The Psychology Podcast

Stitcher & Scott Barry Kaufman

In each episode, we talk with inspiring scientists, thinkers, and other self-actualized individuals who will give you a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world we live in. Scott Barry Kaufman explores the depths of human potential and tries to get a glimpse into human possibility in every episode. read less

Perry Zurn & Dani Bassett || How Curiosity Connects Us
12-01-2023
Perry Zurn & Dani Bassett || How Curiosity Connects Us
Today we welcome Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett. Dr. Perry Zurn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at American University. He is the author or coauthor of more than 75 publications in philosophy, political theory, trans studies, and network science and has given hundreds of talks at local, national, and international venues. His work has been generously funded by organizations like the American Philosophical Association, the Center for Curiosity, the Lee Somers Fund and more. Dr. Dani S. Bassett is the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Neurology, and Psychiatry. They authored more than 390 peer-reviewed publications, which have garnered over 38,000 citations. Dr. Bassett has received multiple prestigious awards from the American Psychological Association, Sloan Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation among others. They often collaborate on research about neuroscience, curiosity, and the humanities. Recently, they co-wrote Curious Minds: The Power of Connection.In this episode, I talk to Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett about curiosity. For them, curiosity is not just about gaining knowledge, it’s about connecting to the world and to each other. Each individual has their own style of connecting - they can be busybodies, hunters, or dancers at any given time. Perry and Dani also weigh in on how social media affects curiosity and how their network model of curiosity can improve education.Website: perryzurn.com & danisbassett.comTwitter: @perryzurn & @danisbassett Topics02:27 Perry and Dani’s interest in curiosity06:26 Curiosity is connection12:45 Network science 15:18 Archetypes of curiosity20:22 Deprivation vs interest-based curiosity 23:56 Social curiosity29:47 Cycling through the different styles of curiosity 37:25 Is social media making us more curious? 40:51 Consciously practicing curiosity 42:32 Curiosity and learning
David Epstein || Where Does Greatness Come From?
05-01-2023
David Epstein || Where Does Greatness Come From?
Today we welcome David Epstein, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the bestseller The Sports Gene, both of which have been translated in more than 20 languages. His TED Talks on performance science have been viewed more than 11 million times. He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. In this episode, I talked to David Epstein about greatness. If there's one thing we know for sure about greatness, it's that there is no linear path to it. David and I discuss the complex relationship of talent and hard work in specific domains. Although there is no formula, we can both agree that persistent effort and fierce determination are necessary ingredients—but so is talent. We have a nuanced discussion of the dance between nature and nurture on the path to talent. It’s a very delicate dance. We also touch on the topics of self-actualization, creativity, fulfillment and moral greatness. Website: davidepstein.comTwitter: @DavidEpstein Topics02:13 Talent: Is it nature or nurture? 05:16 Does the 10,000 hour rule apply to creativity? 10:14 Genetics and the rage to master 16:46 Immediate feedback for growth 22:04 Progress is not linear 26:50 Self-actualization is where you “fit” 39:06 The equal odds rule 41:11 Restriction of range 47:55 Creativity and mental illness 56:27 Incentivizing good vs great scientists 1:00:13 Moral greatness 1:06:10 The constraints of creativity 1:12:25 The criteria of genius
Roland Griffiths & David Yaden || The Scientific Psychedelics Revolution and Embracing Mortality: An Ode to Joy
29-12-2022
Roland Griffiths & David Yaden || The Scientific Psychedelics Revolution and Embracing Mortality: An Ode to Joy
Today we welcome Roland Griffiths and David Yaden. Dr. Roland Griffiths is a professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and behavioral science, and director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has authored over 400 scientific publications and has trained more than 60 postdoctoral research fellows. His initial 2006 publication on psilocybin is often attributed as the catalyst for the re-initiation of psychedelic research after decades of halted drug research.Dr. David Yaden is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working in The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. His research focus is on transformative experiences that can result in long-term changes and how they temporarily alter consciousness and self. His work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.In this episode, I talk to Roland Griffiths and David Yaden about the latest research on psychedelics. They answer some of my burning questions such as: What are the common characteristics of a mystical experience? Are hallucinations necessary for a transformative experience? How do psychedelics affect our brain? We also touch on the topics of mindfulness, religion, mental illness, and creativity as they share about the latest developments in the field. Website: griffithsfund.orgTwitter: @ExistWell Topics02:36 Roland’s background in psychopharmacology 09:44 Roland’s meditation practice13:57 David’s mystical experience18:35 Roland’s mystical experience22:02 Common characteristics of mystical experiences27:48 Transformative experience or mental illness?39:15 Was Timothy Leary right about psychedelics?46:05 The future of psychedelic research 48:39 The neuroscience of psychedelics53:14 Creativity and therapeutic use of psychedelics56:33 Are hallucinations needed for transformation?1:02:50 Roland’s cancer diagnosis1:13:41 The Griffiths Professorship Fund
Ali Smith, Andrés González, & Atman Smith || Let Your Light Shine
22-12-2022
Ali Smith, Andrés González, & Atman Smith || Let Your Light Shine
Today we welcome Ali Smith, Andrés González, and Atman Smith. Brothers Ali and Atman met Andrés at the University of Maryland College Park. During their last semester, the trio spent a lot of time reading books on spirituality, philosophy, history, politics, and other related topics. At the same time, they began their yoga practice and developed it under the guidance of Ali and Atman’s godfather. Months of hard work and planning ensued before they finally co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation. Together, they tell their story of how yoga and mindfulness have transformed countless communities in Let Your Light Shine.In this episode, I talk to Ali Smith, Andrés González, and Atman Smith about mindfulness in education. For 20 years, they have been teaching yoga and wellness to underserved kids, resulting in a decrease in suspensions and fights and an increase in attendance and grades. But it’s not just about the numbers. For Ali, Andrés, and Atman, what matters even more is changing the school’s culture to become a loving and empathetic space for all by teaching stillness and introspection.Website: letyourlightshinebook.comTwitter: @HLFINC Topics2:31 Introducing Ali Smith4:24 Introducing Atman Smith7:31 Introducing Andrés González12:45 Hope through mindfulness17:05 Creating an oasis in schools 20:39 The impact of the Mindful Moment Program26:16 Reciprocal teaching model28:00 Involution: tapping into our universal centers33:37 Sharon Salzberg’s and Rhonda Magee’s work36:52 Bringing fun and humor to learning 38:11 Making yoga and mindfulness accessible45:46 Love and empathy need to be consistent and reliable
From the Archives: Lisa Feldman Barrett || Surprising Truths about the Human Brain
08-12-2022
From the Archives: Lisa Feldman Barrett || Surprising Truths about the Human Brain
We’re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from the past year with Lisa Feldman Barrett.Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett is among the top one percent most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research in psychology and neuroscience. She is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. She also holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is Chief Science Officer for the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior.Her books include Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain and How Emotions are Made. She has published over 240 peer-reviewed, scientific papers appearing in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and other top journals. Dr. Barrett has been called “the most important affective scientist of our time”. In this episode, I talk to renowned neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett about emotions and the brain. She reveals what the true function of the brain is⎯and it’s not for thinking. We also discuss the impact of past experiences on our cognition and what we can do to overcome our own detrimental patterns. Further into our discussion, Dr. Lisa challenges the traditionally held view that emotions are universal. In her own theory of constructed emotion, she argues that variability in emotional expression exists due to socialization and language differences. We also touch on the topics of hallucinogens, culture, education, relationships, and authoritarianism. Website: lisafeldmanbarrett.comTwitter: @LFeldmanBarrett Topics00:01:42 Lisa’s interest in clinical psychology00:03:53 A biological approach to emotions00:06:29 Why do we have a neocortex? 00:14:49 The default mode network00:21:47 The brain is not for thinking00:25:06 Authoritarianism during economic hardship00:32:04 Psychological entropy00:35:33 The brain weather forecast00:44:16 The mind-brain problem00:47:37 Relationships are reflexive00:51:46 Emotional expression isn’t universal00:58:35 Why you shouldn’t trust psychology textbooks / 6 universal emotions?01:03:03 Reaching out to Paul Ekman 01:10:42 The theory of constructed emotion01:16:49 The role of socialization and language in emotions 01:23:43 The never-ending domain-general vs domain-specific debate in cognitive science
Neal Brennan || The Mind of Neal Brennan
24-11-2022
Neal Brennan || The Mind of Neal Brennan
Today we welcome Neal Brennan. He is a director, writer, actor, and comedian most known for co-creating and co-writing the Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show with Dave Chappelle and cult movie classic Half Baked.  Neal received three Emmy nominations for Chappelle’s Show; one for directing, and the other two for writing and producing. He has also performed stand-up on Last Call with Carson Daly, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Lopez Tonight, and Conan. Recently, his comedy special called Blocks was released on Netflix. In this episode, I talk to Neal Brennan about his comedy and upbringing. As early as 8 years old, Neal has been interested in comedy for its “fairness”. He reveals who his early influences were and what it was like working with Dave Chappelle. In this episode I gave Neal some impromptu psychological tests to help us both understand more about his unique mind. We also touch on the topics of relationships, mindfulness, cognitive distortions, and neurodiversity.Website: www.nealbrennan.comTwitter: @nealbrennan Topics02:31 Neal’s family background09:44 When Neal discovered comedy 15:48 Meeting Dave Chappelle18:00 The aftermath of Half Baked21:26 The highs and lows of  Chappelle’s Show26:06 “We contain multitudes”28:20 Neal’s relationships and reality dysmorphia36:04 Vulnerable narcissism test44:46 How vulnerable narcissism develops48:16 Cognitive distortions55:46 Mindfulness, drugs, and therapy
Becky Kennedy || Good Parenting
17-11-2022
Becky Kennedy || Good Parenting
Today we welcome Dr. Becky Kennedy. She is a clinical psychologist and mom of three, recently named “The Millennial Parenting Whisperer” by TIME Magazine. She specializes in parenting and child development, with an emphasis on anxiety and resilience. Dr. Becky received her BA in Psychology and Human Development from Duke University and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Her latest book is called Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.In this episode, I talk to Becky Kennedy about good parenting. Raising children is no easy task. As a mom herself, Dr. Becky knows what that’s like. Her parenting philosophy revolves around seeing the good inside every child and seeing the sturdy leader in every parent. She shares actionable advice on how to repair emotional connection after conflict, how to reduce shame, and how we can break unhealthy generational patterns. We also touch on the topics of genetics, resilience, attachment, and self-care.Website: www.goodinside.comInstagram: @drbeckyatgoodinside Topics02:20 Dr. Becky’s interest in parenting06:00 The Good Inside Approach10:22 Maximizing for attachment safety17:32 Raising children with empathy 23:18 The most generous interpretation28:49 “Two things are true” mode 33:34 How to make up with our kids after a fight38:21 Dr. Becky’s recommended resources 39:27 Prioritize resilience over happiness43:49 How to detect and reduce shame48:04 Self-care for exhausted parents50:25 Tips for cycle breakers
Whitney Johnson || Smart Business Growth
10-11-2022
Whitney Johnson || Smart Business Growth
Today we welcome Whitney Johnson, CEO and co-founder of the tech-enabled talent development company Disruption Advisors. Whitney is a globally recognized thought leader, keynote speaker, executive coach, and consultant. She is a frequent lecturer at Harvard Business Publishing’s Corporate Learning division. She is also the bestselling author of Disrupt Yourself and Build an A Team. Her latest book is called Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company.In this episode, I talk to Whitney Johnson about business growth. According to Whitney, the development of the individual comes first before the company’s. Growth can be better understood using the S Curve of Learning which has three phases: the Launch Point, the Sweet Spot, and Mastery. By comprehending the cycle of growth, we can find ways to move forward when we feel stuck in both our professional and personal lives. We also touch on the topics of flow, creativity, transcendence, success, and leadership.Website: www.whitneyjohnson.comTwitter: @johnsonwhitney Topics01:35 Disruption Advisors07:55 The S Curve of Learning11:13 Optimize your team for growth14:23 Mastery and transcendence16:18 Peak experience and peak performance21:26 The S Curve as a retention tool25:00 Excavating your shadow values28:13 Grow your people to grow your company33:53 Create the conditions for growth37:19 The S Curve is a dopamine management exercise40:20 When to quit and change careers 42:51 Changing the metrics of success47:16 Disrupt yourself a little bit everyday
Sonja Lyubomirsky || The How of Happiness
27-10-2022
Sonja Lyubomirsky || The How of Happiness
Today we welcome Sonja Lyubomirsky who is a distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Originally from Russia, she received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from Stanford University. Her research has been featured in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, shows and documentaries in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Dr. Lyubomirsky’s best-selling books The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness have been published and translated in over 16 countries.In this episode, I talk to Sonja Lyubomirsky about happiness. Across all of her research, Dr. Lyubomirsky has found that connection is what makes people happy. So then, how do we form high-quality connections? Dr. Lyubomirsky gives us insight on how to use kindness, reciprocity, and gratitude to maintain and strengthen our relationships. We also touch on the topics of psychedelics, interpersonal chemistry, and social media.Website: drsonja.netTwitter: @slyubomirsky Topics01:38 Sonja’s interest in happiness research03:56 The Happiness Pie Chart07:55 The Set-point Theory of Happiness10:42 Connection is the key to happiness15:19 Are extroverts happier? 20:12 Psychedelic social psychology25:25 The Happiness Boomerang Effect29:58 What makes for great conversation?34:16 High-quality connections36:47 How to create interpersonal chemistry42:44 Can you count too many blessings?45:27 Apps that make us happy and unhappy 51:39 Kindness boosts immunity
Laurie Santos || The Science of Happiness
13-10-2022
Laurie Santos || The Science of Happiness
Today we welcome Dr. Laurie Santos, psychology professor and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Her course, “Psychology and the Good Life,”is Yale’s most popular course in over 300 years and has been adapted into a free Coursera program that has been taken by over 3.3 million people to date. Dr. Santos is a winner of numerous awards both for her science and teaching from institutions such as Yale and the American Psychological Association. She is also the podcast host of The Happiness Lab.In this episode, I talk to Dr. Laurie Santos about happiness. People are unhappy not for lack of trying, but it’s because they’re applying ineffective strategies. Dr. Santos identifies some of the cognitive biases that can hinder our happiness. There is no magical antidote to our problems, but there are ways to boost well-being in small but significant ways. We also discuss resilience, social justice and mindfulness.Website: drlauriesantos.comTwitter: @lauriesantos Topics03:04 Laurie’s interest in well-being06:54 Our expectations about happiness 09:44 Defining and measuring happiness13:59 Predictors of resilience 15:43 Laurie’s happiness score17:39 “Self-care is a political act”22:39 The Feel Good, Do Good Effect24:11 The role of culture, environment, genes27:55 Contributions to the science of happiness32:13 The impact of Laurie’s research35:19 Cognitive biases that influence happiness38:16 Do mindfulness interventions work?44:37 The Happiness Lab’s new season
From the Archives: Esther Perel || Love, Eros, and Infidelity
06-10-2022
From the Archives: Esther Perel || Love, Eros, and Infidelity
In celebration of our first year anniversary with Stitcher, we’re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from the past year with Esther Perel.Esther Perel is a psychotherapist and a New York Times bestselling author, recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she hones a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her best-selling books Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs have been translated into nearly 30 languages. Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin? and How’s Work? Her latest project is Where Should We Begin − A Game of Stories with Esther Perel. In this episode, I talk to renowned psychotherapist and author Esther Perel about love and relationships. We tackle the true essence of the words “eros” and “freedom”. Esther offers her perspective on marriage and affairs, getting to the root cause of why people cheat. We also touch on the topics of soulmates, masculinity, how to keep passion alive during a global pandemic, and Esther’s practice as a cross-cultural therapist. Website: www.estherperel.comInstagram: @estherperelofficial Topics02:02 Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic04:33 Social connection during the pandemic 10:04 “The erotic is the antidote to death”17:02 True freedom in relationships22:05 Soulmates don’t exist 26:38 Why people in happy marriages cheat29:46 Can an affair be good for a marriage?34:54 Where Should We Begin?39:00 Redefining marriage, fidelity, and sexuality46:25 Esther’s cross-cultural approach to therapy49:31 Esther’s interest in cultural transitions, identity, and relationships54:56 The masculine obsession with power 01:00:08 The Great Adaptation
Jim Fadiman || Orchestrating Your Symphony of Selves
29-09-2022
Jim Fadiman || Orchestrating Your Symphony of Selves
Today we welcome Dr. Jim Fadiman. Jim is a psychologist, writer, and lecturer who has been pioneering psychedelic research since the 1960s. He is recognized as “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use.” Jim received his bachelor and doctorate degrees from Harvard and Stanford respectively. Apart from psychedelics, he has also been involved in researching healthy multiplicity for over 20 years. His newest book with Jordan Gruber is called Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who We Are.In this episode, I talk to Dr. Jim Fadiman about multiple selves. The DSM says that having multiple personalities is a disorder, but Dr. Fadiman challenges this notion. In fact, he believes that the opposite is true: the multiplicity of selves is both normal and healthy. It’s not about having one “super self”, but unifying the different parts of who we are. We also discuss psychedelics, its effects on mental health, and how Abraham Maslow would have viewed these mind-altering substances.Website: jamesfadiman.comTwitter: @jfadiman Topics04:54 Modern microdosing06:49 Microdosing for physical and mental health 10:00 Healthy vs pathological multiplicity14:14 What would Maslow think of psychedelics?23:24 No single self 26:42 Taking responsibility for all yourselves30:13 Harmonizing selves34:28 Is it possible to create a super self?37:58 All your parts are you42:07 Unified self is healthy 44:08 Being in the right mind at the right time51:17 Practice selves work
Gabor Maté || The Myth of Normal
22-09-2022
Gabor Maté || The Myth of Normal
Today we welcome Dr. Gabor Maté. A physician, renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Gabor is highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, stress, and childhood development. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing, he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction. He is also a co-developer of Compassionate Inquiry, a therapeutic approach for deep healing and transformation. His newest book is called The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture.In this episode, I talk to Gabor Maté about The Myth of Normal. Healthcare in Western societies tend to focus on physical health, without accounting for an individual’s lived experience. The tension between authenticity and attachment and the pressures of a capitalist culture puts undue stress on our minds and bodies. Dr. Maté invites us to rethink trauma and disease, by emphasizing holistic well-being and the role of agency. We also touch on the topics of early childhood, epigenetics, and self-improvement. Website: drgabormate.comTwitter: @drgabormate Topics02:36 The Myth of Normal06:14 Maslow’s Metagrumbles10:25 From individual to global well-being13:25 Authenticity vs attachment20:48 No separation of psyche and soma28:05 Trauma is what happens inside you33:34 Dr. Gabor Maté’s early childhood 37:20 Trauma denial and victimhood mentality41:05 Disease is a long term process45:21 Epigenetics and the role of environment50:24 Screening for special and gifted education52:45 Pathways to wholeness58:01 The four A’s of healing 1:06:44 Compassionate Inquiry1:10:16 Authentic satisfaction
Jordyn Feingold || Choose Growth
15-09-2022
Jordyn Feingold || Choose Growth
Today we welcome to the show Jordyn Feingold, resident physician in psychiatry, co-founder of the Positive Medicine Program, and co-author with me of the new book Choose Growth!Jordyn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her BA and Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). At present, she is a psychiatry resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Jordyn is deeply involved in research, curriculum development, and advocacy work pertaining to clinician well-being, locally, nationally, and globally. Together, we wrote Choose Growth: A Workbook for Transcending Trauma, Fear, and Self-Doubt.In this episode, I talk to Jordyn Feingold about positive medicine and the importance of choosing growth. As a physician and positive psychology practitioner, Jordyn is on a mission to shift the focus of medicine from treatment to well-being. As much as our physical health can influence our mental health, the reverse is also true. She talks about the impact and practical applications of positive psychology in healthcare. We also touch on the topics of resilience, relationships, communication, growth, and transcendence.Website: positivepsychologyforphysicians.comTwitter: @jordynfeingold Topics 04:52 Positive Medicine12:08 Embodied cognition14:06 The REVAMP model of well-being18:10 Positive interventions21:39 Choose Growth28:28 Who’s in your boat?32:08 Active vs passive constructive responding35:53 High-quality connections 40:01 Jordyn as chief extrovert42:41 “Yes, and” transcendence48:34 Integrate your dark side