Brian Little speaks at TED2016 - Dream, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Unraveling the Mysteries of Personality and Well-Being with Dr. Brian Little

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Who am I? Am I just a product of nature and/or nurture? What does it mean to live a life of meaning and happiness? On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, Dr. Brian Little helps us explore these existentially significant questions. We discuss whether or not the self is an illusion. We shed light on the effects of genes, societal influences and personal projects on personality. The conversation includes Brian’s experiences with influential psychologists such as George Kelly. Other topics include: the Big Five Model of personality, authentic living, identity change, and the good life. Brian has been described as a mix between Robin Williams and Albert Einstein, and we can see why after our discussion – it’s a fun and philosophically poignant episode featuring one of the legends in the field. Enjoy the show!

 

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“Dr. Brian Little is an internationally acclaimed scholar and speaker in the field of personality and motivational psychology. He is a fellow of the Well-being Institute at Cambridge University, where he also lectures in the Department of Psychology and the Cambridge Judge Business School. He is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at Carleton University. Little has taught at Carleton, McGill, Oxford, and Harvard Universities. He was elected as a “Favorite Professor” by the graduating classes of Harvard for three consecutive years. He lives in Cambridge, England, and Ottawa, Canada.” Blurb taken from amazon.com

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The Ego is the Enemy with Ryan Holiday

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On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we interview bestselling author Ryan Holiday about the timeless life-advice he gleaned from researching his latest book: Ego Is The Enemy. Ryan shares insights from great individuals that eschewed the spotlight to put their higher goals above their desires for recognition. We talk about the importance of talking less and doing more. Our conversation covers the human drive to live a meaningful life and the dramatic shifts in worldview that takes place when astronauts view earth from outer space. We discuss the well-being benefits of integrating behavior with personal values and we commiserate over feeling existentially compelled to squeeze every last drop of productivity from each moment. It’s an interesting look at the foibles of egoism; anyone interested in contemplating what it means to live a good life would do well to give this episode a listen. Enjoy the show!

 

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“RYAN HOLIDAY is a strategist and writer. He dropped out of college at nineteen to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, and later served as the director of marketing for American Apparel. His company, Brass Check, has advised clients like Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors. Holiday has written four previous books, most recently The Obstacle Is the Way, which has been translated into seventeen languages and has a cult following among NFL coaches, world-class athletes, TV personalities, political leaders, and others around the world. He lives on a small ranch outside Austin, Texas.” –Blurb taken from http://www.amazon.com

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Cal Newport on Deep Work

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On this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we feature a particularly lively exchange, as Scott and Cal attempt to decode the patterns of success, sharing their perspectives on deep work, deliberate practice, grit, creativity, talent, mastery, IQ, and cultural misconceptions about passion and finding one’s calling. The discussion has a fun and curious tone; it is a research-informed exploration of what it really takes to succeed in the 21st century. We had a great time recording this episode and we think you will really enjoy it.
 

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“Cal Newport is a writer and a professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He is the author of five books and runs the popular advice blog, Study Hacks, which attempts to decode “patterns of success” in both school and the working world. His contrarian ideas on building a successful, meaningful life have been featured on TV, radio, and in many major publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New York Post.” -Blurb taken from Amazon.com
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Paul Tough on Helping Children Succeed in School and in Life

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We are happy  to welcome journalist and author Paul Tough on the show to discuss how we can help children from adverse backgrounds flourish. Paul began his deep dive into this topic 13 years ago for a New York Times piece, and he has been fascinated with the neuroscientific, psychological, political and sociological research ever since. This episode is a look at practical recommendations for how children can transcend difficult circumstances and cultivate well-being. We cover some of the challenges facing impoverished children and the effects of these environments on how children develop. We discuss constructs like grit, conscientiousness, character strengths, and “non-cognitive capacities”. We ask important philosophical questions like “are the skills associated with doing well in school really the same as doing well in life?” We look at how pursuing well-being can actually fuel academic success, the importance of creativity and autonomy in school, and much more!

 

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You can read “Helping Children Succeed” in its entirety for free here.

“Paul Tough is the author, most recently, of Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why. He is also the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a speaker on various topics including education, poverty, parenting, and politics.  His writing has also appeared in theNew Yorker, the AtlanticGQ, and Esquire.” Blurb taken from paultough.com

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Reducing Anxiety Through Play with Charlie Hoehn

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On this episode of the Psychology Podcast, we welcome renaissance man and psychology enthusiast Charlie Hoehn. Charlie has carved a unique path through this world that has led him to work with best-selling authors like Tim Ferris, Tucker Max and Ramit Sethi, all while pursuing his own work as a writer. We talk about his drives toward creativity and autonomy that led him to create a life outside of the 9-5 grind. We also discuss Charlie’s personal experiences with anxiety and get advice on how to reduce anxiety through play. Other topics include our ability to change who we are and the importance of doing what you love. Please enjoy the show!

 

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Charlie’s article How I cured my anxiety

Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away (#1 Stress Management) and Recession Proof Graduate. He is the founder of The Recess Project (therecessproject.com), and a mental wellness expert who’s advised leaders at the Pentagon, U.S. Military bases, startups, and universities. He is best known for his career strategy “free work,” which lead to him working with bestselling authors like Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, and Ramit Sethi. Charlie’s article about the importance of play is the #1 worldwide result on Google for the search “cure anxiety” (above Oprah.com), and has been read by over one million people. His work has been featured on NPR’s TED Radio Hour, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Globe and Mail, Mating Grounds, and many others. He lives in Austin, where he hosts weekly recess at Zilker park and performs improv at the Hideout. – Blurb taken from Amazon.com

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Legendary Psychologist Dr. Seymour Epstein on the Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory of Personality

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An intellectual hero of the show, 91 year old Seymour Epstein is the creator of one of the most well-respected theories in personality psychology: the Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory of Personality (CEST). In this episode, we discuss how Epstein discovered his calling, what the field of psychology was like in the 1940s, his experience taking a class with Abraham Maslow, his interaction with Gordon Allport, and how he came to create his dual-process theory of personality. We also talk about implications of the theory as it relates to religion, politics and clinical psychology. It was a pleasure speaking with this giant in the field. Enjoy the show!

 

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“I am a Professor Emeritus in Psychology. I am a clinical. personality, and research psychologist. My major interests are in constructing a unified theory of personality, introducing a new conceptualization of the unconscious mind, constructive thinking as the source of emotional intelligence, and stress, and coping.” Blurb taken from Dr. Epstein’s LinkedIn.com

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Dr. Stuart Ritchie on Intelligence, IQ Testing and Genetics

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Dr. Stuart Richie is an expert in human intelligence differences and their relations to the brain, genetics, and education. This episode distills some of the most important and interesting ideas in intelligence, IQ testing, genetics and their affects on society at large. We discuss the false dichotomy between nature vs. nurture. We illuminate popular media and institutional pressures to deliver sensational findings. We cover the ethical implications of the quickly developing genetic science, with questions like “should insurance companies be able to raise your rates depending on your genetics?”  Ultimately, this is a crash course on the psychology of intelligence featuring two experts on the topic. Enjoy! And check out Stuart’s book Intelligence: All That Matters.

 

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Stuart Ritchie is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at The University of Edinburgh. His recent work involves charting the ageing of intelligence, and what we might do to predict, or perhaps even change, the cognitive ageing process. His book “Intelligence: All That Matters” is available now in paperback and on Kindle.

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Dr. Glenn Geher on Human Mating Intelligence

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We welcome friend of the show Dr. Glenn Geher to discuss human mating intelligence. Glenn is an expert in the field of evolutionary psychology and has a wealth of fascinating research to share on the origins of species – if listeners have ever wanted a crash course in evolutionary thought, this is an excellent primer. Topics include: the attractiveness of creativity and humor from an evolutionary perspective, the many causes of human behavior, human universals vs. individual differences, how our evolutionary hard-wiring affects modern behavior and much more. Conversation really flows in this episode as we discuss what people find attractive in potential mates.. For more information, check out Glenn and Scott’s book Mating Intelligence Unleashed!

 

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“Glenn Geher is Chair of the Psychology and Director of Evolutionary Studies at SUNY New Paltz, where he won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Geher founded the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society (NEEPS) and is co-founder of the international Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Consortium, funded by the National Science Foundation. He is particularly interested in how evolution can help us understand all facets of the human animal and his many publications help us move toward this goal. His work has been featured in many media outlets–ranging from Psychology Today to Cosmopolitan to the Chronicle of Higher Education.” Blurb taken from amazon.com

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Dr. Susan Block on Releasing Your Inner Bonobo

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Dr. Susan Block is a world renowned sex therapist, radio talk show host and expert on the culture of the bonobo great ape. Needless to say, this is an especially interesting episode! We explore how pleasure can be a guiding principle in the good life, when it is tempered with kindness and a sense of meaning. We discuss the methods and positive outcomes of erotic theater therapy. We cover different cultural perspectives on sex, sexual identity, taboos and repression. We take a deep look into the culture of the Bonobo great ape, who is one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, to see how they might teach us about forming a more peaceful society – they have never been seen killing each other in the wild or in captivity! Other topics include female empowerment, asexuality, polygamy and politics. This episode contains material that may be graphic for some of our younger viewers, but it is an enlightening look into the psychology of sex and the good life.

 

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“Susan Marilyn Block, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Dr. Susan Block Institute for the Erotic Arts & Sciences. A world-renowned sexologist and best-selling author whose newest book, The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure,, is garnering great critical acclaim, Dr. Block is perhaps best known for her popular HBO specials. A magna cum laude graduate with distinction from Yale University, she received her doctorate in philosophy with a major in psychology from California Miramar University, as well as an honorary doctorate of the arts from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. One of the top contributors to the new Wiley-Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality, having written articles on the subjects of cuckoldingfetish, spankingphone sex and striptease, she also wrote the foreword for the recently released collection, Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love.” –Blurb taken from drsusanblockinstitute.com

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Dr. Ron Friedman on Extraordinary Workplaces

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Ron Friedman Ph.D. shares research from his latest book The Best Place to Work, about the art and science of creating an extraordinary workplace. Ron discusses how businesses can appeal to basic psychological needs like autonomy, competence and relatedness to design a work environment which optimizes engagement and creativity. It’s an especially practical episode, where we dive into science-backed recommendations to help companies improve the hiring process, boost motivation and enhance decision making. This episode features some very interesting research, like the persuasion techniques used by hostage negotiators, as well as didactic stories about figures like Monica Seles and president Obama on the importance of unconscious thinking and leading by example.

 

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“Ron Friedman, Ph.D. is an award-winning psychologist and founder of Ignite80, a management consultancy that teaches leaders and their teams evidence-based practices for building extraordinary workplaces.

A human motivation expert, Ron has authored multiple book chapters and academic journal articles on the science of achievement, creativity, and happiness.  Prior to launching Ignite80, Ron served on the faculty of the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Popular accounts of Ron’s research have appeared on NPR and in major newspapers, including The New York TimesWashington PostBoston Globe,Vancouver Post, the Globe and MailThe Guardian, as well as magazines such as Men’s HealthShape, and Allure.

He contributes to the blogs of Fast CompanyForbes, and Psychology Today.” Blurb taken from amazon.com