism, gratitude, and more. We discuss the mechanisms through which these interventions work, some of the many benefits they promote, how they can be implemented in schools, and some changes in academic culture that can  improve student well-being. Enjoy the episode and sign up for a free trial of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/Psych. To find out more about Dr. Brecher, see here.

Apr 13, 2017
77: How to be a Happy Lawyer
56:50

On today’s episode of The Psychology Podcast, our executive producer Taylor Kreiss conducts a guest interview about lawyer well-being. His guest, Dan Bowling III, is a Duke law professor and a positive psychology expert using science to help lawyers become healthier and happier human beings. We address some of the disconcerting mental health statistics, discuss why lawyers suffer from such mental maladies, and share practical strategies that lawyers (and everyone) can use to become more satisfied with life. There’s a great deal of warmth, levity, and humor here as we take on a hugely important topic and provide some actionable advice for how lawyers can flourish!

Enjoy the show and head to blueapron.com/TPP for 3 free meals with free shipping!

To learn more about Dan Bowling, visit his Facebook here.

To learn more about Taylor Kreiss, visit his brand new website here.

Apr 06, 2017
76: Willpower, Violence, and Free Will
23:43

Roy Baumeister brings the methods of social psychology to bear on some of life’s deepest philosophical problems. In the second part of this two part series (see Part I), we cover the psychology of self-control, evil, sex differences, and free will. In addition to Roy responding to the critics of his “ego-depletion” model of self-control, he also offers some practical strategies to improve willpower for goal attainment, looking at how successful people set up habits that deplete less energy. We also speak to him about the four root causes of violence, looking at research on why perpetrators commit atrocities, and we discuss his controversial research on sex differences and some of the ways that society uses men and women differently. Lastly, we discuss whether humans are special in a way that makes us exempt from the natural laws of causality. We’re appreciative of having had the opportunity to speak with Roy and regardless of whether you agree or disagree with his views (we encourage diverse perspectives on the show), we hope these two episodes (this week’s and last week’s) offer a great deal of value to our listeners. Enjoy the show and visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/psych to get your free trial and access to over 8,000 free online lectures.

Apr 04, 2017
75: Identity, the Self, and the Meaning of Life
38:49

Dr. Roy Baumeister is widely considered to be one of the most influential and cited psychologists of our time. He's also a wonderful conversationalist, full of interesting research to share with our listeners! In this first half of our two part series with Roy, we learn about how he came to study the diverse array of fascinating topics that have characterized his career. We discuss how people determine their identity, the effects of self-esteem on behavior, and how people find a sense of meaning in life. There's a palpable sense of excitement in this episode as these two experts really "nerd out" about some of the biggest questions of the human condition. We hope you enjoy the episode as much as we enjoyed recording it! To learn more about Dr. Roy Baumeister, visit roybaumeister.com

Mar 29, 2017
74: Wait But Why? Unravelling Life's Biggest Mysteries
53:03

We are huge fans of Tim Urban’s Wait But Why blog, so it was a great joy to speak with him for today's show. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we experience Tim’s patented wry wit and deep philosophical insight as we chat across a wide range of topics, including Tim’s journey to becoming one of the internet’s most popular bloggers, his creative process and self-regulation strategies, his views on our immediate governmental future, the relative importance of personality traits, the connection between the brain and consciousness, the viability of cryogenics, and much more. Tim has some wonderfully clear and entertaining mind experiments that spur some high-level discussions of some of the most fascinating psychological and philosophical mysteries of existence.

Check out Tim's bio here

Mar 22, 2017
73: Love, Sex, Religion and Happiness
39:20

Modern day philosopher Alain de Botton has become world renown for his ability to provide compelling real world answers to some of life’s biggest questions. For this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we cover the philosophy and science of a range of topics, including what it means to have a “normal” relationship, the origins of the desire for religion, the pervasive lack of systematic thinking about happiness, how the illusion of perfection creates problems, existential crises and much more. We get a bit cheeky with a high brow discussion of the human condition. Fair warning that this episode does include some discussion of sex and pornography as they relate to well-being.

Mar 08, 2017
72: Mindfulness and Self-Authorship
58:56

Mindfulness has become a hot topic recently, gracing the covers of magazines like Time and Scientific American. Yet despite its rising popularity, many people remain confused about what exactly mindfulness is or how to start their own practice! On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, mindfulness expert Cory Mascara speaks with our executive producer Taylor Kreiss, sharing science-backed advice and best practices for how to become more mindful. It's a fun and practical episode for anyone looking to dive into mindfulness meditation!

Mar 02, 2017
71: Your Brain on Enlightenment
44:03

Dr. Andrew Newberg is widely regarded as a leading authority in the neuroscientific study of religious, spiritual and mystical experiences. For this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we engage in philosophically scientific meditations on the sublime and the sacred. Topics include: The 5 major components of an enlightenment experience, what occurs in the brain during a transcendent mental state, the role of psychedelics in connecting with reality, some perplexing findings about “higher consciousness” and it’s correlates in the brain, how to increase your chances of reaching enlightenment… and much more! This is a fun and interesting conversation about some of humanity’s most mysterious and enigmatic subjective experiences. Enjoy the show!

Feb 28, 2017
70: On Ecstasis and Extraordinary States of Consciousness
57:22
Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, authors of the new book Stealing Fire, come on the show to discuss the life changing power of ecstatic altered states of mind. The authors have worked with extreme sports athletes, Silicon Valley innovators, and maverick scientists to understand how high performing people are using peak experiences (such as flow) to unlock human potential. We talk about the “altered states economy” and how people spend trillions of dollars a year seeking altered states of consciousness, the transformative experiences we get from festivals like Coachella, what we see in the brain when individuals are using substances like LSD, and the “Hyperspace Lexicon.” It’s a high-level discussion of extraordinary states of consciousness, made fun and interesting by three experts in the field. Enjoy!
 

EASTER EGG: Listen to the very end of the podcast, after the music and outro, to hear a special interview between Steve and Jamie, which occurred while Scott was away!

Feb 23, 2017
69: Boost Your Focus, Drive, and Micro-Resilience
49:01

Bonnie St. John is a celebrated author, Olympian, leadership consultant, and Rhodes scholar who has overcome some tremendous odds to become one of the five most inspiring women in America.” Needless to say, she’s a fascinating individual with some wonderful stories and advice to convey to listeners. On today’s episode we focus on her latest book, which is full of science backed/immediately effective strategies to help you bring your ‘A game’ no matter what life throws at you. We discuss “micro-resilience” tactics like cultivating optimism, optimizing your metabolism, and using holiday spices and breathing exercises to neutralize stress. Enjoy the show!

Feb 15, 2017
68: The Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human
43:03

What a pleasure it was to interview Dr. Dan Siegel, who has a wonderful ability to make complicated scientific concepts understandable and exciting. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we discuss topics surrounding the human mind - What is it? How does it interact with the environment and with other minds? Are we essentially our thoughts or is there some self that exists beyond cognitions?  We cover mindfulness and awe, elucidating how they can help us to integrate our lives and our mind to become more loving and compassionate citizens of the world. We address a host of other topics as well like Terror Management Theory, ADHD, the “sea of potential” and more! We hope you enjoy the show, and please feel free to leave an iTunes review if you’d like to help us refine our craft!

Feb 03, 2017
67: Choose Yourself
45:18

Best-selling author James Altucher comes on the show to impart some practical wisdom for how to bounce back from failure. James talks about his own experiences going from multimillionaire to being broke, bankrupt and divorced. We provide a message of common humanity and discuss how we can rise up and succeed despite the failures that inevitably impede our progress. We talk about some of James’ best anxiety relief techniques, how he only owns 15 items and does not rent or own a home, and the rise of the lifestyle entrepreneur. Come join us as Scott and James share some of their own anxieties and how they deal with life’s stressors.

Jan 24, 2017
66: We Might Be Living in a Simulated Reality
44:48

Are we living in a simulated reality? Are our smartphones essentially an extension of our minds? Could we achieve immortality via being uploaded to the internet? These are just a few of the philosophically fascinating questions we cover on this episode of The Psychology Podcast! David Chalmers is a friend of the show and we are psyched to feature his expert opinions on the philosophy of mind. We cover how technology might affect the evolution of the human species, the future of artificial intelligence, and the future existence of “super-intelligence.” We’re talking about some of the most well thought out perspectives on the future of our species and technology – and it is entirely too much fun. Enjoy the show!

Jan 18, 2017
65: How Millennials are Changing the World
53:50
Today on The Psychology Podcast, we discuss how the millennial generation is redefining success, breaking down barriers, and changing the world. Our Executive Producer Taylor Kreiss chats with Jared Kleinert, whose latest book features 75 vignettes from extraordinary millennials looking to impart practical wisdom on how to have a greater impact. We examine how these high performing individuals found their purpose, utilized their character strengths and leveraged exponential technologies to change the world for the better. It's a fun and interesting episode for listeners looking to optimize their lives!​​

 

Jan 16, 2017
64: The Power of Meaning
48:46

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, friend of the show Emily Esfahani Smith sheds light on how we can craft a life that truly matters. Finding meaning in life is a crtitical existential good, and with today’s discussion we take a science backed look at how we can achieve this vital purpose. Topics include Sufism, mystical experiences, authenticity, finding purpose, magic mushrooms, mortality, life narratives, transcendence and more. If you would like to hear about how to experience more meaning on a daily basis, give this episode a listen!

Emily Esfahani Smith writes about culture, psychology, and relationships. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesThe Atlantic, and elsewhere. She is also a columnist for The New Criterion and an editor at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles project, a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build community and purpose across the country. She studied philosophy at Dartmouth College and has a master’s in positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband in Washington, DC. Blurb taken from amazon.com

Jan 10, 2017
63: Finding Mastery
49:15

What a great pleasure it was to chat with high performance psychologist, and fellow podcaster, Dr. Michael Gervais! Listen in as we deconstruct excellence as it manifests in sports, creativity, well-being and other domains. Topics include passion, grit, mindfulness, imagination, growth, and becoming comfortable with the unknown. This is a high level discussion about what it takes to flourish in the sports world and in life, how to silence one's inner critic, and how nature & nurture factor into world class success. A huge thank you to Michael Gervais and we look forward to hearing what you think of the episode!  

Dec 20, 2016
62: Love, Power, Morality, and Awe
36:02

Dr. Dachner Keltner is the founding director of the Greater Good Science center, as well as a professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley, so he’s in a special place to discuss some incredibly interesting positive psychological topics like love, awe, teasing, compassion, empathy, gratitude and much more! It’s a fun and fascinating episode where we take a deep look into the science of the good life. Enjoy the show!

Dec 13, 2016
61: Creativity, Courageous Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living
35:54

We are especially grateful (and giddy) to be sharing this episode with our listeners! Brene Brown's work really gels with our core interests here on The Psychology Podcast, and the resulting conversation contains some enthusiastic and empirically informed banter that is sure to inform and delight. We geek out over some counter-intuitive findings, like how incredibly compassionate people have a tendency to set the most boundaries and say "no." We discuss the power of being vulnerable and how the data suggests that it is one of the best predictors of courage. We chat about how trying to be cool is the enemy of truly being cool, how we can enrich future generation’s learning with wholehearted living, and how ignoring our creativity defies our essential nature. It’s ~45 minutes of two experts in the field sharing data, and themselves, and it’s one of our favorite episodes yet. 

We’re making a real effort to improve the show for our listeners and would hugely appreciate 15 seconds of your time filling out this short survey: http://survey.libsyn.com/psychologypodcast (Email is not required).

 

Nov 23, 2016
60: Exercise, Mental Stamina, and High Performance
28:10

With this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we take a deep look into how exercise benefits us far beyond the time we spend in the gym. We adapt a quick fire style of questioning and cover a wide range of topics like how Olympic athletes set goals – to the importance of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Brad is an expert in the subject and shares practical information about how to recover from stress, how to motivate high performance and how physical fitness improves “life fitness.” We’re making a real effort to improve the show for our listeners and would hugely appreciate 15 seconds of your time filling out this short survey:

http://survey.libsyn.com/psychologypodcast (Email is not required).

Nov 12, 2016
59: Unlocking the Pathway from Imagination to Implementation
29:07

It’s a special episode of The Psychology Podcast, as Stanford professor, international bestselling author, and leading creativity expert Tina Seelig stops by to discuss some of our favorite topics: Imagination, creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship. We parse out some of the differences between imagination and creativity, discuss what it means to really see something, and offer practical advice on how to find one’s calling! This episode was especially fun to record! 

 

“Dr. Tina Seelig is Professor of the Practice in the department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University School of Engineering, and the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the d.school at Stanford University.” Blurb taken from amazon.com

Nov 03, 2016
58: How to Live a Good Life
44:20

In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we get pragmatic about how to live your version of the good life. We feature action strategies, based on the latest science from positive psychology, to maximize vitality, happiness, meaning, and positive relationships. Topics include mindfulness meditation, the power of saying no, the false dichotomy of mind and body, finding purpose, and how to make exercise better than sex! We thank those listeners who take a moment to leave an honest iTunes review – it helps us hone our craft!

Oct 26, 2016
57: Yes, And... The Psychology of Improv Comedy
45:39

Today we welcome Anne Libera and Kelly Leonard on the show for an especially fun and playful look at the world of improv comedy! Anne and Kelly are world class improv instructors and ambassadors who have a long history at The Second Citythe world’s first ever on-going improvisational theatre troupe. The Second City has turned out notable performers like Tina fey, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. Topics revolve around improv as it relates to mindfulness, creativity, cognitive reframing, authenticity and more. We also learned a lot from this interview about how improv can be used in everyday life, and we still get a kick out of the story we improvised involving the destruction of Purple Popsicle Man! We thank those listeners who take a moment to leave an honest iTunes review – it helps us hone our craft!

Oct 20, 2016
56: The New Narcissism
45:06

In everyday conversation, we use the word “narcissist” to describe our ex-lovers and the jerks we encounter on the subway, but what does it really mean? On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Scott has a fascinating discussion with Kristin Dombek about the "new narcissism”, in which everyone is a selfish narcissist-- except ourselves. In this episode, we take a close look at how the label narcissism is used in psychology and popular culture, and how its increasing use may be a product of our modern times. We also discuss the guilt and fear associated with being labeled a narcissist, we talk about the differences between narcissism and psychopathy, and we cover an assortment of other topics including science journalism, how often we act out of character in a day, and the possibility of a “selfie apocalypse!”

Sep 28, 2016
55: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
01:12:47

In this raw and uncut episode, Mark Manson imparts his wisdom on the art of not giving a fuck. According to Manson, the key to living a good life is “not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important”. In this interview, we learn about this unique art form, and all of the counterintuitive ways that giving less fucks in your life actually frees you up to get more of what you truly value. You’ll learn how the acceptance of one’s negative experience can itself be a positive experience, the benefits of suffering, the futility of searching for happiness, the ways that emotions are overrated, and how to distinguish between good values and unproductive values. You’ll also be inspired to learn that you are not as special as you think you are, and that you are wrong about everything. As if that wasn’t motivating enough, you’ll also learn to accept your mundane existence, and the inevitability of death. This was a fun, wise, and at times, rather profound, interview. Note: In the spirit of Mark’s message, this entire interview is uncensored and unedited, which means that Scott shows extreme vulnerability in a way that he hasn’t before in past episodes. Fuck it.

Sep 13, 2016
54: Minds and Morality
39:31

Why are humanoid robots creepy? Why do ghosts always have unfinished business? Do all animals have a mind? Does our consciousness persist beyond our physical bodies? Might cryonics help us live forever?! These are some of the great mysteries of the human condition we address with Dr. Kurt Gray. It's a fun and interesting philosophical episode, where we consider a range of topics related to having a mind and moral responsibility. Fair warning - this episode contains some adult content as we engage in some quirky and interesting moral considerations. 

Sep 09, 2016
53: Getting Smarter, Faster & Better
37:43

On this episode of the Psychology Podcast, we interview Pulitzer prize winning author Charles Duhigg about his latest book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. Charles has a real strength for communicating scientific research through fun/entertaining narratives, and elucidating how to be more effective in our everyday lives. We discuss research related to motivation, decision-making, teamwork, focus, prioritization and more – all via interesting anecdotes varying from championship poker, military training and airplane disasters. This interview features some very practical science and several harrowing stories. Enjoy and feel free to leave a review on iTunes - it lets us know what you enjoy and helps us refine our craft! 

Aug 30, 2016
52: Reducing Racial Inequalities in Gifted Education
38:30

Dr. Davis is a career educator with over 30 years of experience as a practitioner, scholar, author and consultant. Her current work, a topic that is near and dear to the show, involves increasing equity of access to gifted education programs. In this episode, we talk about the racial inequalities that plague our nation's gifted education programs, and we discuss work being done to create equal opportunity. Other topics include: the current evaluation criteria for “giftedness” and how it can be improved, the importance of bringing all of the shareholders to the table for these discussions, the anti-intellectualism of our modern era, and several alternative ways of identifying giftedness in school. It’s a personally meaningful episode as Scott and Joy recount their own experiences with our non-inclusive education protocols. We hope you enjoy the show!

Aug 15, 2016
51: Developing Peak Performance
22:25

Sean Desai is the defensive quality control coach for the Chicago Bears and works with some of the world’s greatest athletic competitors. In this episode, we discuss his player development model, known as D.I.C.E., which emphasizes the importance of Direction, Instruction, Collaboration and Empowerment. We talk about what it’s like to work with the NFL, the nature of coach-player relationships, and Sean imparts some practical advice to individuals hoping to become high-level athletic coaches. Other topics include: evaluating potential, key characteristics of mental toughness, striving for greatness and more. Football fans, leaders, coaches and teachers will appreciate Sean's insight into developing peak performance. The audio quality is a bit rough toward the beginning (we’re sorry!), but smooths out, and we think the content is top notch!

Aug 06, 2016
50: Life Experimentation
38:26

Four time bestselling author (and human guinea pig) A.J. Jacobs gets us laughing, and thinking, about the benefits of lifestyle experimentation. In this episode, we discuss A.J.’s courageous journey to learn everything about the world via reading the entire encyclopedia Britannica. A.J. talks about his book Drop Dead Healthywhere he spent months pursuing perfect physical health. We learn from his experiences following the bible (as literally as possible) for an entire year, and much more. Topics include: The importance of gratitude, what it’s like to win the lottery, the benefits of running electricity through the brain, and the differences between being psychotic, psychopathic and sociopathic. It’s an especially eclectic and playful episode that provides deep insight into what it means to live well. We hope you have as much fun listening to the episode as we had recording it. And feel free to leave a review on iTunes if you’re feeling compelled (it’s a big help to our cause and we thank you in advance)!

Jul 31, 2016
49: Unraveling the Mysteries of Personality and Well-Being
35:27

Who am I? Am I just a product of nature and/or nurture? What does it mean to live a life of meaning and happiness? On this episode of the psychology podcast, Dr. Brian Little helps us explore these existentially significant questions. We discuss whether or not the self is an illusion. We shed light on the effects of genes, societal influences and personal projects on personality. The conversation includes Brian’s experiences with influential psychologists such as George Kelly. Other topics include: the Big Five Model of personality, authentic living, identity change, and the good life. Brian has been described as a mix between Robin Williams and Albert Einstein, and we can see why after our discussion – it’s a fun and philosophically poignant episode featuring one of the legends in the field. Enjoy the show!

Jul 11, 2016
48: The Ego is the Enemy
37:15

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we interview bestselling author Ryan Holiday about the timeless life-advice he gleaned from researching his latest book: Ego Is The Enemy. Ryan shares insights from great individuals that eschewed the spotlight to put their higher goals above their desires for recognition. We talk about the importance of talking less and doing more. Our conversation covers the human drive to live a meaningful life and the dramatic shifts in worldview that takes place when astronauts view earth from outer space. We discuss the well-being benefits of integrating behavior with personal values and we commiserate over feeling existentially compelled to squeeze every last drop of productivity from each moment. It’s an interesting look at the foibles of egoism; anyone interested in contemplating what it means to live a good life would do well to give this episode a listen. Enjoy the show!

Jun 21, 2016
47: Deep Work
42:00

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we feature a particularly lively exchange, as Scott and Cal attempt to decode the patterns of success, sharing their perspectives on deep work, deliberate practice, grit, creativity, talent, mastery, IQ, and cultural misconceptions about passion and finding one's calling. The discussion has a fun and curious tone; it is a research-informed exploration of what it really takes to succeed in the 21st century. We had a great time recording this episode and we think you will really enjoy it.

Jun 10, 2016
46: Helping Children Succeed in School and in Life
36:30

We are happy  to welcome journalist and author Paul Tough on the show to discuss how we can help children from adverse backgrounds flourish. Paul began his deep dive into this topic 13 years ago for a New York Times piece, and he has been fascinated with the neuroscientific, psychological, political and sociological research ever since. This episode is a look at practical recommendations for how children can transcend difficult circumstances and cultivate well-being. We cover some of the challenges facing impoverished children and the effects of these environments on how children develop. We discuss constructs like grit, conscientiousness, character strengths, and "non-cognitive capacities". We ask important philosophical questions like “are the skills associated with doing well in school really the same as doing well in life?” We look at how pursuing well-being can actually fuel academic success, the importance of creativity and autonomy in school, and much more!

Jun 02, 2016
45: Reducing Anxiety Through Play
30:55

On this episode of the Psychology Podcast, we welcome renaissance man and psychology enthusiast Charlie Hoehn. Charlie has carved a unique path through this world that has led him to work with best-selling authors like Tim Ferris, Tucker Max and Ramit Sethi, all while pursuing his own work as a writer. We talk about his drives toward creativity and autonomy that led him to create a life outside of the 9-5 grind. We also discuss Charlie’s personal experiences with anxiety and get advice on how to reduce anxiety through play. Other topics include our ability to change who we are and the importance of doing what you love. Please enjoy the show!

 

 

May 31, 2016
44: The Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory of Personality
32:13

An intellectual hero of the show, 91 year old Seymour Epstein is the creator of one of the most well-respected theories in personality psychology: the Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory of Personality (CEST). In this episode, we discuss how Epstein discovered his calling, what the field of psychology was like in the 1940s, his experience taking a class with Abraham Maslow, his interaction with Gordon Allport, and how he came to create his dual-process theory of personality. We also talk about implications of the theory as it relates to religion, politics and clinical psychology. It was a pleasure speaking with this giant in the field. Enjoy the show!

May 21, 2016
43: Intelligence, IQ Testing and Genetics
48:18

Dr. Stuart Richie is an expert in human intelligencedifferencesand their relations to the brain, genetics, andeducation. Thisepisode distills some of the most important andinteresting ideasin intelligence, IQ testing, genetics and theiraffects on societyat large. We discuss the false dichotomy betweennature vs.nurture. We illuminate popular media and institutionalpressures todeliver sensational findings. We cover the ethicalimplications ofthe quickly developing genetic science, withquestions like “shouldinsurance companies be able to raise yourrates depending on yourgenetics?”  Ultimately, this is acrash course on thepsychology of intelligence featuring two expertson the topic.Enjoy! And check out Stuart’s book Intelligence: All That Matters.

May 03, 2016
42: Human Mating Intelligence
53:00

We welcome friend of the show Dr. Glenn Geher to discuss human mating intelligence. Glenn is an expert in the field of evolutionary psychology and has a wealth of fascinating research to share on the origins of species – if listeners have ever wanted a crash course in evolutionary thought, this is an excellent primer. Topics include: the attractiveness of creativity and humor from an evolutionary perspective, the many causes of human behavior, human universals vs. individual differences, how our evolutionary hard-wiring affects modern behavior and much more. Conversation really flows in this episode as we discuss what people find attractive in potential mates.. For more information, check out Glenn and Scott’s book Mating Intelligence Unleashed!

Apr 28, 2016
41: Releasing Your Inner Bonobo
45:11

Dr. Susan Block is a world renowned sex therapist, radio talk show host and expert on the culture of the bonobo great ape. Needless to say, this is an especially interesting episode! We explore how pleasure can be a guiding principle in the good life, when it is tempered with kindness and a sense of meaning. We discuss the methods and positive outcomes of erotic theater therapy. We cover different cultural perspectives on sex, sexual identity, taboos and repression. We take a deep look into the culture of the Bonobo great ape, who is one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, to see how they might teach us about forming a more peaceful society – they have never been seen killing each other in the wild or in captivity! Other topics include female empowerment, asexuality, polygamy and politics. This episode contains material that may be graphic for some of our younger viewers, but it is an enlightening look into the psychology of sex and the good life. 

Apr 18, 2016
40: Extraordinary Workplaces
29:54

Ron Friedman Ph.D. shares research from his latest book The Best Place to Work, about the art and science of creating an extraordinary workplace. Ron discusses how businesses can appeal to basic psychological needs like autonomy, competence and relatedness to design a work environment which optimizes engagement and creativity. It’s an especially practical episode, where we dive into science-backed recommendations to help companies improve the hiring process, boost motivation and enhance decision making. This episode features some very interesting research, like the persuasion techniques used by hostage negotiators, as well as didactic stories about figures like Monica Seles and president Obama on the importance of unconscious thinking and leading by example. 

Mar 27, 2016
39: The New Principles of Business Management
35:23

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Dr. David Burkus discusses the latest research in organizational psychology to help business thrive in our post-industrial world. In particular, we talk about his latest book, Under New Management, which reveals the counter-intuitive leadership practices that actually enhance engagement and drive performance in companies. This is a great episode for anyone interested in what the science has to say about optimizing workplace performance. We discuss how and why top companies like Whole Foods and McDonalds are emphasizing employee satisfaction, engagement and well-being at work. We also cover topics such as perceptions of inequality, positive effects of income transparency, ditching performance appraisals, some barriers to productivity and some of the genius tactics of big companies like Zappos (who will pay you to quit you job?!).  We hope you enjoy!

Mar 21, 2016
38: Discussing the nature of childhood prodigies
18:28

On this episode of the psychology podcast, we gain insight into the fascinating and mysterious psychology of prodigious children. Kimberly Stephens recently co-authored a book investigating the link between autism and extraordinary childhood talent called The Prodigy's Cousin, which had made her an excellent source of knowledge. We discuss the extraordinary working memory, attention to detail, passionate interest, talent development and parenting styles that tend to characterize incredible childhood skill. We also cover an interesting genetic component; research suggests that autism tends to be present in the families of prodigies. The conversation is a celebration of the high achievement, intense interest and quirky personalities expressed by prodigies like Jonathan Russell, who has been known to pass the time recreating music with household items like blenders and washing machines! It’s a fun discussion and we’re excited to share it with our listeners.

Mar 07, 2016
37: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
48:49

Angela Duckworth researches self-control and grit, which is defined as passion and perseverance for long term goals. Her research has demonstrated that there are factors that can be more predictive of success than IQ. In this episode we cover some of her findings on grit, including academic and popular misconceptions of this work. We also discuss research on standardized testing, self-control and more.

Feb 24, 2016
36: Uncovering the Habits and Routines that Make People Live Better
38:04

James Clear studies successful people across a wide range of disciplines to uncover the habits and routines that make them the best at what they do. In this episode, we speak with James about his behavioral psychology background to uncover practical advice on how to flourish. The conversation is light and pleasant, while the content is deep and immediately useful for people looking to live better through science. Topics include habit formation, identity crafting, self-quantification and personal well-being. Enjoy and tell us what you think in the iTunes comments section!

Feb 14, 2016
35: The Healing Power of Self-Compassion
33:54

A pioneering researcher in the psychology of self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff provides deep insight into the incredible healing power of being your own ally. In this episode, we cover some immediately useful ways to practice self-compassion and gain its many benefits. Self-compassion has been linked to reductions in anxiety, physical pain, depression and the stress hormone cortisol. It’s been shown to increase motivation, improve a mastery mindset, and enhance well-being. There’s a great deal of levity in this episode as we discuss how we can benefit from learning to care for ourselves the way we care for others.

Jan 31, 2016
34: How Happiness Can Accelerate Your Success
29:40

Dr. Emma Seppälä is a true friend of the show and we’re thrilled to speak with her about her new book, The Happiness Track. In this episode, we provide data-driven insight into how our overextension is hindering our success, and how cultivating happiness can actually drive our achievement. The research shows that we needn’t be chronically over-scheduled and over-caffeinated to achieve our goals. Pursuing things like meaningful relationships, gratitude and self-compassion can actually be more conducive to success. We cover some fascinating studies and offer practical thoughts on enhancing well-being and innovation. We think you’ll really enjoy the dialogue.

Jan 25, 2016
33: The Highly Sensitive Person
01:00:41

Dr. Elaine Aron is one of the world’s foremost experts on the highly sensitive person. She ought to be – she was its first researcher! In this episode, we cover this fascinating concept as it relates to a broad swath of psychological concepts like self-esteem, gender, love, leadership, personality, genetics and more. Roughly 20% of the population can be classified as highly sensitive, so all of us likely know someone (or are someone) with this trait. Also, Scott performs a statistical analysis live on air – it’s a first and a lot of fun!

Jan 18, 2016
32: How to Live a Good Life
01:00:30

Tom Rath is a 6x national best-selling author who works on the psychology of well-being. This episode provides science-backed insight into how to live a good life. We cover the development of positive psychology. We discuss optimizing your energy levels so you can really show up for life. The conversation progresses across creativity, personal mission and the education system. Finally, existential topics arise as we talk to Tom about his decades-long battle with cancer. This hour with Tom is a refreshing look at what really makes people happy and gives them a sense of meaning. We’re grateful for his time and we think this episode was special.

Dec 21, 2015
31: Final Messages on Leadership and Life from a Dying Coach, with Performance Psychology Expert
32:08

We’re incredibly grateful today to have Master of Applied Positive Psychology Paddy Steinfort on the show to discuss his inspirational experience with beloved Aussie Football coach Dean Bailey. Paddy’s new book, Breakfast With Bails, presents some of the timeless wisdom on performance, leadership and life that made coach Bailey a sage and a beloved public figure in Australia. Paddy is himself a former professional Australian football player, who now works as a performance and leadership consultant for teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA football in the USA. We draw on Paddy’s expertise to learn about the psychological strategies of high performance professional athletes. We cover practical topics like mental toughness, mindfulness, creativity, emotional contagion, visualization, self-determination and leaving a legacy in sports and in life.

 

Dec 06, 2015
30: Narcissism & Loving The People Who Love Themselves
33:08

The narcissists of the world will be happy to hear that they make for an extraordinarily interesting psychological discussion! On this episode we speak with an expert in the field, Dr. W. Keith Campbell, who has spent more than a decade studying narcissism and its effects on relationships. This interview is an in-depth look at the character trait as it relates to (takes a deep breath): dating, social media, reality TV, age, leadership, politics, diagnosis, grandiosity and more. We cover the different forms of narcissism, why narcissists have such a powerful affect on us, and how we can learn to spot the narcissists in our life. It’s a fun and fascinating topic – enjoy!

Nov 28, 2015
29: Understanding and Supporting People with ADHD
48:20

Statistically speaking, many of us know someone or even experience some of the difficulties associated with ADHD, but what are the essential characteristics of this often misunderstood phenomenon? On this episode of the Psychology Podcast, we gain a contemporary understanding of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder from an expert in the field, Dr. Mark Bertin. Dr. Bertin has a great deal of experience working with individuals and families living with ADHD. We discuss the diagnosis as it relates to creativity, information management, executive function impairment, stress, mindfulness and more. There’s a great deal of practical advice here for those looking to understand and support people with ADHD.

Nov 09, 2015
28: Learning How to Learn
57:43

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we dive deep into the psychology of learning with one of its top experts, Barbara Oakley PhD. She shares some tremendously practical advice on how to optimize learning, boost memory and neutralize procrastination. We also shed light on related topics like improving the education system, the mechanics of learning, popular perceptions of mathematical ability and the importance of optimistic realism. Barbara's free online course Learning How to Learn is one of the most popular courses in the world, with well over half a million students in its first six months alone; We’re lucky to learn from this master of learning how to learn! 

 

"Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE, is a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and writer of national acclaim. Her research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Dr. Oakley’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal—she has published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and The New York Times. Oakley’s books have been praised by many leading researchers and writers, including Harvard’s Steven Pinker and E. O. Wilson, and National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates. Her forthcoming A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) (Penguin, July 31, 2014) is opening new doors on how to learn.” -Blurb taken from Coursera

Oct 24, 2015
27: How Video Games Can Make Us SuperBetter
56:12

Gamers rejoice! Bestselling author, video game designer, and TED talk superstar Jane McGonigal stops by to discuss her research on the positive effects of video gaming. She's a goldmine of science-backed information on how games can fight depression and PTSD, encourage creativity and help to achieve real world goals. We get personal as Jane shares the struggle with a traumatic brain injury that led her to create the sensationally popular video game and book SuperBetter, which have helped over 500k people live healthier and happier lives. We also cover topics like post ecstatic growth, finding your passion, gamifying your life, the importance of struggle and well-being.

Oct 11, 2015
26: Celebrating Smart Girls in the 21st Century
55:00

Distinguished Professor Barbara Kerr, Ph.D. is a wellspring of knowledge on creativity, giftedness and optimal experience in the 21st century. This episode is a treasure trove of insight into the unique socio-cultural challenges, life-trajectories and opportunities of smart and talented young girls and women. The topic is near and dear to our hearts here at The Psychology Podcast, as we discuss an extraordinary amount of research ranging across topics such as grit, personality profiles, gender roles, stereotype threat, self-perception, differing conceptualizations of intelligence and how falling in love with a future image of yourself can predict creative success. Be sure to check out Barbara's research and philosophy of Smart Girls in the 21st Century and enjoy the show!

Oct 04, 2015
25: Extending Human Life: From Science Fiction to Science Fact
53:02

Visionary Liz Parrish shares some of the remarkable ways that genetic therapies are helping humanity transcend disease, aging and physical limitations. We discuss some of the current applications of gene therapy, what we can reasonably expect given the rate of progress and some of the moral implications of this science. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be astounded to hear about this work; it can already make you stronger and faster, and it may help future generations live upwards of 400 years!

Sep 27, 2015
24: "Spectacular Ability in a Sea of Disability”: The Psychology of Savantism
01:08:32

A leading expert in the psychology of savantism for over 40 years and the scientific advisor for the film Rain Man, Darold Treffert is a wellspring of knowledge on this fascinating yet often misunderstood condition. In this episode we cover the brain anatomy of savantism, its causes and some of the incredible abilities of famous savants like Kim Peak, who memorized thousands of books verbatim (down to the page number)! We feel fortunate to have had this chance to learn so much about such an interesting topic from one of the most well respected researchers in the field. Please enjoy and tell us what you think!

Sep 20, 2015
23: How Millennials are Changing the World for the Better
34:59

19-year-old entrepreneur and author Jared Kleinert discusses the unique opportunities and extraordinary accomplishments of the millennial generation. We are yet to look at this subject on the show and it was a delight to stop and consider Jared’s philosophy and research on our youth’s culture. We chat about millennial psychology in relation to entrepreneurship, passion, talent development, technology, science and more!

Aug 29, 2015
22: The Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts
48:12

Best-selling author Susan Cain shares her personal philosophy and the research that started a movement to empower introverts! For this episode, we wanted to share ourselves – We discuss our values, epiphanies and perspectives on the good life. We also shed light on introversion across a range of topics, including vocations, testing and the differences between scientific and cultural conceptualizations of introversion.

Aug 09, 2015
21: Understanding the science of introversion and extraversion
01:10:48

We have Dr. Luke Smillie on the podcast to elucidate the research and conceptualizations surrounding introversion and extraversion. Topics include psychometrics, well-being, cultural values, neurochemistry personality traits, nature vs. nurture and much more. With this episode we wanted to clear up controversy and delve deep into this hot topic to help the listener get the lay of the land. We hope you enjoy!

Jul 26, 2015
20: Hope, the Future and Flourishing
42:55

One of the world’s foremost experts on hope, self-proclaimed “hopemonger” Shane Lopez, sheds light on the incredible impact hope can have in our lives. We chat about flourishing, narratives of our future, passion and how hope may predict job and school success. There are some compelling statistics here that we hope will get you focused on cultivating… more hope!

Jul 05, 2015
19: Why We Love, Lust, and Live
43:37

A leader in the psychology of human mating, and an expert on both the cultural and biological foundations of love, Helen Fisher shares science-backed information on attraction, mate selection, infidelity, the neuroscience of love and the effects of culture on our biology. There’s a wealth of interesting facts here and some surprising insight into humanity’s quest for romance. We LOVED this episode!

Jun 22, 2015
18: Straight Talk about IQ
01:06:31

In this episode we cover every topic in psychology, neuroscience and genetics (not literally, but it certainly feels that way)! Christopher Chabris shares his expert opinions on science journalism, general intelligence, IQ testing, intuition, creativity, the default mode brain network and more. We really nerd out here – science types will get a kick out of this in depth discussion.

Jun 08, 2015
17: Maximizing, satisficing and the paradox of choice
41:56

A legend in the field, economic psychologist Barry Schwartz talks about how having too many options can be paralytic and tiresome to the human psyche. Schwartz also discusses the destructive force of an “only the best will do” mentality. We contemplate the implications of these concepts across topics like parenting consumerism, creativity, the prevalence of dissatisfaction in the modern world and what we can do to help ourselves. 

May 25, 2015
16: How to Be Understood and Reach Your Goals
51:43

Best selling author and social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson discusses motivational styles and how we can ensure people understand who we truly are. It’s a particularly actionable episode, where the listener can learn strategies aimed at effective communication, habit formation and making better motivational decisions.

May 11, 2015
15: Accelerated learning, peak performance and living the good life
33:12

Three time bestselling author and human guinea pig Tim Ferriss discusses how to become top 5% in the world with a new skill in just 6-12 months. Scott and Tim debunk the 10,000 hour rule, discuss general principles for accelerated skill acquisition, consider what it means to live the good life and take a sneak peak at Tim’s new show The Tim Ferris Experiment.

Apr 27, 2015
14: Stoicism, Strategy and Creativity
01:06:45

Best selling author Ryan Holiday discusses how Stoicism can help us transform trials into triumph. It’s a pragmatic episode, full of strategies to invert obstacles and wrest opportunity from adversity. The conversation includes invaluable advice for aspiring creatives, research affirming the Stoic approach, how great historical figures have used Stoicism and more…

Apr 18, 2015
13: Examining standardized testing
52:39

Award-winning education writer Anya Kamentez provides practical guidance for parents looking to understand standardized testing. She and Scott roll up their sleeves and delve deep into the nature, origins, drawbacks and future of our high-stakes testing culture. The dialogue spans varying topics including broadening our educational priorities, holding schools accountable, implementing better assessments and helping children beat the system.

Apr 05, 2015
12: Imaginary worlds and creativity
46:41

Creativity scholar Michele Root-Bernstein discusses her work exploring the playful imaginative worlds of children and their correlation with creativity. Scott and Michele tease out the implications of imaginary worlds on education, giftedness, vocation, self-perception and more. Some other topics include the importance of play, technology’s effects on self-expression and high-level creative achievement.

Mar 22, 2015
11: How “little bets” spur big creative successes
55:23

Award-winning author Peter Sims shares some heartening research on how people like Steve Jobs, Chris Rock and Frank Gehry use small experiments to lay the groundwork for big creative successes. It’s an encouraging episode for all the creative types out there thinking they have to have it all figured it out from the get-go. Also, Scott and Peter banter across a wide spectrum of topics including improving education, the empathy deficit in America, deliberate practice and the importance of marching to the beat of your own drummer.

Mar 08, 2015
10: How to change your habits
50:41

Dr. Art Markman discusses tools, tips and tricks for editing our behaviors and achieving our goals. It’s an incredibly practical episode for those of us who want to lose that weight, write that book and change our lives. Topics include why we tend to fail with habit change, how to live a good life and more.

Feb 16, 2015
9: The science of raising happily productive kids
39:29

Expert Dona Mathews presents ample research regarding how to help children flourish into happy and successful adults. Scott guides the interview across a wide array of vital domains including creativity, flow, standardized testing, growth mindsets and the many myths about intelligence.

Feb 09, 2015
8: Modern rudeness in Stone Age minds
49:11

Advice columnist and science writer Amy Alkon sheds light on the evolutionary roots of modern impoliteness. She shares research on how to cure rudeness and make the world a friendlier place. Scott and Amy get personal as they cover topics like living with ADHD, being a starving artist, how to live a good life and the joy of being “weird.”

Jan 26, 2015
7: "What is it like to be a psychopath?"
01:04:51

“Cognitive neuroscientist Kent Kiehl discusses his research and personal experience working with “those without conscience.” Scott and Kent demystify the historically fascinating illness as it relates to criminal activity, genius, evil, flourishing, the brain, gender and treatment."

Jan 18, 2015
6: Dancing with the dark side of your personality
01:01:07

Psychologist Dr. Todd Kashdan shares some unconventional research on how we can harness “negative” psychological characteristics to live whole, successful and fulfilling lives. Topics include the dark triad, emotional experimentation, mindfulness, education, evolution and what it means to live well.

Jan 04, 2015
5: Givers, takers, matchers and fakers
50:27

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Professor and bestselling author Adam Grant presents some heartening research on how being a giver can lead to success. He and Scott chat about a plethora of topics, including the meaning of friendship, introversion, takers, and fakers, and the importance of challenging dogmatic science.

Dec 21, 2014
4: Discussing the origins of extraordinary athletic performance
49:44

Bestselling author David Epstein presents research on the interplay between nature and nurture, how mentality propels success, how we assess potential, sex differences in sport, and why getting older doesn’t mean we can’t achieve greatness.

Dec 06, 2014
3: Talking Mastery and Social Intelligence
45:33

Five time international bestselling author Robert Greene shares his thoughts on creativity, finding your calling, social intelligence and his latest book about what it means to be a ‘Master’ of your craft.

Nov 16, 2014
2: Daydreaming and Mental Contrasting for Goal-Fulfillment
41:16

Psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen’s research on goal-setting and self-regulation animates discussion of some incredibly practical tools to help with constructive daydreaming, hurdling obstacles, implementation intentions and goal-fulfillment.

Nov 16, 2014
1: The Science of Growing Smarter
40:02

Science writer Annie Murphy Paul's fresh perspectives on intelligence and personality prompt a heart-to-heart about learning, intelligence assessments, growth mindsets and rethinking intelligence

Nov 16, 2014