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The Psychology Podcast

The Psychology Podcast

In each episode, we talk with inspiring scientists, thinkers, and other self-actualized individuals who will give you a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world we live in. Scott Barry Kaufman explores the depths of human potential and tries to get a glimpse into human possibility in every episode.


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Podcast Improv Jam || Dan Lerner

Today we welcome Dan Lerner to the podcast. As an in-demand speaker, author, strengths-based performance coach and instructor of one of the most popular undergraduate courses at New York University, Dan?s expertise in positive psychology helps people lead thriving, successful lives. He works with students, artists, athletes and numerous Fortune 500 companies and executives around the world. Whether it is speaking, coaching, teaching or writing, Dan injects intellect with motivation, science with compassion and makes change both exciting and fun.  

In this episode, Dan and I talked about several topics that were of mutual interest. As positive psychologists, we both have a deep interest and appreciation for human potential and how we can cultivate it through education. We also discussed the important components for long-lasting friendship, and how to find a healthy community in this day and age of echo chambers. We hope you enjoy the conversation about personality, leadership, self-help, and mental health as much as we did.


Twitter: @DanLernerTweets



03:02 Dan?s assertiveness and enthusiasm

08:50 Cultivating unique human potential

16:02 Redefining intelligence

22:01 Helping people thrive

24:30 Are students today more fragile?

33:30 The need for empathetic leadership

37:08 The secret to long-lasting friendship

42:16 How to find your community

48:13 The problem with the self-help industry

52:55 Real change is hard

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Why We Have Too Much Free Will || Ken Sheldon

Today we welcome back Ken Sheldon to the podcast. Ken is a Curator's Distinguished Professor of Psychological Science at the University of Columbia, Missouri. He has written and edited over 200 academic books, scholarly articles, and book chapters. Among these, some of his most notable work include Optimal Human Being and Self-determination Theory in the Clinic. His latest book is called Freely Determined: What the New Psychology of the Self Teaches Us About How to Live.

In this episode, I talk to Ken Sheldon about free will. Instead of questioning its existence, Ken is concerned with how we might use free will to help us reach our goals. Each person has the capacity to make good and bad choices, and to learn from the past. Although we are unable to know everything about ourselves, we can still make informed decisions. Believing that we have the ability to choose directly affects our well-being and values. We also touch on the topics of neuroscience, self-determination, and responsibility.  




03:09 Freely Determined

07:23 System 1 and System 2 

09:02 Cybernetic freewill

12:12 Choices are not predetermined

17:36 Self-determination theory

20:20 The feeling of freedom 

24:57 The evolution of the symbolic self

32:47 The default mode network in goal setting

40:57 The ?Rewind the tape? argument

45:05 The problem of too much freedom

46:51 Determinism is detrimental

50:45 Living well together 

53:28 Free will is an adaptation

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How Minimalism Can Change Your Life || The Minimalists

Today we welcome Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, and T.K. Coleman, known collectively as The Minimalists. Joshua and Ryan are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times?bestselling authors. Alongside their podcast co-host, T.K., they help millions of people live meaningful lives with less. The Minimalists have been featured in Time, Architectural Digest, and GQ, and they have spoken at Harvard, Apple, and Google. Their podcast has more than 100 million downloads, making it one of the most popular podcasts in the world.

In this episode I talk to Joshua, Ryan, and T.K. about minimalism. All too often, we are preoccupied with amassing wealth and possessions in an attempt to fill the void. Soon, we find that accumulating stuff doesn?t make us feel whole. Instead of turning to objects, the minimalists ask us to ponder ?How do we live more with less?? When we can get rid of clutter in our homes, digital spaces, and relationships, we make room for what?s truly important. Joshua, Ryan, and T.K. talk about how minimalism has changed their lives, allowing them to feel more content, mindful, and generous.



Twitter: @TheMinimalists



01:46 Why minimalism?

08:27 Integrity and hypocrisy

13:05 Abundance begins from within

19:55 Minimalistic being

23:17 The ?hell yes!? rule

27:20 Slow down to go faster

30:59 Confronting the void

42:38 Advertisements suck

48:21 Keep what brings joy and value

53:55 The secret to organization

1:01:03 The spontaneous combustion rule

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Awakening from the Meaning Crisis || John Vaervaeke

Today we welcome John Vervaeke. John is an award-winning professor at the University of Toronto in Psychology, Cognitive Science and Buddhist Psychology. His academic interests include wisdom, mindfulness, meditation, relevance realization, general intelligence, and rationality. He is the author of Awakening from the Meaning Crisis Youtube series and co-author of Zombies in Western Culture: A 21st Century Crisis.

In this episode I talk to John Vaervaeke about the meaning crisis. There is a growing number of people who are struggling to find purpose in life. Society seems to be losing touch of its humanity. John argues that we can address the meaning crisis by appreciating and grounding ourselves in reality. We can find relevance by deepening our relationship with the world and the people around us. In turn, this reverence affords us peace of mind, while recognizing the interconnection of all things. We also touch on the topics of transcendence, mattering, narcissism, spirituality and artificial intelligence. 



Twitter: @vervaeke_john



03:30 Meaning and mattering

07:25 Relevance realization

13:33 Grounding and peace of mind

17:30 Horizontal and vertical transcendence

25:45 Wisdom is overcoming dichotomy

29:42 Measuring rationality

34:17 Zen Neoplatonism and Daoism

41:16 Spirituality is what remains

45:43 Care is essential to being human

49:20 The next Buddha is the Sangha

51:33 Reverence realization

58:45 The meaning crisis

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The New Science of Awe || Dacher Keltner

Today we welcome Dr. Dacher Keltner, one of the world?s foremost emotion scientists. He is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and the director of the Greater Good Science Center. Fun fact: he was the scientific advisor behind the beloved Pixar movie, Inside Out! He has over 200 scientific publications and six books, including Born to Be Good, The Compassionate Instinct, and The Power Paradox. His latest book is called Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life.

In this episode I talk to Dacher Keltner about the new science of awe. Emotions like fear and disgust have been extensively researched because of their roles in human survival. But Dr. Keltner argues that awe is also essential for well-being and community. Music, art, and nature are some of the antecedents that can induce a sense of wonder, inspiring us to be better by recognizing that we?re parts of a greater whole. We also touch on the topics of transcendence, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and creativity.


Twitter: @GreaterGoodSC



02:19 The science of awe

09:59 What triggers awe?

12:31 The neuroscience and physiology of awe

17:06 The essential features of awe

19:26 A prosocial approach to evolutionary psychology

25:16 Dr. Keltner?s personal search for awe

32:24 Nature and connectivity

36:16 Are we depriving children of awe?

38:20 Awe is a life detector

40:54 Awe and creativity

42:44 The dark side of awe

45:09 Cultivating the awe mindset

53:41 The unifying purpose of awe

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What is Creativity? || The Human Potential Lab

Welcome to The Human Potential Lab! In this special series of The Psychology Podcast, I will be doing solo episodes answering your burning questions about the mind, brain, human behavior, and human potential.

In the second episode of this series, I will be talking about creativity and how it differs from intelligence.

Creativity can come in many different forms. It can be expressed through artistic compositions, through ingenious solutions to problems, or even through the combination of seemingly paradoxical ideas. Over the years, there?s been a large number of scientific studies which have sought to measure creativity. Not only that, but researchers have been able to identify what predicts divergent thinking and its association with certain personality traits. Other fascinating areas of investigation include the link between mental illness and creativity and the neuroscience behind the creative process. Today we will touch on all of these exciting areas. 


Twitter: @psychpodcast & @sbkaufman



01:57 Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking

08:24 ?Beyonder? characteristics

12:39 Personality traits associated with creativity

18:07 Ego strength of creative individuals 

22:06 Creative people have messy minds

25:53 Neuroscience of creativity

32:39 The link between creativity and mental illness

34:59 Flow and the creative process

37:55 Combining originality and relevance

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Life in Five Senses || Gretchen Rubin

Today we welcome Gretchen Rubin, one of today?s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She?s a highly acclaimed writer, having sold millions of copies of her New York Times bestselling books. Her podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, has more than 220 million downloads. As the founder of The Happiness Project, Gretchen has helped create an ecosystem of imaginative products and tools to help people become happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. Her latest book is called Life in Five Senses.

In this episode I talk to Gretchen Rubin about connecting to the world through our five senses. Our fast-paced, modern world keeps us constantly moving, making us feel disconnected from other people and our surroundings. Gretchen shares unconventional ways we can re-experience the world through seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. She believes that tuning into life?s simple pleasures allows us to live each day with more appreciation and vitality. We also touch on the topics of mindfulness, creativity, learning, and individual differences.


Twitter: @gretchenrubin



01:57 The Five-Senses Quiz

08:25 The more we know, the more we notice

11:09 Life in Five Senses

14:34 We all have unique sensory worlds

19:21 Gretchen?s daily visits to the MET 

24:40 The longing for immersive experiences

27:50 COVID has taught us to value our senses

32:10 The magic of ketchup

36:50 Connecting through sensory experiences

40:04 What is your ideal sensory surrounding?

50:21 The muse machine

55:19 Different ways of being and sensing

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The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom || Sharon Salzberg

Today we welcome Sharon Salzberg, who is a meditation pioneer, world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. She is the co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society. Her podcast, The Metta Hour, has amassed six million downloads and features interviews with thought leaders from the mindfulness movement and beyond. Her latest book is called Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom. 

In this episode, I talk to Sharon Salzberg about navigating real life. When we are faced with trials and tribulations, it feels as if we're alone. On top of that, our underlying assumptions about the world and ourselves can make us feel worse. Sharon shares with us useful tips that can help us deal with overwhelming emotions and pain. She believes that by cultivating these loving-kindness practices, it can help us feel more open and free, allowing our inner lights to shine forth.


Twitter: @SharonSalzberg



02:17 From isolation to openness and freedom

05:36 Suffering from our unexamined assumptions

07:33 ?Shaking hands? with our emotions

11:35 Looking within with love

15:38 Guilt, shame, and remorse

19:23 Loving-kindness exercises

23:33 ?When we connect with others, we find ourselves?

27:07 The light within us all

30:34 The Dalai Lama?s visit to insight meditation society

33:15 Widening our window of tolerance

39:11 Allow yourself to feel joy

40:57 Dealing with illness and physical pain

48:00 Aspiration powers our journey

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The New Science of Consciousness || Anil Seth

Today we welcome Dr. Anil Seth. He is the Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, where he is also Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. His research has been supported by the European Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Dr. Seth?s 2017 main-stage TED talk is one of the most popular science TED talks, with more than 13 million views. His latest book, which has received numerous accolades, is called Being You: A New Science of Consciousness.

In this episode, I talk to Dr. Anil Seth about the new science of consciousness. Although we don?t exactly know how or why consciousness exists, Dr. Seth thinks this shouldn?t stop us from exploring its properties. One of the things he explores in his research is the conditions for consciousness. Everyone has their own way of perceiving the world. Perceptual diversity exists and we would be misguided to try and standardize consciousness on a single dimension. We also touch on the topics of intelligence, panpsychism, free will, AI technology, and the after life. 


Twitter: @anilkseth



02:08 The hard problem of consciousness

07:02 The value of inner experiences

12:22 Experiencing is consciousness

15:51 Panpsychism 

19:01 The condition for consciousness

21:38 Neuroscience of consciousness

27:32 Perceptual diversity

37:09 Perception Census

43:00 Can we measure consciousness?

49:13 Individual differences in experiencing 

56:40 Experience of free will is not an illusion

1:09:24 Cybernetic free will

1:12:55 Can artificial intelligence produce consciousness? 

1:24:24 The desire to persist

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How to Increase Your Sexual Pleasure || Kenneth Play and Madison Sloane Holland

Today we welcome Kenneth Play and Madison Sloane Holland.

Kenneth Play is an international sex expert and sex educator. Named ?the world?s greatest sex hacker? by GQ, he has been featured by more than one hundred media outlets, including The New York Times, Men?s Health, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post. He is the creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Series, and author of Beyond Satisfied. His work has helped millions of men gain lasting confidence and competence. 

Madison Sloane Holland is a sex and empowerment coach, intimacy expert, and co-host of the top-rated sex podcast, Pleasure Positive Living. 

In this episode, I talked to Kenneth and Madison about how to increase sexual pleasure. Most people fail to realize their full sexual potential, partly because sex education in America is fear and shame driven. As a result, people turn to different forms of media, which can create unrealistic expectations and insecurities. Kenneth and Madison dispel the most common sex myths and talk about how we can empower both men and women to take charge of their own pleasure.

Websites: &

Instagram: @Kenneth_Play & @sugar.sloane_madison

Kenneth?s E-book:

Kenneth?s free training on VICE:



04:22 What is sex hacking?

06:05 Shortcomings of American sex education

09:37 How block ourselves from pleasure

13:05 Transcendent sexuality and peak experiences

22:27 Pleasure for healing and intimacy

26:04 The orgasm gap

32:33 Erotic context matters

37:48 Male sexual empowerment

45:52 Myths about sexual pleasure

54:36 Going after our deepest desires

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Gender/Sex and the Body || Anne Fausto-Sterling

Today we welcome Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling. She is the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor Emerita of Biology and Gender Studies in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University. Her books and scholarly articles are referenced widely in feminist and scientific inquiry. She has received grants and fellowships in both the sciences and the humanities. In 2020, she re-released Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality with updated research.

In this episode, I talked to Anne Fausto-Sterling about gender/sex and the body. During the sixties, the term ?gender? was introduced to make a distinction between a person?s biology and psychology. But Dr. Fausto-Sterling believes that these can never really be separate. Biology influences gender?and the opposite is also true. Culture and context can influence our hormones and body systems. We also touch on the topics of gender dysphoria, feminism, intersexuality, trans issues, and child development.


Twitter: @Fausto_Sterling



02:52 Dr. Fausto-Sterling?s background and expertise

07:58 Sexual invert, eonist, & transvestite

14:42 Gender identity disorder in the DSM

19:47 Transgenderism and non-binaries

21:49 The Five Sexes

25:27 ?Gender is always changing the biology?

30:08 Redefining sex 

34:54 Intersex inclusivity

40:29 Feminists labeled as TERFs

43:39 Sex should be functional

45:45 Moral panic about bathrooms, sports, jail

50:00 Addressing issues in context

55:50 Dynamic Systems Framework for Gender/Sex Development

57:54 Dr. Fausto-Sterling?s call to end sex differences research

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The Scientific Realities of Biological Sex || Debra Soh, Marco Del Giudice, & Buck Angel

Today we welcome Debra Soh, Marco Del Giudice, and Buck Angel.

Dr. Debra Soh is a neuroscientist who specializes in gender, sex, and sexual orientation. She holds a PhD in neuroscience with scientific expertise in paraphilias, hypersexuality, and child sexual abuse prevention. As a journalist, her writing has appeared in several publications like the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and many more. In 2020, she published her first book called ?The End of Gender?.

Dr. Marco Del Giudice is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He received his bachelors in psychology and doctorate in cognitive science from the University of Turin in Italy. He has over a hundred scientific publications on personality, motivation, attachment styles, psychopathology, sex differences, and other topics. In 2016 he was granted the Early Career Award of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES).

Buck Angel is an adult-film producer, performer and motivational speaker who also works as an advocate, educator, lecturer and writer. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance from 2010 to 2016. Born as a biological female, Buck conquered a lifetime of adversity to undergo his transformation to become the healthy, happy, self-confident man that he is today. Buck created the first FTM adult website in 2003, and became the first FTM adult entertainer and film producer. In 2007, Buck made history again as the first transexual man to ever win the AVN transexual performer of the year award. 

In this episode, I talk to Debra, Marco, and Buck about the scientific realities of biological sex. There is considerable opposition against the idea that sex is binary. But denying science because it doesn?t seem to fit our gender beliefs can be dangerous. As ironic as it seems, when we acknowledge biology, we can accommodate more variation better than our preconceived, rigid social norms.

Website: , ,

Twitter: @DrDebraSoh & @BuckAngel



04:08 Dr. Marco?s background and expertise 

06:41 Dr. Debra?s background and expertise

07:48 Buck?s background and expertise

10:02 Shift from ?transexual? to ?transgender? 

12:35 The separation of sex and gender

21:33 Why feminists reject biology

27:27 ?It is transphobic to deny biology?

30:51 Extreme trans activism 

40:00 Transgenders vs TERFs

43:07 Being gender fluid is trendy

44:18 Losing the nuances in gender

47:49 The evolutionary perspective of traits

55:05 Dismantling the definition of woman

58:46 De-transitioning and safe healthcare

1:07:03 The construction of gender identity

1:14:25 Social transitioning through pronouns

1:22:32 Non-binary and non-specific labels

1:28:42 Prioritizing truth over feelings

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The Science of Testosterone || Carole Hooven

Today we welcome Dr. Carole Hooven. For the past six years, she served as a lecturer and co-director of undergraduate studies at Harvard?s department of Human Evolutionary Biology. She has received numerous teaching awards, and her popular Hormones and Behavior class was named one of the Harvard Crimson?s ?top ten tried and true.? Currently, Dr. Hooven has moved to the Psychology department where she works as an associate at Steven Pinker?s lab. Her latest book is called T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us.

In this episode, I talked to Dr. Carole Hooven about the science of testosterone. Why do males have higher rates of physical violence, take on more risk, and desire more sexual partners? Dr. Hooven?s research points to testosterone as the answer. Although sex differences may stem from biology, variations in behavior may be better explained by genetics interacting with culture. We also touch on the topics of evolutionary biology, gender dysphoria, gender-affirming care, and academic freedom.


Twitter: @hoovlet



02:49 Dr. Carole?s background and expertise

09:26 Sex differences in mental rotation

21:38 How hormones work

24:47 The uses and effects of testosterone

28:00 Testosterone, risk, and violence

31:23 Genetic and cultural differences

35:33 Trans women?s athletic advantages

38:51 Let scientists conduct research

44:22 Side effects of puberty blockers

49:31 Evidence-informed view of transitioning

56:30 There is no trans phenotype

59:22 The TERFs vs trans debates

1:03:28 Suppression of academic freedom

1:06:48 Untangle science from politics

1:09:15 Can we modify our chromosomes?

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Aaron Rabinowitz & Callie Wright || What We Get Wrong About Transgender People

Today we welcome Aaron Rabinowitz and Callie Wright. 

Aaron is a lecturer in philosophy at Rutgers University. He hosts the Embrace The Void and Philosophers in Space podcast. He specializes in ethics, metaethics, and problems surrounding AI and personhood. He earned his M.A. in Philosophy from Colorado State University.

Callie is a freelance audio producer and the host of the Queersplaining podcast. They are non-binary trans person.

In this episode, I talk to Aaron and Callie about gender and trans issues. When it comes to transgendered folk, we tend to focus on extreme examples that are far removed from reality. Some people think being transgender is a social contagion, while others reject the reality of gender altogether. Callie shares how transitioning has allowed them to become their most authentic self. Aaron sheds light on the issues of consent, autonomy, identity, and medical ethics. Both Callie and Aaron recognize that specific topics can negatively skew public opinion, which is why addressing misconceptions and highlighting the lived experiences of trans men, women, and non-binary individuals are crucial to the conversation.

Website: &

Twitter: @ETVPod & @calliegetsit



03:15 Introducing Callie

05:14 Introducing Aaron

08:27 Callie coming out as trans

17:06 Ideology over science 

23:32 Transphobia is real

25:28 Social contagion and moral panic

33:29 Pushing the anti-trans agenda 

35:56 ?Have a trans child or a dead child?

41:13 Extreme trans activists

47:13 The gender critical movement

44:47 The world operates on gender, not sex

51:29 What does it feel like to be a trans woman?

55:50 Subjectivity of gender and identity

1:02:06 Why we gatekeep identities

1:06:30 Trans people in sports

1:23:58 Sex and gender differences

1:32:47 Gender-affirming care

1:39:44 Puberty blockers and transitioning 

1:42:38 Medical ethics and barriers to access

1:49:21 Parental consent vs child autonomy

1:52:17 There is harm in waiting and seeing

2:07:55 Irreversible changes in puberty

2:11:43 Teaching gender in school

2:15:26 Wokeness is misappropriated

2:17:42 Final thoughts

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Steven Kotler || Creativity, Skill-Mastery, and Aging

Today we welcome Steven Kotler, the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is an award-winning journalist and one of the world?s leading experts on human performance. Steven is the author of eleven bestsellers including The Art of Impossible, The Rise of Superman, Bold, and Abundance. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 50 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications. His latest book is called Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad.

Our moderator for this live discussion was Dr. Torrie Higgins, the Head Coach of the Flow Research Collective. Dr. Higgins is a deeply passionate, empathetic peak performance coach, consultant and educator whose coaching philosophy is rooted in the deep-seated belief that everyone has the potential to achieve success and growth. In her private practice, she has had the opportunity to coach a diverse range of clientele, from mountaineers preparing to summit Mount Everest and K2 to business leaders of Fortune 500 companies.

In this live discussion, I talked to Steven Kotler about creativity, skill-mastery, and aging. Our society views aging as a process of decline, with our physical and mental capabilities worsening over time. Steve Kotler invites us to challenge our preconceived notions about aging by engaging in ?impossible? activities that cultivate mastery and creativity. When we are able to incrementally push past our limits, we change our mindset about growing old which ultimately prolongs our longevity.  We also touch on the topics of exploration, play, social connection, flow, neuroscience, wisdom, and embodied cognition.


Twitter: @steven_kotler



04:55 Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad

10:46 Challenging our limiting beliefs

16:12 Narcissism vs mastery

19:40 Curiosity and exploration as motivators

22:24 Approach fear incrementally

27:18 Why we need ?replacement friends?

38:44 Finding a training partner

42:54 Creativity and Aging: What We Can Make With What We Have Left

49:38 Intelligence, expertise, giftedness

52:31 ?The pursuit of wisdom thrives on joy?

1:02:13 Dynamic deliberate play

1:11:25 Learning through embodied cognition

1:17:06 Flow and peak experiences

1:23:45 Creativity as a way of being

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Eli Finkel || How the Best Marriages Work

Today we welcome Eli Finkel. He is a professor at Northwestern University, where he has appointments in the psychology department and the Kellogg School of Management. In his role as director of Northwestern?s Relationships and Motivation Lab (RAMLAB), he has published more than 160 scientific papers and is a guest essayist for The New York Times. The Economist declared him ?one of the leading lights in the realm of relationship psychology.? His latest book is called The All-Or-Nothing Marriage.

In this episode, I talked to Eli Finkel about how the best marriages work. The institution of marriage has evolved throughout the decades. People used to tie the knot for socioeconomic purposes, but nowadays we seek to fulfill our higher need for self-actualization in relationships. According to Eli, higher expectations are not necessarily bad for marriages if people can use them strategically. Eli also shares love hacks we can implement to improve our relationships with our partners. 


Twitter: @EliJFinkel



02:54 Pleasure vs meaning in romance

05:49 There?s no rule for marriages

08:15 The pre-industrial mindset of marriage

10:39 Vertical integration of needs in a relationship

13:55 Expectations, goals, & fulfillment

17:53 The evolution of marriage 

22:30 The All or Nothing Theory of Marriage

25:21 Mate evaluation theory and other studies

34:48 The value of love hacks

38:21 Positive attribution bias 

39:36 Third-party reappraisal on conflict

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Live From the Comedy Cellar: Comedy, Free Speech, and Why the Last 10 Years of American Life Have Been So Uniquely Stupid with Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff, and Rikki Schlott

In this live recording from The Comedy Cellar, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman has a discussion with Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff, and Rikki Schlott about why so much in America seems to be so messed up: Things like Gen Z, universities, social media, American democracy, and our sense of humor, grace, and decency. How can we lighten up, toughen up, and get less stupid?

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What is Intelligence? || The Human Potential Lab

Welcome to The Human Potential Lab! In this special series of The Psychology Podcast, I will be doing solo episodes answering your burning questions about the mind, brain, human behavior, and human potential.

In the first episode of this series, I will be tackling a question I?ve been obsessed with virtually my entire life: What is Intelligence?

Ever since I was a kid, I?ve wondered what it means to be smart. Does it simply mean high IQ? Are there other ways of being intelligent? Do multiple intelligences exist? What does it mean to be generally intelligent? As a kid I was placed into special education due to an auditory learning disability which I eventually outgrew. I would look around and see greater potential among all my friends in special ed than other people gave them credit for. 

This ignited my passion for understanding intelligence, which carried me through to college where I started to scientifically study this fascinating topic, and I have been studying this topic ever since. I understand that the science of intelligence can be a controversial topic, but in today?s episode I?m just going to focus on the facts and the science, and attempt to show you why this topic is so fascinating and so important to study for a broader understanding of how to unlock the potential of all people.


Twitter: @psychpodcast & @sbkaufman



01:28 What is intelligence?

02:43 History of IQ tests

05:06 The g factor

11:40 IQ and academic achievement

15:21 Theory of Multiple Intelligences

27:17 Theory of Successful Intelligence

30:06 Talent or intelligence?

32:46 Emotional intelligence

39:26 External factors affecting achievement

40:31 Gifted education

41:29 Theory of Personal Intelligence

45:45 There are infinite intelligences

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Connie Zweig || Embracing Your Shadow

Today we welcome the Shadow Expert, Dr. Connie Zweig. She is a retired therapist, writer, Climate Reality Leader, and Citizens Climate Lobbyist. She is the co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow and the author of Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality. Her latest book is called The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, which has won both the 2021 American Book Fest Award and the 2021 Best Indie Book Award for best inspirational non-fiction.

In this episode, I talked to Dr. Connie Zweig about embracing the shadow. We often associate the shadow with negativity, but it?s not necessarily bad or sinister. The shadow is composed of repressed feelings and messages in our unconscious, which can erupt out of control. According to Dr. Zweig, we must develop a conscious relationship with our shadow by doing inner work - especially as we age. As we near the end of our lives, it?s crucial that we conduct a life review to help us repair emotionally and spiritually.


Twitter: @innerworkofage



02:33 Dr. Connie?s interest and expertise 

06:17 What is ?the shadow?? 

12:54 How to confront the shadow

14:22 The inner ageist

18:44 Letting go of ?doing? 

24:01 Elder is a stage, not an age

28:00 The purpose of a life review

32:09 Emotional repair

34:37 Depth psychology

39:50 Spiritual repair

47:12 From role to soul

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Gabriella Kellerman || Future-Proofing the Workplace

Today we welcome Gabriella Kellerman, the chief innovation officer at BetterUp and the head of BetterUp Labs. She is also a Harvard-trained physician with expertise in behavioral and organizational change, digital health, well-being, and AI. As a thought leader, Gabriella has been published in The Atlantic, Scientific American Mind, JAMA, and the Harvard Business Review. Her first book is Tomorrowmind, which she co-authored with Professor Martin Seligman.

In this episode, I talked to Gabriella Kellerman about prospection and future-proofing the workplace in the 21st century. According to Gabriella, the world is always changing. She argues that we can plan for uncertainty by cultivating creative leadership, building rapid rapport, and learning resilience. We also touch on the topics of imagination, kindness, and positive behavioral science.


Twitter: @grkellerman



01:44 Collaborating with Martin Seligman

03:54 What is prospection? 

08:00 Creativity: ways of being divergent

10:36 Creativity hygiene

14:05 Creative strength spotting

16:42 The safety to matter and to innovate

23:59 Positive behavioral science

27:21 Key drivers of resilience

30:48 Instill resilience in the workplace

34:38 Gabriella?s background and expertise

38:37 Building rapid rapport

43:05 Positivity resonance

46:24 Accepting and coping with change 

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Perry Zurn & Dani Bassett || How Curiosity Connects Us

Today we welcome Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett. 

Dr. Perry Zurn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at American University. He is the author or coauthor of more than 75 publications in philosophy, political theory, trans studies, and network science and has given hundreds of talks at local, national, and international venues. His work has been generously funded by organizations like the American Philosophical Association, the Center for Curiosity, the Lee Somers Fund and more. 

Dr. Dani S. Bassett is the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Neurology, and Psychiatry. They authored more than 390 peer-reviewed publications, which have garnered over 38,000 citations. Dr. Bassett has received multiple prestigious awards from the American Psychological Association, Sloan Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation among others. 

They often collaborate on research about neuroscience, curiosity, and the humanities. Recently, they co-wrote Curious Minds: The Power of Connection.

In this episode, I talk to Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett about curiosity. For them, curiosity is not just about gaining knowledge, it?s about connecting to the world and to each other. Each individual has their own style of connecting - they can be busybodies, hunters, or dancers at any given time. Perry and Dani also weigh in on how social media affects curiosity and how their network model of curiosity can improve education.

Website: &

Twitter: @perryzurn & @danisbassett



02:27 Perry and Dani?s interest in curiosity

06:26 Curiosity is connection

12:45 Network science 

15:18 Archetypes of curiosity

20:22 Deprivation vs interest-based curiosity 

23:56 Social curiosity

29:47 Cycling through the different styles of curiosity 

37:25 Is social media making us more curious? 

40:51 Consciously practicing curiosity 

42:32 Curiosity and learning 

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David Epstein || Where Does Greatness Come From?

Today we welcome David Epstein, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the bestseller The Sports Gene, both of which have been translated in more than 20 languages. His TED Talks on performance science have been viewed more than 11 million times. He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. 

In this episode, I talked to David Epstein about greatness. If there's one thing we know for sure about greatness, it's that there is no linear path to it. David and I discuss the complex relationship of talent and hard work in specific domains. Although there is no formula, we can both agree that persistent effort and fierce determination are necessary ingredients?but so is talent. We have a nuanced discussion of the dance between nature and nurture on the path to talent. It?s a very delicate dance. We also touch on the topics of self-actualization, creativity, fulfillment and moral greatness. 


Twitter: @DavidEpstein



02:13 Talent: Is it nature or nurture? 

05:16 Does the 10,000 hour rule apply to creativity? 

10:14 Genetics and the rage to master 

16:46 Immediate feedback for growth 

22:04 Progress is not linear 

26:50 Self-actualization is where you ?fit? 

39:06 The equal odds rule 41:11 Restriction of range 

47:55 Creativity and mental illness 

56:27 Incentivizing good vs great scientists 

1:00:13 Moral greatness 

1:06:10 The constraints of creativity 

1:12:25 The criteria of genius 

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Roland Griffiths & David Yaden || The Scientific Psychedelics Revolution and Embracing Mortality: An Ode to Joy

Today we welcome Roland Griffiths and David Yaden. 

Dr. Roland Griffiths is a professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and behavioral science, and director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has authored over 400 scientific publications and has trained more than 60 postdoctoral research fellows. His initial 2006 publication on psilocybin is often attributed as the catalyst for the re-initiation of psychedelic research after decades of halted drug research.

Dr. David Yaden is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working in The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. His research focus is on transformative experiences that can result in long-term changes and how they temporarily alter consciousness and self. His work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.

In this episode, I talk to Roland Griffiths and David Yaden about the latest research on psychedelics. They answer some of my burning questions such as: What are the common characteristics of a mystical experience? Are hallucinations necessary for a transformative experience? How do psychedelics affect our brain? We also touch on the topics of mindfulness, religion, mental illness, and creativity as they share about the latest developments in the field. 


Twitter: @ExistWell



02:36 Roland?s background in psychopharmacology 

09:44 Roland?s meditation practice

13:57 David?s mystical experience

18:35 Roland?s mystical experience

22:02 Common characteristics of mystical experiences

27:48 Transformative experience or mental illness?

39:15 Was Timothy Leary right about psychedelics?

46:05 The future of psychedelic research 

48:39 The neuroscience of psychedelics

53:14 Creativity and therapeutic use of psychedelics

56:33 Are hallucinations needed for transformation?

1:02:50 Roland?s cancer diagnosis

1:13:41 The Griffiths Professorship Fund

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Ali Smith, Andrés González, & Atman Smith || Let Your Light Shine

Today we welcome Ali Smith, Andrés González, and Atman Smith. Brothers Ali and Atman met Andrés at the University of Maryland College Park. During their last semester, the trio spent a lot of time reading books on spirituality, philosophy, history, politics, and other related topics. At the same time, they began their yoga practice and developed it under the guidance of Ali and Atman?s godfather. Months of hard work and planning ensued before they finally co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation. Together, they tell their story of how yoga and mindfulness have transformed countless communities in Let Your Light Shine.

In this episode, I talk to Ali Smith, Andrés González, and Atman Smith about mindfulness in education. For 20 years, they have been teaching yoga and wellness to underserved kids, resulting in a decrease in suspensions and fights and an increase in attendance and grades. But it?s not just about the numbers. For Ali, Andrés, and Atman, what matters even more is changing the school?s culture to become a loving and empathetic space for all by teaching stillness and introspection.


Twitter: @HLFINC



2:31 Introducing Ali Smith

4:24 Introducing Atman Smith

7:31 Introducing Andrés González

12:45 Hope through mindfulness

17:05 Creating an oasis in schools 

20:39 The impact of the Mindful Moment Program

26:16 Reciprocal teaching model

28:00 Involution: tapping into our universal centers

33:37 Sharon Salzberg?s and Rhonda Magee?s work

36:52 Bringing fun and humor to learning 

38:11 Making yoga and mindfulness accessible

45:46 Love and empathy need to be consistent and reliable

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Neil Pasricha || How to Live an Awesome Life

Today we welcome Neil Pasricha who is an author, entrepreneur, podcaster, and public speaker characterized by his advocacy of positivity and simple pleasures. He is best known for his The Book of Awesome series, and "The Happiness Equation" which are international bestsellers. His first TED talk ?The 3 A?s of Awesome? is ranked one of the 10 Most Inspiring of all time. Neil hosts an Apple ?Best of? award-winning podcast called 3 Books. His most recent book is called Our Book of Awesome.

In this episode, I talk to Neil Pasricha about how to live an awesome life. The levels of depression and anxiety are its highest today. Now, more than ever, is when we need hope and positivity. According to Neil, the key to living a happier life is appreciating the little things. Awe and gratitude should not be reserved for big moments, but they should be cultivated in the everyday. We also touch on the topics of social media, motivation, confidence, and authenticity. 


Twitter: @NeilPasricha



[02:51] Neil?s life and background 

[06:49] The Book of Awesome

[11:42] Noticing tiny pleasures

[17:23] The infinite scroll 

[22:14] The confidence matrix

[24:57] The Nature of the Fun

[27:44] The Happiness Equation

[32:22] Never retire

[35:59] Overvalue you

[37:16] Create space

[42:24] Have everything

[45:03] Don?t take advice

[50:35] Our Book of Awesome

[55:44] Savoring and healthy selfishness

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From the Archives: Lisa Feldman Barrett || Surprising Truths about the Human Brain

We?re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from the past year with Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett is among the top one percent most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research in psychology and neuroscience. She is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. She also holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is Chief Science Officer for the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior.

Her books include Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain and How Emotions are Made. She has published over 240 peer-reviewed, scientific papers appearing in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and other top journals. Dr. Barrett has been called ?the most important affective scientist of our time?. 

In this episode, I talk to renowned neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett about emotions and the brain. She reveals what the true function of the brain is?and it?s not for thinking. We also discuss the impact of past experiences on our cognition and what we can do to overcome our own detrimental patterns. Further into our discussion, Dr. Lisa challenges the traditionally held view that emotions are universal. In her own theory of constructed emotion, she argues that variability in emotional expression exists due to socialization and language differences. We also touch on the topics of hallucinogens, culture, education, relationships, and authoritarianism. 


Twitter: @LFeldmanBarrett



00:01:42 Lisa?s interest in clinical psychology

00:03:53 A biological approach to emotions

00:06:29 Why do we have a neocortex? 

00:14:49 The default mode network

00:21:47 The brain is not for thinking

00:25:06 Authoritarianism during economic hardship

00:32:04 Psychological entropy

00:35:33 The brain weather forecast

00:44:16 The mind-brain problem

00:47:37 Relationships are reflexive

00:51:46 Emotional expression isn?t universal

00:58:35 Why you shouldn?t trust psychology textbooks / 6 universal emotions?

01:03:03 Reaching out to Paul Ekman 

01:10:42 The theory of constructed emotion

01:16:49 The role of socialization and language in emotions 

01:23:43 The never-ending domain-general vs domain-specific debate in cognitive science

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David McRaney || How Minds Change

Today we welcome David McRaney. He is a science journalist fascinated with brains, minds, and culture. In 2012, he created the podcast You Are Not So Smart based on his 2009 internationally bestselling book of the same name and its follow-up, You Are Now Less Dumb. David is also an editor, photographer, voiceover artist, television host, journalism teacher, lecturer, and tornado survivor. His most recent book is called How Minds Change.

In this episode, I talk to David McRaney about the science of belief and persuasion. In this day and age of online tribes and echo chambers, changing people?s opinions seems like an impossible task. Instead of arguing over facts, David encourages us to use empathy to understand why we disagree. He explains Piaget's framework behind knowledge building and shares the use of technique rebuttal for sincere conversations.


Twitter: @davidmcraney



02:12 David?s interest in how minds change

08:41 Piaget's Genetic Epistemology

13:49 Focus on motivations, not conclusions

16:35 Why do people see the viral 2015 dress differently? 

23:44 How we produce and evaluate arguments

28:36 We?re living in a post trust world

32:32 How to change minds in large groups

44:33 Cults and conspiratorial communities

52:57 Technique rebuttal

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Neal Brennan || The Mind of Neal Brennan

Today we welcome Neal Brennan. He is a director, writer, actor, and comedian most known for co-creating and co-writing the Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show with Dave Chappelle and cult movie classic Half Baked.  

Neal received three Emmy nominations for Chappelle?s Show; one for directing, and the other two for writing and producing. He has also performed stand-up on Last Call with Carson Daly, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Lopez Tonight, and Conan. Recently, his comedy special called Blocks was released on Netflix. 

In this episode, I talk to Neal Brennan about his comedy and upbringing. As early as 8 years old, Neal has been interested in comedy for its ?fairness?. He reveals who his early influences were and what it was like working with Dave Chappelle. In this episode I gave Neal some impromptu psychological tests to help us both understand more about his unique mind. We also touch on the topics of relationships, mindfulness, cognitive distortions, and neurodiversity.


Twitter: @nealbrennan



02:31 Neal?s family background

09:44 When Neal discovered comedy 

15:48 Meeting Dave Chappelle

18:00 The aftermath of Half Baked

21:26 The highs and lows of  Chappelle?s Show

26:06 ?We contain multitudes?

28:20 Neal?s relationships and reality dysmorphia

36:04 Vulnerable narcissism test

44:46 How vulnerable narcissism develops

48:16 Cognitive distortions

55:46 Mindfulness, drugs, and therapy

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Becky Kennedy || Good Parenting

Today we welcome Dr. Becky Kennedy. She is a clinical psychologist and mom of three, recently named ?The Millennial Parenting Whisperer? by TIME Magazine. She specializes in parenting and child development, with an emphasis on anxiety and resilience. Dr. Becky received her BA in Psychology and Human Development from Duke University and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Her latest book is called Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.

In this episode, I talk to Becky Kennedy about good parenting. Raising children is no easy task. As a mom herself, Dr. Becky knows what that?s like. Her parenting philosophy revolves around seeing the good inside every child and seeing the sturdy leader in every parent. She shares actionable advice on how to repair emotional connection after conflict, how to reduce shame, and how we can break unhealthy generational patterns. We also touch on the topics of genetics, resilience, attachment, and self-care.


Instagram: @drbeckyatgoodinside



02:20 Dr. Becky?s interest in parenting

06:00 The Good Inside Approach

10:22 Maximizing for attachment safety

17:32 Raising children with empathy 

23:18 The most generous interpretation

28:49 ?Two things are true? mode 

33:34 How to make up with our kids after a fight

38:21 Dr. Becky?s recommended resources 

39:27 Prioritize resilience over happiness

43:49 How to detect and reduce shame

48:04 Self-care for exhausted parents

50:25 Tips for cycle breakers

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Whitney Johnson || Smart Business Growth

Today we welcome Whitney Johnson, CEO and co-founder of the tech-enabled talent development company Disruption Advisors. Whitney is a globally recognized thought leader, keynote speaker, executive coach, and consultant. She is a frequent lecturer at Harvard Business Publishing?s Corporate Learning division. She is also the bestselling author of Disrupt Yourself and Build an A Team. Her latest book is called Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company.

In this episode, I talk to Whitney Johnson about business growth. According to Whitney, the development of the individual comes first before the company?s. Growth can be better understood using the S Curve of Learning which has three phases: the Launch Point, the Sweet Spot, and Mastery. By comprehending the cycle of growth, we can find ways to move forward when we feel stuck in both our professional and personal lives. We also touch on the topics of flow, creativity, transcendence, success, and leadership.


Twitter: @johnsonwhitney



01:35 Disruption Advisors

07:55 The S Curve of Learning

11:13 Optimize your team for growth

14:23 Mastery and transcendence

16:18 Peak experience and peak performance

21:26 The S Curve as a retention tool

25:00 Excavating your shadow values

28:13 Grow your people to grow your company

33:53 Create the conditions for growth

37:19 The S Curve is a dopamine management exercise

40:20 When to quit and change careers 

42:51 Changing the metrics of success

47:16 Disrupt yourself a little bit everyday

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Dan Tomasulo || Psychodrama & Learned Hopefulness

Today we welcome Dan Tomasulo who is a counseling psychologist, professor, and the Academic Director at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute (SMBI), Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology, an MFA in writing, and a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Dan is also the author of several books, including American Snake Pit and Confessions of a Former Child: A Therapist's Memoir. His latest book is called Learned Hopefulness.

In this episode, I talk to Dan Tomasulo about psychodrama and learned hopefulness. Interventions have always focused on helping people recover from trauma but Dan believes we can do more than that through psychodrama. When we re-enact difficult experiences, we can process and integrate trauma in a way that facilitates growth. It also teaches us to perceive obstacles differently, which is integral to learning hopefulness. 


Twitter: @drdantomasulo



01:27 Dan as a stand-up comedian

04:58 Meeting Andy Kaufman

08:33 Dan?s interest in psychology

14:36 American Snake Pit 

21:35 Interactive Behavioral Therapy (IBT)

27:10 What is psychodrama?

34:15 Learned Hopefulness

41:00 Hope activating exercises

45:49 Spiritual psychology

51:55 Hope, optimism, faith

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Sonja Lyubomirsky || The How of Happiness

Today we welcome Sonja Lyubomirsky who is a distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Originally from Russia, she received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from Stanford University. Her research has been featured in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, shows and documentaries in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Dr. Lyubomirsky?s best-selling books The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness have been published and translated in over 16 countries.

In this episode, I talk to Sonja Lyubomirsky about happiness. Across all of her research, Dr. Lyubomirsky has found that connection is what makes people happy. So then, how do we form high-quality connections? Dr. Lyubomirsky gives us insight on how to use kindness, reciprocity, and gratitude to maintain and strengthen our relationships. We also touch on the topics of psychedelics, interpersonal chemistry, and social media.


Twitter: @slyubomirsky



01:38 Sonja?s interest in happiness research

03:56 The Happiness Pie Chart

07:55 The Set-point Theory of Happiness

10:42 Connection is the key to happiness

15:19 Are extroverts happier? 

20:12 Psychedelic social psychology

25:25 The Happiness Boomerang Effect

29:58 What makes for great conversation?

34:16 High-quality connections

36:47 How to create interpersonal chemistry

42:44 Can you count too many blessings?

45:27 Apps that make us happy and unhappy 

51:39 Kindness boosts immunity

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Martha Beck || Living with Integrity

Today we welcome Martha Beck, who is a New York Times bestselling author, life coach, and speaker. She holds three Harvard degrees in social science. Oprah Winfrey has called her ?one of the smartest women I know.? Martha is a passionate and engaging teacher, known for her unique combination of science, humor, and spirituality. Her newest book is called The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self.

In this episode, I talk to Martha Beck about integrity. According to her, we are all born true to ourselves, with our integrity intact. But then we lose sight of who we are because we try so hard to fit into our society. Martha shares advice on how to live authentically in a culture that doesn't necessarily share the same values as you. We also touch on the topics of neurodiversity, emotions, coaching, and transcendence.


Twitter: @TheMarthaBeck



02:38 Martha?s interest in coaching

04:17 Martha?s Harvard degrees

06:55 Science and eastern philosophy

13:31 Writing for Oprah?s magazine

15:13 Regaining our wildness

20:19 The Way of Integrity

25:08 Duplicity is people pleasing

31:32 Inspiration from Dante?s Divine Comedy

34:55 Enlightenment through surrender

39:25 Personal effectiveness

47:11 Suffering is a guidance mechanism 

52:27 How Martha left the LDS Mormon Church

56:27 Hold true to your integrity

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Laurie Santos || The Science of Happiness

Today we welcome Dr. Laurie Santos, psychology professor and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Her course, ?Psychology and the Good Life,?is Yale?s most popular course in over 300 years and has been adapted into a free Coursera program that has been taken by over 3.3 million people to date. Dr. Santos is a winner of numerous awards both for her science and teaching from institutions such as Yale and the American Psychological Association. She is also the podcast host of The Happiness Lab.

In this episode, I talk to Dr. Laurie Santos about happiness. People are unhappy not for lack of trying, but it?s because they?re applying ineffective strategies. Dr. Santos identifies some of the cognitive biases that can hinder our happiness. There is no magical antidote to our problems, but there are ways to boost well-being in small but significant ways. We also discuss resilience, social justice and mindfulness.


Twitter: @lauriesantos



03:04 Laurie?s interest in well-being

06:54 Our expectations about happiness 

09:44 Defining and measuring happiness

13:59 Predictors of resilience 

15:43 Laurie?s happiness score

17:39 ?Self-care is a political act?

22:39 The Feel Good, Do Good Effect

24:11 The role of culture, environment, genes

27:55 Contributions to the science of happiness

32:13 The impact of Laurie?s research

35:19 Cognitive biases that influence happiness

38:16 Do mindfulness interventions work?

44:37 The Happiness Lab?s new season

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From the Archives: Esther Perel || Love, Eros, and Infidelity

In celebration of our first year anniversary with Stitcher, we?re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from the past year with Esther Perel.

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist and a New York Times bestselling author, recognized as one of today?s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she hones a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her best-selling books Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs have been translated into nearly 30 languages. Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin? and How?s Work? Her latest project is Where Should We Begin ? A Game of Stories with Esther Perel. 

In this episode, I talk to renowned psychotherapist and author Esther Perel about love and relationships. We tackle the true essence of the words ?eros? and ?freedom?. Esther offers her perspective on marriage and affairs, getting to the root cause of why people cheat. We also touch on the topics of soulmates, masculinity, how to keep passion alive during a global pandemic, and Esther?s practice as a cross-cultural therapist.



Instagram: @estherperelofficial



02:02 Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic

04:33 Social connection during the pandemic 

10:04 ?The erotic is the antidote to death?

17:02 True freedom in relationships

22:05 Soulmates don?t exist 

26:38 Why people in happy marriages cheat

29:46 Can an affair be good for a marriage?

34:54 Where Should We Begin?

39:00 Redefining marriage, fidelity, and sexuality

46:25 Esther?s cross-cultural approach to therapy

49:31 Esther?s interest in cultural transitions, identity, and relationships

54:56 The masculine obsession with power 

01:00:08 The Great Adaptation

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Jim Fadiman || Orchestrating Your Symphony of Selves

Today we welcome Dr. Jim Fadiman. Jim is a psychologist, writer, and lecturer who has been pioneering psychedelic research since the 1960s. He is recognized as ?America?s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use.? Jim received his bachelor and doctorate degrees from Harvard and Stanford respectively. Apart from psychedelics, he has also been involved in researching healthy multiplicity for over 20 years. His newest book with Jordan Gruber is called Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who We Are.

In this episode, I talk to Dr. Jim Fadiman about multiple selves. The DSM says that having multiple personalities is a disorder, but Dr. Fadiman challenges this notion. In fact, he believes that the opposite is true: the multiplicity of selves is both normal and healthy. It?s not about having one ?super self?, but unifying the different parts of who we are. We also discuss psychedelics, its effects on mental health, and how Abraham Maslow would have viewed these mind-altering substances.


Twitter: @jfadiman



04:54 Modern microdosing

06:49 Microdosing for physical and mental health 

10:00 Healthy vs pathological multiplicity

14:14 What would Maslow think of psychedelics?

23:24 No single self 

26:42 Taking responsibility for all yourselves

30:13 Harmonizing selves

34:28 Is it possible to create a super self?

37:58 All your parts are you

42:07 Unified self is healthy 

44:08 Being in the right mind at the right time

51:17 Practice selves work

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Gabor Maté || The Myth of Normal

Today we welcome Dr. Gabor Maté. A physician, renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Gabor is highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, stress, and childhood development. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing, he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country?s highest civilian distinction. He is also a co-developer of Compassionate Inquiry, a therapeutic approach for deep healing and transformation. His newest book is called The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture.

In this episode, I talk to Gabor Maté about The Myth of Normal. Healthcare in Western societies tend to focus on physical health, without accounting for an individual?s lived experience. The tension between authenticity and attachment and the pressures of a capitalist culture puts undue stress on our minds and bodies. Dr. Maté invites us to rethink trauma and disease, by emphasizing holistic well-being and the role of agency. We also touch on the topics of early childhood, epigenetics, and self-improvement. 


Twitter: @drgabormate



02:36 The Myth of Normal

06:14 Maslow?s Metagrumbles

10:25 From individual to global well-being

13:25 Authenticity vs attachment

20:48 No separation of psyche and soma

28:05 Trauma is what happens inside you

33:34 Dr. Gabor Maté?s early childhood 

37:20 Trauma denial and victimhood mentality

41:05 Disease is a long term process

45:21 Epigenetics and the role of environment

50:24 Screening for special and gifted education

52:45 Pathways to wholeness

58:01 The four A?s of healing 

1:06:44 Compassionate Inquiry

1:10:16 Authentic satisfaction

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Jordyn Feingold || Choose Growth

Today we welcome to the show Jordyn Feingold, resident physician in psychiatry, co-founder of the Positive Medicine Program, and co-author with me of the new book Choose Growth!

Jordyn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her BA and Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). At present, she is a psychiatry resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Jordyn is deeply involved in research, curriculum development, and advocacy work pertaining to clinician well-being, locally, nationally, and globally. Together, we wrote Choose Growth: A Workbook for Transcending Trauma, Fear, and Self-Doubt.

In this episode, I talk to Jordyn Feingold about positive medicine and the importance of choosing growth. As a physician and positive psychology practitioner, Jordyn is on a mission to shift the focus of medicine from treatment to well-being. As much as our physical health can influence our mental health, the reverse is also true. She talks about the impact and practical applications of positive psychology in healthcare. We also touch on the topics of resilience, relationships, communication, growth, and transcendence.


Twitter: @jordynfeingold



04:52 Positive Medicine

12:08 Embodied cognition

14:06 The REVAMP model of well-being

18:10 Positive interventions

21:39 Choose Growth

28:28 Who?s in your boat?

32:08 Active vs passive constructive responding

35:53 High-quality connections 

40:01 Jordyn as chief extrovert

42:41 ?Yes, and? transcendence

48:34 Integrate your dark side

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Tara Well || Mirror Meditation

Today we welcome Tara Well, who is an associate professor of psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University where she has taught Personality Psychology, Health Psychology, and Psychology of Leadership for over 20 years. Her research on motivation, perception, and cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She outlines the research and benefits of her meditation program in her latest book Mirror Meditation.

In this episode, I talk to Tara Well about mirror meditation. What is the first thing you think of when you look in the mirror? For a lot of us, our initial instinct is to nitpick at our flaws. Using mirror meditation, Tara teaches people how to use one?s reflection to promote self-acceptance and inner knowing. The mirror can help us become kinder not just to ourselves, but to the people around us as well. We also touch on the topics of narcissism, compassion, and attachment. 


Twitter: @tarawell88



01:36 Tara?s expertise in psychology 

05:33 Mirror Meditation 

12:22 Reflecting on identities

14:39 Sit with yourself

18:59 Unfreeze yourself

21:28 Neuroscience of narcissists 

26:08 Compassion for narcissists

32:42 Anxious and avoidant self-attachment

36:31 Be there for yourself

39:20 Look at others in the eyes of love

42:07 Reclaiming your projections

43:28 How to see the best in others

45:45 Self-talk in third person

46:51 Meditation practice

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Eric Barker || Plays Well With Others

Today we welcome Eric Barker, the author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller Barking Up the Wrong Tree. His book has sold over half a million copies and has been translated into 19 languages. It was even the subject of a question on ?Jeopardy!? Eric is also a sought-after speaker, having given talks at MIT, the Aspen Ideas Festival, Google, the United States Military Central Command (CENTCOM), and the Olympic Training Center. His newest book is called Plays Well with Others.

In this episode, I talk to Eric Barker about relationships. We tackle the misconceptions on loneliness, marriage, and body language. Eric shares practical tips that we can apply in our own relationships such as how to keep passionate love alive and how to catch liars. We also touch on the topics of communication, vulnerability, community and health. 


Twitter: @bakadesuyo



02:18 Plays Well with Others

05:11 Loneliness is perception

08:38 Marriage requires crazy love and work 

10:57 Gottman?s Four Horsemen of Divorce

15:26 Keeping passionate love alive 

19:02 Emotional endings and love maps 

24:28 The Scary Rule 

28:14 Dunbar?s number

30:49 Parasocial relationships 

35:32 Body language is overrated

39:04 How to catch a liar

42:11 Story of connection

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Skye Cleary || Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Authentic Living

Today we welcome philosopher Skye Cleary. She is a lecturer at Columbia University and the City College of New York. Skye is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, Business Insider, TED-Ed, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets.

In 2021, she was a MacDowell Fellow and In 2017, she won the New Philosopher Writers? Award. Her latest book is called How to Be Authentic. 

In this episode, I talk to Skye Cleary about Simone de Beauvoir?s life and how it has informed her existentialist philosophy. As a feminist during the forties, Simone was passionate about freedom of choice. It's not a surprise then that her definition of authenticity also revolves around self-determination. Authenticity is not about finding a true self, but rather a process of creating who we want to be. We also touch on the topics of gender, power, social justice, narcissism, and fulfillment.


Twitter: @Skye_Cleary



01:54 French existentialist philosophy

04:05 ?One is not born, but rather becomes, woman?

09:58 Creating our essence

12:46 Transcending our impulses

18:01 Creative rebellion

22:19 Skye?s Critique of Simone de Beauvoir

24:03 Authenticity is responsible freedom

27:33 Power and freedom

32:00 Skye?s background in philosophy

33:15 Intersubjectivity: the foundation of ethical relations

34:48 Inauthenticity, social media, narcissism

38:37 Windows of freedom, genetics, motherhood

41:38 Fulfillment is embracing life 

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Colin Seale || Tangible Equity in Education

Today we welcome Colin Seale, the founder and CEO of thinkLaw. Colin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where his struggles gave birth to his passion for educational equity. Using lessons from his experience as a math teacher, attorney, and keynote speaker, he helps educators teach critical thinking to all students, regardless of race or achievement through his award-winning organization thinkLaw. Colin is also the author of Thinking Like a Lawyer. His latest book is called Tangible Equity. 

In this episode, I talk to Colin Seale about tangible equity in education. For Colin, real equity work should help reduce the predictive power of demographics on outcomes. In order to do that, we need to teach kids how to think for themselves, so they learn to question instead of comply with unfair systems. Colin shares concrete actions that educators can take to contribute towards tangible equity. We also touch on the topics of privilege, race, bias, and gifted education. 


Twitter: @ColinESeale



02:55 What is tangible equity?

05:28 Reforming the pathways to success

09:33 Why equity has become a challenge 

16:42 The pressure of success and compliance

18:56 Critical race theory in schools

25:01 Understanding race and privilege 

30:53 Colin as a keynote speaker 

35:15 Leveraging privilege for equity

36:39 We all have power 

41:50 Disrupting gifted education

49:24 Shatter the ceiling of education

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Josh Szeps || Thinking Freely

Today we welcome Josh Szeps who is a television, radio and podcast host who shakes up the status quo with his fierce intellect and infectious sense of humor. Josh's interviews with prominent figures and celebrities like Jane Goodall, Ron Howard, Russel Brand, and Neil Patrick Harris have attracted billions of online views and sold out event tickets. Currently, he can be heard on ABC Radio Sydney and on his award-winning podcast Uncomfortable Conversations.

In this episode, I talk to Josh Szeps about what it means to think freely. In this social media age, it's become increasingly challenging to become an independent thinker. Our tribal nature and online echo chambers tend to reinforce ideologies we already believe in. Even the way we talk sounds scripted! Josh and I discuss how to genuinely search for truth so we can broaden our worldviews. We also touch on the topics of intersectionality, wokeism, ethics, and racism.


Twitter: @joshzepps



02:35 Are we living in a simulation?

10:39 The clique of provocateurs

16:58 Compromise through conversation

23:27 The excess of wokeism

27:01 Moral foundations and disgust

31:36 Racism in the gay community

35:11 Reverse racism

37:00 Respecting individual identity over group identity

43:16 Should we be proud of intrinsic attributes? 

49:08 Scripted ideologies

51:40 How to overcome binary thinking 

58:01 Pushing limits through radical curiosity

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Hitendra Wadhwa || Inner Mastery, Outer Impact

Today we welcome Hitendra Wadhwa, Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School where he teaches Columbia?s most popular leadership course, the award-winning ?Personal Leadership & Success.? Hitendra is also the founder of Mentora Institute, which is at the forefront of creating a new model of leadership that is agile, authentic, and attainable. Hitendra?s research and teaching on personal leadership have been covered by Forbes, Fortune, CNN, Psychology Today, Wall Street Journal and others. He is the author of Inner Mastery, Outer Impact.

In this episode, I talk to Hitendra Wadhwa about personal development. Growth is often associated with the mastery of skills. But Hitendra reminds us that inner work is also growth. The internal battles we face lead us to become more attuned to our most authentic selves. In order to unlock our full potential, Hitendra shares with us Five Core Energies and how to activate them. We also touch on the topics of leadership, service, purpose, and transcendence. 


Twitter: @HitendraWadhwa



02:31 Hitendra?s background and upbringing 

06:16 Personal leadership

09:23 Public leadership

13:44 Ashoka the Great

18:01 Dominion over yourself

21:30 Authenticity and our real selves

27:05 Core Energy: Purpose

29:33 Core Energy: Wisdom

30:48 Core Energy: Growth

32:04 Core Energy: Love

33:33 Core Energy: Self-Realization

37:34 Conceptualizing the Five Core Energies

39:50 Living vs leading 

43:41 The mystic in all of us

48:22 From inner dominance to inner surrender

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Kristi Nelson || Wake Up Grateful

Today we welcome Kristi Nelson, the executive director of A Network for Grateful Living. Her life?s work in the non-profit sector has focused on leading, inspiring, and strengthening organizations committed to progressive social and spiritual change. Being a long-time stage IV cancer survivor moves her every day to support others in living and loving with great fullness of heart. She is the author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. 

In this episode, I talk to Kristi Nelson about gratefulness. She differentiates gratefulness from gratitude by describing the former as an orientation towards life, without being dependent on internal or external circumstances. Kristi shares with us the practice of Stop, Look, Go and her five guiding principles that can inspire you to live a life of gratefulness. We also touch on the topics of positive psychology, mindfulness, play, and self-compassion.




03:01 Kristi?s cancer diagnosis 

04:17 Gratitude vs gratefulness

08:50 Gratefulness during hard times

12:37 Reclaim play, curiosity, courage

15:58 Life is a gift

18:08 Everything is a surprise

20:41 The ordinary is extraordinary

23:48 Appreciation is generative

26:55 Say yes to your life

32:46 Love is transformative

34:35 Stop, Look, Go

38:18 Befriending our full selves

40:43 Leaving a grateful legacy

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Mark Manson || Podcast Improv Jam

Today we welcome three-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Mark Manson. Before becoming an author, he was a blogger. His blog started in 2007 and within a few years it was being read by more than a million people each month. Today, his site is read by more than 15 million people each year. Mark?s books have sold over 14 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 65 languages. According to Amazon Charts, his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck was the most-read non-fiction book worldwide in 2017. 

For this episode, we did something a little different. Mark Manson and I had an unstructured chat about issues that we both care deeply about. We tackled all sorts of questions like: What makes social media so polarizing? Why are self-help quotes so cheesy? Are all pick-up artists narcissists? Does free will exist? We hope you enjoy the conversation about relationships, politics, self-esteem, and neurodiversity as much as we did.



Twitter: @IAmMarkManson



02:03 Mark and Scott as adolescents 

04:30 Online discourse in a hyper-connected world   

11:36 Troll behavior and non-verbal cues

17:18 Extreme curiosity and criticism of politics

25:00 Mark hates Tiny Buddha?

29:59 The self-help industry 

33:24 Neurodiversity and empathy 

39:30 Are all traits double-edged swords? 

46:26 Co-dependency of grandiose and vulnerable narcissists

54:48 Scott?s unique value proposition

57:08 The bachelor life vs the married life

1:04:22 Co-writing Will Smith?s biography

1:08:53 Free will, law and punishment

1:12:53 Overrated or underrated: meditation

1:15:49 Overrated or underrated: twin studies

1:18:31 Overrated or underrated: self-esteem

1:21:22 Overrated or underrated: social media

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Michael Bungay Stanier || How to Begin

Today we welcome Michael Bungay Stanier, the Founder of Box of Crayons. He is the author of the best-selling book The Coaching Habit, with over a million copies sold. He was a Rhodes Scholar and in 2019 was named the #1 thought leader in coaching. Michael has a masters degree in Philosophy from Oxford, a law degree and a BA with highest honors from the Australian National University. His latest book is called How to Begin. 

In this episode, I talk to Michael Bungay Stanier about how to begin. When we set goals, the most popular framework that often comes to mind is the idea of SMART goals. Instead of starting with what?s measurable, Michael urges us to start with what?s important. He shares his criteria for identifying what a worthy goal is, as well as advice on how to stay committed to that worthy goal. We also touch on the topics of coaching, empathy, change, and community.



Twitter: @mbs_works



02:22 About Box of Crayons

03:20 Michael?s interest and expertise in coaching

07:15 The Coaching Habit

12:20 ?SMART goals are dumb?

16:32 What is a worthy goal?

23:19 The magic is in the drafting

25:50 Before action, learn to commit

30:27 Adaptive change vs technical change

33:01 Calling in the directions

37:51 Stick with the journey

43:20 Celebrate the journey

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Steve Magness || Real Toughness

Today we welcome back Steve Magness who is a world-renowned expert on high performance. He has been a consultant on mental skills development for professional sports teams, including some of the top teams in the NBA. Steve is the co-author of Peak Performance, The Passion Paradox, and the author of The Science of Running. Collectively, his books have sold more than a quarter-million copies in print, ebook, and audio formats. His latest book is called Do Hard Things. 

In this episode, I talk to Steve Magness about real toughness. The prevailing narrative around achievement extols the merits of unrelenting resolve. To show vulnerability is to show weakness. According to Steve, the hyperfocus on external bravado is detrimental to performance and mental health. He outlines his four core pillars of resilience to replace our broken model of toughness. We also touch on the topics of stoicism, self-esteem, emotions, mindfulness, and sports psychology.


Twitter: @stevemagness



04:49 Why machismo is so popular 

08:47 UFC vs artistic swimming 

14:15 Ditch the facade, embrace reality

19:31 Accept what you?re capable of

24:24 Know when to grit and when to quit

26:38 Listen to your body

31:34 Do hard things more efficiently

35:17 Steve?s 4 minute mile

39:42 Personal wins

43:12 Respond, instead of react

47:12 Transcend discomfort

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Alexi Robichaux || The Future of Coaching

Today we welcome Alexi Robichaux who is the co-founder and CEO of BetterUp, a mobile platform that brings together world-class coaching, AI technology, and behavioral science to deliver sustainable positive change. Alexi is also the Chairman of Youth Leadership America (YLA). They have collaborated with leading companies including Disney, Google, and Hilton Hotels to coach and mentor future leaders. Alexi holds a B.A. in political science and non-profit management with summa cum laude distinction from the University of Southern California.

In this episode, I talk to Alexi Robichaux about the future of coaching. There are countless ways to practice coaching, but Alexi believes coaching must be rooted in science-backed techniques for reliable outcomes?which is precisely what they do at BetterUp. Coaching is not a replacement for therapy, but it can help individuals become more resilient and purposeful in their daily lives. We also touch on the topics of self-actualization, flow, languishing, imagination, and Alexi?s vision for the future of coaching.


Twitter: @arobichaux



04:06 What is coaching?

07:30 Better Up?s coaching model

10:26 Coaching vs therapy 

14:37 What good coaching looks like 

19:40 Peak experiences and dichotomy transcendence

25:22 Research and innovation as a for-profit business

30:39 Humanistic coaching philosophy

32:45 How to overcome languishing

37:10 Better Up Labs

41:40 Alexi?s current coaching practice

44:30 The future of coaching

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Christine Robinson || Community Psychology

Today we welcome Christine Robinson who is an executive coach, consultant, facilitator, and strategist whose expertise lies in building pathways to policy and systems change. She has worked as a consultant to the White House, the Ford Foundation, Harvard Medical School, the Lumina Foundation and other notable organizations. Christine studied at Vassar College, Brandeis University, and the University of Pennsylvania, and is trained as a developmental and community psychologist.

In this episode, I talk to Christine Robinson about community psychology. In order to nurture a culture of well-being, Christine says it?s crucial to acknowledge the multifaceted identities of individuals. Instead of seeing marginalized groups as ?others?, she encourages us to view diversity as a valuable asset to society. We need to listen to everyone?s perspective before we can bring forth social change and co-create an inclusive and equitable community. 




02:44 What is community psychology?

06:59 Urie Brofenbenner?s ecological systems theory

13:58 Community well-being and collective efficacy

18:24 Intersectionality of social identities 

24:41 Socialization and meaning making

27:30 Othering - a barrier to well being

34:25 Intersectional equity

40:53 The paradox of differences

50:20 Inclusive society psychology 

55:28 Co-creation and capacity building

58:41 Negative impacts of discrimination

1:01:56 Cultural intelligence and competence

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