Episodes
The word “burnout” has become ubiquitous -- it seems to sum up the stress, exhaustion and disaffection that many of us are feeling this year. But are workers really more burned out than ever? What does the term burnout actually mean? How does burnout differ from fatigue or stress? How do you know if you’re burned out? And what can individuals, employers and society do to combat workplace burnout? Dr. Christina Maslach answers these and other questions. Listener Survey -...
Published 07/28/21
More than 4% of people have some form of synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes senses to link and merge. People with synesthesia may taste words, hear colors, or see calendar dates arrayed in physical space. Dr. Julia Simner, University of Sussex, discusses the many forms of synesthesia, how synesthetes experience the world, and what scientists have learned from brain imaging studies about synesthesia. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 07/21/21
These days, many companies use assessments such as personality tests as part of the hiring process or in career development programs. Fred Oswald, PhD, director of the Organization and Workforce Laboratory at Rice University, discusses why companies use these tests, what employers and workers can learn from them, and how new technologies, including artificial intelligence, are changing workplace assessments. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 07/14/21
Do you ever feel like a phony? Like you’re not really qualified for the job you’re doing, despite your achievements? Those are signs of the impostor phenomenon, also called impostor syndrome. Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin and Dr. Kevin Cokley discuss where impostor feelings come from, the repercussions they can have in people’s lives, and what you can do to address impostor feelings. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 07/07/21
Many Americans are headed back to the office this summer, but fault lines are emerging between some companies’ expectations for in-person work and their employees’ desire to continue working remotely. Tsedal Neeley, PhD, a professor at Harvard Business School, discusses the future of the post-pandemic office, how the pandemic has changed office culture and how employees and companies can both thrive in the new world of remote and hybrid work. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 06/30/21
Over the past decades, the focus of LGBTQ activism has shifted and evolved, from the AIDS crisis in the 1980s to the fight for marriage equality to the focus on transgender rights today. Peter Hegarty, PhD, discusses how research has reflected and responded to these changes, how it has helped move the needle in the fight for LGBTQ rights in the US court system, and his own research on “auditory gaydar” and continuing discrimination against LGBTQ people. Listener Survey -...
Published 06/23/21
Is psychology research in a crisis or a renaissance? Over the past decade, scientists have realized that many published research results, including some classic findings in psychology, don’t always hold up to repeat trials. Brian Nosek, PhD, of the Center for Open Science, discusses how psychologists are leading a movement to address that problem by changing the way that research studies get funded, conducted and published. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 06/16/21
Guns killed nearly 44,000 Americans in 2020, a higher number than in any other year in the past two decades. Meanwhile, a mass shootings in the spring brought gun violence to the forefront of the national conversation. Susan Sorenson, PhD, discusses what we know about the causes and consequences of gun violence in the United States and whether research can offer any insight into how to prevent it. Listener Survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 06/09/21
Is your sleep schedule a mess? The stress and disrupted routines of the past year have taken a toll on our sleep. Jennifer Martin, PhD, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, discusses how sleep affects our physical and mental health, what the pandemic has done to our sleep patterns, and effective behavioral treatments and advice that can help us get a good night’s rest. Listener survey -...
Published 06/02/21
One year ago this week, George Floyd was murdered on camera by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. To mark the anniversary of Floyd’s death, we talked to Cedric Alexander, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and former police chief, about community policing, racial bias in policing, how communities and policymakers might rethink their role in ensuring public safety, and what can be done to restore trust in the communities that they serve. Listener survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 05/26/21
This past year, technology has sometimes felt like the glue that’s kept many of our relationships alive. Jeff Hancock, PhD, discusses how this is affecting human communication, including whether people are more likely to lie online, whether the versions of ourselves that we present on social media are authentic, how artificial intelligence infiltrates our text messages, why video calls exhaust us more than in-person conversations, and more. Listener survey - https://www.apa.org/podcastsurvey
Published 05/19/21
Research on the power of growth mindset has made the leap from the psychology lab to popular culture. Growth mindset is the belief that a person’s intelligence and abilities can grow and improve with practice, and researchers have found that growth mindset exercises can help keep students motivated. But scaling up those interventions from the lab to real-life settings is challenging. Dr. David Yeager discusses the science of growth mindset and how it could help close academic achievement gaps.
Published 05/12/21
For people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory every day is memorable. Ask them what they were doing on this date 10 years ago, and they’ll be able to tell you. Markie Pasternak, one of the youngest people identified with HSAM, and Michael Yassa, PhD, talk about what it’s like to have this ability, what we know about how the brains of people with HSAM store and retrieve vast amount of autobiographical information, and what studying this unique ability can teach us about how memory...
Published 05/05/21
What if the way you think about your brain and how and why it functions is just plain wrong? Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and author of the book “7 ½ Lessons About the Brain,” discusses myths about the brain and her theory that it evolved not to think but to control our bodies, and that emotions are not something we experience, but things that the brain creates in order to make sense of the signals it receives from the world.
Published 04/28/21
Climate change has moved from an abstract idea to reality in many Americans’ lives – a reality that we are increasingly worried about. An American Psychological Association survey found that two-thirds of American adults said that they felt at least a little “eco-anxiety,” defined as anxiety or worry about climate change and its effects. Dr. Thomas Doherty and Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo discuss the mental health effects of climate change and what can we do to cope and build resilience in ourselves.
Published 04/21/21
What do we gain from meeting new people? What have we been missing out on this past year as COVID-19 has restricted social interactions? And how can we become better at talking to strangers? We discuss these questions with Gillian Sandstrom, PhD, who studies what she calls “minimal social interactions,” and Jon Levy, a consultant, writer and speaker who founded “the Influencers Dinner,” a regular gathering that brings together strangers who are leaders in their fields.
Published 04/14/21
It’s too soon to know what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the suicide rate in the United States, but even before the pandemic, that rate had been increasing in recent years, particularly among young people. Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD, the VP of research for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, discusses what may be behind this rise, how psychologists and other researchers are developing interventions, and what you can do if you’re worried about someone in your life.
Published 04/07/21
What is it about puns that tickles our funny bone? Or dad jokes? How about a person slipping on a banana peel? What could possibly tie all these very different things together under the heading “humor”?  Just in time for April Fool’s Day, we explore that question with Peter McGraw, PhD, a marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and director of the Humor Research Lab, also known as HuRL.
Published 03/31/21
The COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder that diseases have been a danger throughout human history–so much so that they have helped shape human evolution. Disgust, wariness of strangers, norms around food and cleanliness may have evolved to keep us safe from infectious disease. Researchers call these protective measures the behavioral immune system. Mark Schaller, PhD discusses the origins of the behavioral immune system and how these behaviors may not be suitable for the threats we face today.
Published 03/24/21
Many people around the world have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, scientists had already begun to gain a deeper understanding of how sophisticated our sense of smell is and how it is intertwined with our mental and physical health. Pamela Dalton, PhD, discusses what we know about how our sense of smell works, the connections between smell, emotions and memory, how a rapid smell test could improve COVID-19 screening, how she developed the “world’s worst smell,”...
Published 03/17/21
When the world shut down in March 2020, few people imagined how different things would still be one year later. APA’s Stress in America survey has been tracking the mental health toll this past year as Americans have dealt with lost jobs, shuttered schools, social isolation and the death of loved ones. Vaile Wright, PhD, talks about the state of our mental and physical health, how we feel about returning to our previous lives, and what we can do to ease anxiety in the face of continuing...
Published 03/10/21
Meditation practices date back thousands of years and are a part of nearly every major religion. But it’s only in the past couple of decades that researchers have begun to use the tools of modern science to explore what is happening in the brain when people meditate and how meditation might benefit our mind and body. Richard Davidson, PhD, director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, discusses what scientists have learned and how these ancient practices can help us...
Published 03/03/21
From movie plots to ad campaigns to viral videos, if they feature twins, they grab our attention every time. But it’s not only the general public who are fascinated with twins. Over many decades, twins have garnered attention from psychologists and other researchers because of what they can tell us about how our genes and environment interact to make us who we are. Nancy Segal, PhD, talks about the state of twin research today and what we've learned about twins, and from them, over the decades.
Published 02/24/21
Why do we have such a long childhood? What’s in it for us as a species? According to Alison Gopnik, PhD, the answer is that kids are the "R&D division of humanity." Gopnik discusses her research and its implications for how we think about the purpose of childhood, how we raise and educate our children, the role of grandparents in teaching the next generation, and even how we might develop artificial intelligence inspired by children’s learning abilities.
Published 02/17/21
For psychologists, romance, attraction and love are not just the stuff of poetry – they’re also a subject for research. What are the qualities of a successful relationship? Why do some relationships endure while others fail? What do we gain from our relationships? How do we know which ones are worth holding onto or when it’s time to quit? Gary Lewandowski, PhD, delves into these questions and discusses how understanding the science of relationships can help us strengthen our own.
Published 02/10/21