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

    In this episode we discuss:

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

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

    In this episode we discuss:

    What is normal? How the creation of special ed was originally an act of inclusion The unintended complications of creating a special education program Jonathan’s story growing up in special ed The twice-exceptional (2e) movement How giftedness comes with a “complicated brew” of assets and challenges The importance of recognizing the 2e within ourselves and sharing that with the world The importance of not hiding the things that make us different, but celebrating those things How Jonathan once took on many personas to hide his differences How the average got conflated with the impossible ideal in society The value judgement that is placed on IQ from a cultural perspective Going from “How smart are you?” to “How are you smart”? Jonathan feeling deficient because he was different How Jonathan went on a journey driving a school bus across the United States and listened to people with atypical brains and bodies The value of human fallibility The Eye to Eye mentoring program How the private sector corporate diversity policies can make difference by including atypical brains and bodies as part of diversity initiatives
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  • Today it's great to have Paul Bloom on the podcast. Dr. Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom is also author or editor of seven books, including Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

    In this wide-ranging and provocative episode we discuss:

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

    In this episode we discuss:

    Cory’s transformation from frat boy to monk Can monks be self-actualizing? The importance of not being enslaved by certain parts of you How to overcame pain through mindfulness The emotional body vs. the sensation body The process of detaching sensations from the labels we put on them Equanimity and allowing life to happen How equanimity is more about our internal experience than our external experience The “pain box” How to soften the “pain wall” Dispelling the myth of the “real you” Barriers to real connection What it means to be fully seen and accepted The importance of radical acceptance How the more parts of you that are brought in and accepted the more you feel as though the wholeness of you is accepted and seen The "scrollercoaster" meditation How we can take control of technology and take back our lives
  • “Emotion skills are the key to unlocking the potential inside each one of us. And in the process of developing those skills, we each, heart by heart, mind by mind, create a culture and society unlike anything we’ve experienced thus far— and very much like the one we might dare to imagine.” -- Marc Brackett

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

    In this wide-ranging episode we discuss:

    How Mark is feeling Mark’s rough childhood and how he felt “trapped in his feelings” Negative outcomes that can ensue when you don’t feel you have the permission to feel Some harrowing statistics about how depression and anxiety are on the rise How does the original Salovey and Meyer model of emotional intelligence differ from Daniel Goleman’s model? The emotion scientist vs. the emotion judge Skills of the emotion scientist How Marc’s Uncle changed Marc’s life forever by giving him permission to feel The main components of the RULER framework The many factors that influence how we express our emotions authentically and honestly The mood meter poster and app that allows you to track your emotions over time and look at patterns The malleability of emotional intelligence The difference between temperament and emotional intelligence The most important thing Marc learned through teaching emotional intelligence How more emotional intelligence can bring world peace (at least according to a 3rd grader) Why we need to spend more time cultivating emotional intelligence
  • “I firmly believe there is no person, no group, no behavior, no thing that is objectively evil. Perhaps evil only really exists in our fears.” -- Julia Shaw

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

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

    In this episode we discuss:

    How Julia got into criminal psychology How we all do “reality crafting” The depths of human hypocrisy Why we don’t always act in accord with our own morality Julia Shaw’s criticism of the label “evil” The neuroscience of “evil” and Hitler’s brain Your brain on porn How kink is stigmatized in our society Can you be a feminist and engage in BDSM? The “deviant sexual interests” scale The prevalence of rape fantasies Pedophiles vs. ephebophiles Why “curiosity shaming” limits discussion and understanding The science of beastiality and what makes one animal sexier than another animal Why we shame vegans Rape culture and how systems fail and lead to harm What we can do to reduce sexual violence in society The bright side of your dark side How we can use the dark side to be a hero (the heroic imagination)
  • Today it’s great to have Dr. Rex Jung on the podcast. Dr. Jung is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, and a clinical neuropsychologist in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, he has practiced neuropsychology in Albuquerque since 2002. His clinical work now centers around intraoperative testing of patients undergoing awake craniotomy to remove tumors within eloquent brain tissue – work with particular relevance to the study of individual differences. He has contributed to over 100 research articles across a wide range of disciplines, involving both clinical and normal populations, designed to assess brain-behavior relationships. He is the Editor of the Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity. His work has been featured on CNN, BBC, NOVA, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and National Geographic.

    In this episode we discuss:

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

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

    In this episode we discuss:

    Steven Haye’s journey to studying the science of liberation The lessons you can learn from your own pain and suffering How you can apply psychology to human prosperity Some limitations of the CBT approach (“CBT gone bad”) How we all have a “dictator within” Scott and Steven roleplay an ACT session How to apply ACT principles to dieting How Steven defines values The definition and importance of “psychological flexibility” How to get out of the “anxiety trap” How to pivot to what you really want How consciousness connects us to the infinite The 6 things that get in the way of pivoting The social/environmental side of ACT “What does it gain us to give up on people?” ACT and social transformation What is love?
  • Dr. Elaine Aron is one of the world’s foremost experts on the highly sensitive person. She ought to be – she was its first researcher! In this episode, we cover this fascinating concept as it relates to a broad swath of psychological concepts like self-esteem, gender, love, leadership, personality, genetics and more. Roughly 20% of the population can be classified as highly sensitive, so all of us likely know someone (or are someone) with this trait. Also, Scott performs a statistical analysis live on air – it’s a first and a lot of fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    – Why “learned irrelevance” is incredibly important

    – Why creativity requires keeping a childlike wonder

    – How hallucinogens clear the “doors of perception”

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

    – The neuroscience of openness to experience

    – The personality of personal correctness

    – The practical implications of gender differences

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

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

    – The difference between pathological altruism and genuine compassion

    – The link between pathological altruism and vulnerable narcissism

    – The difference between responsibility and culpability

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


    12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

    Jordan Peterson- What the State is For

    Jordan Peterson- Future Authoring Program

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

    Creativity and Psychopathology: A Shared Vulnerability Model

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

    Openness/Intellect: The Core of the Creative Personality

    The Evolutionary Genetics of the Creativity-Psychosis Connection

    Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius?

    The Real Neuroscience of Creativity

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

    The Personality of Political Correctness

    Default and Executive Network Coupling Supports Creative Idea Production

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

    Men and Things, Women and People: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Interests

    Is There Anything Good About Men?

    Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty

    Pathological Altruism

    Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In this episode we discuss:

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