Episodes
From Jack the Ripper to Jeffrey Dahmer to the Gilgo Beach killer, serial killers have long inspired public fear – and public fascination. Louis Schlesinger, PhD, a professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and co-investigator of a research project on sexual and serial murder with the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, talks about what we really know about these murderers’ motivations and their methods, how some manage to avoid capture for so long, and how...
Published 04/10/24
Published 04/10/24
Being estranged from a family member -- a parent, sibling or adult child -- is far more common than people think. Dr. Lucy Blake, author of “No Family is Perfect: A Guide to Embracing the Messy Reality,” talks about why family estrangement happens, why estrangement encompasses more than just “no contact,” the stigma around estrangement, and where and how to find support. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 04/03/24
It isn’t always easy to navigate the complicated social dynamics of elementary, middle or high school. Clinical psychologist and kids’ friendship expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, talks about how kids make and keep friends; how their understanding of friendship changes as they grow; why most kids are mean sometimes; and how to help kids navigate tough situations including arguments and friendship breakups. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology...
Published 03/27/24
As Gen Z enters the workforce and older workers put off retirement, some workplaces may see five generations sharing an office -- from the Silent Generation all the way to Gen Z. Megan Gerhardt, PhD, of Miami University, talks about why it’s important to move past generational stereotypes, why age diversity is a strength, and what older and younger workers can learn from each other. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 03/20/24
Writing can be a powerful tool to help people work through challenges in their lives and improve their mental health. James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, talks about why expressive writing can be good for mental health and how to try it. He also discusses his research on language use, and how analyzing the words that people use in their daily lives can offer insights into their emotions, motivations and personality. For transcripts, links and more information, please...
Published 03/13/24
The right song can make us feel chills, help pull us out of a bad mood, or take us back in time to the first time we heard it. Elizabeth Margulis, PhD, director of the Music Cognition Lab at Princeton University, talks about how music, memory, emotion and imagination intertwine; why people are especially attached to music from their teen years; whether there’s any music that’s considered universally beautiful; why repetition is important in music; and why we so often get “earworms” stuck in...
Published 03/06/24
Cats have long had a reputation as standoffish pets, but many cat owners will tell you that the cat-human bond can run deep. Cat psychologist Kristyn Vitale, PhD, talks about new research on cats’ cognitive and social abilities; why cats really are as emotionally attached to us as we are to them; the best ways to enrich your cat’s life; and how to finally get your cat to stop scratching your couch. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 02/28/24
The world is an increasingly urban place, and with urban living comes traffic, noise, pollution and other hassles. But cities don’t have to wear us down. Jenny Roe, PhD, of University of Virginia, talks about how to design cities that support mental health and well-being with elements like access to nature and spaces that encourage community, how our physical environment affects our mental health and the importance of equity and access in city design. For transcripts, links and more...
Published 02/21/24
Over the past two decades, dating apps have become the most common way for people to meet a partner. Liesel Sharabi, PhD, director of the Relationships and Technology Lab at Arizona State University, discusses how that shift has changed how people meet and form relationships, whether relationships that start online are more or less likely to succeed, what you can do to avoid dating app burnout, and how developing technologies such as AI and virtual reality could change dating in the future. ...
Published 02/14/24
Video games get a bad rap -- but the right games can be a tool to reach kids and teach them important social emotional and academic skills. Susan Rivers, PhD, chief scientist at the nonprofit iThrive Games, talks about how to design games that are both entertaining and educational, what kinds of skills kids can learn through gaming and how parents can balance screen time concerns with recognizing the important role games play in their kids’ lives. For transcripts, links and more information,...
Published 02/07/24
Artificial intelligence is already changing how people work, learn, play and live. As these technologies develop, it will be crucial to understand how they interact with human behavior to make sure we use AI safely and ethically. Nathanael Fast, PhD, executive director of the Neely Center for Ethical Leadership and Decision Making at the USC Marshall School of Business and co-director of the Psychology of Technology Institute, talks about how AI affects people’s decision-making, whether most...
Published 01/31/24
Regret is painful – but it can also be productive, pushing us to make better decisions and needed changes in our lives. Dr. Robert Leahy, author of the book “If Only…Finding Freedom From Regret,” talks about the difference between productive and unproductive regret, why some people seem to ruminate on their regrets more than others, what to do if regret is consuming your thoughts, and whether people have more regrets than they used to. For transcripts, links and more information, please...
Published 01/24/24
Remember New Coke? Colgate frozen lasagna? The Hawaii chair? History is littered with commercial failures. Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, PhD, author of “Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well,” and organizational psychologist Samuel West, PhD, curator of the Museum of Failure, talk about some of commerce’s biggest flops, the difference between simply failing and “failing well;” and how individuals and organizations can get past the fear of failure, recognize its...
Published 01/17/24
The words diversity, equity and inclusion have become political flashpoints -- but the science and evidence on why diversity matters is often ignored. Robert Sellers, PhD, of the University of Michigan, talks about why diverse groups lead to better outcomes and how psychologists’ research has informed our understanding of diversity in our schools, workplaces and other institutions. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 01/10/24
More than half the world’s population speaks more than one language. Viorica Marian, PhD, of Northwestern University, talks about why speaking multiple languages may have far-reaching cognitive benefits, how the bilingual brain processes language and how the languages we speak shape the way we think and perceive the world. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 01/03/24
Everyone gets stuck sometimes: in a creative pursuit that stalls, in a job or a relationship that isn’t working out, or even just at an exercise plateau. NYU psychologist Adam Alter, PhD, author of “Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most,” talks about why getting stuck is such a universal experience, what you can do to get stuck less often, how you know when it’s time to quit versus push ahead, and the practical steps you can take to get past the mental or...
Published 12/27/23
More Americans than ever before are single -- about half of American adults are unmarried and close to three in 10 are not in a committed relationship. Geoff MacDonald, PhD, of the University of Toronto, talks about how relationship status is related to well-being, whether there is a societal stigma against singles, and why there is so much more research on being in a happy relationship than there is on being happily single.
Published 12/20/23
Playtime isn’t just for fun -- psychologists who study children’s learning have found that kids learn best through play. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, of Temple University, talks about why kids need playtime, what playful learning looks like in a classroom, how technology is changing children’s play, why adults need recess, too, and what parents can do to encourage more play in their kids’ lives. For transcripts, links and more information, please visit the Speaking of Psychology Homepage.
Published 12/13/23
When the news is filled with war and climate change and other disasters, remaining hopeful about the future can feel impossible. But psychologists’ research has found that hope is not an unrealistic luxury, but a necessity. Jacqueline Mattis, PhD, of Rutgers University, and Chan Hellman, PhD, of the University of Oklahoma, discuss the difference between hope and optimism, why cultivating hope can help people facing adversity and trauma, and what all of us can do to find hope in trying and...
Published 12/06/23
Misleading news stories. Propaganda. Conspiracy theories. Misinformation has always been with us, but with the rise of social media it can spread farther and faster than ever. Sander van der Linden, PhD, of Cambridge University, talks about why we’re so vulnerable to misinformation, how much we’re really all exposed to, why misinformation spreads like a virus and how we can “inoculate” people against it, and how AI is changing the landscape of misinformation.   For transcripts, links and...
Published 11/29/23
Among the many challenges people with serious mental illness face is the stigma surrounding illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Kim Mueser, PhD, of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University, talks about the progress psychology has made in treating serious mental illness; the role of both medication and psychosocial interventions; why meaningful work can play a critical role in recovery; and the truth about the connection between violence and mental...
Published 11/22/23
Conversational chemistry might seem intangible, but psychologists are beginning figure out what makes some conversations work while others fall apart. Charles Duhigg, author of the upcoming book “Supercommunicators,” and conversation researcher Michael Yeomans, PhD, talk about how anyone can learn to communicate better, the best way to build rapport with someone you just met, why it’s important to think about your goals in a conversation, how to have a productive conversation about a...
Published 11/15/23
Millions of people in the U.S. are caregivers for their family members and other loved ones, providing billions of dollars worth of unpaid care to loved ones with dementia, cancer, and other long-term illnesses. William Haley, PhD, of the University of South Florida, discusses the mental and physical health effects of caregiving, interventions that can help buffer caregivers against stress, how society could better support caregivers, and how caregiving can be a source of strength as well as...
Published 11/08/23
Have you heard people say, “I’m so OCD”? There are a lot of myths around obsessive compulsive disorder. In reality, it’s a multi-faceted mental health disorder that seriously affects people’s lives – but is also treatable with evidence-based therapies. Psychologist Dean McKay, PhD, and OCD advocate Uma Chatterjee talk about what obsessive compulsive disorder is, how it differs from the stereotypes, why it is so often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, and what effective treatments are...
Published 11/01/23