The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman

By Scott Barry Kaufman

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Reviews: 1

Free Thinker
 Aug 11, 2020
Too many woke episodes. I tried to listen because I wanted to learn about psychology, not politics.


Welcome to The Psychology Podcast with 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
Caroline Webb || How to Have a Good Day During a Global Pandemic

Today it is great to have Caroline Webb on the podcast. Webb is an executive coach, author and speaker who specializes in showing people how to use insights from behavioral science to improve their professional lives. Her book on that topic, How To Have A Good Day, has been published in 14 languages and more than 60 countries. She is also a Senior Advisor to McKinsey, where she was previously a partner.

Time Stamps

[01:30] How To Have A Good Day during a pandemic
[03:37] The power of practicing mindfulness
[08:44] Emotional contagion and deliberate focus
[09:56] The state of affairs and focusing on what we can control
[13:55] Caroline’s philosophy of “realistic optimism”
[17:07] Realistic optimism vs aggressive positivity
[20:55] How mental contrasting can help you have a good day
[24:07] Changing your environment to change your behaviour
[24:48] Does positive thinking work?
[30:20] How coaching can help you
[32:00] Caroline’s coaching sessions
[37:00] Caroline’s scenic route to the field of psychology
[40:09] How coaching is not always grounded in science
[42:49] The universal need for coaching
[46:24] Listening as a basic coaching skill
[49:32] Helping people engage with their own creativity
[52:22] Burning Man and living a good life

Oct 22, 2020
Ryan Holiday || Lives of the Stoics

Today it is great to have Ryan Holiday on the podcast. Holiday is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living , and the number one New York Times bestseller Stillness is the Key. His books have been translated into over thirty languages, and been read by over two million people. He lives outside Austin, Texas with his family, and his most recent book is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius.

Time Stamps

[00:01:10] Stoicism and "works over words"
[00:04:04] Modern day Stoicism
[00:05:16] Knowledge for knowledge’s sake vs. practical purposes of philosophy
[00:06:58] The four virtues of Stoicism
[00:07:59] Living well versus living the good life
[00:10:04] The founding fathers and Stoicism
[00:11:18] Ryan’s writing vs. academic writing
[00:17:43] The deeply personal Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
[00:19:21] Zeno the Prophet and the founding of Stoicism
[00:20:41] Living in harmony with nature
[00:22:16] How COVID-19 has given Ryan perspective on being zoomed into life
[00:25:33] Eastern and Western conceptions of stillness
[00:29:30] The relationship between Stoicism and humor
[00:30:11] Aristo the Challenger and the influence of cynicism on Stoicism
[00:31:01] Zeno the Maintainer and the repetition of names in Roman times
[00:33:38] Antipater the Ethicist and transcending individual selfishness
[00:37:56] Panaetius the connector and Stoicism beyond virtue
[00:39:36] Women in Stoicism and Portia Cato
[00:40:58] “Cancelling” Stoicism and the tearing down of Confederate statues
[00:44:48] Posidonius the Genius and the battle between our lower urges and higher nature
[00:46:26] The omission of frivolity in Stoic writing
[00:48:16] Cato: Roman among the Romans
[00:51:58] Epictetus and the nature of freedom
[00:54:27] How Marcus Aurelius became the emperor of Rome
[00:57:13] How Ryan has grown since his earliest engagements with and writings on Stoic philosophy

Oct 08, 2020
Greg Lukianoff || Free Speech

Today it is great to have Greg Lukianoff on the podcast. Greg is an attorney, New York Times bestselling author, and the present CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Freedom from Speech, and FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. Most recently, he co-authored The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

Check out Greg and Jonathan’s video on why they dislike the use of the word "coddling" in the title of their book.

Time Stamps

 [00:02:39] Why Greg advocates free speech
[00:06:00] The story behind why the former executive director of the ACLU, Ira Glasser, began his fight for civil liberties
[00:07:54] The Bedrock Principle and why you cannot ban something simply because it is offensive
[00:09:42] The limits of free speech and exceptions to the First Amendment
[00:11:19] How Greg’s argument for free speech differs from the traditional argument for free speech
[00:14:38] Addressing the criticism that free speech could incite violence against vulnerable people
[00:16:03] Why we should listen to the arguments of people with whom we strongly disagree
[00:20:13] How to balance arguments for free speech with empathy
[00:22:37] Humor as a coping mechanism for depression
[00:23:14] Greg’s suicide attempt and struggle with depression
[00:27:29] How Greg enjoys helping people who struggle with mental health issues
[00:28:50] How Greg’s thriving after depression can give people hope
[00:29:37] Addressing the stereotype that Greg’s work is always about political correctness, when it is actually often transpartisan
[00:30:08] How hyper-bureaucratized universities can exacerbate mental health problems
[00:33:10] How cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) influenced The Coddling of the American Mind
[00:34:57] The importance of discipline and consistency in the practice of CBT
[00:36:14] The pre-2013 repression of free speech by the administration
[00:38:02] The post-2013 spike of repression of free speech by students
[00:40:23] How anti-free speech administrations taught students habits of anxiety and depression by repressing free speech
[00:43:07] The scary anti-Trump riots after his election in 2016
[00:44:35] Arguments over the title of the book The Coddling of the American Mind
[00:51:07] The six reasons for the sudden spike in anti-free speech activism
[00:55:59] Criticisms against allowing our gender or race identities to define us
[00:57:03] Common enemy identity politics versus common humanity identity politics
[00:59:16] Why compassion is essential
[00:59:57] Naive statism and why we should be cautious when designing laws which repress civil liberties
[01:05:04] Components of Greg’s background which led to his powerful advocacy of free speech on campus
[01:11:26] Greg and his family’s health after a year of injuries, health problems, and bereavement
[01:17:24] Hope that Greg has had since publishing The Coddling of the American Mind

Sep 24, 2020
Spencer Greenberg || Effective Altruism, Mental Health, & Habit Change

Today it is great to have Spencer Greenberg on the podcast. Spencer is an entrepreneur and mathematician and founder of Spark Wave — a software foundry which creates novel software products from scratch, designed to help solve problems in the world using social science. For example, scalable care for depression and anxiety and technology for accelerating and improving social science research. He also founded, which offers free tools and training programs used by over 250, 000 people which are designed to help you improve decision making and increase positive behaviors. Spencer has a PhD in Applied Math from NYU with a specialty in Machine Learning. Spencer’s work has been featured by numerous major media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Independent, Lifehacker, Fast Companyand the Financial Times.

Check out where you can apply the results of scientific studies to your habit development, from making a decision to cultivate a habit, to taking action, and finally, continuing that habit.

Time Stamps

[00:01:40] How the Effective Altruism movement works

[00:02:55] The role of emotions in Effective Altruism

[00:04:03] How Spencer applies Effective Altruism in his work and companies

[00:06:27] How cultivating automatic if-then rules can improve your life

[00:10:42] How to handle depression using behavioral activation

[00:12:05] Introversion and the hierarchical nature of personality

[00:14:58] Personality traits that are not captured by the Big Five model

[00:18:04] How it is easier to present a scientific finding compared to explaining that finding

[00:20:20] The “psychological immune system” and the five categories of behaviors for dealing with difficult situations

[00:20:55] Facing reality and clarifying distortions of thinking

[00:21:27] Feeling-based and emotion-based strategies for dealing with difficulty

[00:22:10] Action-based strategies for dealing with difficulty

[00:23:27] Refocusing techniques for dealing with difficulty

[00:23:42] Reframing and finding the silver lining

[00:29:47] Whether or not the Big Five personality traits are inherently valenced (i.e. positive or negative)

[00:31:03] Personality as a distribution of traits

[00:33:22] Finding optimal levels of different personality traits

[00:33:59] Tips for forming new habits

[00:38:22] How to determine why behavioral change is not happening

[00:42:07] Tips and heuristics for sparking structured and unstructured creativity

Sep 10, 2020
Erika Lust || Ethical Porn

Today it's great to have Erika Lust on the podcast. Lust is an acclaimed adult filmmaker who creates sex-positive, indie adult cinema that portrays sexually intelligent narratives, relatable characters and realistic hot sex. Her XConfessionsproject turns the public’s anonymous fantasies into explicit and artistic short films. Whilst her recently re-launched LustCinema is a US based studio with original series and feature length films for lovers of cinema and sex. In 2015, Erika gave her essential TEDx talk It’s Time for Porn to Change. Her story was also featured in the first episode of the Netflix documentary series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On (“Women on Top”), directed by Rashida Jones. This year Erika was named as one of the BBC 100 Women’s most influential women of 2019.

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Check out the first episode of Erika Lust's new miniseries for free now - 'Safe Word'is a full immersion in the BDSM healthy, sexy culture of communication and awareness in sex. The series follows the ruthless and demanding theatre director Christie in her initiation to BDSM.


Time Stamps

[00:01:51] The changes that Erika wants to see in porn

[00:03:13] What is wrong with standard porn

[00:05:34] What people can expect to see in films produced by Erika

[00:08:33] How the sex can stay dirty, but the values must stay clean

[00:11:51] How to deal with derogation and humiliation in ethical porn

[00:14:08] Why porn, especially taboo porn, is so popular

[00:15:32] Common misconceptions about porn as an industry

[00:22:19] Exploitation in porn

[00:28:05] How to determine if the porn you watch is ethically produced

[00:30:00] Erika’s journey from a dissatisfied porn consumer to becoming a producer and an activist

[00:35:56] A study on the many reasons people have sex

[00:36:38] Objectification in standard porn versus ethical porn

[00:43:32] Research on the positive effects of having sex with a sense of care

[00:44:43] The objectification and stereotyping of men in porn

[00:47:00] The equality of sexual enjoyment

[00:48:07] The meaning of feminist porn

[00:49:58] Whether ethical porn is constrained by evolved human nature

[00:59:10] How to participate in XConfessions


[01:01:55] LustCinema

[01:03:03] The Porn Conversation

Aug 27, 2020
Bret Weinstein || Uniting America

Today we have Bret Weinstein on the podcast. Bret has spent two decades advancing the field of evolutionary biology, earning his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan before teaching at the Evergreen State College for fourteen years. He has developed a new Darwinian framework based on design tradeoffs and made important discoveries regarding the evolution of cancer, senescence, and the adaptive significance of moral self-sacrifice. He is currently working to uncover the evolutionary meaning of large-scale patterns in human history and seeking a game theoretically stable path forward for humanity. With his wife Heather Heying, he is co-writing A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the Twenty-First Century and is the host of Bret Weinstein’s Dark Horse Podcast.

Time Stamps

[00:00:00] Introducing Bret Weinstein
[00:00:43] The meaning of “evolutionary theoretical biology”
[00:01:37] Critiques of evolutionary psychology
[00:03:08] Critiques of epigenetics
[00:03:59] The unfortunate competition between theory and empiricism in academia
[00:05:19] Protests against Bret at Evergreen State College
[00:07:35] The role of fear in collective protests
[00:08:47] Sources of racial tensions in the US: deindividuation on the left & a lack of interracial compassion on the right
[00:12:37] Defining the deindividuation problem
[00:15:08] Unity2020and the fight to return policymaking to the average American
[00:17:15] The meaning of "wokeness": then and now
[00:21:51] Encouraging Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters to join Unity2020
[00:27:33] Considering Andrew Yang as a center-left candidate for Unity2020
[00:28:45] Considering Admiral William McRaven as a center-right candidate for Unity 2020
[00:29:53] Influencing Trump supporters to join Unity2020
[00:32:07] Analogies between religion and political polarization
[00:35:04] "Dichotomy-transcendence"
[00:43:25] Scott’s Twitter run in with the Intellectual Dark Web
[00:45:13] Defining principles of the Intellectual Dark Web
[00:50:26] Possible criticisms of the Intellectual Dark Web
[00:55:05] Bret’s experience growing up with a learning disability
[01:00:57] Assessing IQ as a measure of intelligence
[01:02:07] The danger of studying the correlations between genetics and intelligence
[01:07:00] How we are a long way from understanding how the mind works
[01:12:10] Answering Twitter questions for Bret

Aug 13, 2020
Chloé Valdary || Love & Race

Today it is great to have Chloé Valdary on the podcast. After spending a year as a Bartley Fellow at the Wall Street Journal, Chloe developed the Theory of Enchantment, an innovative framework for socioemotional learning, character development and interpersonal growth that uses pop culture as an educational tool in the classroom and beyond. Chloé has trained around the world including in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel. Her clients have included high school and college students, government agencies, business teams and many more. She has also lectured in universities across America including Harvard and Georgetown. Her work has been covered in Psychology Today magazine and her writings have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. 

Aug 05, 2020
Robert Sutton || Good Leaders vs. Bad Leaders

Today it’s great to have Robert Sutton on the podcast. Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior by courtesy at Stanford. He co-founded the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design which everyone calls the Sutton received his PhD in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He is a senior scientist at Gallup and academic director of two executive education programs — Customer-Focused Innovation and the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. He has served as professor at the Hoss Business School, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a fellow at IDEO, an advisor to McKinsey and Company, and faculty at the World Economic Forum at Davos. Sutton’s books include The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t and Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…. and Survive the Worst, which are both New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. His latest book, Scaling-Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less (with Huggy Rao), was published in 2014.

Jul 30, 2020
Chip Conley || Wisdom, Midlife, and Peak Experience

Today it's great to have Chip Conley on the podcast. Chip is a New York Times best-selling author who helped Airbnb's founders turn their fast-growing tech start-up into a global hospitality brand. In his book Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, he shares his unexpected journey at midlife, from CEO to intern, learning about technology as Airbnb's Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, while also mentoring CEO Brian Chesky. This experience inspired the creation of The Modern Elder Academy, where a new roadmap for midlife is offered to help students unlock their wisdom and expand their potential at a beautiful ocean-front campus in Baja California Sur, Mexico. His other books include Emotional Equations, Peak, Marketing that Matters, and The Rebel Rules: Daring to Be Yourself in Business.

Jul 23, 2020
Michael Gervais || Creating a Living Masterpiece

Today it’s great to have Dr. Michael Gervais on the podcast. Dr. Gervais is a world-renowned high-performance psychologist and industry visionary. Over the course of 20 years, working with world leading performers, Dr. Gervais has developed a psychological framework that allows people to thrive in pressure packed environments. His clientele consists of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, countless Olympic medalists, MVPs from every major sport, world record holders, internationally acclaimed music artists, and corporate leaders. Dr. Gervais is the host of the popular Finding Mastery podcast that explores the psychology of some of the world’s most extraordinary thinkers and doers. Dr. Gervais and NFL coach Pete Carroll founded Compete To Create, an online and live master class for the mind. They have worked with more than 3000 employees at Microsoft alone on the mental skills and strategies to unleash one’s potential. Dr. Gervais and Pete Carroll have co-authored the recently released audible original called Compete to Create. Also, Gervais is a published peer review author and recognized speaker on optimized human performance. He’s been featured by NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN, ESPN, EFL Network, Wallstreet Journal, New York Times, Outside Magazine, Wired, ESPN Magazine, The Harvard Business Review, and others.

Jul 16, 2020
Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal || Uncancellable

Today it’s great to have Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal on the podcast. Herzog’s writing has appeared in an array of publications, and she’s a former staff writer at the Seattle Alt. Weekly: The Stranger. Singal is a contributing writer at New York Magazine where he previously edited Science of Us, a behavioral science vertical. He also has a newsletter where he writes about behavioral science, media, and other stuff, the other stuff part being: a lot of other stuff. His book about half-baked viral psychology: The Quick Fix, is coming out in about a year. Together, Herzog and Signal co-host the Blocked and Reported Podcast.

NOTE: This is a Patreon exclusive episode, which means that only the first half is available for public consumption. The rest of the episode is only available to Patreon subscribers.

Jul 09, 2020
Ayishat Akanbi || Keeping it Real

I’m really excited to have Ayishat Akanbi on the podcast today. Ayishat is a writer and fashion stylist based in London. Personal reflection has guided her approach of reminding us of our commonalities instead of our differences. Not just for social awareness but also self-awareness, Ayishat resists the black and white thinking that can lead to divisive socio-political discourse and is comfortable “in the grey”. 
From identity to cancel culture, race, integrity, wokeness, the nature of group think and more, she is determined to not let her work fall victim to the dogmatic script that discourages rationality and rewards reactivity. 

Jul 02, 2020
Richard Haier || The Nature of Human Intelligence

Today it’s great to have Dr. Richard Haier on the podcast. Dr. Haier is Professor Emeritus in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. His research investigates structural and functional neuroanatomy of intelligence using neuroimaging.

He created an eighteen lecture video course, The Intelligent Brain and author of the Neuroscience of Intelligence. He is co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence and Cognitive Neuroscience. He is editor in chief of Intelligence, a scientific journal. 

Jun 25, 2020
Lilliana Mason || How Politics Became Our Identity

Today it’s great to have the political psychologist Lilianna Mason on the podcast. Dr. Mason is associate professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity (University of Chicago Press).Dr. Mason received her PhD in Political Psychology from Stony Brook University and her BA in Politics from Princeton University. Her research on partisan identity, partisan bias, social sorting, and American social polarization has been published in journals such as American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Political Behavior, and featured in media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and National Public Radio. 

Jun 18, 2020
Geoffrey Miller || Signaling, Mating, and Morality

Today it’s great to have Geoffrey Miller on the podcast. Geoffrey Miller is the author of Virtue Signaling (2019), Spent (2009), and The Mating Mind (2001), the co-author of Mate/What Women Want (2015), and the co-editor of Mating Intelligence (2007). He has a B.A. from Columbia and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He's a tenured evolutionary psychology professor at the University of New Mexico; and has also worked at the University of Sussex, the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, University College London, London School of Economics, U.C.L.A., and NYU Stern Business School.

He researches evolutionary psychology, sexuality, consumer behavior, behavior genetics, intelligence, personality, creativity, humor, and mental disorders. He's has over 110 academic publications, and has given over 200 invited talks in 16 countries. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, Time, Wired, New Scientist, The Economist,The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Psychology Today, on NPR and BBC radio, and on CNN, PBS, Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, National Geographic Channel, BBC, and Channel 4.

Time Stamps

[0:35] Dr. Miller’s background and his book, The Mating Mind

[2:53] Understanding Signaling Theory

[6:10] Connecting Signaling Theory to sexual selection

[10:41] Common misconceptions about Signaling Theory

[12:41] Functions and social benefits of signaling

[14:01] Creativity as signals

[15:39] Dr. Miller shares about cognitive emotions

[17:42] How social media helps intellectual curiosity

[20:34] Connection between social rewards and sexual selection

[23:06] How self-esteem tracks perception of social value

[27:56] How Machiavellianism and sociopathy create a “trap” of finding followers

[29:30] “Pick up artists” and their life hacks on courtship and dating

[33:06] Effective influencing and courtship vs. Machiavellianism

[35:18] Human beings as “ideological animals”

[39:06] How individual differences create beliefs, ideologies, and values

[43:07] Distinguishing cheap talk and virtue signaling

[47:07] Differences between empathy and effective altruism

[49:29] Cognitive biases and utilitarian thinking

[54:09] Effective altruism vs. psychopathy

[57:03] Discrimination of neurodivergent people

[1:02:45] Impact of gifted people on society moving forward

[1:04:49] Dr. Miller on teaching a course on polyamory and open sexuality

[1:07:11] Pair bonding and monogamy in human evolution

[1:11:49] How monogamous and polyamorous people can learn from each other

[1:12:43] So what is polyamory?

[1:14:30] Dr. Miller on writing a new book about ethical polyamory

[1:16:20] Existential and extraterrestrial threats from an effective altruist perspective



Jun 11, 2020
Martin Seligman || From Learned Helplessness to Learned Hopefulness

Today it’s great to have Dr. Martin Seligman on the podcast. Dr. Seligman is Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center, the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology, and Director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program. Commonly known as the founder of positive psychology, Dr. Seligman is a leading authority in the fields of positive psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism, and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and that build strengths and well-being. He has written more than 250 scholarly publications and 20 books, including Flourish, Authentic Happiness, Learned Optimism, Character Strengths and Virtues (which was co-authored with Chris Peterson), and his autobiography The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism.

For detailed show notes and more information, please visit 

Jun 04, 2020
Wendy Wood || How to Make Positive Changes that Stick

Today it’s great to have the social psychologist Wendy Wood on the podcast. Wendy is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. She has written for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, and USA Today, and on NPR. She lectures widely and recently launched the website Good Habits Bad Habits to convey scientific insight on habit to the general public. Her latest book is called Good Habits, Bad habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick.

Time Stamps

[0:37] Wendy Wood’s background

[2:07] Understanding habits

[3:05] Common misconceptions regarding habits

[3:57] Integrating habits with conscious decision

[6:25] Defining a bad habit

[8:21] How good habits bring out the best version of a person

[13:02] "Habit stacking" and friction

[16:57] Qualities of a self-controlled person

[18:58] Wendy shares about ego depletion

[20:23] “White knuckling” through temptation as a counterproductive quality

[24:16] Habit system working like codes

[25:57] On how long it takes to change habits

[30:47] Changing habits using friction

[35:51] Habit vs. addiction

[37:08] Uber’s surge pricing as an example of friction

[38:51] How humans and animals learn and form habits

[40:14] The difference between a habit and a personality trait

[42:31] Gender differences in social behavior

[46:01] The impact of culture on gender differences

Call to Action

What are the habits that make you successful in life? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section down below and make sure to subscribe for more content.

May 21, 2020
Pete Carroll || Winning with Meaning and Purpose

“Strong, trusting relationships among people who are striving to be the best versions of themselves create something powerful.”

Today it’s great to have Coach Pete Carroll on the podcast. One of only three coaches to win a Super Bowl and college football national championship, Pete Carroll is in his 11th season as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. With his unique “Always Compete” philosophy and relationship-based approach, Carroll has a combined 46 years of highly decorated NFL and collegiate coaching experience. 

Carroll is also widely known for his off-field impact — through community initiatives that aim to reduce youth and gang violence; his leadership with the WE organization that focuses on youth empowerment; Compete to Create, the high-performance mindset platform he co-founded; the Performance Science Institute at USC that he co-created to educate and inspire college students; and his New York Times best-selling “Win Forever” book.

In this episode we cover:

  • How players are handling a virtual off-season
  • Some of Coach Carroll’s goals for the virtual off-season
  • How players are coping with the Coronavirus
  • Coach Carroll’s definition of “competition”
  • The importance of striving to be your best
  • What it means to be your best on the sports field
  • How coaches are teachers
  • When recruiting new players, what are some of the most important characteristics?
  • What Coach Carroll was like as a child
  • How determination can be more important than talent
  • The mission of Compete to Create
  • The importance of a culture of love
  • What authenticity looks like in a sports context
  • Coach Carroll’s belief in the importance of self-belief and self-talk
  • The difference between extreme self-belief and narcissism
  • How to cultivate creativity among players
  • The relationship between expertise and creativity
  • Michael Jordan’s greatness
  • The distinction between personal philosophy and vision
  • The early seeds of vision among those who achieve greatness
  • The seeds of greatness that exist all around us
  • Without purpose and meaning there is no winning
  • How has humanistic psychology influenced Coach Carroll’s personal philosophy
  • Why to treat every day as though it’s the Super Bowl
  • The role of fun in sports
  • Finding what’s most important to you
  • Coach Carroll’s pep talk to people who have so much fear right now with the Coronavirus
  • What is Coach Carroll’s vision of humans in 5 years if they practice the psychological skills that his practices with his players
May 07, 2020
Michele Gelfand || How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World with Michele Gelfand


Today it’s great to have the cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand on the podcast. Dr. Gelfand is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses field, experimental, computational, and neuroscience methods to understand the evolution of culture– as well as its multilevel consequences for human groups. In addition to publishing numerous articles in many prestigious scientific outlets, she is the author of Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What are social norms?
  • The difference between tight and loose cultures
  • The advantages vs. disadvantages of tight vs. loose cultures
  • Why did tight vs. loose cultures evolve in the first place?
  • How chronic threat produces a tight culture
  • Real vs. perceived (imagined) threats
  • How cross-cultural psychology is expanding 
  • The interdisciplinary expansion of the study of social norms
  • How organizations can be tight vs. loose
  • Why the ambidexterity of an organizational culture matters
  • Why people welcomed ISIS in some contexts
  • How to anticipate radical shifts in culture around the world in ways that can be predictable
  • How people differ in terms of what is perceived a threat
  • The potential for meaningful conversation across the political divide
  • The importance of persevering in science
  • How understanding differing cultural codes can help us navigate and negotiate them
  • How can modifying a nation’s norms address protracted social problems?
  • Why Michele is so excited to be in the field now more than ever
  • How these contexts can breed negative behaviors
  • Why we need to exert more control to achieve the Goldilocks principle
  • Why we need to be mindful of social norms
  • Why Michele is hopeful that we can recalibrate social norms that facilitate greater cooperation among cultures


Apr 30, 2020
Judith Orloff || Thriving as an Empath

Thriving as an Empath with Judith Orloff

“A little self-care goes a long way. Honoring your sensitivities is an act of self-love.”

Today it’s so great to have Dr. Judith Orloff on the podcast. Dr. Orloff is the New York Times best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her new book Thriving as an Empathalong with its companion The Empath’s Empowerment Journal, offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people  Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has also spoken at Google-LA and has a TEDX talk.

  • The gift of being different
  • How empaths are “emotional sponges”
  • How empaths can be misdiagnosed
  • The importance of being aware of the “phases of nature” and the “cycles of light”
  • Treasure your sensitivity
  • Identify the signs of being overwhelmed with stimulation
  • You are allowed to have peace
  • The new paradigm of being a man
  • The sacredness of commitment
  • Why the past doesn’t control you
  • The importance of setting boundaries
  •  The joy of not overthinking
  • How to hold space for someone without having to fix them
  • Getting in touch with the “magical part of your being”
  • Being willing to feel loss in order to move on
  • Go where the light is
  • How to shield yourself from toxic people
  • How to stop caring about other people’s opinions of us


Apr 23, 2020
David Yaden || The Science of Self-Transcendent Experiences

The Science of Self-Transcendent Experiences with David Yaden

Today it’s great to have David Yaden on the podcast. Dr. Yaden is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine. His research focus is on the psychology, neuroscience, and pharmacology of transformative and self-transcendent experiences. He is currently focusing on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. His scientific and scholarly work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The applicability of self-transcendent experiences to the current moment
  • The definition of self-transcendent experiences
  • Andrew Newberg’s pioneering work on the neuroscience of self-transcendent experiences
  • Abraham Maslow’s role in the history of the scientific investigation of self-transcendent experiences
  • The “everyperson’s spiritual experience”
  • The two main components of awe
  • The main characteristics of awe
  • Awe vs. flow
  • The role of technology in triggering self-transcendent experiences
  • The triggers of self-transcendent experiences
  • The limitations of interventions to induce self-transcendent experiences
  • How we can seek out little moments of awe, gratitude, and mindfulness
  • How psilocybin can induce very intense self-transcendent experiences
  • The potential for psychedelic therapy sessions
  • The neuroscience underlying the therapeutic benefit of psychedelics
  • How psychedelic experiences can impact our connection with close others
  • David’s personal self-transendent experience
  • Davis’ interest in studying intense interventions
  • David’s study of the psychology of philosophy
Apr 16, 2020
Scott Barry Kaufman || Transcend
Transcend with Scott Barry Kaufman

On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, physicist Sean Carroll chats with Scott Barry Kaufman, host of The Psychology Podcast, about his new book Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, which is out this week!

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why studying humans is more complicated than studying the universe
  • The importance of having humility as a psychologist
  • How Scott’s new book Transcend builds on the work of Abraham Maslow
  • How Maslow never actually drew a pyramid
  • What Maslow actually meant by his “Hierarchy of Needs”
  • The dialectical between security and growth
  • Scott’s new metaphor for the hierarchy of needs
  • How humans can be greater than the sum of their parts
  • Scott’s revised integrated hierarchy of needs
  • Why attachment styles are continuums, not types
  • Why the need for belonging is not the same as the need for intimacy
  • The effects of loneliness on our physical health
  • The latest science of introversion
  • Healthy self-esteem vs. narcissism
  • The “growing tip”
  • Psychological entropy
  • The need for exploration and information seeking
  • The more cosmic aspect of love, or "B-Love"
  • The need for purpose
  • Why self-actualization is not achievement
  • The form of purpose that can lead to transcendence
  • Why nothing is absolutely good or bad


Apr 09, 2020
Seth Gillihan || Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple with Seth Gillihan

Today it’s great to have Dr. Seth Gillihan on the podcast. Dr. Gillihan is a licensed psychologist who has written and lectured nationally and internationally on cognitive behavioral therapy and the role of the brain in psychiatric conditions. His books include The CBT Deck, A Mindful Year: 365 Ways to Find Connection and the Sacred in Everyday Life (co-authoredwith Dr. Aria Campbell-Danesh), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple, and Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks. Dr. Gillihan also blogs for Psychology Today and hosts the weekly Think Act Be podcast, which features a wide range of conversations about living more fully. He has a clinical practice in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, providing treatment to adults with insomnia, OCD, anxiety, depression, and related conditions. Find him on the web at See Seth’s CBT Deck here.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Seth got into therapy 
  • The second wave of CBT
  • The behavioral activation approach
  • Mindful CBT 
  • Seth’s “Think Act Be” approach
  • The importance of core beliefs
  • The cheap form of self-love
  • “Cycling the Puck”
  • The importance of returning to the true center of ourselves
  • The curious paradox of acceptance
  • What is our deepest self?
  • What is consciousness?
  • Why waking up isn’t a once and for all experience
  • How we can be kinder to ourselves


Apr 02, 2020
Roy Baumeister || Overcoming the Power of Bad

Overcoming the Power of Bad with Roy Baumeister


Today it’s great to have Roy Baumeister on the podcast. Dr. Baumeister is currently professor of psychology at the University of Queensland and is among the most prolific and most frequently cited psychologists in the world, with over 650 publications. His 40 books include the New York Times bestseller Willpower. His research covers self and identity, self-regulation, interpersonal rejection and the need to belong, sexuality and gender, aggression, self-esteem, meaning, consciousness, free will, and self-presentation. In 2013 he received the William James award for lifetime achievement in psychological science (the Association for Psychological Science’s highest honor), and his latest book, co-authored with John Tierney, is called “The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It”.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How the human brain as a tendency to focus on the bad
  • Why bad is processed more thoroughly than good
  • Why more tends to be better
  • There are many things where being at the appropriate level is best
  • The latest research on ego depletion 
  • Roy’s take on the replication crisis
  • Why falsely accused people have trouble repairing their reputation
  • The bad gets so much more publicity than the good
  • Early career researchers and the lack of incentive for exporation
  • Why we are wired for bad
  • The importance of the Pollyanna principle
  • Roy’s words of wisdom for those with anxiety over the Coronavirus
  • “The rule of 4”
  • Why are hell fearing religions more popular than those preaching a benevolent message?
  • Gordon Allport’s distinction between mature and immature religion
  • The riskiness of drawing too much on the self
  • Roy’s thoughts on the best route to the good life
  • Ways we can see the bigger picture
  • The “negative Golden Rule”
  • How to get on the “low-bad diet”


Mar 26, 2020
Max Lugavere || Heal Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Become Extraordinary

Heal Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Become Extraordinary with Max Lugavere

Today it’s great to have Max Lugavere on the podcast. Max is a filmmaker, health and science journalist and the author of the New York Times best-selling book Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life, which is now published in 8 languages around the globe. He is also the host of the #1 iTunes health podcast The Genius Life. Lugavere appears regularly on the Dr. Oz Show, the Rachael Ray Show, and The Doctors. He has contributed to Medscape, Vice, Fast Company, CNN, and the Daily Beast, has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and in The Wall Street Journal. He is a sought-after speaker and has given talks at South by Southwest, TEDx, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Biohacker Summit in Stockholm, Sweden, and many others. Max is excited to release his sophomore book, The Genius Life: Heal Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Become Extraordinary, a lifestyle guide to living happily and healthily with proven, research-based lifestyle tactics.
  • What is “nutritional psychiatry”?
  • The importance of preserving protein in your body
  • How longevity and nutrition is a continually evolving science
  • Environmental toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis
  • The influence of the environment on emotional instability
  • The “three Ps” of detoxification
  • The importance of consuming a “nutrient dense diet”
  • The importance of sweating regularly 
  • The potential of house plants to purify the air
  • The dangers of tap water
  • The dangers of consuming processed foods
  • The importance of whole foods
  • How to make your gym sessions more efficient
  • How exercise is a form of medicine
  • How the right tools in your toolkit can alleviate depression and anxiety
  • The importance of taking a whole body approach


Mar 19, 2020
Carol Dweck || The Latest Science of Growth Mindset
The Latest Science of Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck
Today it’s a real honor to have Carol Dweck on the podcast. Dr. Dweck is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research examines the role of mindsets in personal achievement and organizational effectiveness. 

Dr. Dweck has also held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups around the world, has addressed the United Nations, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and has won 12 lifetime achievement awards for her research. Her best-selling book Mindset has been widely influential and has been translated into over 25 languages. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • Carol’s earliest research on “incremental” vs. “entity” beliefs
  • Carol’s dream of “bottling” the mindsets that lead people to persevere
  • The limitations of Carol’s earlier studies 
  • The two big developments in studying growth mindset
  • Growth mindset exercises
  • The “Big Mama” of growth mindset studies
  • The underwhelming effect size of educational interventions
  • How low SES students benefit more from growth mindset interventions
  • The conditions under which growth mindset interventions don’t work
  • The role of teacher mindset on teaching effectiveness
  • The relationship between growth mindset and other outcomes in life
  • How growth mindset doesn’t invalidate the existence of giftedness
  • Why every child should be challenged
  • Why we shouldn’t cut out gifted and talented programs
  • How praising gifted students for effort can backfire
  • The relationship between mindsets and IQ
  • How having a fixed mindset can sometimes lead to increased performance
  • Cross-cultural differences in mindsets
  • Criticism that growth mindset claims have been overblown
  • Carol Dweck’s dream of improving the sustainability of growth mindset interventions (Dweck’s “next big Mount Everest”)
  • Why mindset is not a “miracle maker” 
  • What Carol Dweck is most excited about in terms of future directions


Mar 12, 2020
Coleman Hughes || The Humanity of Race

The Humanity of Race with Coleman Hughes


“There are very few people who have nothing of any value to say.” — Coleman Hughes

Today it’s great to have Coleman Hughes on the podcast. Coleman is an undergraduate philosophy major at Columbia University and a columnist for Quillette magazine. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, and the Spectator.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Coleman’s initial plan in life to become a trombonist
  • Coleman’s early childhood education
  • Coleman’s transformation of his thinking about race
  • Coleman’s nuanced thoughts on intersectionality
  • Why we set up a norm against racial stereotyping
  • Is reverse-racism legitimate?
  • How the main message of the civil rights movement is ignored
  • Coleman’s humanistic perspective on race
  • Coleman’s criticism of the “woke” mindset
  • What makes sense about the woke mindset
  • Looking at things from the perspective of police officers
  • Understanding the causes of the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs
  • The moral imperative to enhance cognitive development of people in the bottom of society 
  • How racial categories mislead us
  • How people underrate the value of local programs and community to solve problems of racism
  • Why policy shouldn’t look at racial disparities
  • The important distinction between culture and race
  • Why focusing on racial disparities (assuming that racial disparities are a proxy for well-being) is a mistake
  • Coleman’s vision for the good society


Mar 05, 2020
Nir Eyal || How to Be Indistractable
How to Be Indistractable with Nir Eyal

Today it’s really great to have Nir Eyal on the podcast. Nir is formerly a Lecturer in Marketing at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and also taught at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His first book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, was an international bestseller. His current book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, reveals the Achilles’ heel of distraction and provides a guidebook for getting the best of technology without letting it get the best of us. Nir blogs at:

In this episode we discuss:

  • The one superpower that Nir would want
  • The root cause of distraction
  • What really motivates us
  • How distraction starts from within
  • How time management is pain management
  • What is the role of boredom in distractibility?
  • How to raise indistractible kids
  • How to remove the external trigger of kids
  • The critical question that people should ask
  • How can you prevent distraction with pacts?
  • How we can use precommitments to keep ourselves focused
  • How people overuse of the word “addiction”
  • The stigmatization of ADHD
  • Treating a kid’s use of technology the same way we think of a swimming pool
  • How children are “hypocrisy detection devices”
  • The importance of setting a good example for children
  • Self-determination theory and the rise of cell phone use
  • Can too much concentration, and too little daydreaming, be a bad thing?


Feb 27, 2020
Lori Gottlieb || Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Today we’re excited to have Lori Gottlieb on the podcast. Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which is being adapted as a television series with Eva Longoria. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and is the co-host of iHeart’s upcoming “Dear Therapists” podcast, produced by Katie Couric. She is also a TED speaker, a ​member of the Advisory Council for Bring Change to Mind, and advisor to the Aspen Institute. She is a sought-after expert in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Learn more at or by following her @LoriGottlieb1 on Twitter.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The fundamental themes of human existence
  • Irvin Yalom’s influence on Lori Gottlieb
  • Why we feel isolated in our experiences
  • The loneliness crisis on college campuses
  • How the internet helps us numb
  • How to know when social media has become an addiction
  • Why happiness as a goal is a disaster
  • SBK analyzes Lori Gottlieb
  • Why we are often scared to do things that excite us
  • Why there is no “hierarchy of pain”
  • The hierarchy of pain and the social justice movement
  • Why is it so hard for us to change when we know what to do?
  • Why we don’t let ourselves be happy
  • The importance of self-compassion
  • The most important factor in the success of therapy
  • What makes for a boring patient?
  • Why feelings sometimes don’t care about facts
  • Common myths of therapy
  • “Part of us wants something and there’s another part of us that goes against the thing we want”
  • Why “our feelings need air”
  • How numbness is a state of being overwhelmed by too many feelings
  • The importance of seeing your own agency and the choices you have
Feb 13, 2020
Jonathan Mooney || Normal Sucks

“The only normal people are the people you don’t know very well.” — Jonathan Mooney

Today we have Jonathan Mooney on the podcast. Jonathan is a dyslexic writer and speaker who did not learn to read until 12 years old. He faced a number of low expectations growing up— was told he would flip burgers, be a high school drop out and end up in jail. Needless to say these prophecies didn’t come to pass. Today, he speaks across the nation about neurological and physical diversity, inspiring those who live with differences and advocating for change. Mooney’s work has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, HBO, NPR, and ABC News, and his books include The Short BusLearning Outside the Lines, and most recently, Normal Sucks: How to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is normal?
  • How the creation of special ed was originally an act of inclusion
  • The unintended complications of creating a special education program
  • Jonathan’s story growing up in special ed
  • The twice-exceptional (2e) movement
  • How giftedness comes with a “complicated brew” of assets and challenges
  • The importance of recognizing the 2e within ourselves and sharing that with the world
  • The importance of not hiding the things that make us different, but celebrating those things
  • How Jonathan once took on many personas to hide his differences
  • How the average got conflated with the impossible ideal in society
  • The value judgement that is placed on IQ from a cultural perspective
  • Going from “How smart are you?” to “How are you smart”?
  • Jonathan feeling deficient because he was different
  • How Jonathan went on a journey driving a school bus across the United States and listened to people with atypical brains and bodies
  • The value of human fallibility
  • The Eye to Eye mentoring program
  • How the private sector corporate diversity policies can make difference by including atypical brains and bodies as part of diversity initiatives
Jan 30, 2020
Paul Bloom || The Joy of Suffering and the Downside of Empathy

Today it's great to have Paul Bloom on the podcast. Dr. Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom is also author or editor of seven books, including Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion 

In this wide-ranging and provocative episode we discuss:


  • Paul's graduate research with Steven Pinker
  • Is language the result of biological evolution or cultural evolution?
  • What "hardwired" really means
  • Why innate mechanisms require environmental input
  • The necessity of bias
  • Some potential downsides of empathy
  • The case for rational compassion 
  • Cognitive empathy vs. affective empathy 
  • Did Hitler have the capacity for empathy? 
  • The joy of suffering 
  • Why do we choose to suffer?
  • The fundamental human need for exploration
  • The human need to overcome challenges
  • Would some people be content watching Netflix and smoking pot all day?
  • The relationship between income and happiness 
  • The importance of spending money well
  • The psychology of expectation and pleasure
  • If someone offer you more money, should you take it?
  • Relief vs. pleasure
  • Does enjoying something depend on how much we think we will enjoy something?
  • Art and authenticity 
  • Art and value judgements
  • Would Tarzan believe in God?
  • Are babies basically good?
  • Why religion is so pervasive
  • Are babies moral?
  • How a powerful moral sense is responsible for an extraordinary amount of evil in the world
  • Is moral grandstanding always bad?
  • Why not everything is virtue signaling
Jan 16, 2020
Cory Muscara || Stop Missing Your Life
Today it’s great to have Cory Muscara on the podcast. Cory is an international speaker and teacher on the topics of presence and well-being. He believes that when people are deeply fulfilled, they are a better force in the world for other beings, the environment, and their communities. For several years he taught mindfulness-based leadership at Columbia University and currently serves as an assistant instructor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, Cory spent 6 months in silence living as a monk in Burma, meditating 14+ hours per day, and now aims to bring these teachings to people in a practical and usable way, presenting to schools, organizations and healthcare systems, as well as through workshops and retreats for the general public. Named by Dr. Oz as one of the nation’s leading experts on mindfulness, his meditations have now been heard more than 10 million times in over 100 countries. Cory is host of the popular daily podcast, Practicing Human, and the author of Stop Missing Your Life: How to Be Deeply Present in an Un-Present World.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Cory’s transformation from frat boy to monk
  • Can monks be self-actualizing?
  • The importance of not being enslaved by certain parts of you
  • How to overcame pain through mindfulness
  • The emotional body vs. the sensation body
  • The process of detaching sensations from the labels we put on them
  • Equanimity and allowing life to happen
  • How equanimity is more about our internal experience than our external experience
  • The “pain box”
  • How to soften the “pain wall”
  • Dispelling the myth of the “real you”
  • Barriers to real connection
  • What it means to be fully seen and accepted
  • The importance of radical acceptance
  • How the more parts of you that are brought in and accepted the more you feel as though the wholeness of you is accepted and seen
  • The "scrollercoaster" meditation
  • How we can take control of technology and take back our lives


Jan 02, 2020
Marc Brackett || Become an Emotion Scientist

“Emotion skills are the key to unlocking the potential inside each one of us. And in the process of developing those skills, we each, heart by heart, mind by mind, create a culture and society unlike anything we’ve experienced thus far— and very much like the one we might dare to imagine.”  -- Marc Brackett

Today it's great to have Marc Brackett on the podcast. Dr. Brackett is founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine at Yale University. His research focuses on the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, health, and performance. Marc is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based, systemic approach to SEL that has been adopted by over 2,000 preschool to high schools across the United States and in other countries. He has published 125 scholarly articles and received numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins award for his research on social and emotional learning. He also is on the board of directors for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Marc consults regularly with corporations like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google on integrating emotional intelligence principles into employee training and product design and is co-founder of Oji Life Lab, a digital emotional intelligence learning system for businesses. His research has been featured in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today, Good Morning America, and NPR. He is the author of Permission to FeelUnlocking the Power of Emotions to Help our Kids, Ourselves, and our Society Thrive, published by Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan, which has been translated into 15 languages.

In this wide-ranging episode we discuss:

  • How Mark is feeling
  • Mark’s rough childhood and how he felt “trapped in his feelings”
  • Negative outcomes that can ensue when you don’t feel you have the permission to feel
  • Some harrowing statistics about how depression and anxiety are on the rise
  • How does the original Salovey and Meyer model of emotional intelligence differ from Daniel Goleman’s model?
  • The emotion scientist vs. the emotion judge
  • Skills of the emotion scientist
  • How Marc’s Uncle changed Marc’s life forever by giving him permission to feel
  • The main components of the RULER framework
  • The many factors that influence how we express our emotions authentically and honestly
  • The mood meter poster and app that allows you to track your emotions over time and look at patterns
  • The malleability of emotional intelligence
  • The difference between temperament and emotional intelligence 
  • The most important thing Marc learned through teaching emotional intelligence
  • How more emotional intelligence can bring world peace (at least according to a 3rd grader)
  • Why we need to spend more time cultivating emotional intelligence
Dec 19, 2019
Julia Shaw || Humanizing Evil

“I firmly believe there is no person, no group, no behavior, no thing that is objectively evil. Perhaps evil only really exists in our fears.” -- Julia Shaw

Today it’s great to have Dr. Julia Shaw on the podcast. Dr. Shaw is a psychological scientist at UCL. She is best known for her work in the areas of memory and criminal psychology. In 2017 Dr. Shaw co-founded the memory science and artificial intelligence start-up Spot. Spot helps employees report workplace harassment and discrimination, and empowers organizations to build a more inclusive and respectful work environment. In 2016 she published her bestselling debut book "The Memory Illusion", which has appeared in 20 languages and in 2019 she published her second international bestseller "Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side".

Note: This episode goes down a lot of taboo alleys. The dark side of human nature  is a fascinating topic, but there may be some issues that you'd rather not hear about. Please review the list of topics before listening to this episode.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Julia got into criminal psychology
  • How we all do “reality crafting”
  • The depths of human hypocrisy
  • Why we don’t always act in accord with our own morality
  • Julia Shaw’s criticism of the label “evil”
  • The neuroscience of “evil” and Hitler’s brain
  • Your brain on porn
  • How kink is stigmatized in our society
  • Can you be a feminist and engage in BDSM?
  • The “deviant sexual interests” scale
  • The prevalence of rape fantasies
  • Pedophiles vs. ephebophiles
  • Why “curiosity shaming” limits discussion and understanding
  • The science of beastiality and what makes one animal sexier than another animal
  • Why we shame vegans
  • Rape culture and how systems fail and lead to harm
  • What we can do to reduce sexual violence in society
  • The bright side of your dark side
  • How we can use the dark side to be a hero (the heroic imagination)
Dec 05, 2019
Rex Jung || The Neuroscience (and Neuroplasticity) of Intelligence, Creativity, and Genius

Today it’s great to have Dr. Rex Jung on the podcast. Dr. Jung is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, and a clinical neuropsychologist in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, he has practiced neuropsychology in Albuquerque since 2002. His clinical work now centers around intraoperative testing of patients undergoing awake craniotomy to remove tumors within eloquent brain tissue – work with particular relevance to the study of individual differences. He has contributed to over 100 research articles across a wide range of disciplines, involving both clinical and normal populations, designed to assess brain-behavior relationships. He is the Editor of the Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity. His work has been featured on CNN, BBC, NOVA, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and National Geographic.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Rex’s earlier work on the neuroscience of intelligence
  • The distributed brain model of intelligence
  • Rex’s investigation of Scott’s brain
  • How the brain can compensate for disability
  • How our intelligence can change over time
  • Limitations of IQ tests for measuring intellectual potential
  • The limits of neuroplasticity
  • The genetics of intelligence
  • The creative brain
  • How the neuroscience of creativity is sometimes the inverse of the neuroscience of intelligence
  • The “default network” of mental simulation 
  • The human capacity to “simulate or try out ideas before you buy them”
  • The beautiful architecture of the brain
  • The neuroscience of genius
  • Rex’s work on awake craniometries (neurological testing while a patient is awake and a tumor is being removed)
Nov 21, 2019
Steven Hayes || Liberate Your Mind

Liberate Your Mind with Steven Hayes


Today it’s great to have Dr. Steven Hayes on the podcast. Dr. Hayes is a professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. The author of forty-three books and more than six hundred scientific articles, he has served as president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, and is one of the most cited psychologists in the world. Dr. Hayes initiated the development of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), the approach to cognition on which ACT is based. His research has been cited widely by major media, including: Time magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Men’s Health, Self, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, O, The Oprah Magazine, and

In this episode we discuss:

  • Steven Haye’s journey to studying the science of liberation
  • The lessons you can learn from your own pain and suffering
  • How you can apply psychology to human prosperity
  • Some limitations of the CBT approach (“CBT gone bad”)
  • How we all have a “dictator within”
  • Scott and Steven roleplay an ACT session
  • How to apply ACT principles to dieting
  • How Steven defines values
  • The definition and importance of “psychological flexibility”
  • How to get out of the “anxiety trap”
  • How to pivot to what you really want
  • How consciousness connects us to the infinite
  • The 6 things that get in the way of pivoting
  • The social/environmental side of ACT 
  • “What does it gain us to give up on people?”
  • ACT and social transformation
  • What is love?
Nov 07, 2019
[Rerun] Dr. Elaine Aron on The Highly Sensitive Person

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!

Oct 31, 2019
[Rerun] Helen Fisher on Why We Love, Lust, and Live with Helen Fisher

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!

Oct 24, 2019
[Rerun] "Spectacular Ability in a Sea of Disability”: The Psychology of Savantism with Darold Treffert

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!

Oct 17, 2019
[Rerun] Todd Kashdan on Dancing with the Dark Side of Your Personality

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.

Oct 10, 2019
[Rerun] Angela Duckworth on Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

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.

Oct 03, 2019
[Rerun] Jordan Peterson on Wonder, Creativity, and the Personality of Political Correctness

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



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

Sep 26, 2019
[Rerun] Tim Ferriss on Accelerated Learning, Peak Performance and Living the Good Life

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.

Sep 19, 2019
[Rerun] Kristin Neff on The Healing Power of Self-Compassion

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.

Sep 12, 2019
[Rerun] Robert Greene on The Laws of Human Nature

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
Sep 05, 2019
[Rerun] Brené Brown on Creativity, Courageous Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living

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: (Email is not required).


Aug 29, 2019
[Rerun] Susan Cain on The Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts

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 22, 2019
David Vago || Mind the Mindfulness Hype
Today it’s a delight to have David Vago on the podcast. Dr. Vago is Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He also maintains an appointment as a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. David aims to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in health-care settings. In this context, David has been specifically focusing on the study of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings, and the basic cognitive and neuroscientific mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practice function.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is contemplative science?
  • History of the idea of “contemplation”
  • Including intuition under the umbrella of contemplative practice
  • The aim of mindfulness
  • Pop writers on mindfulness vs. scientists of mindfulness
  • What do we know after 25 years of mindfulness research?
  • The link between mindfulness and how we cope with pain
  • The link between mindfulness and reducing anxiety
  • The link between mindfulness and improving depression
  • How there are a lot of crap studies out there on mindfulness
  • What are the potential adverse effects of mindfulness?
  • Why it’s difficult to look at the link between mindfulness and cognitive outcomes
  • Mindfulness and its impact on impulse control
  • The impact of mindfulness on attention
  • The need for better measures of outcomes in mindfulness research
  • The link between mindfulness and creativity
  • The false narrative about mindfulness and mind wandering (and the default mode network)
  • The relationship between mindfulness and wisdom
  • The main challenges of investigating mindfulness through neuroscience
  • Why mindfulness is not the end all and be all
  • The usefulness of taking an evidence-based approach to looking at the benefits of mindfulness
Aug 15, 2019
Christian Miller || How Good Are We, Really?

Today it’s great to have Christian Miller on the podcast. Dr. Miller is A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and Director of the Character Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is the author of over 75 papers as well as the author of MoralCharacter: An Empirical TheoryCharacter and Moral Psychology, and most recently, The Character Gap: How Good Are We? 

In this episode we discuss:

  • The main aims of the Character Project
  • Christian’s attempt to integrate positive psychology research with philosophy
  • Replication of the famous Milgram experiment
  • Fairness norms among infants
  • Can we draw boundaries around the notion of “moral character”?
  • What factors predict whether people help?
  • How we’re a mixed bag between the poles of compassion and callousness
  • What Christian’s research has discovered about people’s tendency toward helping, hurting, lying and cheating
  • Can we make humans better?
  • How SBK and Aristotle are on the same page
Aug 08, 2019
Brian Nosek || Implicit Bias and Open Science

Today with have Brian Nosek on the podcast. Nosek is co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Open Science ( that operates the Open Science Framework ( The Center for Open Science is enabling open and reproducible research practices worldwide. Brian is also a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2002. He co-founded Project Implicit (, a multi-university collaboration for research and education investigating implicit cognition–thoughts and feelings that occur outside of awareness or control. Brian investigates the gap between values and practices, such as when behavior is influenced by factors other than one’s intentions and goals. Research applications of this interest include implicit bias, decision-making, attitudes, ideology, morality, innovation, and barriers to change. Nosek applies this interest to improve the alignment between personal and organizational values and practices. In 2015, he was named one of Nature’s 10 and to the Chronicle for Higher Education Influence list.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The genesis of Project Implicit
  • The current state of the field of implicit bias
  • Overuses of the Implicit Association Test (IAT)
  • The common desire people have for simple solutions
  • The potential for misuse of the IAT for real-world selection
  • How hard it is to study human behavior
  • What the IAT is really capturing
  • How the degree to which the IAT is trait or state-like varies by the topic you are investigating
  • Cultural influences on the IAT
  • Brian’s criticism of implicit bias training
  • The latest state of the science on implicit bias
  • How our ideologies creep in even when we are trying to be unbiased
  • The difference between implicit attitudes and conscious attitudes
  •  What would an equality of implicit associations look like?
  • Why bias is not necessarily bad
  • The genesis of The Reproducibility Project
  • What are some classic psychological studies that haven’t replicated?
  • The importance of having compassion for the scientist
  • The importance of having the intellectual humility of uncertainty
  • The importance of cultivating the desire to get it right (instead of the desire to be right)
  • What is open science?
  • What is #BroScience?
  • How hostility on social media can cause us to lose the view of the majority
  • The importance of balancing getting it right with being kind to others
Aug 01, 2019
Michael Pipich || Owning Bipolar

“Don’t be afraid. You are not alone.” - Michael Pipich

Today we have Michael Pipich on the podcast. Pippich is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and has treated a wide range of mental disorders and relationship problems in adults and adolescents for over 30 years. Michael is also a national speaker on Bipolar Disorder and has been featured on radio and in print media on a variety of topics. His latest book is Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The main characteristics of bipolar disorder
  • The three main types of bipolar
  • The suicidal potential among bipolar
  • Michael’s three-phase approach to treat patients with bipolar
  • The benefits of mania
  • The link between bipolar and creativity
  • How people with bipolar can thrive
  • Taking responsibility for your bipolar
  • How loved ones and family members can support those with bipolar
  • Linkages between bipolar and the different types of narcissism
  • Reaching out to help others
Jul 25, 2019
Gleb Tsipursky || A Science-Based Guide to Truth Seeking

Today we have Dr. Gleb Tsipursky on the podcast. Dr. Tsipursky is passionate about promoting truth, rational thinking, and wise decision-making. He is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State, serves as the volunteer President of the nonprofitIntentional Insights, is a co-founder of the Pro-Truth Pledge, and the author of a number of a number of books, most notably the #1 Amazon bestseller The Truth Seeker¹s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. He is currently working on a book on relationships and cognitive bias.

In this interview we discuss:

  • Gleb’s humble worldview
  • How humans are not adapted to evaluate reality clearly
  • “The backfire effect”
  • How to make better choices aligned with reality
  • When should we rely on our gut?
  • How we so often fall prey to the “fundamental attribution error”
  • Ways we can recognize the thinking errors that prevent us from seeing reality more clearly
  • How friends can be the enemies of wise choices
  • The irrationality of political decisions
  • The importance of differentiating between the truth and personal values
  • How Gleb derives his personal values
  • Why people lose so much money in the stock market
  • Why you don’t want to invest in a mutual funds
  • Why the mainstream media be careful when they criticize conservatives
  • The one thing Trump got right in Charlottesville
  • How to convince your enemies to collaborate with you
  • How Gleb escaped the darkness of mental illness through his rational approach to living
  • How we can protect our happiness against emotional traps
  • Gleb’s “Pro-Truth Pledge” (
  • How you can live the life you want to live
Jul 18, 2019
Cara Santa Maria || Clinical Psychology and Social Justice
Today it’s great to have Cara Santa Maria on the podcast. Cara is an Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, author, and podcaster. She is a correspondent on National Geographic's flagship television series Explorer, and she is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria. Cara also co-hosts the popular Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, and hosts the new podcast Fixed That for You. Additionally, she co-authored the Skeptics Guide to the Universebook with her podcast co-hosts and is the spokesperson for National Geographic’sAlmanac 2019. Cara is a founding member of the Nerd Brigade and cofounded the annual science communication retreat #SciCommCamp.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The importance of studying the good death from a multidisciplinary perspective
  • The challenges working with at-risk adolescent youth
  • What it was like for Cara to shift focus from public science communicator to graduate school
  • Cara’s focus on social justice and diversity within her clinical psychology research
  • How depression and anxiety look different in different cultures and among different languages
  • Barriers to accessibility to studying psychology through a social justice lens
  • Cara’s personal hurdles as a woman in science
  • Cara’s personal experience with Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The real meaning of free speech
  • How #BelieveAllWomen and due process are not diametrically opposed to each other
  • The importance of taking into account base rates when reasoning about the prevalence of sexual abuse
  • The importance of being as unbiased as possible when encountering individuals
  • Balancing #BelieveAllWomen with #NotAllMen
  • The need for a multi-pronged approach to making social change
  • What to do when social justice narratives conflict with the data
  • The importance of existential-humanistic psychology
Jul 11, 2019
Gustav Kuhn || The Science of Magic

Today it’s great to have Gustav Kuhn on the show. Born in Switzerland,  Kuhn discovered his passion for magic at the age of 13, and much of his teenage years were dedicated to the art of illusion and deception.  At the age of 19 he moved to London to follow his dream of becoming a professional magician, but his career took a dramatic change after he discovered a keen interest for psychology. Gustav went on to study psychology at Sussex University, and towards the end of his PhD, he noticed a direct link between magic and psychology. His unique background in science and magic allowed him to build bridges between these two domains, which helped him establish a science of magic. Kuhn is now a Reader at Goldsmiths University of London, and director of the MAGIC-Lab (Mind Attention & General Illusory Cognition).  He is one of the pioneering researchers in the Science of Magic and he is one of the founding members and president of the Science of Magic Association. His latest book is called “Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic”.

  • What is the link between psychology and magic?
  • The link between perception and magic
  • What is magic? What is not magic?
  • The link between magic and well-being
  • Early childhood experiences of magicians
  • The link between magic and creativity
  • The role of misdirection in magic
  • The neural basis of magic
  • Do we all experience the same magic?
  • The “magician’s force”
  • The potential for using magic for bad ends
  • Will magicians ever become obsolete in the age of machines?
  • The link between magic and human-machine interaction
  • How we can use science to enhance the magic endeavor
Jul 04, 2019
David Brooks || The Quest for a Moral Life

Today we have David Brooks on the podcast. Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and appears regularly on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He teaches at Yale University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the bestselling author of a number of books, including The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and AchievementThe New Upper Class and How They Got ThereThe Road to Character, and most recently, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The evolution of David’s thinking about character
  • The relationship between our commitments and our fulfillment in life
  • Brook’s criticism of self-actualization taken to the extreme
  • The four crises of our time
  • David’s current stance on reparations
  • Why David is a “border stalker”
  • How David reconciles the need for commitment with identity fluidity
  • Commitment vs. individualism
  • The importance of healthy transcendence
  • The enunciation moment
  • What we can do about the current political landscape
  • David’s thoughts on polyamory and the single life
Jun 27, 2019
Stoya || Foucault, Heteronormativity, and Good Porn

Today it’s great to have Stoya on the podcast. Stoya has been working with sexuality for over a decade. Her writing credits include the New York Times, The Guardian, and Playboy. Her first book of essays, Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn is available through Not A Cult Media, and her experimental porn project lives at This episode is very explicit, so if that’s not your thing, please enjoy one of the other other 167 episodes of The Psychology Podcast. If you do listen to this episode, please stick around all the way to the end, as we really enjoyed tying it all together at the end of the episode!)

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

  • What is porn?
  • What is good porn?
  • Can there be feminism under capitalism?
  • Stoya’s critique of “liberal feminists”
  • The importance of values that transcend sexual preferences
  • How our collective conception of “normal sex” leaves out a whole lot of sexual preferences that “normal” people have
  • Focault on how preventing the discussion of sex is making us even more obsessed with sex
  • The science of sexual fantasies
  • Are there any sexual fantasies that are damaging to normalize?
  • What we can learn about privacy from pornstars
  • The benefits/disadvantages of choosing a porn career
  • Comparing/contrasting BDSM with monogamy
  • Why BDSM is too wide a category to be considered a sexual orientation
  • Why Stoya has to be physically aroused in order to be creative in a porn scene
  • How Scott and Stoya know each other
  • Which author – from anytime thru history – would Stoya like to go out partying with? And what would her drink of choice be for such an occasion?
  • The link between ADHD and creativity
Jun 06, 2019
David Sloan Wilson and Steven Hayes || Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science

Today we have David Sloan Wilson and Steven Hayes on the podcast. David Sloan Wilson is president of The Evolution Institute and a SUNY distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University. Sloan Wilson applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world. His books include Darwin’s CathedralEvolution for EveryoneThe Neighborhood Project, and Does Altruism Exist? Steven C. Hayes is foundation professor in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. An author of forty-four books and over 600 scientific articles, his career has focused on an analysis of the nature of human language and cognition, and the application of this to the understanding and alleviation of human suffering and the promotion of human prosperity. Hayes has received several awards, including the Impact of Science on Application Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT).

Together, they edited the recent book, “Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Predicting, and Influencing Human Behavior.”

In this episode we cover a lot of ground, including:

  • Steven’s perspective on language and cognition
  • The difference between evolutionary science and evolutionary psychology
  • How Skinner thought of himself as an evolutionary psychologist
  • How evolutionary theory needs to take a step back and taken into account variation selection
  • How evolutionary science need to be an applied discipline
  • How evolutionary psychology done right acknowledges both an innate and adaptive component
  • Why Steven Hayes thinks that 98% of the research we’re doing in psychology might be wrong
  • Steven’s criticism of psychometric research (he thinks it’s “going down”!)
  • The first time Steven encountered David’s work and how it made him cry
  • Steven’s criticism of how the term “genetic” is used in the psychological literature
  • Separating “pop evolutionary psychology” from good evolutionary science
  • Renee Duckworth’s skeleton metaphor
  • The tension between evolutionary change and stability
  • Why we need to look at function, context, and longitudinal development in order to really balance flexibility and structure, 
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as managing the evolutionary process
  • How multidimensionality and multi-level thinking allows us to manage evolutionary processes like never before
  • Their upcoming book on prosociality 
May 30, 2019
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic || Why So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders

“There is a surplus of charismatic leaders with a fascinating dark side.” — Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Today it’s great to have Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on the podcast. Tomas is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, a professor of business psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, and an associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. He’s the author of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It)  as well as 9 other books, and over 160 scientific publications. He is the co-founder of DeeperSignals and Metaprofiling and a regular contributor to HBR, FastCompany, and BusinessInsider. You can find him on Twitter @drtcp or at

  • Limitations of the “lean in” approach
  • Tomas’s alternative explanation for the existence of gender differences in leadership
  • How people focus more on confidence than competence
  • How we emphasize charisma more than humility
  • How we are more likely to select narcissistic individuals for leadership positions than people with integrity
  • Gender differences in narcissism
  • Is masculinity necessarily toxic?
  • Why we waste so much money on unconscious bias training
  • How do we get more women in leadership roles?
  • The better way to select talented people in the workplace than using gender quotas
  • Do nice guys finish last?
May 23, 2019
Hope is Fucked || Mark Manson

“Whether you think you’re better than everybody or worse than everybody, you’re still assuming that you are different than everybody.” — Mark Manson

Today it’s great to have Mark Manson on the podcast. His blog,, attracts more than two million readers per month. Mark is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (with over 6 million in sales in the US alone) and his latest book is called Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why we are a culture in need of hope
  • The paradox of progress
  • How self-control is an illusion
  • How to learn to communicate to yourself effectively
  • “Emo Newton’s” laws of emotion
  • Mark’s definition of growth
  • How to start your own religion
  • The paradox of hope
  • How hope can be incredibly destructive if we’re not careful
  • Kant’s Formula of Humanity
  • How to grow up
  • Political extremism and maturity
  • The difference between #fakefreedom and real freedom
  • Why we are bad algorithms and why we shouldn’t fear artificial intelligence so much
  • What Mark dares to hope for
May 16, 2019
Scott Peters || Rethinking Gifted Education

Today it’s a great pleasure to have Dr. Scott Peters on the podcast. Dr. Peters is an associate professor of educational foundations and the Richard and Veronica Teller Endowed Faculty Fellow of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he teaches courses on measurement and assessment, research methodology, and gifted education. His research focuses on educational assessment, gifted and talented student identification, disproportionality within K-12 education, and educational policy. He is the first author of Beyond Gifted Education: Designing and Implementing Advanced Academic Programs and the co-author (along with Jonathan Plucker) of Excellence Gaps in Education: Expanding Opportunities for Talented Students, published by Harvard Education Press.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Advocates vs. scientists in the field of gifted education
  • Does teacher training in gifted education have any effect on self-reported teaching in the classroom?
  • How the desire for good advocacy in gifted education can bias good science
  • The real need to advocate for kids who aren’t being challenged in the regular classroom
  • The absurdity of teaching children based solely on how old they are
  • Is there room at the table for all different perspectives in the gifted education field?
  • The problem with the “gifted” label
  • How can you balance excellence with equity?
  • How to close the “excellence gap” in gifted education
  • What domains should be included in gifted education?
  • The importance of “frontloading” opportunities in school
  • Acceleration vs. enrichment
  • What happens when addressing underrepresentation is the main goal of gifted education?
  • The value of using local norms for gifted student selection
  • Is complete excellence gap reduction a reasonable goal of gifted education?
  • Scott’s plan for addressing excellent gaps in gifted education
May 09, 2019
Gwen Gordon || Restoring the Playground

“Play is life force itself… when we can sense and amplify its most life-affirming, transformative impulses, it will point us directly to the Playground.”

Today it’s great pleasure to have Gwen Gordon on the podcast. Gordon began her career building Muppets for Sesame Street. Since leaving Sesame Street, Gwen developed Awakened Play, a play-based approach to making behavior change irresistible and transformation delightful. She has applied her insights in organizations ranging from San Quentin Prison to the MIT Media Lab and from IDEO to PepsiCo. Along the way, Gwen has collected a master’s degree in philosophy and an Emmy award in children’s programming. Her latest book is The Wonderful W, which is the first picture book for grownups.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is play?
  • How everything is really “fear of the void”
  • The doorway to the sense of wholeness
  • Gwen’s experience working at Sesame Street
  • Correcting the record about how Gwen created the Rockheads on Sesame Street
  • Scott’s crush on Miss Piggy
  • The shadow side to play
  • How the playground is our true habitat
  • The incredible importance of adult play
  • The inherent paradoxes of play
  • How play relates to attachment theory
  • How play is a healthy stepping stone to healthy childhood development
Apr 25, 2019
Ruth Richards || Everyday Creativity

Today it’s great to have Ruth Richards on the podcast. Dr. Richards is a psychologist, psychiatrist, professor at Saybrook University, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. She has published numerous articles, edited/written three previous books on everyday creativity, and received the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement (Division 10, American Psychological Association). Dr. Richards sees dynamic creative living as central to individuals and cultures, and a new worldview. Her latest book is called “Everyday Creativity and the Healthy Mind: Dynamic New Paths for Self and Society”, which recently won the won a Nautilus Silver Award.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is “everyday creativity”?
  • What is “universal creative potential”?
  • All the ways people can do things differently
  • The four P’s of creativity
  • Openness and creativity
  • Chaos and complexity in creativity
  • The role of the unconscious mind in creativity
  • The link between mental illness and creativity
  • The controlled chaos of creativity
  • The healing function of creativity
  • Can consciousness get in the way of creativity?
  • Can creativity heal the world?
Apr 18, 2019
Nicholas Christakis || The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

"We should be humble in the face of temptations to engineer society in opposition to our instincts. Fortunately, we do not need to exercise any such authority in order to have a good life. The arc of our evolutionary history is long. But it bends toward goodness." -- Nicholas Christakis

Today we have Nicholas Christakis on the podcast. Christakis is a physician and sociologist who explores the ancient origins and modern implications of human nature. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science in the departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Statistics and Data Science, and Biomedical Engineering. He is also the codirector of the Yale institute for Network Science, the coauthor of Connected, and most recently, author of the book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society,which on its first week became a NY Times bestseller.

In this episode we discuss:
  • Why breadth of knowledge across fields is important
  • The evolutionary forces that have shaped our capacity for living socially
  • Can you love your own group without hating everyone else?
  • How can crowds be a force for good?
  • How the capacity for friendship is connected to the evolution of cooperation
  • Can you love your own group and evenloveother groups as well?
  • Framing group dynamics in terms of collective narcissism
  • The “social suite†of human nature
  • The “forbidden experimentâ€
  • Experiments on artificial societies
  • How long will Homo Sapiens last?
  • The importance of elephant friendships
  • How evolution has shaped our societies
  • The importance of recognizing our common humanity
Apr 11, 2019
Molly Crockett || Moral Outrage in the Digital Age

Today it’s a pleasure to have Molly Crockett on the podcast. Dr. Crockett is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. Prior to joining Yale, Dr Crockett was a faculty member at the University of Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and a Fellow of Jesus College. She holds a BSc in Neuroscience from UCLA and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge, and completed a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship with economists and neuroscientists at the University of Zürich and University College London.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The discrepancy between outrage in real life vs. online outrage
  • Cultural evolution and the selection and amplification of online content
  • How basic reinforcement learning principles drive the design of online systems to maximize the amount of time we spend on the platforms
  • Is the “habitual online shamer” addicted to outrage?
  • Habitual behavior vs. addiction
  • Is “outrage fatigue” happening en masse?
  • Should we be thinking about rationing our outrage (reserving it for issues we find most important)?
  • The costs and benefits of outrage
  • Why people punish and the discrepancy between the actual reasons why we punish (inferred from behavior) vs. self-reported motives
  • The difficulty doing science on topics that are incredibly heated in public social discourse
  • The intractably intertwined nature of science and social justice
  • What technologies might be doing to the way that young people construe the social world
  • The human capacity for forgiveness
  • Twitter Q & A
Apr 04, 2019
Ryan Niemiec and Robert McGrath || Ignite Your Character Strengths

Today it’s an honor to have Ryan Niemiec and Robert McGrath on the podcast. Ryan is an author or co-author of nine books, an award-winning psychologist, international keynoter, and education director of the VIA Institute on Character. Robert is Professor of Psychology at Farleigh Dickinson University, senior scientist at the VIA Institute, and has published extensively on the topic of character and virtue. Together, they are author of the new book, The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality. Find our your character strengths at

In this episode, we discuss the following:

  • What is a positive personality?
  • The measurement of character strengths
  • Why are so many people interested in learning about their character strengths?
  • How self-knowledge can impact people positively in their lives
  • The difference between virtue and character
  • The three main sources of a good character
  • Is it possible to have a perfect character?
  • Does the perfectly virtuous person exist?
  • Is enlightenment actually possible?
  • The developmental trajectory of character strengths
  • Is the development of character strengths for everybody, including those experiencing adversity?
Mar 21, 2019
Colin Seale || Closing the Critical Thinking Gap

“At a certain point, the outcome is the opportunity. We have to focus on the bottom line: what is it going to take to get kids ready?” — Colin Seale

Today it’s great to have Colin Seale on the podcast. Colin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a single mother and an incarcerated father. He has always had a passion for educational equity. Tracked early into gifted and talented programs, Colin was afforded opportunities his neighborhood peers were not. He founded thinkLaw (, an award-winning organization to help educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies to close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and REACH all students, regardless of race, zipcode or what side of the poverty line they are born into. When he’s not serving as the world’s most fervent critical thinking advocate, Colin proudly serves as the world’s greatest entertainer to his two little kiddos and a loving husband to his wife Carrie.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Colin’s pragmatic approach to solving educational inequalities
  • The main goals of ThinkLaw
  • The benefit of people of different races talking about their common humanity
  • How we can have high expectations for every child
  • The twice exceptional movement
  • How we continuously lead genius on the table
  • The excellence gap in gifted education
  • Equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome
  • The right kind of love
  • How the victory is in the struggle
  • Giving children a reason to have grit
  • Why we need to recognize disruptors as innovators
  • Creating the space for divergent thinkers
Mar 07, 2019
Wednesday Martin || The Flexibility of Female Sexuality

“There can be no autonomy without the autonomy to choose, without coercion or constraint, or in spite of it, who our lovers will be.” — Wednesday Martin

Today we have Wednesday Martin on the podcast. Dr. Martin has worked as a writer and social researcher in New York City for more than two decades. The author of Stepmonster and the instant New York Times bestseller Primates of Park Avenue, she writes for the online edition of Psychology Today and her work has appeared in The New York Times and Dr. Martin’s latest book is called “Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.”

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Wednesday tries to make the sex research “delicious and fun”
  • How female infidelity is mired in so much misunderstanding
  • How Millenial women are more sexually adventurous compared to Millennial men
  • What’s the consensual non-monogamy movement?
  • How we evolved to be “cooperative breeders”
  • What is “female flexuality”?
  • Why we need to stop pathologizing those who embrace non-monogamy
  • How women are driving the polyamory movement
  • The good reasons why monogamy is hard and the other options that exist
  • How your attachment style and sociosexuality are linked to consensual non-monogamy
  • Disagreeable women and sociosexuality
  • Rethinking sex differences in the drive for sexual novelty
  • Pornography viewing differences between men and women
  • Common triggers of violence in relationships
  • Rethinking the motivations underlying sex differences in cheating
  • How better science can help us all have hotter sex
Feb 14, 2019
Todd Herman || The Alter Ego Effect
“At the end of your life, you won’t remember the thoughts or intentions you had. You’ll remember the actions you took. You’ll judge yourself by how you showed up, by what you did, what you said, how you acted, and whether you performed the way you knew you could in any of the stages of life.” 

Today we have Todd Herman on the podcast. Herman is a performance advisor to Olympians, pros, and business leaders, and he creates proven systems to help teams & achievers win with less stress. Herman’s latest book is “The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life.”

- How alter egos are part of the human psyche

- The difference between childish and childlike

- Why having an alter ego is about being the best version of yourself

- Multiple self theory and the importance of context

-  The Core Self vs. The Trapped Self vs. The Heroic Self

- How to go from an ordinary world to an extraordinary world

- How to activate the person you truly want to become

- How to get into the “wow” mindset

- Todd’s traumatic backstory and how it has led to his superpower

- The hidden forces of the enemy

- How the creative imagination is like the backdoor to performance

Feb 07, 2019
Oren Jay Sofer || A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication

Finding your voice, learning how to say what you mean, and how to listen deeply: this is one of the most rewarding journeys you can take.” — Oren Jay Sofer

Today we have Oren Jay Sofer on the podcast. Sofer teaches meditation and communication nationally. He holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, and is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council. He is also a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication, a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for healing trauma, and he is the Senior Program Developer at Mindful Schools. Sofer is author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication.

In this episode we discuss:


  • The importance of slowing down
  • Marshall Rosenberg’s system of nonviolent communication
  • How our behaviors can viewed as an attempt to meet a deeper need
  • Entering relationships from a sense of deprivation vs. a place of growth
  • The importance of relational awareness
  • The undervalued skill of healthy communication
  • Why intention is the single most important ingredient in dialogue
  • Martin Buber’s distinction between the I-Thou vs. I-It relationship
  • The importance of the “do over”
  • How to heal after a breakup
  • The importance of forgiveness and how it happens on its own time schedule



Jan 24, 2019
Richard Katz || Honoring the Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples

Today it’s an honor to have Richard Katz on the podcast. Dr. Katz received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and taught there for twenty years. The author of several books, he has spent time over the past 50 years living and working with Indigenous peoples in Africa, India, the Pacific, and the Americas. He is professor emeritus at the First Nations University of Canada and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Saskatchewan. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His latest book is Indigenous Healing Psychology: Honoring the Wisdom of the First Peoples. Author royalties will be given back to the Indigenous elders whose teachings made the book possible.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How being an outsider allows you to see the limitations of the world you are living in
  • Richard’s friendship with Abraham Maslow
  • Setting the record straight: The real influence of the Blackfeet Nation on Maslow’s theory of self-actualization
  • How modern day psychology has oppressed the verbal-experimental paradigm
  • The limitations of modern measurement
  • The tension between the scientific method and the narrative approach to psychology
  • Are all modes of the scientific process valid?
  • How indigenous people are misunderstood, under-respected, and under-appreciated
  • What the field of psychology could be if it incorporated indigenous ways of being


Kalahari People’s Fund

Jan 10, 2019
Kati Morton || How to Care for Your Mental Health

Today I’m really excited to have Kati Morton on the podcast. Morton is as an entrepreneur, YouTube creator, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Santa Monica, CA. Morton has built a global mental health online community, and is author of the book “Are U OK?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health.”

In this episode we discuss:

  • What’s the difference between mental health and mental illness?
  • Breaking down the stigma of mental illness
  • What should you look for when looking for a therapist?
  • What are some warning signs of a terrible therapist?
  • What’s the best way to deal with a toxic co-worker?
  • What's the link between vulnerable narcissism and borderline personality disorder?
  • How do you know if you need mental help?
  • What are some of the most validated forms of therapy available today?
  • How do you break up with friends that you’ve outgrown?
  • The importance of healthy assertiveness
  • How a very small no can equate to a very large yes
  • How can you get more mental help when you need it?
Dec 27, 2018
Jonah Sachs || Unsafe Thinking
Today we have Jonah Sachs on the podcast. Jonah is an author, speaker, storyteller, designer, and entrepreneur. He is the author of Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell— and Live— The Best Stories Will Rule the Future, and most recently, Unsafe Thinking: How to Be Nimble and Bold When You Need It Most.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is safe unsafe thinking?
  • The power of intuition for creativity
  • Does your subconscious have free will?
  • Dual-process theory and creativity
  • How can you challenge and change yourself when you need it most?
  • The importance of context for creativity
  • The different phases of the creative process
  • The importance of rocking the boat
  • The benefits of collaborating with your enemies
  • How can you stay motivated when changing habits is so hard?
  • What’s the difference between flow and deliberate practice?
  • The difference between values and identity
  • Making a safe culture for risks
  • How to gamify dissent
Dec 20, 2018
Michael Inzlicht || The Replication Crisis
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
Drunk Science || Shannon Odell

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
Robert Greene || The Laws of Human Nature
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
A.J. Jacobs || A Gratitude Journey

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

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
Steve Stewart-Williams || How the Mind and Culture Evolve

"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
Sean Carroll || the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe
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
Dan Pink || Motivation, Selling, and Perfect Timing

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
James Clear || How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
Today it’s a great delight to have James Clear on the podcast. Clear’s website,, 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
Robert Plomin || How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

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
Justin Lehmiller || The Science of Sexual Fantasies

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
Michael Shermer and Philip Goff || Solving the Mysteries of Consciousness, Free Will, and God

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
Sara Algoe || Positive Relationships

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
Jonathan Haidt || The Coddling of the American Mind

“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


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


Sep 06, 2018
Carl Zimmer || The New Science of Heredity
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
James Flynn || Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy
 "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


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.”

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?”

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.”

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?”

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?”

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?”

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?”

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?”

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
Michael Steger || Meaning, Purpose, and Significance
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
Bradley Campbell || The Rise of Victimhood Culture
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
Amy Alkon || How to Live with Guts and Confidence

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
Steven Pinker || Humanism, Enlightenment and Progress

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
Katherine MacLean || Open Wide and Say Awe

“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 (, 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:

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


"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
Ellen Hendriksen || How To Be Yourself
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
Jun 07, 2018
Amy Wrzesniewski || Finding Your Calling at Work
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
Alice Dreger || Fuzzy Categories

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
William Damon || The Path to Purpose
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
Kennon Sheldon || How to Be an Optimal Human

“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
Patricia Stokes || Creativity from Constraints

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
Robert Leahy || The Jealousy Cure

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.


  • 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
Colin DeYoung || Cybernetics and the Science of Personality

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


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
Jordan Peterson || Wonder, Creativity, and the Personality of Political Correctness

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



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
Max Lugavere || Genius Foods

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


Follow Max on Twitter

Get his book Genius Foods, which is out now

For everything else Max does 

Mar 22, 2018
Mark Leary || The Self, Identity, and Removing the Mask
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
 Read Dr. Leary's new blog at PsychologyToday
Mar 15, 2018
Kathryn Prescott || The Devastating Opioid Epidemic

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:



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

Mar 08, 2018
Melissa Dahl || A Theory of Awkwardness
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 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
Jessica Tracy || Shades of Pride

“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
Mithu Storoni || Stress Proof

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
Suzann Pileggi Pawelski || Using Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts

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
James Fadiman || Psychedelics and the Founding of Transpersonal Psychology
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
Kirk Schneider || Existential-Humanistic Therapy

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


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
Dan Ariely || Spending Smarter

“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!


Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter [Book]

Follow Dan on Twitter

For more resources and information on Dan and his research

Dec 20, 2017
Ruth Whippman || America the Anxious

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!


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

Follow Ruth on Twitter @ruthwhippman

Bob Emmons on the Power of Gratitude: [Video] [Paper]

Dec 06, 2017
Elliot Aronson || Not by Chance Alone

"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!


Elliot Aronson's memoir, Not By Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist, is available on Amazon [Book]

To learn more about Aronson's highly effective Jigsaw Classroom (from outcomes to implementation) visit [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 [Textbook]

(Mentioned) Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts [Book]

Nov 22, 2017
Lewis Howes || The Mask of Masculinity

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.


You can find The Mask of Masculinity on Amazon (

You can listen to The School of Greatness on iTunes, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts

Follow Lewis on Twitter @LewisHowes

Nov 01, 2017
Jordan Harbinger || The Art of Charm

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
Cheryl Einhorn || Making Good Decisions

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!


Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence and Conviction is available on Amazon

What Kind of Problem Solver Are You [Quiz]

Downloadable "Cheetah Sheets" [Download]

More examples of the AREA method at work [Case Studies]

Follow Cheryl on Twitter


Oct 24, 2017
Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness || Peak Performance

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
Dacher Keltner || The Power Paradox

"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


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
Mitch Prinstein || Popularity and the Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World

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!


Popular: The Power of Likeability in A Status-Obsessed World is out now

Read an overview of the book and to take the Popularity Quiz

Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchprinstein

For more information on Mitch or his research visit

Sep 27, 2017
Brendon Burchard || High Performance Habits

"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!


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
Gretchen Rubin || “Questioning” the Four Tendencies

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


[Book] The Four Tendencies

[Quiz] Take Gretchen's Four Tendencies Quiz 

[Twitter] Follow Gretchen on Twitter for updates

Sep 13, 2017
Maia Szalavitz || Rethinking Addiction

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
Michael Shermer || Science and Skepticism

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.



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
Robert Wright || Why Buddhism is True

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
Caren Baruch-Feldman || Growing Grit in Teens

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.


The Grit Guide For Teens is out now

All papers mentioned can be found here

Aug 09, 2017
Sharon Salzberg || Real Love

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



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
Christina Pierpaoli || Aging Meaningfully

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
Monica Worline and Jane Dutton || Awakening Compassion in the Workplace

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
Lea Waters || Strengths-Based Parenting

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
R. Chris Fraley || The Latest Science of Attachment

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
Caroline Adams Miller || Getting Grit

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 -

Getting Grit -

Authenticity and GritScientific American

Mindset (Fixed & Growth Mindset) Carol Dweck (mentioned) -

Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning (mentioned) -

Grit Angela Duckworth -

Jun 29, 2017
Sarah Robb O’Hagan || How to Kick Ass
“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
Dan Harris || Become 10% Happier + BONUS Meditation

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
Steven Hayes || Get Out Of Your Mind and Live a Vital Life

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
Alan Alda || The Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

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
Eric Turkheimer || Intelligence, Genes, Race, and Poverty

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
Daniel Schmachtenberger || Upgrade Your Consciousness

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
Heather Moday || Functional and Integrative Medicine

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

May 24, 2017
Eric Barker || How to Be Awesome at Life
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

For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out

May 17, 2017
Susan David || Increase Your Emotional Agility

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

For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out

May 10, 2017
Dan Lerner || Thriving in College (And In Life)

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

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May 03, 2017
Friederike Fabritius || The Neuroscience of Leadership

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

For some really cool socks, go to and get 20% off your first order!
Apr 27, 2017
Vanessa Van Edwards || How to Captivate People

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

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

Apr 25, 2017
James C. Kaufman || The Psychology of Creativity

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 For a month of free access to over 8,000 awesome video lectures, check out

Apr 20, 2017
Gail Saltz || The Gifts of Disability

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 For some really cool socks, go to get 20% of your first order.

Apr 18, 2017
Diana Brecher || Boosting Student Resilience

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 To find out more about Dr. Brecher, see here.

Apr 13, 2017
Dan Bowling III || How to be a Happy Lawyer

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 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
Roy Baumeister || Willpower, Violence, and Free Will

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 to get your free trial and access to over 8,000 free online lectures.

Apr 04, 2017
Roy Baumeister || Identity, the Self, and the Meaning of Life

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

Mar 29, 2017
Tim Urban || Wait But Why? Unravelling Life's Biggest Mysteries

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
Alain de Botton || Love, Sex, Religion and Happiness

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
Cory Mascara || Mindfulness and Self-Authorship

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
Andrew Newberg || Your Brain on Enlightenment

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
Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal || On Ecstasis and Extraordinary States of Consciousness
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

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

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

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

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
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

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

Jan 10, 2017
63: Finding Mastery

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

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

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. 

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

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: (Email is not required).

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

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 at Stanford University.” Blurb taken from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
21: Understanding the science of introversion and extraversion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?"

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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