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New Books in Psychology

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Interviews with Psychologists about their New Books

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Interviews with Psychologists about their New Books

iTunes Ratings

33 Ratings
Average Ratings
15
7
9
0
2

Interesting Podcast Series

By Vodka 27 - Dec 07 2012
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I found this series from a sister podcast, "New Books in History." I heard one podcast from each, and find them to be pretty good insofar as the quality of discussion. But, after listening to the episode "Compass of Pleasure" do have a few complaints. One is the quality of the interviewers microphone. It was worse than the author she was interviewing and I found it to be pretty distracting. The second was a little more baffling. She either didn't seem that interested, or didn't know how to continue the conversation in a very fluid way. As a result it felt a little bit more like a one-sided lecture than an actual discussion. I'll continue to listen to the podcast for the titles which interest me, but I hope it gets better by just being easier to listen to.

Good show

By Sjoyreed - May 20 2011
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I enjoyed the interview with Jon Metzl. If they keep reviewing thought provoking books, the show has the ability to be awesome! Sound quality could use improvement. I look forawrd to more casts!

iTunes Ratings

33 Ratings
Average Ratings
15
7
9
0
2

Interesting Podcast Series

By Vodka 27 - Dec 07 2012
Read more
I found this series from a sister podcast, "New Books in History." I heard one podcast from each, and find them to be pretty good insofar as the quality of discussion. But, after listening to the episode "Compass of Pleasure" do have a few complaints. One is the quality of the interviewers microphone. It was worse than the author she was interviewing and I found it to be pretty distracting. The second was a little more baffling. She either didn't seem that interested, or didn't know how to continue the conversation in a very fluid way. As a result it felt a little bit more like a one-sided lecture than an actual discussion. I'll continue to listen to the podcast for the titles which interest me, but I hope it gets better by just being easier to listen to.

Good show

By Sjoyreed - May 20 2011
Read more
I enjoyed the interview with Jon Metzl. If they keep reviewing thought provoking books, the show has the ability to be awesome! Sound quality could use improvement. I look forawrd to more casts!
Cover image of New Books in Psychology

New Books in Psychology

Latest release on Jan 15, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: Mark Borg, et. al. “Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy” (Central Recovery Press, 2015)

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Why do relationship partners so often feel isolated and unsatisfied despite all their efforts to show love and caring to one another? And how do they break out of the self-defeating cycles that get them there? In their new book, Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy (Central Recovery Press, 2015), Mark Borg, Grant Brenner, and Daniel Berry address these daunting questions. They explain how parental disappointments during childhood can set one up for a life of compulsive caregiving at the expense of true human connection, which they call “irrelationship.” They address a growing epidemic by which, in later adulthood, partners use those well-honed caregiving skills to hide from one another rather than become closer. Drawing from cutting-edge neuroscience, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical experience, the authors address how these habitual patterns take shape in the brain and in the soul, and how partners can find their way out of them. The book is full of relatable anecdotes and practical suggestions that any reader who has ever struggled with love and intimacy will find illuminating and helpful.


I spoke with two of the authors, Mark Borg and Grant Brenner, about how they arrived at the idea of “irrelationship” and how their skill-based approach has improved the lives of their patients and readers. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in LGBTQ issues, eating andbody image problems, and working with cultural minorities.

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Jul 16 2016

1hr

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Rank #2: Darian Leader, “Strictly Bipolar” (Penguin, 2013)

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To those unfamiliar with psychodiagnostics, Bipolar 3.5 might sound like the latest Apple software. To psychoanalyst Darian Leader it is indicative of the relatively recent proliferation and growing elasticity of bipolar disorders. For about the last twenty years, argues Leader, the bipolar spectrum has been tailored to a pharmaceutical industry eager to shift attention away from ineffective antidepressants and toward newly developed mood stabilizers. A household word since the mid-1990s, “bipolar” is now widely considered to be biological and hereditary. Its loosened parameters have saddled large swaths of the population with a chronic illness requiring life-long medication.

Strictly Bipolar (Penguin, 2013) is a trenchant case for the reexamination of the “bipolar revolution” and for a return to the older diagnosis of manic depression. Leader points out that while bipolarity is at the center of modern capitalist subjectivity – the principal feature of twenty-first-century worklife, which encourages and rewards herculean productivity and exuberant all-nighters — manic depression is a structural, much narrower and less frequent problem. The highs and lows of manic depression are not merely behavioral or ominously genetic but, rather, rooted in an individual’s early history: relationships with primary caregivers, fantasies regarding one’s symbolic place within the family. Manic depression also has common motifs that reflect its structural basis and identifications. Mania announces itself, for example, in fits of housecleaning, shopping sprees, and grand gestures of altruism. Manic episodes often begin with a steady stream of words – extravagant metaphors and brilliant rhetorical leaps — a levity in the symbolic, as Leader puts it. These great themes of mania are traced in Strictly Bipolar to personal stories of guilt, responsibility, and debt; distant or inconsistent parents and grandparents who expected too much or overwhelmingly little and elicited (split off) aggression and hate. We learn that manic-depressives struggle with the overproximity of the Other, attempting to keep the Other separate and safe from all that is bad, from murderous rage, from oneself.


Strictly Bipolar offers compelling clinical material and vivid biographical descriptions of the “signature motifs” of manic-depression. In reading the book, I could see how one might be tempted to lean too heavily on surface behaviors and mood states in thinking and diagnosing manic depression. Yet, as Leader points out, manic-depressives have a troubled relationship with time and find it difficult to integrate their own histories. It therefore behooves therapists not to join them in this, redoubling the problem. In the interview, Leader characterizes manic depression and other psychoses without the usual prognostic pessimism – not as problems of subjectivization resulting in social exclusion, medication, or institutional scrutiny but as “ways of being in the world.”

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Nov 03 2015

40mins

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Rank #3: Ty Tashiro, “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome” (Harper Collins, 2017)

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Some people can’t help but be ‘awkward’ despite their lifelong efforts to blend in. They feel ashamed of their social ineptitude and end up shying away from social situations, yet research offers insights that could help. In his new book, Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome (Harper Collins, 2017), Ty Tashiro reviews research findings that explain socially ‘awkward’ behavior and offer strategies for acquiring social fluency. In our interview, Tashiro explains what defines an ‘awkward’ person and shares anecdotes from his own experience that take us into the mind of such a person. We also discuss how modern social life has evolved in ways that make everyone feel a bit more awkward in everyday social situations. His ideas offer new, kinder ways to think about awkwardness that anyone who identifies as awkward—or loves someone who does—would find helpful and illuminating.

Ty Tashiro is the author of The Science of Happily Ever After (William Morrow, 2017). His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com, and on NPR and Sirius XM Stars radio. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, has been an award-winning professor at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado, and has addressed TED@NYC, Harvard Business School, MIT’s Media Lab, and the American Psychological Association. He lives in New York City.

Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image, and relationship issues. He is a graduate of the psychoanalytic training program at William Alanson White Institute, where he also chairs their monthly LGBTQ Study Group.

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Feb 13 2018

53mins

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Rank #4: Steven C. Hayes, "A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters" (Avery Group, 2019)

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In his landmark new book, A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters (Avery Publishing Group, 2019), Dr. Steven C. Hayes, the originator and pioneering researcher into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) lays out the psychological flexibility skills that make it one of the most powerful approaches research has yet to offer. These skills have been shown to help even where other approaches have failed. Science shows that they are useful in virtually every area--mental health (anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD); physical health (chronic pain, dealing with diabetes, facing cancer); social processes (relationship issues, prejudice, stigma, domestic violence); and performance (sports, business, diet, exercise).

In this interview, cross-posted from the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock, Dr. Hayes describes how we struggle because the problem-solving mind tells us to run from what causes us fear and hurt. But we hurt where we care. If we run from a sense of vulnerability, we must also run from what we care about. By learning how to liberate ourselves, we can live with meaning and purpose, along with our pain when there is pain. Dr. Hayes offers flexibility skills to help, including noticing our thoughts with curiosity, opening to our emotions, attending to what is in the present, learning the art of perspective taking, discovering our deepest values, and building habits based around what we deeply want.

Diana Hill, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a co-host of the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock.

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Sep 11 2019

1hr 12mins

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Rank #5: Berit Brogaard, “On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion” (Oxford UP, 2015)

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Why is falling in love so exciting and painful at the same time? And what explains our longing for people who are bad for us or no longer love us back? In her book On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion (Oxford University Press, 2015), philosopher and cognitive scientist Berit Brogaard tackles these and other difficult questions through the lenses of biochemistry, philosophy, and psychology. She argues that love is an emotion to which humans can become addicted but which they also possess the power to overcome. In our interview, we discuss cutting-edge ways of conceptualizing romantic love as well as practical, real-life strategies for navigating its many ups and downs.

Berit Brogaard is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research at University of Miami, as well as Professor of Philosophy at University of Oslo. She answers letters from love-stricken readers on her Psychology Today webpage The Mysteries of Love. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Eugenio Duarte is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in LGBTQ issues, eating and body image problems, and relationship problems. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Feb 13 2017

51mins

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Rank #6: Chris Germer, "The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion" (The Guilford Press, 2009)

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Increasing self-compassion and compassion for others, may just be the key to your well-being. In this this interview, cross-posted from the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock, Dr. Diana Hill interviews Dr. Christopher Germer, leader in the integration of mindfulness in therapy and co-developer of the international Mindful Self Compassion Program. Germer discusses “Self-Compassion 101” while also exploring how they practice self-compassion on and off the couch.

Chris Germer, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice and lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. He teaches on the faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, both based in Cambridge, MA. He is a co-developer (with Kristin Neff) and popular teacher of the Mindful Self-Compassion program (which has been taught to over 50,000 people around the world), author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, co-author of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook (which is consistently the #3 book in Social work on Amazon since its release) and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy.His next book, written for professionals, Teaching the Mindful Self Compassion Program will be released in Summer 2019.

Diana Hill, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a co-host of the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock.

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Feb 05 2019

56mins

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Rank #7: Gina Biegel, “Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life” (Shambhala, 2018)

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In her book, Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life (Shambhala, 2018), Gina Biegel shows how the demands and pressures of everyday life can really stress you out! She shows how even the little things when stacked one on top of another can eventually build up to much bigger and deeper problems. Using her background in psychology, she crafts an easy to follow format that can help to illustrate some of the bigger points that are missed in a traditional mindfulness book.


She helps to show that even the most rough days can be overcome if we have the will and want to be with them as mindfully as we can. Her book helps young adults and teens specifically to be able to overcome the troubles that they face in the modern age and how we can all be more fully engaged with our activities each and everyday.

Silas Day is a writer and speaker. His area of expertise includes Buddhism, deeper learning, meditation, and spiritual integration. He can be reached by email at silasday14@gmail.com.

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Mar 15 2018

35mins

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Rank #8: John Forsyth, “Anxiety Happens: 52 Ways to Find Peace of Mind” (New Harbinger, 2018)

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Everyone experiences anxiety and worry sometimes. However, when anxiety controls your life, it pulls you away from things that you care about. In this this interview, cross-posted from the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock, Dr. Diana Hill interviews Dr. John Forsyth about his new book Anxiety Happens: 52 Ways to Find Peace of Mind (New Harbinger Publishing, 2018). Dr. Forsyth shares why he was drawn to researching and applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for anxiety. He discusses the role of avoidance in anxiety, concrete strategies to respond to anxious thoughts and how to “drop the rope” in the tug of war with worry.

John P. Forsyth, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and trainer in the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and practices that cultivate mindfulness, loving kindness (Metta), and compassion. For over 20 years, his work has focused on developing ACT and mindfulness practices to alleviate human suffering, awaken the human spirit, and to nurture psychological health and vitality.  He has written several popular ACT books, including, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders (for mental health professionals), and four self-help books for the public:  The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, ACT on Life, Not on Anger, Your Life on Purpose and the new book out that we will talk about today Anxiety Happens: 52 Ways To Find Peace of Mind. Dr. Forsyth holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and is a Professor of Psychology and Director the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at the University at Albany, SUNY in Upstate New York. He is also widely sought after ACT trainer and consultant and serves as a senior editor of the ACT book series with New Harbinger Publications.


Diana Hill, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a co-host of the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock.

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Jun 11 2018

52mins

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Rank #9: James Pennebaker and Joshua Smyth, “Opening Up by Writing it Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain” (Guilford Press, 2016)

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Many people carry around unresolved feelings and thoughts tied to difficult experiences, with no idea what to do with them. When left unattended for too long, these pent up feelings can lead to a variety of physical and mental health issues: sleep problems, depression, and even physical illness. Therapy can help, but its not always available for various reasons. Fortunately, long-time researchers and writers James Pennebaker and Joshua Smyth have developed expressive writing as an innovative approach for expressing ones emotions and achieving better health and wellness. They sat down with psychologist Eugenio Duarte to discuss various expressive writing strategies anyone can use as well as the research that backs up their methods. They’re all contained in their new book, Opening Up by Writing it Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain (3rd edition; Guilford Press, 2016).

Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in LGBTQ issues, eating and body image problems, and relationship problems.

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Sep 19 2016

56mins

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Rank #10: Richard S. Marken, “Doing Research on Purpose: A Control Theory Approach to Experimental Psychology” (New View Publications, 2014)

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Listeners familiar with our recent podcasts exploring the remarkable legacy of William T. Powers revolutionary Perceptual Control Theory of human behaviour, including its contribution to cognitive behavioural therapy through the development of the Method of Levels approach, may be wondering about the empirical evidence for such a sweeping repudiation of classical behaviourism.  Prepare to have those questions answered with this episode’s return visit of Richard S. Marken; this time to discuss his 2014 book, Doing Research on Purpose: A Control Theory Approach to Experimental Psychology (New View Publications, 2014).  In a remarkable collection of papers, Marken traces, not only the steadily accruing empirical validation of PCT, but also, the evolution of a new methodology for experimental psychology itself given the need to assess the impact of phenomena that exist only inside the minds of individual organisms; namely, the preferred reference values for sensory experience.  Emerging from this methodological renovation is the bedrock of PCT investigation; the Test for the Controlled Variable, a robust experimental procedure opening a window on the dynamics of varied forms of behaviour including the science of fly-ball catching in baseball players and Frisbee catching by “man’s best friend”.  In his book and in our conversation, Marken offers us a glimpse of experimental psychology, and the world at large, through “control theory glasses” and muses upon the possible social and ethical nature of a world that accepted PCT as the ground of our behaviour.

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Nov 19 2018

1hr 8mins

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Rank #11: David Linen, “The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good” (Viking, 2011)

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What happens in our brains when we do things that feel good, such as drinking a glass of wine, exercising, or gambling? How and why do we become addicted to certain foods, chemicals and behaviors? David Linden, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins, explains these phenomena in his latest book, The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good (Viking, 2011).

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Jun 26 2012

36mins

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Rank #12: Philip Rosenbaum, “Making our Ideas Clear: Pragmatism in Psychoanalysis” (Information Age Publishing, 2015)

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Pragmatism, as a philosophical concept, is often misunderstood and misapplied. Fortunately, I had the chance to speak with Philip Rosenbaum, psychoanalyst and editor of the book Making our Ideas Clear: Pragmatism in Psychoanalysis (Information Age Publishing, 2015)about what pragmatism really is and how it informs clinical theory and praxis. We discuss how pragmatisms influence reaches far back to the beginnings of psychoanalysis, in Sigmund Freud’s original ideas, and up through the ways clinicians conceptualize their work in the present. Dr. Rosenbaum’s book and our discussion raise prescient questions about how we evaluate our ideas, questions that will be relevant to clinicians and non-clinicians alike.

Philip Rosenbaum is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst trained at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology. He serves as Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Haverford College, co-editor of The Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, and associate editor for the journal Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. (www.eugenioduartephd.com) is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in LGBTQ issues, eating and body image problems, and relationship problems. Follow him on Twitter.

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Jan 04 2017

50mins

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Rank #13: Dana Suskind, “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain”

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We may disagree about whether phonics or whole language is the better approach to reading instruction or whether bilingual education or English immersion is the better way to support English language learners. Whatever our opinions are, they are founded on the perceived immediate impact on students in school. But how might the way we use language with children years before they enter school affect their academic potential? Does it have the ability to improve more than their vocabulary? Can it foster creativity, empathy, and perserverence? In Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain (Dutton, 2015), Dr. Dana Suskind outlines research on the critical language period and connects it to an early-childhood curriculum and a series of public policy solutions.


Suskind joins New Books in Education for the interview. You can find more information about her work with the Thirty Million Words Initiative on its website. To share your thoughts on the podcast, you can connect with heron Twitter at @DrDanaSuskind. You can reach the host on Twitter at @tsmattea.

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Oct 13 2015

36mins

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Rank #14: Helen Longino, “Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)

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What explains human behavior? It is standard to consider answers from the perspective of a dichotomy between nature and nurture, with most researchers today in agreement that it is both. For Helen Longino, Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, the “both” answer misses the fact that the nature/nurture divide is itself problematic. In her groundbreaking book, Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality (University of Chicago Press) Longino looks closely at a variety of scientific approaches to the study of human aggression and sexuality to argue that there is no one right way to divide nature from nurture within the scientific approaches to the study of behavior, and that the nature/nurture dichotomy reinforces and reflects an undue emphasis on explanations that focus on the dispositions of individuals rather than those that look at patterns of frequency and distribution of behavior within populations. She reveals the distinct and incompatible ways these different approaches define the factors that explain behavior, how these different explanatory approaches are related, and how the bias towards particular types of explanation is reflected in the way the scientific findings are publicly disseminated.

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May 15 2013

1hr 4mins

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Rank #15: Wendy Gonaver, "The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880" (UNC Press, 2019)

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Dr. Wendy Gonaver discusses her book, The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Virginia, and the roles that race, the institution of slavery, and slave labor played in the development of psychiatric diagnosis and care through the nineteenth century and beyond.

Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions occurred in the United States only after 1800, just as the struggle to end slavery took hold. In this book, Wendy Gonaver examines the relationship between these two historical developments, showing how slavery and ideas about race shaped early mental health treatment in the United States, especially in the South. She reveals these connections through the histories of two asylums in Virginia: the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg, the first in the nation; and the Central Lunatic Asylum in Petersburg, the first created specifically for African Americans. Eastern Lunatic Asylum was the only institution to accept both slaves and free blacks as patients and to employ slaves as attendants.

Drawing from these institutions' untapped archives, Gonaver reveals how slavery influenced ideas about patient liberty, about the proper relationship between caregiver and patient, about what constituted healthy religious belief and unhealthy fanaticism, and about gender. This early form of psychiatric care acted as a precursor to public health policy for generations, and Gonaver's book fills an important gap in the historiography of mental health and race in the nineteenth century.

Beth A. English is director of the Liechtenstein Institute's Project on Gender in the Global Community at Princeton University. She also is a past president of the Southern Labor History Association.

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Nov 15 2019

56mins

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Rank #16: Willem J. M. Levelt, “A History of Psycholinguistics: The Pre-Chomskyan Era” (Oxford UP, 2012)

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The only disappointment with A History of Psycholinguistics: The Pre-Chomskyan Era (Oxford UP, 2012) is that, as the subtitle says, the story it tells stops at the cognitive revolution, before Pim Levelt is himself a major player in psycholinguistics. He says that telling the story of the last few decades is a task for someone else. The task he’s taken on here is to describe the progress made in the psychology of language between its actual foundation – around 1800 – and the point at which it’s widely and erroneously believed to have been founded – around 1951. The story that the book tells is remarkable in many ways: not only for its vast breadth and depth of scholarship, but also for the number of misconceptions that it corrects. Levelt uncovers how many modern theories in psycholinguistics are in fact independent rediscoveries of proposals made in the 19th century, and charts the significant positive contributions made to the science by figures who are often overlooked or even derided now (we discuss a couple of such cases in this interview). He vividly depicts how the rapid march of progress was catastrophically disrupted in the early 20th century, by a combination of political strife and scientific wrong turns, before being restored in the 1950s. In this interview we talk about some of the recurring themes of the book – forgetting and rediscovery, the remarkably prescient nature of much 19th century theoretical and experimental work, and the collective misunderstanding of the history of the discipline. And we touch upon the intentional misunderstandings that allowed research in psycholinguistics to be exploited for financial gain or more sinister purposes.

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Feb 19 2013

58mins

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Rank #17: Marcin Milkowski, “Explaining the Computational Mind” (MIT Press, 2013)

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The computational theory of mind has its roots in Alan Turing’s development of the basic ideas behind computer programming, specifically the manipulation of symbols according to rules. That idea has been elaborated since in a number of very different ways, but in some form it remains a core idea of the cognitive sciences today. In Explaining the Computational Mind (MIT Press, 2013), Marcin Milkowski, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of Mind of the Polish Academy of Sciences, defends a minimalist view of computationalism as information processing, with the intention of providing a general view of computational explanation that covers all the forms in which information-processing explanations appear. On Milkowski’s view, Jerry Fodor’s slogan that there is no computation without representation should be replaced with the claim that there is no representation without computation, and David Marr’s computational, algorithmic, and implementation levels for describing of complex systems should be replaced with talk of different compositional levels in mechanistic explanation.

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Jul 15 2014

1hr 7mins

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Rank #18: Richard Robb, "Willful: How We Choose What We Do" (Yale UP, 2019)

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Tired of the mechanical, narrowly rational human behavior of the Chicago school, but not exactly comforted by the emphasis on irrational activity in behavioral economics? So am I. Richard Robb, professor at Columbia and fund manager, offers a third way. In Willful: How We Choose What We Do (Yale University Press, 2019), Robb develops the notion of "for itself" behavior and decision making that can't be reduced to the algorithms of calculating machines, or even those that are adjusted for human foibles. Willful is not a comprehensive theory of decision making, but an effort to reinsert some element of humanity into explanations of how individuals and groups act. It is a work along the lines of "life is a journey, not a destination" but one well enriched by a wide reading of ancient and modern philosophers.

Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com

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Nov 18 2019

42mins

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Rank #19: Kelly G. Wilson, "Mindfulness for Two: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach to Mindfulness in Psychotherapy" (Guilford Press, 2016)

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In this this interview, cross-posted from the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock, Dr. Diana Hill talks with Dr. Kelly Wilson about kindness and the common humanity of feeling inadequate and broken. Dr. Wilson describes the evolutionary science behind suffering and how “evolutionary mismatch” plays an important role in modern day physical and psychological illness. Dr. Wilson, co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), demonstrates acceptance and compassion as he describes his personal path to self-care and the regular self-care practices he engages in. On the eve of his retirement, Dr. Wilson shares what’s next for him on his ongoing journey towards kindness and meaning.

Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University at Mississippi. He is past and founding President of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). Dr. Wilson is one of the founders of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has devoted himself to the development and dissemination of ACT and its underlying theory and philosophy for nearly 30 years. Dr. Wilson has published more than 90 articles and chapters, as well as 11 books including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change(Guilford Press, 2016), Mindfulness for Two, and Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong. He has central interests in the application of behavioral principles to understanding topics such as health and well-being, purpose, meaning and values, therapeutic relationship, and mindfulness. Dr. Wilson is the founder of Onelife Education and Training, LLC and has presented workshops and provided consultancy in 32 countries.

Diana Hill, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a co-host of the podcast Psychologists Off The Clock.

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Dec 06 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #20: Colette Soler, “Lacanian Affects: The Function of Affect in Lacan’s Work”, trans. Bruce Fink (Routledge, 2016)

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Affect is a weighty and consequential problem in psychoanalysis. People enter treatment hoping for relief from symptoms and their attendant unbearable affects. While various theorists and schools offer differing approaches to “feeling states,” emotions, and affects, Lacan, despite devoting an entire seminar to anxiety, often is charged with completely ignoring affect. This misperception stems in part from a caricatured understanding of Lacanian technique – a suspicion that it consists mainly of punning and interminable wordplay. And there is another, more sound reason for the accusation: the tendency of relational, interpersonal, and Kleinian models to locate truth in affects and regard emotions as inherently revelatory – as the most direct communications by and about the subject. By contrast, the question, “How did that make you feel?” is heard infrequently in the Lacanian clinic. Following Freud, Lacan believed that affects are effects. He shared Freud’s skepticism toward manifest emotional states, doubting not their importance but rather their transparency. The royal road to the unconscious is the deciphering of dreams and not the affects they produce. Nevertheless, Lacan’s views on affect increasingly diverged from those of Freud, offering much that was new.


Colette Soler’s pioneering Lacanian Affects: The Function of Affect in Lacan’s Work, translated by Bruce Fink (Routledge, 2016) is the first book to examine Lacan’s theory of affect and its clinical significance. While Lacan focused more on the structural causes of affect in his earlier theoretical elaborations, an initial reversal came in his seminar Anxiety (1962-63), where he deemed anxiety the only affect that “does not lie” because it refers to and partakes of the real rather than the signifier. Another reversal, Soler explains, culminated in Encore (1972-73), where Lacan declared that certain “enigmatic affects,” though puzzling to the subject, are carriers of knowledge residing in the real unconscious – a knowledge that is not on the side of meaning but of jouissance. Soler’s book is wide-ranging, covering affects such as shame and sadness, as well as many others we did not have time to discuss in our interview: hatred, ignorance, the pain of existence, mourning, “joyful knowledge,” boredom, moroseness, anger, and enthusiasm. Perhaps most fascinating is Soler’s chapter on Lacan’s enigmatic affects: anxiety (translated in the book as “anguish”), love, and the satisfaction derived from the end of an analysis.


Annie Muir kindly translated during the interview.

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Mar 14 2016

58mins

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