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The Psych Files

Updated 8 days ago

Education
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Science
Social Sciences
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The Psych Files is a podcast for anyone who wonders why we do what we do. Experienced educator Michael Britt, Ph.D., in an upbeat and friendly style, shows you how ideas from the field of psychology apply to everyday life. If you’re a life-long learner, a student or a teacher, you’ll find his 20-30 minute episodes enjoyable and educational. Over 14 million episodes have been downloaded to date with over 100,000 people listening every month. See what all the talk is about!

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The Psych Files is a podcast for anyone who wonders why we do what we do. Experienced educator Michael Britt, Ph.D., in an upbeat and friendly style, shows you how ideas from the field of psychology apply to everyday life. If you’re a life-long learner, a student or a teacher, you’ll find his 20-30 minute episodes enjoyable and educational. Over 14 million episodes have been downloaded to date with over 100,000 people listening every month. See what all the talk is about!

iTunes Ratings

240 Ratings
Average Ratings
160
26
18
14
22

Love how informative this is!

By Hasbury - Jul 24 2017
Read more
As a psych student, I owe my 4.0 to this podcast!

Great Podcast

By Shadow1953 - Aug 19 2014
Read more
Lot's of interesting information.

iTunes Ratings

240 Ratings
Average Ratings
160
26
18
14
22

Love how informative this is!

By Hasbury - Jul 24 2017
Read more
As a psych student, I owe my 4.0 to this podcast!

Great Podcast

By Shadow1953 - Aug 19 2014
Read more
Lot's of interesting information.
Cover image of The Psych Files

The Psych Files

Latest release on Dec 11, 2019

Read more

The Psych Files is a podcast for anyone who wonders why we do what we do. Experienced educator Michael Britt, Ph.D., in an upbeat and friendly style, shows you how ideas from the field of psychology apply to everyday life. If you’re a life-long learner, a student or a teacher, you’ll find his 20-30 minute episodes enjoyable and educational. Over 14 million episodes have been downloaded to date with over 100,000 people listening every month. See what all the talk is about!

Rank #1: Ep 242: The Psychology of Attractiveness: An Interview with Rob Burriss

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One of the most popular topics in Psychology is attraction: why are we romantically attracted (or not) to each other? Whenever anyone asks me about this topic, or they ask me for other psychology podcasts in addition to The Psych Files. I send them over to the Psychology of Attractiveness podcast, hosted by Rob Burriss. Rob has been hosting this podcast for the past 6 years and he never fails to uncover the most interesting new research in this field.

Jun 25 2015

22mins

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Rank #2: Borderline Personality: What is it? Could Your Cell Phone Help Deal With It? Episode 146

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Borderline Personality Disorder is a difficult disorder to understand and treat. Briefly, people who suffer from BPD tend to have a heightened sensitivity to rejection. When they feel that they are being rejected they can react with strong feelings of anger. Their emotions can be very intense and vary widely during the day. This can also make their relationships very unstable. They can also be very impulsive. However, a recent fascinating piece of research used a mobile device and what's called an "experience sampling" technique to gain further insight into what it is like to have BPD. In this episode I discuss that research and then wonder what else we might be able to learn as our mobile devices become even more powerful.

May 12 2011

27mins

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Rank #3: Ep 294: What is Forensic Psychology Really All About?

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If you've watched even a few detective shows (like CSI) you may think you have a sense of what the field of Forensic Psychology is like, but my interviewee David Webb is here to talk about what it's really like to work in this field. David is the author of the All-About-Psychology website as well as the All-About-Forensic-Psychology website. Let's separate fact from fiction and find out how psychological findings are applied to the justice system. And if you're interested in this field, or in pursuing a graduate psychology degree in any other area, check out our sponsor's website: Gradschools.com/psych. Let's learn about Forensic Psychology!

Oct 11 2017

36mins

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Rank #4: Ep: 180 - Body Language: What Are Your Thumbs Revealing About You?

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What is your body position revealing about you? Some things are obvious - you probably know that crossed arms indicate a certain distrust. There are also flirting gestures that I'll bet you think you know well (like women playing with their hair and men sticking out their chests), but what about your thumbs? My thumbs? Yes, you might well be revealing something about yourself by where you're putting them would you believe. Listen in as I talk with Craig Baxter, owner of the website All-About-Body-Language.com who will tell us a bit more about the fascinating topic of body language.

Aug 28 2012

42mins

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Rank #5: Episode 33: Timeout Revisited - Dealing with Challenging Kids Part 1

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In part of 1 of this interview Dr. J. Stuart Ablon we talk those children for whom timeout sometimes does not work. What’s your alternative then? Listen in and learn about the Collaborative Problem...

Show notes and more available at http://www.thepsychfiles.com

Oct 28 2007

32mins

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Rank #6: Ep: 258 - 5 Reasons Why You Can't Put Your Phone Down and What to do About it

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Why do we find it so hard to put down our phones? I'll give you 5 reasons drawn directly from psychological theories on how we learn, how teenagers are strongly affected by reward and how we are all drawn in by mystery. There is of course no easy answer for how to get teens to put down their phones but I'll share what I'm doing with my teenagers.

Apr 27 2016

23mins

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Rank #7: Episode 46: Thinking Positively - or Running Away from Your Feelings?

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What’s wrong with thinking positively? Could be a lot. Let’s take another look at the "positive psychology" movement in this episode of The Psych Files podcast. I’ll share some additional ideas for bringing about more positive events in your life, talk about social comparison theory, and then discuss how important "negative" - that is sad - feelings are in our lives. Those are moments not to run from, but to embrace.

Feb 09 2008

26mins

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Rank #8: How Do You Change Your Behavior? Interview with Scott Milford Episode 152

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How does Behavior Modification work? Find out in this episode as I interview Scott Milford, author of the Behavior and Motivation website. If you're about how to apply Psychology to everyday life then this is the guy to show you how he does it. In this episode we talk about how to get kids to practice the piano, but you'll quickly see how this approach could be applied to all kinds of other life challenges. Scott developed his approach over many years of working with young people both at the piano and with at-risk adolescents in school. See how Psychology can be put to work!

Jun 21 2011

25mins

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Rank #9: Ep 328: Authenticity - Is There a Hidden You?

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Have you ever wondered if you're really being true to some inner person of yours? Wondered if there isn't someone else inside that you that you're supposed to be actualizing? Guess what? Maybe not. What is authenticity anyway? That's what we'll explore in this episode, along with a discussion of some of the doubts being cast on the famous Stanford Prison Study by Philip Zimbardo. Maybe it's actually not time to updater the textbooks after all.

Jul 04 2019

26mins

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Rank #10: Episode 48: Classroom Management - An Interview with Dr. Ross Green part1

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Classroom management techniques - there are a lot of strategies for dealing with behavior problems in the classroom. It's time to add Collaborative Problem Solving to your toolkit. Learn an alternative to traditional classroom discipline techniques like timeout or sending the child to the principal. A recent Time magazine article entitled "How to Make Great Teachers" mentions that in a 2001 survey of teachers, 44% listed "student behavior problems" as the reason they left the profession. What can be done?

In this episode I interview Dr. Ross Green, author of The Explosive Child and the upcoming book "Lost in School". He'll tell you how to use collaborative problem solving with your students. This episode is also for parents, daycare workers, babysitters - anyone who wants to help young people learn to think their way through everyday behavior problems.

Mar 01 2008

20mins

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Rank #11: Episode 47: The Little Albert Study: What You Know is...Mostly Wrong

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Think you know a lot about the little Albert experiment conducted by John Watson? Well, guess what - you'd be surprised at how much of the story is simply not true. If you're wondering whatever happened to little Albert, whether the little Albert study created a lasting phobia in a small boy, or even what place this story has in the history of behaviorism, then I suggest you take a listen to this episode of The Psych Files and get the facts on this fascinating part of psychology's history.

Feb 20 2008

18mins

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Rank #12: Ep 296: The Psychology and the Research Behind Why Some People are Angry when Athletes Take a Knee

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What is the psychology and the research behind why many people are angry about athletes “taking a knee” during the playing of the national anthem? Part of the explanation lies in what’s called the “empathy deficit” that people in power can sometimes display. That is, those in higher social classes in societies are often not able to correctly interpret the facial expressions and gestures of people in lower social classes. Don’t believe it? In this episode I go through the research on how this “empathy deficit” was discovered. Judge for yourself. There’s also a little evolutionary psychology here so I think you’ll find this episode of interest. Check it out!

Nov 02 2017

32mins

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Rank #13: Episode 21: Erikson's Eight Stages of Life

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This week on The Psych Files we take a stroll through the various phases of life: from childhood, to adolescence, into mid-life and then we listen to two interesting voices of men nearing the end of...

Show notes and more available at http://www.thepsychfiles.com

Jul 09 2007

49mins

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Rank #14: Episode 134: Hypnosis - Myth and Reality

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What do you think of hypnosis? might you be surprised to hear that it has been accepted by the American Psychological Association? Hypnosis has a fascinating and controversial history but today it deserves some respect. Still, it's not a cure-all. Take a trip with me through the history of this fascinating topic on The Psych Files.

Nov 02 2010

39mins

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Rank #15: Ep: 166: The Secret Life of Pronouns - an Interview with James Pennebaker

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What do you reveal about yourself in the way you use the smallest and seemingly most insignificant words you use every minute? That's the focus of Dr. James Pennebaker's fascinating book and one of the most interesting psychology books of 2011: The Secret Life of Pronouns. If you're fascinated by language then you'll find this episode especially interesting.

Dec 31 2011

28mins

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Rank #16: Ep 225: What's Best for Memory - Coffee or a Nap - or Both?

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You may have been heard that taking a nap or going to sleep after you learn something helps you to retain it (which is true), but you may also have heard that drinking coffee helps your memory. So which is it? How can you drink coffee AND take a nap? Well, apparently you can get the benefit of both - if you do it right. In this episode we not only learn about the so-called "students' coffee" but we learn about the "coffee nap". If you do it just right you can get some great memory boosts.

Sep 16 2014

18mins

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Rank #17: Ep 319: Forensic Psychology - An Interview with Dr. Susan Lewis

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It seems like there’s no end to TV shows about criminals who have various psychiatric disorders. It’s understandable that we find them fascinating, but how accurate are they? What is it really like to work with individuals who are convicted of serious crimes but who are unquestionably suffering from a mental illness? If you’re interested in these questions or are thinking of going into the field of forensic psychology then you need to listen to Dr. Susan Lewis as she tells us about two of the many clients she came to know during her years in this field. You’ll hear about the case of “Jay” – a deeply troubled man who is stuck in a revolving door between in-patient psychiatric hospitals and the criminal justice system. You’ll also hear about “Kristen” – a deeply violent woman who can’t get the help she needs. Dr. Lewis is the author of a book called “From Deep Within: A Forensic and Clinical Psychologist's Journey” and in this honest and moving interview you’ll learn what it’s really like to work with individuals like “jay” and “Kristen”.

Feb 01 2019

32mins

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Rank #18: Episode 53: Mindful Learning, NCLB, and the True Foundations of Success

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Tired of rote memorization? Tired of NCLB? Try mindful learning. In this episode I explore psychologist Ellen Langer's concept of mindful learning. What does it mean to teach and learn in a mindful way? How does this concept differ from what is being encouraged in the new report on the teaching of math in this country called Foundations of Success? Find out the answers to all these questions in this episode of The Psych Files podcast.

Apr 02 2008

23mins

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Rank #19: Ep 321: OCD - What is it Really Like?

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Would you like to get into the mind of someone who not only has OCD, but who also wrote a novel in which the main character deals with it as well? That's the premise behind the book, Waiting For Fitz. In this episode I interview the author, Spencer Hyde. He talks about the novel, the other characters (one of whom suffers from schizophrenia) and his own experiences dealing with OCD.

Mar 18 2019

35mins

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Rank #20: Ep 308: How to Change the Mind of a Conservative

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How do you get someone is is conservative to support climate change? Or stricter controls on guns? There is a way. Research confirms that conservatives tend to be focused on how good the past was, while liberals are "future-focused". So what if you frame a statement about gun control by framing that statement around words and images that support a person's preferences for the past or the future? Let's see how your attitudes are being ever so slightly influenced by the way statements are "framed". You'll be a wiser consumer as a result.

Aug 09 2018

36mins

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Ep 340 What's a High Sensation Seeker?

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Do you like to bungee jump? Perhaps you’re into parachuting or wing suit flying? If so, you’re probably a “high sensation seeker”. In this fascinating interview with Dr. Kenneth Carter, author of the new book “Buzz!”, we talk about what kind of personality a sensation seeker has and what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone like this.

Here's where you can learn more about Buzz! on the Cambridge.org site.

Don't forget to use the promo code CARTER to get 20% off!

Dec 11 2019

33mins

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Ep 339: What Makes a Song Appealing?

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Music researchers analyzed over 700 top Billboard songs (which included examining over 80,000 chords) and they determined that the “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da” is the most appealing song ever written. How in the world, you might ask, did they choose that (some would say annoying) song?! Let’s find out how two key ingredients - surprise and uncertainty - combine to create songs that you really like to hear over and over.

Dec 06 2019

17mins

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Ep 338: What Role Are Women Really Playing? The Bechdel Test

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In movies and TV, women are understandably tired of playing roles like the “Wife” or the “Girlfriend”. Nowadays we’re seeing more women in film and TV but has their role in the production really changed all that much? That’s what the “Bechdel test” is all about.  It’s not a test per se but rather a few questions to help you determine whether the women in that movie, TV show, play, or book are characters with agency, or are just there to fill out the background for what the male characters do. In this episode I talk with Bard professor Wendy Urban-Mead about this Bechdel test and what it says about Shakespeare’s plays and a play that she’s appearing in called “The Women”, a play featuring 35 female characters – and no males. Does it pass the Bechdel test?

Resources

Bechdel test

MISUSE AND ABUSE OF THE BECHDEL TEST

Nov 21 2019

31mins

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Ep 337: Why Do We Think Women Aren't Funny?

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Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t think that women can be funny? I have to admit that I didn’t hear that until recently, so I looked at some of the research on gender and perceptions of humor. I think you’ll be surprised. In this episode I summarize some of that research and I give you four jokes and a handy way to remember jokes.

Nov 07 2019

30mins

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Ep 336: Why is it Usually Men Who Commit Violent Acts?

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Another violent act in America. Another man who committed it. Why Is it that men in our society are the ones who usually carry out violent acts? Is it how we bring up boys? Or is there another influence - genes. I was lucky enough to get professor Steve Stewart-Williams, author of the book The Ape That Understood the Universe, so come back to the show and share more about the evolutionary Psychology perspective on this complex issue. And by the way, you can use the promo code APE20 to purchase this book at Cambridge University Press at a 20 percent discount. You’re going to find this discussion very interesting.

Buy the book here at a discount!

Oct 24 2019

35mins

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Ep 335: Conspiracy Theories - Why So Easy To Believe?

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Why do some conspiracy theories seem to have so much evidence to support them? Well, that’s because if you look hard enough at any event, and you don’t have any particular theory before you start looking, you’re eventually going to find something. And you’ll probably think that thing is AMAZING. This is what careful thinkers and researchers have to learn: if you’re going to find something truly amazing, you have to make your predictions FIRST. In this episode I talk about how we can be fooled by conspiracies. I also discuss the idea of self-distancing. Here’s a way to look at things that went wrong in your life and by getting a little distance you can learn valuable lessons and feel less badly about them.

Oct 17 2019

22mins

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Ep 334: The Psychology of the Fantasticks

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Have you seen the musical The Fantasticks? Not only does it have wonderful music but it also has pearls of wisdom.  Oh yea, and gender issues. In this episode I talk about the psychology inside this great show. I also talk about how you know when something you read online is probably true (hint: if what you read is boring then it's probably true) and other ways to judge the value of psychological research. And finally, it looks like we might have been wrong in prior research: rich people are probably also happier than you (surprise!).

Oct 02 2019

33mins

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Ep 333: Bible Codes, Anti-Vaccination Beliefs and the Look Elsewhere Effect

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In this episode I talk about whether there really is a bible code, anti-vaccination beliefs and whether jellybeans cause acne. It's all part of how we humans love to find patterns in the world and the amount of wiggle room we're willing to give ourselves to find them. Too often we make the Look Elsewhere error. And not just of everyday folk do this - scientists can as well. We've got to be more careful in our thinking if we're going to find relationships that really do exist in the world - and then make important decisions based on our findings.

Sep 19 2019

31mins

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Ep 332: How the Brain Lost Its Mind

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Most of us have heard of Anton Mesmer and Jean Charcot. They were some of the first to dabble in the "mind cure" using hypnosis and the power of suggestion. But what role did syphilis play in the development of psychology? You'd be surprised. Join me and authors Dr. Allan Ropper and Brian David Burrell as we discuss their new book called "How the Brain Lost Its Mind".

Sep 03 2019

34mins

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Ep 331: Hatred and Violence in America: It's Not About Mental Illness

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There are too many knee-jerk, brief (and incorrect) explanations for why the US is experiencing such a rise in hatred and violence. Claiming that violent perpetrators are "mentally ill" is wrong.  We have research and we understand the dangerous path that some young men get involved in and which ultimately leads them to violence. The right answers are more subtle, but we do know them and we do know what to do about them. We take another look at Significance Quest theory.

Aug 21 2019

28mins

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New Podcast You're Going to Love

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I talk about tech many times here on The Psych Files so where do I learn about Phone Addiction, Voice Assistants, Smart Watches and so forth? By listening to tech podcasts. There's a new one out I really like. It's called Waveform with MKBHD and I've got a clip from the show to listen to. I'm already learning a lot so check it out!

Click here to subscribe to Waveform with MKBHD

Aug 12 2019

11mins

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Ep 330: Trouble Sleeping? Psychologist Dr. Shelby Harris' Approach to Treating Insomnia

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I haven't talked about sleep problems yet here on the Psych Files so I brought in the perfect person to talk to us about sleep and insomnia. Dr. Shelby Harris has written the Woman's Guide to Overcoming Insomnia and I learned a lot about how Cognitive Behavioral therapy is applied to this specific problem. Dr. Harris also has some tips you'll want to hear to help you get a better night's sleep.

Aug 06 2019

42mins

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Ep 329: Beauty and the Beast: Psychological Themes

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I'll bet you're like me and you enjoyed the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast. As wonderful a story it is, let's take a moment just to acknowledge that there are some themes in the show that are, well, not so nice. I’ll take a look at this show from an angle of toxic masculinity in the Gaston character and possibly co-dependency in the relationship between Belle and the Beast. I promise - it'll still be fun.

Jul 17 2019

28mins

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Ep 328: Authenticity - Is There a Hidden You?

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Have you ever wondered if you're really being true to some inner person of yours? Wondered if there isn't someone else inside that you that you're supposed to be actualizing? Guess what? Maybe not. What is authenticity anyway? That's what we'll explore in this episode, along with a discussion of some of the doubts being cast on the famous Stanford Prison Study by Philip Zimbardo. Maybe it's actually not time to updater the textbooks after all.

Jul 04 2019

26mins

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Ep 327: The Team Behind Q - World's First Genderless Digital Voice

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In the last episode I talked about the potential downside to having most of our digital assistants speak to us using a female voice. "Q" - will give us an option. Here's my interview with Emil Rasmussen, who will give you some of the background behind Q and his hopes for the future of Q.

Jun 19 2019

20mins

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Ep 326: Giving Voice To Our Digital Assistants

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Why do our digital assistants such as Alexa, Google Home, Siri and Cortana have "feminized" voices and what are the effects of this trend? That's what I explore in this episode. Are there negative effects of using female voices in the devices we talk to and who talk to us? Are there alternatives? Turns out there is an alternative - a "genderless" voice. What does that sound like? Tune in to find out as we explore gender roles, expectations and equality.

The reason digital assistants acquiesce to harassment isn’t just sexism or gender inequality in the tech world, as disturbing and prevalent as those may be. No, the explanation lies elsewhere, I believe. These machines are meant to manipulate their users into staying connected to their devices, and that focus on manipulation must be laser-like. To clearly state that harassment toward digital assistants is unacceptable would mean having some standard, some line that can’t be crossed. And one line leads to another, and soon you’re distracted—the user is distracted—from selling/buying merchandise, collecting/sharing data, and allowing a device to become ensconced in their life.

The moral standard most compatible with engagement is absolute freedom of expression, the standard of having no standards. 

– Noam Cohen, “Why Siri and Alexa Weren’t Built to Smack Down Harassment”

Jun 05 2019

25mins

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Ep 325: Love Your Work? Someone Will Take Advantage of That

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It's ingrained in western society that people should find work they really enjoy - work that fulfills a passion. If you're lucky enough to have found work you're passionate about you ought to know that there is a dark side. People who know that you're doing the work because you love it might just take advantage of that. In this interview with researchers Troy Campbell and Steven Shepard discuss their research showing that when people know your work is your passion, there are a variety of ways they might take advantage of you. Let's find out how.

May 13 2019

43mins

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Ep 324: Put Your Love Life on Automatic

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In this episode I cover a few interesting topics. First, have you ever "blanked out" in front of an audience? I recently did and I was determined to find out why this happened. I found some answers in a great book called Stop Talking, Start Influencing. Also I'll tell you about the memorization strategies I used in a recent play I was in, and we'll finish up with a snippet from an interview with Clive Thompson, author of Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World and he'll tell us how some coders tried to automate parts of their love life.

May 02 2019

32mins

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Ep 323: Computer Programmers: Obsessed With Efficiency

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Do you have your own little “tricks”? That is, ways of doing things that are faster than how you used to do them? Well, congratulations, you’re something of an efficiency expert. And if you can picture an assembly line of people putting products together, then you’ve seen one way of increasing productivity. But some of us are really, really obsessed with efficiency and often those people are computer programmers. Some of them, as you’ll hear from Clive Thompson (author of “Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World”) have even developed ways to make their love lives more efficient! Sounds impossible but I think you’ll enjoy hearing what some coders are up to. Why are they obsessed with efficiency? Do they score highly on Conscientiousness in the Big Five personality score? Would Frederick Taylor - founder of scientific management - feel a kindred spirit in them? Let’s find out.

Apr 17 2019

39mins

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Ep 322: An Introduction to Cross Cultural Psychology

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Why is it okay - in some cultures - to jaywalk, while in others you could get arrested for jaywalking? Why was marijuana was sold - legally - for years in the streets of Amsterdam when it is only now become legal in the US? The reason: some cultures are what author Michele Gelfand calls "loose" and others are "tight". Here's my first episode on cross-cultural psychology and I think you're going to really enjoy listening to professor Gelfand to find out how our culture's norms shape our attitudes and behavior.

Apr 03 2019

40mins

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iTunes Ratings

240 Ratings
Average Ratings
160
26
18
14
22

Love how informative this is!

By Hasbury - Jul 24 2017
Read more
As a psych student, I owe my 4.0 to this podcast!

Great Podcast

By Shadow1953 - Aug 19 2014
Read more
Lot's of interesting information.