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The Psychology Podcast

The Psychology Podcast

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


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173: Owning Bipolar

?Don?t be afraid. You are not alone.? - Michael Pipich

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

In this interview we discuss:

Gleb?s humble worldview How humans are not adapted to evaluate reality clearly ?The backfire effect? How to make better choices aligned with reality When should we rely on our gut? How we so often fall prey to the ?fundamental attribution error? Ways we can recognize the thinking errors that prevent us from seeing reality more clearly How friends can be the enemies of wise choices The irrationality of political decisions The importance of differentiating between the truth and personal values How Gleb derives his personal values Why people lose so much money in the stock market Why you don?t want to invest in a mutual funds Why the mainstream media be careful when they criticize conservatives The one thing Trump got right in Charlottesville How to convince your enemies to collaborate with you How Gleb escaped the darkness of mental illness through his rational approach to living How we can protect our happiness against emotional traps Gleb?s ?Pro-Truth Pledge? ( How you can live the life you want to live    
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171: Clinical Psychology and Social Justice

Today it?s great to have Cara Santa Maria on the podcast. Cara is an Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, author, and podcaster. She is a correspondent on National Geographic's flagship television series Explorer, and she is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria. Cara also co-hosts the popular Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, and hosts the new podcast Fixed That for You. Additionally, she co-authored the Skeptics Guide to the Universebook with her podcast co-hosts and is the spokesperson for National Geographic?sAlmanac 2019. Cara is a founding member of the Nerd Brigade and cofounded the annual science communication retreat #SciCommCamp.

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

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

Today we have David Brooks on the podcast. Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and appears regularly on ?PBS NewsHour,? NPR?s ?All Things Considered? and NBC?s ?Meet the Press.? He teaches at Yale University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the bestselling author of a number of books, including The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and 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    
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168: Foucault, Heteronormativity, and Good Porn

Today it?s great to have Stoya on the podcast. Stoya has been working with sexuality for over a decade. Her writing credits include the New York Times, The Guardian, and Playboy. Her first book of essays, Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn is available through Not A Cult Media, and her experimental porn project lives at (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
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167: Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science

Today we have David Sloan Wilson and Steven Hayes on the podcast. David Sloan Wilson is president of The Evolution Institute and a SUNY distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University. Sloan Wilson applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world. His books include Darwin?s 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   
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166: Why So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders

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

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

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

?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  
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164: Rethinking Gifted Education

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

In this episode we discuss:

Advocates vs. scientists in the field of gifted education Does teacher training in gifted education have any effect on self-reported teaching in the classroom? How the desire for good advocacy in gifted education can bias good science The real need to advocate for kids who aren?t being challenged in the regular classroom The absurdity of teaching children based solely on how old they are Is there room at the table for all different perspectives in the gifted education field? The problem with the ?gifted? label How can you balance excellence with equity? How to close the ?excellence gap? in gifted education What domains should be included in gifted education? The importance of ?frontloading? opportunities in school Acceleration vs. enrichment What happens when addressing underrepresentation is the main goal of gifted education? The value of using local norms for gifted student selection Is complete excellence gap reduction a reasonable goal of gifted education? Scott?s plan for addressing excellent gaps in gifted education
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163: Restoring the Playground

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

What is ?everyday creativity?? What is ?universal creative potential?? All the ways people can do things differently The four P?s of creativity Openness and creativity Chaos and complexity in creativity The role of the unconscious mind in creativity The link between mental illness and creativity The controlled chaos of creativity The healing function of creativity Can consciousness get in the way of creativity? Can creativity heal the world?
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161: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

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

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

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

In this episode, we discuss the following:

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

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

How Wednesday tries to make the sex research ?delicious and fun? How female infidelity is mired in so much misunderstanding How Millenial women are more sexually adventurous compared to Millennial men What?s the consensual non-monogamy movement? How we evolved to be ?cooperative breeders? What is ?female flexuality?? Why we need to stop pathologizing those who embrace non-monogamy How women are driving the polyamory movement The good reasons why monogamy is hard and the other options that exist How your attachment style and sociosexuality are linked to consensual non-monogamy Disagreeable women and sociosexuality Rethinking sex differences in the drive for sexual novelty Pornography viewing differences between men and women Common triggers of violence in relationships Rethinking the motivations underlying sex differences in cheating How better science can help us all have hotter sex
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156: The Alter Ego Effect

?At the end of your life, you won?t remember the thoughts or intentions you had. You?ll remember the actions you took. You?ll judge yourself by how you showed up, by what you did, what you said, how you acted, and whether you performed the way you knew you could in any of the stages of life.?   

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

- How alter egos are part of the human psyche

- The difference between childish and childlike

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

- Multiple self theory and the importance of context

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

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

- How to activate the person you truly want to become

- How to get into the ?wow? mindset

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

- The hidden forces of the enemy

- How the creative imagination is like the backdoor to performance

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155: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication

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

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

In this episode we discuss:


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



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154: Honoring the Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples

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

In this episode we discuss:

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


Kalahari People?s Fund

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153: How to Care for Your Mental Health

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

In this episode we discuss:

What?s the difference between mental health and mental illness? Breaking down the stigma of mental illness What should you look for when looking for a therapist? What are some warning signs of a terrible therapist? What?s the best way to deal with a toxic co-worker? What's the link between vulnerable narcissism and borderline personality disorder? How do you know if you need mental help? What are some of the most validated forms of therapy available today? How do you break up with friends that you?ve outgrown? The importance of healthy assertiveness How a very small no can equate to a very large yes How can you get more mental help when you need it?
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152: Unsafe Thinking

Today we have Jonah Sachs on the podcast. Jonah is an author, speaker, storyteller, designer, and entrepreneur. He is the author of Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell? and Live? The Best Stories Will Rule the Future, and most recently, Unsafe Thinking: How to Be Nimble and Bold When You Need It Most.

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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
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149: The Laws of Human Nature

Today we have Robert Greene on the podcast. Robert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 48 Laws of 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
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148: A Gratitude Journey

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
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147: How the Mind and Culture Evolve

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

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

In this episode we cover the following topics:

What would the human species look like from the perspective of an alien? Are humans just evolved fish? How far does evolutionary psychology take us in understanding human nature? What are some common myths about the evolutionary process? How we can be evolutionary ?losers? and still be human success stories The distinction between altruism and selfishness Why the evolutionary psychology perspective is not enough to understand human nature How culture evolved among humans The link between human creativity and cultural evolution The potential human conflict between passing on genes vs. passing on memes How culture can amplify our nature Steve answers questions from Twitter
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146: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe

Today it?s an honor to have Dr. Sean Carroll on the podcast. Dr. Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. Recently, Carroll has worked on the foundation of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among others. Dr. Carroll has given a TED talk on the multiverse that has more than 1.5 million views, and he has participated in a number of well-attended public debates concerning material in his latest book, which is entitled ?The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.?   - The meaning of ?post-existentialism?   - What is ?poetic naturalism??   - What is the fundamental nature of reality?   - Do ?tables? and ?chairs? really exist?   - The difference between rich ontology and sparse ontology   - The Bayesian probability of the existence of God   - How the universe evolved   - The analogy between psychological entropy and naturalistic entropy   - Can we think about the brain in useful terms entropically?   - In what sense do we have free will?   - How hard is the hard problem of consciousness?   - The importance of ?existential gratitude?   - The link between quantum mechanics and consciousness   - Is there life (consciousness) after death?   - How can we create purpose, meaningfulness, mattering, morality, and ethics in a natural world?
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145: Motivation, Selling, and Perfect Timing

Today we have Dan Pink on the podcast. Pink is the author of six provocative best-selling books? including his newest: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. His other books include A Whole New 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?
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144: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Today it?s a great delight to have James Clear on the podcast. Clear?s website,, receives millions of visitors each month, and hundreds of thousands subscribe to his email newsletter. His work has appeared in the New York 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
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143: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

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

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

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

Further Reading

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

The nature of nurture: effects of parental genotypes

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

Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies

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

How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis

Are cognitive gand academic gone and the same g?

A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention

How scientists are learning to predict your future with your genes

Using nature to understand nurture

What makes us who we are? 

Can 'genius' be detected in infancy?

A brief history of everyone who ever lived

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

The effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity

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142: The Science of Sexual Fantasies

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

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

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

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

In this episode we cover the following topics:

Is reasoning the ultimate route to truth? What if human rational faculties can?t comprehend the ultimates realities of existence? Will the hard problem of consciousness ever be solved? Panpsychism as a scientific alternative for explaining consciousness The latest neuroscience of consciousness and its implications for understanding the hard problem of consciousness The insights that can be gleaned through understanding subjective experience Will we ever discover if free will exists? To what extent can our understanding of cognitive neuroscience and genetics can elucidate the extent of our free will? The possibility for ?free won?t? Can science ever solve the mystery of the existence of God? How can the science of consciousness, free-will, and God help alleviate fundamental existential concerns of humanity?
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140: Positive Relationships

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

In this episode we discuss:

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

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

? Anthony Van Jones

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

In this episode we discuss:

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


Heterodox Academy

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

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

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

How to Win Friends and Influence People


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138: The New Science of Heredity

Today we have Carl Zimmer on the podcast. Zimmer reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. Since 2004 he was written about science for the New York Times, where his column ?Matter? has appeared weekly since 2013. Zimmer has won many awards for his work, including the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science. Zimmer is the author of thirteen books about science. His latest book is She Has Her Mother?s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.   In this episode, we discuss:   - The difference between genetics and heredity   - The perils and promises of gene-editing technologies   - The potential for unethical application of emerging genetics findings   - The potential for misuse of the genetics of intelligence in education   - The potential perils of genetically modified mosquitoes    - The potential perils of genetically modified crops   - The quirky nature of epigenetics   - The existence of ?human chimeras?   - The limitations of DNA testing
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137: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy

 "When you turn your back on reality you lose the ability to manipulate reality. One would think that is self-evident. I didn't go into this to not try to find the truth." -- James Flynn*

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

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

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


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

Reflection about intelligence over 40 years

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

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

IQ Bashing, Breadkdancing, the Flynn Effect, and Genes

Men, Women, and IQ: Setting the Record Straight 

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

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

Twitter Q & A with James Flynn

1. ?Would a 100 IQ person today be a genius if transported to the year 1918? If not, why not.?

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

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

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

3. ?What has caused the Flynn reversal in Nordic and some other rich countries? Markus Jokela suggested it could be health related.?

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

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

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

5. ?Could the Flynn effect be based at least partially on a trade off, meaning that with change in culture promoting development of skills associated with higher IQ scores, this rise is at a cost of eg working memory??

Flynn: I don?t think there is a downward trend in working memory ? see Does Your Family Make You Smarter?

6. ?Do the intelligence gains the Flynn effect reveals show an in increase in the 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.

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136: Meaning, Purpose, and Significance

Today we have Michael Steger on the podcast. Dr. Steger is a Professor of Psychology, and the Founding Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose at Colorado State University. He studies the link between meaning in life and well-being, as well as the psychological predictors of physical health and health-risk behaviors, and the facilitators and benefits of engaging in meaningful work.   In this episode we discuss the following topics:   - The definition of meaning in life   - The measurement of meaning   - The dark triad and meaning   - ?The Hitler Problem?   - Life satisfaction vs. meaning in life   - Different forms of pleasure   - The possibility for ?meaning exhaustion?   - Meaningful work   - The difference between coherence, purpose, and significance   - Different meanings of purpose   - The strongest sources of meaning in life  
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135: The Rise of Victimhood Culture

Today we have Bradley Campbell on the podcast. Dr. Campbell is a sociologist interested in moral conflict? clashes of right and wrong and how they are handled. Most of his work examines genocide, which normally arises from large-scale interethnic conflicts. Recently he has also begun to examine the much smaller-scale conflicts on modern college campuses. His latest book, co-authored with Jason Manning is called ?The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars.? The clash between victimhood and dignity culture The sociology of genocide and conflict The difference between honor culture, dignity culture, and victimhood culture Victimhood as a form of status Microaggressions on campus Anti-PC culture vs. victimhood culture Distinguishing real victimhood from victimhood culture Conservative victimhood vs. liberal victimhood Those who embrace offensiveness Healthy Activism: vs. Psychopathological activism The main goals of the Heterodox Academy The need for more generosity and forgiveness among differing viewpoints, cultures, and neurodiverse individuals
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134: How to Live with Guts and Confidence

Today it?s great to have Amy Alkon on the podcast. Amy Alkon is a ?transdisciplinary applied scientist?, who synthesizes research findings from various areas, translates the findings into understandable language, and then creates practical advice based on the latest science. Alkon writes The Science Advice Goddess, an award-winning, syndicated column that runs in newspapers across the United States and Canada. She is also the author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck and I See Rude People. She has been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NPR, CNN, MTV, and does a weekly science podcast. She has written for Psychology 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
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133: Humanism, Enlightenment and Progress

Today it?s a great honor to have Steven Pinker on the podcast. Dr. Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his ten books, including The Language 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
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132: Open Wide and Say Awe

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

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

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

- What happened after Katherine ?died? in 2012

- Discovery oriented research vs. practical research on psychedelics

- Effects of psychedelics on ?existential distress?

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

- Potential benefits of MDMA for PTSD

- The existence of ?enlightened assholes?

- Skepticism about brain research on psychedelics

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

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

- Benefits of psychedelics and meditation in combination

- Psychedelics and openness to experience

- From anxiety attack to ?beauty attack? 

- The potential for healthy psychedelic integration and increased community


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

A Systematic Review of Personality Trait Change Through Intervention

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

Psilocybin Mushrooms for Treating Depression

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

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

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

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

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131: How To Be Yourself

Today we have Dr. Ellen Hendriksen on the podcast. Dr. Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist who helps millions calm their anxiety and be there authentic selves through her award-winning Savvy Psychologist podcast, which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and at Boston University?s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Her latest book is called ?How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety.?   What is your real self?   What is social anxiety?   What is the opposite of social anxiety?   What?s the goal of therapy to treat social anxiety?   How to be comfortable when you are ?caught being yourself?   The importance of self-compassion   The difference between introversion and social anxiety   Techniques to overcome social anxiety   The Orchid-Dandelion Hypothesis   The relationship between the highly sensitive person and openness to experience   The importance of going out and living your life first, and letting your confidence catch up   The importance of turning attention ?inside out?   How perfectionism holds us back   The importance of ?daring to be average?   The myth of ?hope in a bottle?   Gender differences in the manifestation of social anxiety     Thanks!!
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130: Finding Your Calling at Work

Today we have Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski on the podcast. Dr. Wrzesniewski is a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. Her research focuses on how people make meaning of their work in difficult contexts, such as stigmatized occupations, virtual work, or absence of work, and the experience of work as a job, career, or calling. Her current research involves studying how employees shape their interactions and relationships with others in the workplace to change both their work identity and the meaning of the job.   Topics incude:   - The definition of meaning   - The four main sources of meaning   - Spirituality as a potential source of meaning at work   - The way work allows us to transcend the self   - The definition of calling   - How to find your most meaningful calling   - The importance of ?self-resonance?   - The difference between consequences and motives   - What is job crafting and how can it help you increase your calling?   - Is job crafting contagious?   - The benefit of collective, team-level job crafting   - The impact of virtual work on job crafting   - How does meaning shape job transitions?   - The effects of occupational regret on people?s lives
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129: Fuzzy Categories

?Nature doesn?t care about our desire to have these clean political categories for legal purposes.? ? Alice Dreger

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

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

How Dr. Dreger got involved in the ?Intersex Rights Movement? in the mid-90s The difference between anatomy and gender identity The relationship between our bodies and our personal and social identities and the role of science and medicine in determining this relationship Who gets to tell your body what it means How the mind isn?t the only place where identity exists, and how our identities also exist in the minds of others The future of gender pronouns How we should treat those who do not fit traditional notions of sex, such as the fascinating cases of ?androgen sensitivity syndrome? and ?congenital adrenal hyperplasia? How we can see more value in variation in anatomy The need for a more reality-based government Why the phrase ?identity politics? is distracting and only part of a larger problem The benefits and disadvantages of the ?Intellectual Dark Web? The increasing difficulty of being able to tell what is true and what is false in the media Why we spend so much of our energy on tribal politics and avoid the real humanitarian problems in the world Why tribal life is so compelling The need to balance male and female ways of being What an ?Intellectual Light Web? might look like
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128: The Path to Purpose

Today it?s an honor to have Dr. William Damon on the podcast. Dr. Damon is Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and Professor of Education at Stanford University. Damon?s current research explores how young people develop purpose in their civic, work, family, and community relationships. He examines how people learn to approach their vocational and civic lives with a focus on purpose, imagination, and high standards of excellence. Damon also has written widely about how to educate for moral and ethical understanding. Dr. Damon?s most recent books include The Power of 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
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127: How to Be an Optimal Human

?The happiest person is the person doing good stuff for good reasons.? 

? Kennon Sheldon

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

In this wide-ranging episode we discuss:

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

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

In this episode, we cover:

? How Patricia went from art and advertising to creativity researcher

? The importance of constraints and variability for creativity

? How constraints can promote or preclude creativity

? Using constraints to solve the ?creativity problem?

? How ?the solution path defines the goal state?

? The four major constraints on creativity

? How teachers and parents should praise children for optimal creativity

? How to reward the courage to be novel

? The importance of constraints in fashion and literature

? How to explain Lady Gaga?s creativity

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125: The Jealousy Cure

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

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


Why Dr. Lahey wrote The Anxiety Cure The new science of jealousy How jealousy differs from envy Why jealousy evolved What is the downside of intense jealousy? Why we don?t want to get rid of jealousy Are men and women equally jealous? The relationship between attachment style and jealousy What if there really is a reason to be jealous? What are some practical techniques that people can use to cope with their jealousy? The importance of normalizing jealousy
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124: Cybernetics and the Science of Personality

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

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

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


Cybernetic Big Five Theory

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

Personality neuroscience and the biology of traits

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

The neuroscience of anxiety 

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