October 10, 2019
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.
October 3, 2019
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.
September 26, 2019
Today we have Dr. Jordan Peterson on the podcast. Dr. Peterson has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and business people, consulted for the UN Secretary General, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an adviser to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe. With his students and colleagues at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Dr. Peterson has published over a hundred scientific papers. Dr. Peterson is also author of two books: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which is a #1 bestseller. In this wide-ranging conversation we discuss the following topics: – Why “learned irrelevance” is incredibly important – Why creativity requires keeping a childlike wonder – How hallucinogens clear the “doors of perception” – The “shared vulnerability” model of the creativity-mental illness connection – The neuroscience of openness to experience – The personality of personal correctness – The practical implications of gender differences – The function of the state in helping to make sure there is equality of individual expression – How agreeableness and conscientiousness orient us differently in the social world – The difference between pathological altruism and genuine compassion – The link between pathological altruism and vulnerable narcissism – The difference between responsibility and culpability – How to help people take responsibility and make their lives better   Links 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Jordan Peterson- What the State is For Jordan Peterson- Future Authoring Program Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals Creativity and Psychopathology: A Shared Vulnerability Model Openness to Experience and Intellect Differentially Predict Creative Achievement in the Arts and Science Openness/Intellect: The Core of the Creative Personality The Evolutionary Genetics of the Creativity-Psychosis Connection Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius?  The Real Neuroscience of Creativity Personality and Complex Brain Networks: The Role of Openness to Experience in Default Network Efficiency The Personality of Political Correctness Default and Executive Network Coupling Supports Creative Idea Production Gender Differences in Personality Across the Ten Aspects of the Big Five Men and Things, Women and People: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Interests Is There Anything Good About Men? Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty Pathological Altruism Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism
September 19, 2019
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.
September 12, 2019
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.
September 5, 2019
Today we have Robert Greene on the podcast. Robert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The 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
August 29, 2019
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).  
August 22, 2019
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.
August 15, 2019
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
August 8, 2019
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 Theory, Character 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    
August 1, 2019
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
July 25, 2019
“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
July 18, 2019
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    
July 11, 2019
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
July 4, 2019
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
June 27, 2019
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 Achievement; The New Upper Class and How They Got There; The 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    
June 6, 2019
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 (Note: 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
May 30, 2019
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 Cathedral, Evolution for Everyone, The 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 23, 2019
“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 16, 2019
“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 9, 2019
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
April 25, 2019
“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
April 18, 2019
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?
April 11, 2019
"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 experiment†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
April 4, 2019
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
March 21, 2019
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?
March 7, 2019
“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
February 14, 2019
“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
February 7, 2019
“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
January 24, 2019
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    
January 10, 2019
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 Link Kalahari People’s Fund
December 27, 2018
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?
December 20, 2018
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
December 13, 2018
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
December 6, 2018
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
November 29, 2018
Today we have Robert Greene on the podcast. Robert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The 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
November 22, 2018
Today it’s a great honor to have A.J. Jacobs on the podcast. Jacobs is the author of Thanks a Thousand, It’s All Relative, Drop 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 Times, The 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
November 15, 2018
"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
November 1, 2018
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?
October 25, 2018
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 Mind, Drive, 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?
October 18, 2018
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 Times, Time, 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
October 11, 2018
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 The effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity
October 4, 2018
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?
September 20, 2018
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 Things, The 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?
September 13, 2018
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
September 6, 2018
“There are two ideas about safe spaces. One is a very good idea, and one is a terrible idea. The idea of being physically safe on a campus, not being subjected to sexual harassment and physical abuse, or being targeted for something specifically for some sort of hate speech… I’m perfectly fine with that. But there’s another that is now ascendent, which I just think is a horrible view, which is ‘I need to be safe ideologically, I need to be safe emotionally, I just need to feel good all the time. And if someone says something that I don’t like, that is a problem for everyone else, including the administration.’ I think that is a terrible idea for the following reason: I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym. That’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.” — Anthony Van Jones Today we have Jonathan Haidt on the podcast. Dr. Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Dr. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures— including the cultures of American progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, and of The New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. His third book, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff, is called The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure. In this episode we discuss:  “The tumultuous years” on college campuses from 2015-2017 Wisdom and its opposite The three great untruths The main aims of Heterodox Academy The importance of exposing students to opposing views on campus The detrimental effects of moral amplification How moral foundations theory helps explain political divides The common humanity of liberals and conservatives The psychological function of having a common enemy How social media amplifies tribalism The rise of antifragility The net effect of “callout culture” The importance of play in early childhood The importance of cognitive behavioral therapy and sharpening your intuitions The importance of both racial/ethnic minority diversity and viewpoint diversity How to help young people flourish in college Links Heterodox Academy Wisdom as a classical source of human strength: Conceptualization and empirical inquiry Moral amplification and the emotions that attach us to saints and demons Liberals and conservatives rely on common moral foundations when making moral judgments about influential people How to Win Friends and Influence People Tweetdelete
August 23, 2018
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
August 16, 2018
 "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 Philosophy, How to Improve Your Mind, and most recently, Does Your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy. In this episode we cover a wide range of topics relating to intelligence and its determinants, including: Flynn’s attempts to clarify intelligence and its causes The g factor, and what gives rise to it The validity of multiple intelligences theory Intergenerational trends (the “Flynn effect”) vs. Within-generation trends The “social multiplier” model of intergenerational trends in intelligence Individual multipliers vs. social multipliers The multiple causes of black-white differences in IQ Charley Murray and the meritocracy thesis Transcending the politics of intelligence research The dangers of suppressing ideas and research The 20% wiggle room of autonomy on IQ tests The difference between internal and external environment The impact of having a “family handicap” on SAT scores What we can learn from astronomy about human intelligence Toward a meta-theory of intelligence Toward a more humane society Links Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents [TED Talk] Reflection about intelligence over 40 years Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects”: The IQ Paradox Resolved The g beyond Spearman’s g: Flynn’s paradoxes resolved using four exploratory meta-analyses  IQ Bashing, Breadkdancing, the Flynn Effect, and Genes Men, Women, and IQ: Setting the Record Straight  The Flynn Effect and IQ Disparities Among Races, Ethnicities, and Nations: Are There Common Links? The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized  Twitter Q & A with James Flynn 1. “Would a 100 IQ person today be a genius if transported to the year 1918? If not, why not.” 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 g 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.
August 2, 2018
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  
July 26, 2018
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
July 12, 2018
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 Today, Los Angeles Times, Los 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
July 5, 2018
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 Instinct, How 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 Times, The 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
June 21, 2018
“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 Links "Open Wide and Saw Awe" | Katherine MacLean | TEDxOrcasIsland A Systematic Review of Personality Trait Change Through Intervention Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors Psilocybin Mushrooms for Treating Depression Validation of the revised Mystical Experience Questionnaire in experimental sessions with psilocybin Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness Cognitive aging and long-term maintenance of attentional improvements following meditation training Therapeutic effect of increased openness: Investigating mechanism of action in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy
June 7, 2018
Today we have Dr. Ellen Hendriksen on the podcast. Dr. Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist who helps millions calm their anxiety and be there authentic selves through her award-winning Savvy Psychologist podcast, which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Her latest book is called “How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety.”   What is your real self?   What is social anxiety?   What is the opposite of social anxiety?   What’s the goal of therapy to treat social anxiety?   How to be comfortable when you are “caught being yourself”   The importance of self-compassion   The difference between introversion and social anxiety   Techniques to overcome social anxiety   The Orchid-Dandelion Hypothesis   The relationship between the highly sensitive person and openness to experience   The importance of going out and living your life first, and letting your confidence catch up   The importance of turning attention “inside out”   How perfectionism holds us back   The importance of “daring to be average”   The myth of “hope in a bottle”   Gender differences in the manifestation of social anxiety     Thanks!!
May 24, 2018
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 17, 2018
“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 10, 2018
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 Ideals, Failing 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
April 26, 2018
“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?
April 19, 2018
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
April 12, 2018
It’s great to have Dr. Robert Leahy on the podcast today. Dr. Leahy completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the direction of Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy. Dr. Leahy is the past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, past president of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (NYC), and a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical School. Dr. Leahy has received the Aaron T. Beck award for outstanding contributions in cognitive therapy, and he is author and editor of 25 books, including The Worry Cure, which received critical praise from the New York Times and has been selected by Self Magazine as one of the top eight self-help books of all time. His latest book is The Jealousy Cure: Learn to Trust, Overcome Possessiveness, and Save Your Relationship. Topics: Why Dr. Lahey wrote The Anxiety Cure The new science of jealousy How jealousy differs from envy Why jealousy evolved What is the downside of intense jealousy? Why we don’t want to get rid of jealousy Are men and women equally jealous? The relationship between attachment style and jealousy What if there really is a reason to be jealous? What are some practical techniques that people can use to cope with their jealousy? The importance of normalizing jealousy
April 5, 2018
Today I’m really excited to have Colin DeYoung on the podcast. Dr. DeYoung is associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in personality psychology but is especially interested in personality neuroscience. Besides being a prolific academic and researcher, I am also honored to count him as a dear friend and collaborator. In this episode we discussed wide-range of topics relating to personality, including: The modern day personality hierarchy The “Big Two”: Stability and Plasticity How Carl Jung developed his theory of introversion The latest science of introversion The scientific validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Dopamine as the “neuromodulator of exploration” The two major dopamingeric pathways Why personality variation evolved The neuroscience of conscientiousness The link between compassion and imagination The neuroscience of anxiety The cybernetics of personality Rethinking psychopathology The effects of therapy on personality change Links Cybernetic Big Five Theory The neuromodulator of exploration: A unifying theory of the role of dopamine in personality Personality neuroscience and the biology of traits Opening up openness to experience: A four-factor model and relations to creative achievement in the arts and sciences The neuroscience of anxiety 
March 29, 2018
Today we have Dr. Jordan Peterson on the podcast. Dr. Peterson has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and business people, consulted for the UN Secretary General, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an adviser to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe. With his students and colleagues at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Dr. Peterson has published over a hundred scientific papers. Dr. Peterson is also author of two books: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which is a #1 bestseller. In this wide-ranging conversation we discuss the following topics: – Why “learned irrelevance” is incredibly important – Why creativity requires keeping a childlike wonder – How hallucinogens clear the “doors of perception” – The “shared vulnerability” model of the creativity-mental illness connection – The neuroscience of openness to experience – The personality of personal correctness – The practical implications of gender differences – The function of the state in helping to make sure there is equality of individual expression – How agreeableness and conscientiousness orient us differently in the social world – The difference between pathological altruism and genuine compassion – The link between pathological altruism and vulnerable narcissism – The difference between responsibility and culpability – How to help people take responsibility and make their lives better   Links 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Jordan Peterson- What the State is For Jordan Peterson- Future Authoring Program Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals Creativity and Psychopathology: A Shared Vulnerability Model Openness to Experience and Intellect Differentially Predict Creative Achievement in the Arts and Science Openness/Intellect: The Core of the Creative Personality The Evolutionary Genetics of the Creativity-Psychosis Connection Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius?  The Real Neuroscience of Creativity Personality and Complex Brain Networks: The Role of Openness to Experience in Default Network Efficiency The Personality of Political Correctness Default and Executive Network Coupling Supports Creative Idea Production Gender Differences in Personality Across the Ten Aspects of the Big Five Men and Things, Women and People: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Interests Is There Anything Good About Men? Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty Pathological Altruism Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism
March 22, 2018
Today I’m really excited to have Max Lugavere on the podcast. Max is a filmmaker, health and science journalist, and brain food expert. He is also the director of the upcoming film Bread Head, the first-ever documentary about dementia prevention through diet and lifestyle, and he is co-author, with Dr. Paul Grewal, of the just released book, Genius Foods. In this episode, we discuss the following: How he got into his line of work How Alzheimer’s may be prevented through diet The biomarkers of aging Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats How to understand research on diet and medicine Genius foods you can add to your diet right now His supplement regime The importance of gut health The Hygiene Hypothesis on the rise of autoimmune diseases The only fruits he recommends for a healthy diet Cholesterol—not bad after all?  The emerging research on “psychobiotics” (treating psychological disorders with probiotics) Stress, sleep and exercise Metabolic health and the brain Links Follow Max on Twitter Get his book Genius Foods, which is out now For everything else Max does     
March 15, 2018
This week I'm thrilled to welcome Mark Leary, Ph.D. to The Psychology Podcast! Dr. Leary is the Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and author of The Curse of the Self. His research interests focus on social motivation and emotion, and on processes involving self-reflection and self-relevant thought. He has written or edited 12 books and over 200 scholarly articles and chapters. He was the 2010 recipient of the Lifetime Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity and a 2015 co-recipient of the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.  During our chat we covered a number of mutual research interests including: Self-esteem, identity and their relationships to behavior The distinction between “instrumental social value" and "relational social value" The human need for belonging The concept of “self-presentation strategies" and their variations: Imposter syndrome Self-promotion Ingratiation The difference between egoism and egotism   Links:    Read Dr. Leary's new blog at PsychologyToday
March 8, 2018
Today I’m delighted to have actress Kathryn Prescott on the podcast! Kathryn is an actor and photographer, originally from London. Ms. Prescott got her first big break when she was 17 playing Emily, a young lesbian with a homophobic twin sister, in the cult UK TV show “Skins”. A few years later she moved to the US to play the lead role in the MTV teen drama “Finding Carter” and has since appeared in various other projects including ‘To The Bone’, ‘Reign’ and ’24: Legacy’. Ms. Prescott is currently shooting her second season of AMC’s ‘The Son’ and has a movie coming out on Netflix in April called “Dude”. After joining up with The Big Issue Foundation and Centrepoint in the UK for a photography exhibition to raise money for both organizations, she wanted to do something similar in the US, so she got in touch with Homeless Health Care Los Angeles but decided to do something a little different. Her film explores the cyclical nature of pain and isolation when it comes to addiction while highlighting the devastating effect that the opioid epidemic is having on America’s youth. Mrs. Prescott has been surrounded by addiction throughout her life and people’s reactions to it have always fascinated her. In addition to listening to this fascinating interview with Ms. Prescott, please watch and share her important video and see other links below:   Links The official website for “Dear You” “Dear You” on social media: Twitter, Instagram, & 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
February 22, 2018
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! :)
February 15, 2018
“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!
February 8, 2018
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.   
January 18, 2018
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
January 11, 2018
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
December 27, 2017
“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 Self, Humanity’s Dark Side, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, The Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May), The Polarized Mind, The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, and Awakening to Awe. Dr. Schneider is the 2004 recipient of the Rollo May award for “outstanding and independent pursuit of new frontiers in humanistic psychology” from the Humanistic Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. In this episode, Kirk teaches us how we can connect with the mystery and discovery in our daily lives in a way that allows us to feel, sense, imagine, create, wonder, and to feel the dysphoric feelings as well, the poignancy of sadness of hurt or anger, and in essence, experience a larger sense of life and of creative work. Kirk's seminal work in existential-humanistic therapy has helped many people be more open to new possibilities and sensitivities to oneself as well as other people, other species, and have a more profound appreciation of our fleeting time in space. Among these topics, we also discuss the following: What is existential-humanistic therapy? Kirk’s kinship with Rollo May Kirk's debate with Ken Wilbur about "ultimate consciousness" Kirk's vision of an awe-based era in the age of roboticism Kirk's vision of "depth healers" How to preserve the core of humanity in this brave new world Links The Spirituality of Awe Existential-Humanistic Therapy (2nd edition) The Deified Self: A "Centaur" Response to Wilber and the Transpersonal Movement by Kirk Schneider Rollo May: Personal Reflections and Appreciation by James F.T. Bugental
December 20, 2017
“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 Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and several others, and his latest book is Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter. In our conversation we cover: Why he decided to dedicate a whole book to money How the “pain of paying” affects how much we spend Why we tend to undervalue saving How fairness impacts our perception of value Why bad spending becomes a habit In this episode you’ll learn how to think about money and spend it in smarter ways. It was great getting to chat with Dan, and interesting to see the overlap between his research in Behavioral Economics and the research coming out of Positive Psychology. Enjoy! Links: Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter [Book] Follow Dan on Twitter For more resources and information on Dan and his research
December 6, 2017
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 Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Washington Post, and VICE, among others. Today we bring to you spirited discussion topics such as: The cultural differences between America and Britain regarding attitudes about happiness (Ruth moved from London to California 6 years ago with her husband and 2 young sons). Dosage effects of positive interventions—Is it useful to try to feel good all the time? The standards to which we hold motivational speakers, popular science writers, and scientists themselves—Is it okay for standards to differ? The rampant promotion of  "pseudo-growth" among corporate flourishing initiatives. The parenting "happiness rat race". Enjoy, and if you have thoughts on the episode be sure to leave a comment below! Links: You can find Ruth's book America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks on Amazon: [Book] Follow Ruth on Twitter @ruthwhippman Bob Emmons on the Power of Gratitude: [Video] [Paper]
November 22, 2017
"Life is full of lessons, and 'playing the hand you're dealt as well as you can play it' is a good one." -- Elliot Aronson Today I'm incredibly excited to welcome the legendary Elliot Aronson to The Psychology Podcast. Aronson is an eminent social psychologist who is best known for his groundbreaking experiments on the theory of cognitive dissonance and for his invention of the Jigsaw Classroom, a highly effective cooperative teaching technique which facilitates learning while reducing interethnic hostility and prejudice. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: for writing, for teaching, and for research, and in 2007 he received the William James Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association for Psychological Science, in which he was cited as the scientist who "fundamentally changed the way we look at everyday life.” Over the course of our in-depth and wide-ranging discussion, Aronson: Shares stories and key lessons from his famous mentors–Abraham Maslow and Leon Festinger–and how each of the two altered the course of his life, Illuminates with examples some of his most fascinating findings in the field of Social Psychology, Offers his take on the replication crisis and on what he calls the "TED-ification" of Psychology, Imparts on us wisdom he's gathered not just as a researcher and psychologist but also as a father and brother. It was a pleasure to have a legend in the field on the show for such a comprehensive conversation, filled with stories and lessons. Enjoy! Links: Elliot Aronson's memoir, Not By Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist, is available on Amazon [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]
November 1, 2017
I look at a man as a symbol of inspiration. Someone who looks to be of service along his journey. Someone who experiences fears but has the courage to face them and move forward anyway. Someone who’s loving to all people and creatures in world, including himself. Someone who can take care of his basic needs and teach others how to live in abundance. Someone who doesn’t judge people but looks for ways to lift others up. Someone who leaves this place better than the way he found it. That, to me, is a man. — Lewis Howes Today it’s great to have Lewis Howes on The Psychology Podcast! Lewis is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach, author and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and 2-sport All American, Lewis hosts The School of Greatness Podcast, which has received millions of downloads since it was launched in 2013. Howes is also an advisory board member of Pencils of Promise. His latest book is The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives. Our conversation covers a few key themes such as: The power of vulnerability and the role it’s played in Lewis’ life The masks men wear to hide who they truly are and the benefits of taking off these masks The male role models Lewis personally looks to for inspiration, and what he admires about them Hope you enjoy my conversation with Lewis, and if you want to learn more about each of the masks mentioned, be sure to check out his new book The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives. Links: You can find The Mask of Masculinity on Amazon ( You can listen to The School of Greatness on iTunes, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts Follow Lewis on Twitter @LewisHowes
October 26, 2017
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: Instagram Twitter Facebook YouTube Subscribe to The Art of Charm podcast in iTunes here
October 24, 2017
Today I'm glad to welcome Cheryl Einhorn to The Psychology Podcast! Cheryl is the creator of the AREA Method, a decision making system for individuals and companies to solve complex problems. She is also the founder of CSE Consulting and the author of the book Problem Solved, a Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence & Conviction. Cheryl teaches as an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and has won several journalism awards for her investigative stories about international political, business and economic topics. In our conversation she takes us through the philosophy behind her unique perspective taking process for making better decisions as well as through each of the steps: The AREA Method gets its name from the perspectives that it addresses: Absolute, Relative, Exploration & Exploitation and Analysis: A, or Absolute, refers to the perspective of the research target. It is primary, uninfluenced information from the source itself. R, or Relative, refers to the perspective of outsiders around the target. It is secondary information, or information that has been filtered through sources connected to the target. E, or Exploration and Exploitation, are really about the human mind. Exploration is about listening to what other people think and believe. Exploitation is about listening to yourself and examining your own assumptions and judgment. The second A, or Analysis, synthesizes all of these perspectives, processing and interpreting the information you’ve collected. Cheryl also shares stories of the people she encountered along her journey of researching the book and explains a variety of applications of this method. We hope you enjoy this actionable episode, and if you're interested to applying this method to a decision you're struggling with right now, be sure to check out Cheryl's free resources! Links: Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence and Conviction is available on Amazon 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  
October 11, 2017
This week I’m excited to welcome Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness to The Psychology Podcast. Brad writes for Outside, Runner’s World, NPR 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 Wired, Sports 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.
October 4, 2017
"Power is given, not grabbed.” — Dacher Keltner Today I’m really excited to have Dr. Dacher Keltner join me for his second appearance on The Psychology Podcast! Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the biological and evolutionary origins of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies the science of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and how emotions shape our moral intuition. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and of The Compassionate Instinct. His latest book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence. In our conversation we discuss several of Dacher’s ideas surrounding power including: The unique definition of power he presents in the book The recent development in power research of the 2 paths to power: Domination, Manipulation, Coercion Status, Respect, Strong Ties The myth of power stereotypes The problems of power The challenges of getting it The difficulties of maintaining it The dangers of becoming addicted to it The Humility pathway of enduring power Links: The Power Paradox is available on Amazon Follow Dacher’s Greater Good Lab on Twitter [Book] Good to Great – Jim Collins (mentioned-“The final stage of leadership is service”) [Book] On Tyranny -Timothy Snyder (mentioned-“People give power to tyrants”) [Book] Soft Power – Joseph Nye (mentioned)
September 27, 2017
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D. is board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology, and serves as the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and the Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his research have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, the LA Times, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, TIME magazine, New York magazine, Newsweek, and elsewhere. In his latest book Popular: The Power of Likeability in A Status-Obsessed World, Prinstein examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness—and why we don’t always want to be the most popular. In our conversation we cover this and more, with key themes being: Why seeking popularity is actually a basic human need, Why it's not always the "conventionally popular" people who fare best, and how this relates to the (2) different strategies for achieving popularity: Likeability Status How studies can help explain both the basic human needs Facebook serves, and the more general status-seeking phenomenon on social media, What it means to induce a "Popularity Boomerang", and how becoming aware of it can fundamentally change the environment you exist in, How your early experiences of popularity (or lack thereof) are probably helping or hindering how you show up in the world today, and if hindering, how you can overcome its effects, Why  it's more important the raise likeable kids than you might think, and the parenting implications of popularity research, The likeability advantage. We hope this conversation gives you some insights about popularity that will help you achieve your social, personal, and professional goals. Enjoy! Links: Popular: The Power of Likeability in A Status-Obsessed World is out now 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
September 20, 2017
"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 Manifesto, The Charge, The 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: Caged life Comfortable life Charged life How these 6 high performance habits can help you achieve long-term success and vibrant well-being: Seek clarity Generate energy Raise necessity Increase productivity Develop influence Demonstrate courage How these 4 key characteristics set successful creatives apart: Identity Obsession Social Duty Deadline How Brendon thinks about backing his illuminating frameworks with research We cover several useful frameworks in this episode, so be sure to enjoy it with a pen in hand. If you're like us, you'll want to take a lot of notes! Links: Preorder High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way [Resource] You can read the first 2 chapter's of Brendon's book here [Books] Albert Bandura's work on self efficacy (mentioned) [Book] The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden (mentioned)   [Book] How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth M. Kidder (Brendon recommends complementing the reading of his book with this book) [Twitter] Follow Brendon on Twitter @BrendonBurchard
September 13, 2017
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 Before, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold almost three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. On her popular weekly podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she discusses good habits and happiness with her sister Elizabeth Craft; they’ve been called the “Click and Clack of podcasters.” Her podcast was named in iTunes’s lists of “Best Podcasts of 2015” and was named in the Academy of Podcasters “Best Podcasts of 2016". Gretchen's latest book is The Four Tendencies, which is the main focus of this episode's lively discussion and debate. The larger themes of our conversation include: The four tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Oblidgers, and Questioners; they refer to the different ways each of us responds to internal and external expectations How Gretchen came up with these 4 categories The ways in which each of these 4 categories may be found to correlate with different "Big 5" personality traits The disadvantages of studying discrete types in the world of personality psychology The level of rigor necessary to distinguish a theory from a fully-formed, brand new personality dimension The place for writing that presents theories built on a more observational and experiential notion of truth, as opposed to a rigorously tested truth The ways that knowing your type can help you harness both your own strengths and those of others Links: [Book] The Four Tendencies [Quiz] Take Gretchen's Four Tendencies Quiz  [Twitter] Follow Gretchen on Twitter for updates
September 6, 2017
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, VICE, the New York Times, Scientific 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!
August 30, 2017
This week we're excited to welcome Dr. Michael Shermer to The Psychology Podcast. Michael is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He has also been a college professor since 1979 and is currently a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, where he teaches Skepticism 101. In our conversation, Michael sheds light on a smorgasbord of intersections between psychology and skepticism. This episode is also a great primer for those of you who are curious about what it means to think like a skeptic. In this episode we discuss: The core tenants of skepticism The difference between skepticism and cynicism Whether it's possible--in the eyes of a skeptic--to "prove everything" The evidence-based probability that God exists How individual differences in personality (ex. Agreeableness) play a role in one's proclivity for critical inquiry Whether Michael would consider himself a skepticism "guru" How to suspend disbelief when you need to act but don't have all the evidence Michael's interpretation of the free speech discussion in light of recent events The recent conflation of free speech and hate speech Why we might be better off evaluating human problems relatively (as opposed to objectively) The differences between Atheists, humanists, and skeptics Michael's take on topics discussed by futurists (e.g. The singularity, cryogenics) Whether or not he is scared of death The distinction between meaning We wrap up the conversation by connecting the science of flourishing to positive psychology, where we cover the loci of focus that can predictably  bring us a sense of purpose, and the distinction between meaning and happiness. Enjoy! Links: Skeptic magazine and other resources on skepticism Michael's blog for Scientific America entitled "Skeptic" Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter You can preorder his new book Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia on Amazon
August 16, 2017
This week we're excited to have Robert Wright on The Psychology Podcast. Robert is the New York Times best-selling author of Nonzero, The Moral Animal, The Evolution of God, and most recently Why Buddhism is True. He has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Time, Slate, 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!
August 9, 2017
Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman is a clinical psychologist, certified school psychologist, and author of The Grit Guide for Teens. She’s also authored numerous articles and workshops on topics such as cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, helping children and adults cope with stress and worry, helping people change, and developing grit and self-control. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Caren and I talk about how her work on grit was a natural outgrowth of her clinical practice, and how this led to writing a book specifically for teens. We also cover what she adds to Angela Duckworth’s definition of grit, and her thoughts on some of the controversies surrounding grit, such as the grit vs. conscientiousness debate and the circumstantial factors that affect grit that may be out of one’s control. We also discuss why parenting is different today and the importance of social support in cultivating grit. Lastly Caren sheds some light on things we can pay attention to in order to increase success in achieving our goals, such as the concept of the “two minds” she talks about in her book—the short-term and long-term minds—, effective vs. ineffective goals, why grit for the sake of grittiness isn’t the goal, and why it’s important to connect grit to our values. Links The Grit Guide For Teens is out now All papers mentioned can be found here
August 2, 2017
Sharon Salzberg is a NYT best-selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. She also cofounded the Insight Meditation Society and is the author of 9 books, the most recent being Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection. In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we get to learn about why Sharon has devoted her life to these ideas, how meditation has impacted her consciousness, what characterizes "real love", what differences exist between the modern-scientific notions of attachment and Buddhist notions of nonattachment, what Loving Kindness practice is, how you can love someone even if you don't like them (and why you should), how to extend compassion to people who are already self-satisfied, why an important component of self-love is accountability, empathy burnout, how stories play a role in love, why love isn't a state, why excitement vs. familiarity in romantic relationships is perhaps a false paradox, and how mindfulness can help you reframe even the most emotionally difficult situations. Sharon also takes us through her RAIN model for mindfulness: R -recognize A - acknowledge I - investigate N - nonidentification Enjoy! Links: Buy Sharon's new book Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection Follow Sharon on Twitter Find Sharon's meditations on: The Insight Timer meditation app (iOS and Android)  [Book] Eric Fromm's Art of Loving (mentioned)
July 22, 2017
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 
July 19, 2017
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)
July 12, 2017
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)
July 5, 2017
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!
June 29, 2017
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 Grit, Scientific American Mindset (Fixed & Growth Mindset) Carol Dweck (mentioned) - Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning (mentioned) - Grit Angela Duckworth -
June 27, 2017
“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.
June 21, 2017
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: 10% Happier: Mediation For Fidgety Skeptics App 10% Happier book 10% Happier Podcast Dan's social accounts: Twitter: Instagram: Facebook:
June 14, 2017
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.
June 7, 2017
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
June 1, 2017
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!
May 30, 2017
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 24, 2017
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 17, 2017
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
Loading earlier episodes...
      0:00:00 / 0:00:00