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Social Science

The Psych Files

Michael Britt

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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 learn...Show More
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34:30 | Sep 3rd

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...Show More

28:10 | Aug 21st

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...Show More

11:02 | Aug 12th

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...Show More

42:48 | Aug 6th

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 Cognitiv...Show More

28:33 | Jul 17th

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 fro...Show More

26:36 | Jul 4th

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 explo...Show More

20:14 | Jun 19th

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 behin...Show More

25:41 | Jun 5th

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...Show More

43:34 | May 13th

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'r...Show More

32:42 | May 2nd

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 Influenci...Show More

39:37 | Apr 17th

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 toge...Show More

40:01 | Apr 3rd

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 ...Show More

35:30 | Mar 18th

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 H...Show More

56:48 | Mar 5th

Only a little while ago cannabis (marijuana) was approved for medical purposes. Now "recreational use" of the plant is legal in many states in the US. It is being prescribed to treat PTSD, schizophrenia and chronic pain among others.   But what is di...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

12:08 | Feb 19th

Every great collaboration is a love story. It’s intense. Passionate. Along the way, there are flashes of love, hate, pride, ego, ambition, and brilliance. This is One Plus One, the show about the spark that drives two original thinkers to ultimate su...Show More

32:14 | Feb 1st

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 seriou...Show More

35:35 | Jan 16th

Recently we've learned that many students learn best not when things are well explained to them, but rather when they're just a little bit confused. Professor Jeremiah Sullins (interviewed in episode 267) talked about his work on Productive Confusion...Show More

31:37 | Dec 13th, 2018

Have you ever seen something so cute you just want to squeeze it to death? Or a child so cute you want to pinch it's cheeks really hard? Why do we have these odd, powerful, opposite feelings? It's called "cute aggression" and we'll try to explain it ...Show More

27:43 | Nov 30th, 2018

Hopefully you've watched the TV show Columbo. Curious about what this character has to do with psychology? You'd be surprised.  In this episode I analyze Columbo along with the Jennifer Garner movie, "Peppermint". I also explain why you remember how ...Show More

28:36 | Nov 15th, 2018

Did you see the movie A Quiet Place? How about Mission Impossible? It's always fun to analyze movies from a psychological perspective and that's what I do in this episode. A Quiet Place has a lot of family dynamics issues going on but Mission Impossi...Show More

39:55 | Oct 30th, 2018

If you're suffering from the effects of a trauma in your life or know someone who is, then listen to Dr. Matt Jaremko talk about his new book with Beth Fehlbaum called Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt". Dr. Jaremko's approach to therapy with t...Show More

15:09 | Oct 22nd, 2018

This is part 2 of my interview with Michael Pipich, author of the book, Owning Bipolar. In this part of the interview MIchael discusses his therapeutic approach to trearting Bipolar Disorder.If you have been diagnosed with bipolar or know someone who...Show More

25:50 | Oct 16th, 2018

Bipolar (previously known as "manic depression") is often a difficult disorder to diagnose, much less to live with.  If you have been diagnosed with bipolar or know someone who has, this episode is for you. Michael Pipich brings his 30 years of exper...Show More

37:58 | Oct 3rd, 2018

How are men and women different - really? There's plenty of debate over this, but how this: examine the differences between males and females across a wide variety of species. What are the reliable differences we see again and again? That's exactly w...Show More

34:47 | Sep 18th, 2018

Having a hard time **memorizing psychiatric medications** and which disorder they are used to treat?  These memory tricks will get them into your head in minutes - and they'll stick so you can get a better grade on your test.  I've got ways to rememb...Show More

39:13 | Sep 7th, 2018

College teaching needs to change. This doesn't mean using a new fad technique. It doesn't mean dumbing anything down to get "today's students". It does mean that professors need to adopt more of the approaches to teaching that Ken Bain identified in ...Show More

36:42 | Aug 9th, 2018

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 f...Show More

37:17 | Jul 10th, 2018

Remember those "i-statements" you're supposed to use when you get mad at someone? "I feel ____ when you ____ because ____". Does that actually work? Does talking in this way resolve problems better and not get the other person defensive? We're going ...Show More

28:00 | Jun 14th, 2018

Alright, let's all admit it - we talk to our pets in that funny pet voice. Who's a good dog? Well, there's been a lot of research on your use of this voice to talk to dogs as well as babies. What exactly are you doing with your voice? And most import...Show More

30:44 | May 31st, 2018

What can we learn from an old, dusty book I found in the basement? Well, if that book is about gender role **stereotypes** then there's a lot of things to uncover that explain why boys and girls act the way they do.   In this episode we get an examp...Show More

22:46 | May 5th, 2018

Most of us assume one of the reasons men tend to act aggressively is that men have higher levels of testosterone. Let's take a look at this "testosterone myth" because this isn't always the case. In fact, in some cases, the higher levels of testoster...Show More

21:54 | Apr 19th, 2018

So now that we know a lot about why individuals join extermist groups, what can we do about it? How do we bring them back to society and help them have meaningful lives again? This is the second of 2 episodes on this topic and what we learn here also...Show More

28:55 | Apr 5th, 2018

What draws people toward violent extremist groups? Psychologists have conducted a lot of research to find this out and in this episode I summarize the findings of key researchers in this area. Researchers Arie Kruglanski, Katarzyna Jasko, David Webbe...Show More

59:35 | Mar 16th, 2018

You have probably heard a lot about football and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), the brain degeneration that results from repeated head impacts. One of the worst cases so far of CTE was found in the brain of football player Aaron Hernandez. T...Show More

29:09 | Feb 24th, 2018

Ever wonder how the fingers of really experienced pianists who are improvising seem to fly across the keyboard? How do they know where their fingers are going? How can they think that fast? In this episode I'll tell you about some of what the brain i...Show More

36:37 | Jan 11th, 2018

Fitness tracking devices are getting smarter. They’re going to have to get a lot smarter if they are going to be powerful tools in your quest to be fit. But how much more “smart” do we really want them to get? Today they keep track of your steps and ...Show More

49:30 | Dec 13th, 2017

How can psychologists get you to lead a healthier life? We all have "noble intentions" when it comes to eating well and exercising regularly, but those intentions often don't last too long and you're back to your old unhealthy ways. We can lecture yo...Show More

17:53 | Dec 5th, 2017

Have you seen the movie Coco? You should - it's a very moving story. But if you pay attention to the music you'll notice that the melody to the son "Remember Me" is played in several different ways - each with a very different effect on the psyche. I...Show More

32:34 | Nov 2nd, 2017

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 ...Show More

25:42 | Oct 18th, 2017

It's often asked: why don't we make heroes out of everyday people? Well, what makes some people's stories inspirational and other not? Let's say you want to inspire young people to make the most of their lives - how do you do that? What stories are t...Show More

36:05 | Oct 11th, 2017

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 aut...Show More

29:09 | Oct 5th, 2017

One of the hardest challenges as we grow up is to know how we feel and to understand how others feel. The next step after we're aware of our feelings is knowing how we're going to best act on them. That's the essence of Emotional Intelligence and i...Show More

32:05 | Sep 21st, 2017

On this episode I talk about a several psych topics, including what computer programs look at when they try to guess your sexual orientation - and they are really accurate at doing so. Also: anxiety blankets and the musical Hairspray - what do we re...Show More

26:52 | Sep 7th, 2017

What do you think of your name? Like it? Do you prefer a nickname or do you prefer when people call you by your full name? Why do you think people have these preferences? That's what we're looking at in this episode - research showing that other peop...Show More

29:04 | Aug 24th, 2017

If you've ever wondered what goes on in a typical psychology class, well, here ar e 4 class activities I do almost every semester that are my “sure fire hits” – they engage the students in the learning process while helping them really grasp what a k...Show More

37:24 | Aug 9th, 2017

In part 2 of my interview with Dr. Anna Vagin, she talks about some of the videos she uses to help kids and teens better understand the emotions and challenges of characters in the videos and how those characters dealt with their difficult situations...Show More

24:18 | Jul 26th, 2017

In part 1 of my interview with Anna Vagin, Ph.D. we talk about how she uses games and videos as part of her work with children and adolescents. I think you'll be surprised how Dr. Vagin uses short videos she finds on YouTube in her sessions. These a...Show More

30:23 | Jul 11th, 2017

In part 2 of my interview with Gleb Tsipusky we talk more about why so many of us (including me) fall for fake news stories and why such stories can spread so rapidly. We also talk about what he's doing to address the problem: the Pro Truth Pledge. ...Show More

27:06 | Jun 27th, 2017

We're all aware of the problem of fake news, but why do we fall for it? When we read a post on Facebook that sounds a little questionable, why don't we check into it further? You better believe there's some psychology going on here. In this episode I...Show More

26:34 | Jun 12th, 2017

What are psychologists talking about this week? Well, we're fighting back against the unbelievable claims made by the marketers of fidget spinners (does the toy really help people with ADHD, PTSD and anxiety?), we're astounded by the results of resea...Show More

26:48 | Jun 6th, 2017

Here's a new piece of weight-loss advice: eat on a crinkly plate! Um...sounds weird. It is kinda, but we'll explore why this might be a good bit of advice. We'll also take a minute and a half sound byte from the TV show Luther and wring all kinds o...Show More

28:02 | Jun 1st, 2017

Guess what? Practice definitely does NOT always lead to perfection. When you practice an instrument are you doing it right? In this episode I explore the "10,000 hour" myth and how you can practice something - like an instrument or a language - in a...Show More

25:34 | May 19th, 2017

All of us have probably felt a little "down" every once in a while so we can empathize a little with someone who is depressed, but how about someone who is suffering from schizophrenia? What is it like? Games may hold one answer for helping all of us...Show More

20:26 | May 11th, 2017

Interested in psychology? How about gaming? Did you know that these two fields actually go together quite well? Find out how two people with strong backgrounds in both of these fields are putting their experience to work creating games that educate a...Show More

29:09 | Apr 25th, 2017

We live in a time when facts are being questioned, and when respect for each others' differences is on the decline. How often do we say to ourselves: "Yea, but what can I do about it?". Actually, with a little psychology maybe you can turn things ar...Show More

19:27 | Apr 19th, 2017

The involuntary removal of a passenger on a United Airlines flight has justifiably garnered a lot of attention. And as teachers we certainly want to capture students' attention. But how do we create a discussion among students that goes beyond the s...Show More

25:48 | Apr 8th, 2017

Have to memorize lines for a play or musical? There are a lot of techniques. Let me tell you about a few that are backed by science. I've been involved in the theatre for many years and I've done a lot of memorizing of both lines and song lyrics. T...Show More

36:52 | Mar 23rd, 2017

It's hard to remember names - here's how to do it. You'll use your imagination and some weird imagery - but this works. Here's another great use of mnemonics. I'll give you a bunch of people's names and describe the images I created to help me re...Show More

24:08 | Mar 8th, 2017

How many times when a parent is arguing with a teen has the parent either said - or wish they could say - "Do it because I said so!". As a parent myself, I've had more than a few of those times. But it just doesn't work - especially with teenagers....Show More

19:23 | Feb 24th, 2017

You probably know someone who is just plain...well, funny. They may not necessarily even tell that many jokes, but they know how to come up with funny interpretations for what's going on around you ("That guy looks like...."). They just know how to...Show More

14:23 | Feb 6th, 2017

Complete strangers in New York City come together in a simple but moving act: they decide as a group to work together to remove offensive graffiti in a subway car. How did they overcome the social pressures to do nothing? In this episode I show how d...Show More

12:03 | Jan 20th, 2017

One reason stereotypes exist is because, sometimes, there's some truth in them. As an Italian-American I can say that, yes, a lot of the times I use my hands when I talk. And it appears to be true that men think about sex more often and are more e...Show More

26:03 | Jan 6th, 2017

Have you used Siri, Hey Google, Aleza or Cortana? These voice-enabled digital assistants are pretty cool and getting smarter, but why do some of them sound more like a "person" than others? What is it about your voice that makes people believe that t...Show More

19:13 | Dec 23rd, 2016

There are a lot of mobile apps that include the term "psychology" but many of them are just for fun. Are there any really good apps for psychotherapists? Yes there are and one of them is called NovoPsych. In this episode I interview Dr. Ben Buchana...Show More

22:57 | Dec 8th, 2016

The US just had a very contentious election which showed us, if nothing else, that we are a divided nation. How did we become this way? In this episode I talk about group polarization - how it happens and what we can do about it. Along the way, I'...Show More

12:54 | Nov 29th, 2016

Do "Blue Sky" brainstorming sessions actually produce anything creative? If you've ever sat around with a group of people and tried to "just come up with something creative" you probably found that it's pretty hard. We actually don't think that crea...Show More

11:56 | Nov 15th, 2016

The printed word has been around for a long time. Bet you thought there was nothing new in how we put words together in a book or website. Well, guess again. Researchers at Asymmetrica have drawn upon a tried and true memory strategy called "chunki...Show More

23:06 | Oct 20th, 2016

We often like it when things are explained to us clearly, but would you believe that sometimes it's better if you're just down-right confused? You could actually learn more if at some point in the learning process you feel like you don't know what's ...Show More

23:03 | Oct 16th, 2016

Why do you vote the way you do? Have you read through all the various candidates position statements, or do you just kinda go with your "gut"? Jeremiah Sullins, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harding University has looked at this question in gr...Show More

25:31 | Oct 1st, 2016

In a previous episode I talked about the kinds of dynamics that can occur in groups (social loafing, diffusion of responsibility) that can make them ineffective learning experiences as well as just not fun. In this episode I interview Dr. Karen Chri...Show More

25:18 | Sep 12th, 2016

How do you "apply a little psychology" to tough jobs like building an online community and to creating a product that people will want to use frequently? In part 2 of my interview with author and Feverbee founder Richard Millington we talk about two ...Show More

22:23 | Sep 6th, 2016

What do you do with a background in psychology? A lot of things. How about running an online community? I found Richard Millington, founder of Feverbee, talking about how he applies psychology to his business of helping organizations build strong, a...Show More

26:12 | Aug 19th, 2016

Is it possible that some people who we think are mentally ill are actually victims of demonic possession? One psychiatrist says yes. Another psychiatrist says no - believing this is true is a matter of not carefully thinking about what you see and ...Show More

28:29 | Jul 11th, 2016

Do you think you're using the words "control group" correctly? You're probably not. In fact, you're probably also getting these terms wrong as well: "truth serum", "lie detector", "bystander apathy", "personality type", Oxytocin, "closure" and even ...Show More

18:14 | Jun 22nd, 2016

Cell phones: they're here and they're not going away. So now it's time to "stop worrying and learn to love them". If you're upset about how much time teens spend on their phones I'll give you a few ideas that, hopefully, will make you feel better. ...Show More

25:05 | May 27th, 2016

What is change blindness? How could you miss some of the most obvious things that change right in front of you? Millions of people watch a video of kids playing basketball and they miss the fact that a gorilla walks right through the scene. A gorill...Show More

23:01 | Apr 27th, 2016

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 an...Show More

30:01 | Apr 14th, 2016

I grew up eating baloney without ever giving a thought to where it came from. But psychology is all reflecting on who you are, why you think the way you do and why you do what you do. So let's explore our eating behavior: why do we think it's weird...Show More

05:49 | Apr 4th, 2016

What if you could study for your psychology test in 24 second sound bytes on your iPhone? Now you can. I recently contacted Parviv - the founder of an app called Clammr. Typically, people use Clammr to stay on top of the news, listen to podcasts or "...Show More

19:58 | Feb 12th, 2016

London needs help and only a person trained in psychology can fix this. There are just too many Londoners using their subway (the "tube") and instead of standing side by side as they go up the escalator, people are doing what they always do - they s...Show More

16:12 | Jan 20th, 2016

What comes to mind when you think "nursing home"? Not so good, right? Let's change that. Let's use what we learn from psychology to create exciting places for seniors to live. We've got the tools provided by Maslow's Hierarchy and by the Self Det...Show More

12:46 | Jan 11th, 2016

Passengers on an airplane spring to action when a stewardess needs help - but a neighborhood in New York City does very little when a woman is attacked. What's different? How can we take what we learn from the airplane and apply it to the attack? Lec...Show More

19:01 | Dec 29th, 2015

How can we use a little psychology to get you to slow down when you're driving? You'd be surprised. Very often road signs like "Slow" or a posted speed limit of, say 20 mph does not work. Drivers go past these signs and nothing bad happens so after...Show More

15:59 | Dec 15th, 2015

At the end of the year there are so many cues around us that tell us that we should be happy and that we should reflect on our lives. Humbug! Find out how not to fall prey to the holiday blues that are so common.

21:50 | Dec 8th, 2015

Snapchat got a pretty bad rap over the past few years, but did you know that you actually can use this video messaging app in ways that really do help students see the applications of what their teachers are learning in their everyday lives. In this...Show More

08:55 | Oct 27th, 2015

What is Dysrationalia? You've probably heard of a lot of intelligences - Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, Sternberg's Triarchic theory of intelligence and Daniel Goldman's Emotional Intelligence. In this episode, my first guest host Bo Benne...Show More

14:07 | Sep 14th, 2015

What's the connection between life on Mars and the need to properly replicate scientific studies?

18:16 | Sep 8th, 2015

Have you heard that about 100 Psychology studies were replicated and only about 1/3 confirmed the original findings? Why did this happen? Well, one reason has to do with incentives that are out of whack. The "real world" of scientific research is ...Show More

34:19 | Aug 9th, 2015

If you have not seen the movie Analyze This with Robert Deniro and Billy Krystal, then you really should. It's not just a funny movie, bit also gets a lot of things about therapy right. So many movies portray psychotherapy so unrealistically but th...Show More

32:37 | Jul 22nd, 2015

If you have been in therapy you want to believe it "worked". We all do. And hopefully it did have a positive effect on you. But how do you know? How do therapists know if what they're doing really has resulted in improvements in their clients? Ye...Show More

22:39 | Jun 25th, 2015

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 o...Show More

23:31 | Jun 13th, 2015

How can technology be used to help people with Dementia and Alzheimer's? Here are a few examples. You may have heard of the "Internet of Things" - this is the idea that we can place small Internet-connected devices onto everyday household objects i...Show More

25:04 | May 29th, 2015

We all want to help others - especially those in the "helping professions" - but what's the best way to do that? Therapy? Medication? How about setting up an entire fake village set up to look like the '50s with helping professionals dressed up to l...Show More

34:50 | May 4th, 2015

Why does conflict emerge as it did in Baltimore last week, among the police and the African-American community? Is it caused by poor parenting? Poverty? Joblessness? I provide a psychological perspective on the situation. I look at how stereotypes ...Show More

29:53 | Apr 10th, 2015

Does it matter if a robot looks male or female? You might not think so, but are we perpetuating stereotypes if if we create a robot that looks "feminine" to help the elderly aren't we continuing the stereotype that these types of jobs are "women's" ...Show More

26:04 | Mar 19th, 2015

Does the sound of other people's mouth noises really drive you crazy? Honestly, it does to me. Things like lip smacking, swallowing, cracking and crunching really annoys me. If it annoys you too then you're not alone. Learn about misophonia in th...Show More

31:34 | Feb 23rd, 2015

I was recently cast as "Albin" in the musical La Cage Aux Folles and it has given me the unique opportunity to have to learn how to act more effeminate and to cross dress. As a psychologist who obsesses about the "psychology of everyday life" you ca...Show More

25:03 | Jan 28th, 2015

What if you could swap bodies with someone else? What would it be like to be someone of the opposite sex? A different race? We're getting darn close to being able to do that with new techniques like the Rubber Hand Illusion, the Enfacement illusion,...Show More

33:29 | Jan 8th, 2015

A small number of men cross dress and many movies and broadway shows feature cross dressers (transvestites), so obviously many people find it fascinating and those who cross dress typically enjoy it. Why? What does it mean about the people who do it...Show More

17:21 | Dec 18th, 2014

In the US, we've experienced a number of recent incidences of white policemen shooting black men. What's going on? Are these more examples of prejudice and discrimination or unprovoked attacks on police? How do we know what really happened? In this ...Show More

20:32 | Dec 10th, 2014

You may have heard from the US Senate report on Terrorism and Interrogations that a small group of psychologists were involved in the interrogations of detainees from the 9/11 incident. How could psychologists, who have a long tradition of concern a...Show More

31:18 | Dec 4th, 2014

Is there such a thing as a person having multiple personalities? The idea makes for great headlines and fascinating talk shows, but what's the real story? I talk about that in this episode of The Psych Files along with giving tips on how maximize the...Show More

35:13 | Nov 21st, 2014

Might you be able to rid yourself of an illness by "turning back the clock"? That is, by immersing yourself in a time in your life when you were not ill? Psychology has always struggled to separate itself from those who would "borrow" good ideas an...Show More

30:05 | Oct 28th, 2014

What makes some songs so popular? Guess what - psychologists actually know a lot of the answers. In this episode we'll listen to excerpts from Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah, as well as Noisestorm's Ignite, Adele's Someone Like You, the Enterprise...Show More

32:13 | Oct 6th, 2014

Do "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" or are we actually pretty happy most of the time? As it turns out humans are far more resilient than you think. Ever heard of the term "affective forecasting"? It's something we do every day and very o...Show More

18:51 | Sep 16th, 2014

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?...Show More

19:57 | Jul 24th, 2014

What was the name of that baby in John Watson's famous videos in which he attempts to demonstrate that fears can be acquired through conditioning (pairing a loud noise with a furry animal)? A few years ago we were presented with information indicati...Show More

22:33 | Jul 7th, 2014

How many times have you wanted to remember a joke at a party but you just can't? Well, there IS a way to remember jokes and I have got 4 jokes to tell you along with a mnemonic that will help you remember all 4 of them. I challenge you to listen to...Show More

35:42 | Jul 1st, 2014

You may have heard that Facebook manipulated the content of user's New Feeds during January of 2012 so that some users saw more positive posts than others, which other Facebook users saw more negative posts. How did this affect these users? Did tho...Show More

32:41 | Jun 16th, 2014

In episode 217 I asked you to be frank with yourself: does your animal really think? It's easy to believe they do, but if you're going to study this issue scientifically you have to eliminate our human tendency to anthropomorphize - to want to belie...Show More

22:45 | May 27th, 2014

Surveys find that psychologists tend to align themselves with a liberal political orientation. Why is that? Are liberal-minded people drawn to human service professions or is there something about working in human services that causes people to bec...Show More

20:45 | May 4th, 2014

Guess what? There are a good number of positives to growing older. Let's put aside all the negative stereotypes of older folks and realize that they can demonstrate a surprising level of "coolness" about life. There's a certain perspective you get...Show More

31:38 | Apr 5th, 2014

It's easy to find videos on the web of animals showing what appears to be some pretty smart behavior. But is it really "smarts"? How can you tell? In this episode I'll point out examples that look like intelligence but probably aren't - as well as a...Show More

33:54 | Mar 9th, 2014

The idea of working from home sounds great - but be aware of the downside. In this episode of The Psych Files I talk about what factors influence your job satisfaction and motivation when you work from home. I also discuss the interesting concept o...Show More

49:22 | Feb 19th, 2014

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a patient in an "insane asylum"? "Asylums" changed names over the years (including "State Hospital" and "Psychiatric Center") and so did the treatment of the mentally ill. Hear from Dr. Jennifer Bazar...Show More

29:23 | Feb 3rd, 2014

We all know that adolescence is a time of change and often a tough time for the teen. But what about the parent? Today's parents are often older than years ago, and today's parents are sometimes going through their own self-examination, their own d...Show More

28:42 | Jan 16th, 2014

We don't have to pay you to get you to do things - you're already a curious person. How does our attraction to puzzles, questions, and unsolved mysteries get used to get us to click on videos or blog posts? And how can it be used to get students to...Show More

32:12 | Jan 10th, 2014

What are the psychological themes in the movie the Matrix? In this episode I talk about connections between the Matrix and Jung's idea of the Collective Unconscious, Joseph Campbell's notion of the Hero's Journey and some recent research that explai...Show More

31:27 | Dec 16th, 2013

We face more moral "dilemmas" in everyday life than maybe we don't realize. How do we resolve them? In this episode I discuss two interesting moral dilemmas: a) should you employ for-hire crowds of actors to attend your event in order to make it lo...Show More

17:48 | Nov 21st, 2013

Need to memorize Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development really quickly? This is what you're looking for - a brief audio podcast in which I give you some crazy images that will stick in your mind for a really long time. You'll be surprised ...Show More

07:14 | Nov 16th, 2013

In this actual fake recording we hear how Freud might have handled your call to an anonymous technical support service. Can you identify each of the following Freudian techniques in this episode?

10:20 | Nov 2nd, 2013

Would you believe there's a lot of psychology you can fit into a 6 second vine? Well there is. In this video episode I show you a few of there vines I like and which are also good (unintended) demonstrates of a variety of psychological concepts. I...Show More

35:09 | Oct 22nd, 2013

Its time to hear from someone who has been diagnosed with autism what life is like. Alex Lowery joins us to talk about growing up with autism - about the heightened sensations, the frustrations of not being understood and what has helped him get to ...Show More

38:52 | Oct 6th, 2013

In this interview with Paul Brodie, author of Secondhand Autism, we talk about what it is like to grow up in a family with an autistic individual. As you can imagine, there are challenges, but ultimately there lessons to be learned about life. Liste...Show More

34:20 | Sep 27th, 2013

How do you use psychology persuasion techniques to get people to contribute to your cause? That's what I discuss in this episode of The Psych Files. I'm trying to help my friend raise money and in doing so I employed a number of persuasion strategi...Show More

06:00 | Sep 13th, 2013

Need to memorize Freud's stages for a test? Here's a mnemonic that should do the trick. This is the audio version of video episode 202 in which the founder of psychoanalysis gives you a mnemonic and explains the 5 stages for you. Make sure to chec...Show More

23:09 | Aug 29th, 2013

We know that many people have a tendency to blame victims even when something tragic and unexplainable happens to them. But did you know how easily this blaming can be triggered? If I were to describe a natural disaster and tell you about "mother n...Show More

28:58 | Jul 11th, 2013

A lot of people find psychology interesting. But what is it really like to work in the field? A tough question to answer because the field is so broad. In this episode of The Psych Files podcast I'll share my thoughts on the difference between lea...Show More

34:36 | Jun 27th, 2013

Should we stop using "Guys" to refer to groups of women and mixed sex groups? Why do we (particularly men) refer to many objects - like cars and boats - as "she"? Are everyday foods actually "SuperNormal" foods - created to be absolutely irresistib...Show More

40:53 | Jun 3rd, 2013

Are jail time and new laws the only answers to men's violence against women, children, and other men? Or is there something every man can do to end these tragedies? In an earlier episode of The Psych Files in which I discussed Blaming the Victim, I...Show More

33:13 | Apr 17th, 2013

What do I/0 psychologists do anyway? Are you interested in this subfield of psychology? Well, here are a few things they DON'T do: they don't do "therapy in the workplace" and they don't do "motivational speaking". It's not what you think. Indust...Show More

29:14 | Apr 10th, 2013

There is a lot of talk about mindfulness among psychologists today. Find out what mindfulness is and how it differs from meditation in this episode of The Psych Files. What might you use mindfulness for? Well, in addition to what you might expect -...Show More

23:16 | Mar 21st, 2013

What do psychologists really think about your dreams - do they have meaning? In this episode I talk about what psychologists think today about dreams. You probably know that Freud thought that dreams had a manifest content (the people and things th...Show More

35:22 | Mar 11th, 2013

Would you be surprised to learn that B.F. Skinner was a very likable guy and that you may actually be very much in agreement with his ideas? Many people who study psychology have a negative impression of Skinner. Well, I'm about to challenge those ...Show More

39:05 | Feb 26th, 2013

Have you ever gotten to immersed in a book or movie that you actually felt like the character? Or you felt the character's pain or joy? Why does this happen? When does this happen? What is it about the book or the movie and its characters that dr...Show More

35:54 | Feb 13th, 2013

We have some great articles covered in this episode so I hope you find them thought-provoking and leave your comments below! We cover four topics, all of which can be relevant to your everyday life.  First, a throwback to a previous episode on how to...Show More

19:30 | Feb 1st, 2013

Didn't get the flu this past winter? Thank a psychologist. What? Well, it could be that a psychologist was involved in helping health care professionals to do what they know they need to do (but sometimes don't): wash their hands. The issue here ...Show More

35:31 | Jan 23rd, 2013

How would you like to have an argument? Turns out that learning how to have a good argument might just be the best way to learn to think critically. In this episode I discuss a neat piece of research in which 7 and 8 year olds are taught how to eff...Show More

25:23 | Jan 6th, 2013

Everyone was horrified to hear that an adolescent, Adam Lanza, walked into an elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 adults as well as killing himself. Many people have offered their view as to what was wrong with Adam and about what we coul...Show More

34:06 | Nov 20th, 2012

Transference and Countertransference are two key concepts in psychoanalysis and they are fascinating. If you're interested in the therapy side of psychology - particularly psychoanalysis - this is the episode for you. Kerry Malawista, psychoanalyst...Show More

31:41 | Nov 3rd, 2012

In episode 183 I talked about what critical thinking is and why it's important. Now we talk about why it's so darn hard to teach and to use critical thinking in our everyday lives. In this episode I'll discuss Dr. Daniel Willingham's advice to teac...Show More

36:34 | Oct 28th, 2012

Why does it concern psychologists that the Texas GOP platform recently opposed the teaching of critical thinking? Most of us have been told since we were very young that critical thinking is very important. Psychologists certainly agree and a lot o...Show More

35:50 | Oct 12th, 2012

Maybe you've heard of gamification, but how do you do it exactly? How do you use game principles to increase people's motivation when they are doing everyday ordinary activities? Find out in this episode of The Psych Files when I show you how I wou...Show More

27:56 | Sep 24th, 2012

Let's talk sports psychology. When you participate in a sport do you talk to yourself? Do you try to "psych yourself up", or do you give yourself instructions on how to hold a part of your body or how much energy to exert or when to hold back? Thi...Show More

42:15 | Aug 28th, 2012

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 an...Show More

37:58 | Aug 13th, 2012

Do women who work in typically male dominated jobs "play down" their femininity in order to be gain more respect from their male co-workers? In this episode we'll explore this stereotype threat as well as something you may not have heard of: the lip...Show More

46:09 | Jul 3rd, 2012

There is a lot of talk these days about a fascinating idea called embodied cognition. What is it exactly? In this lively interview I talk with two people who are actively looking into this question. We discuss how the body and mind "talk" to each ...Show More

27:16 | Jun 24th, 2012

In this follow-up to episode 176 I discuss two more reasons why I believe some people either don't like or just distrust psychology: 1) the belief that it is not a science, and 2) the belief - created by the media - that psychologists make a lot of m...Show More

24:39 | Jun 19th, 2012

Why do so many people have strongly negative feelings about the field of psychology? I think there are a handful of reasons and in this episode I talk about two of them: the so-called "self-esteem movement" and the "positive thinking" movement. Are...Show More

57:30 | Apr 23rd, 2012

Have psychologists recently found evidence for the existence of psychic ability? Last year, well-known psychologist Daryl Bem published an article called Feeling the Future in which he describes a number of studies, all of which provided support for...Show More

31:01 | Apr 4th, 2012

Did you know that you can apply your psychology skills to the development of effective websites? Meet one woman - Nathalie Nahai - who does exactly that and she has a background in not only psychology, but also Art, Physics and English Literature. ...Show More

36:23 | Mar 8th, 2012

A whole bunch of fascinating studies in this episode of The Psych Files! I cover the "Red Dress Effect", what exactly we're looking for in the facial characteristics of our leaders, how dark rooms might make you more likely to cheat, and how "contag...Show More

26:32 | Feb 15th, 2012

You probably know that sites like Facebook are using the information they have about you - like your age, gender and interests - to serve up ads that are most likely to appeal to you. That's a little bit harmless and perhaps even helpful. But how a...Show More

17:28 | Jan 3rd, 2012

Guess What? Bad news: if you've ever been overweight and you're trying to lose weight it's even harder than you think. Yikes. Pretty de-motivating. However, let's see what motivational psychologists would have to say about this. How to keep from ...Show More

28:52 | Dec 31st, 2011

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 ...Show More

31:56 | Nov 5th, 2011

Just about everyone finds poop disgusting right? So who finds it not so disgusting? Would you believe women in their 20s who are in the middle of their menstrual cycle, and who have motherhood as one of their goals in life? Disgust has become quit...Show More

32:25 | Oct 22nd, 2011

Do animals smile? Do they feel emotions and if so how many kinds of feelings do they share with us? In this episode we also take a look at the probiotics in yogurt - how do they affect your thinking and do they might help protect you from stress. I...Show More

23:11 | Oct 11th, 2011

In episode 160 I discussed the first 2 ideas on how to spend your money wisely. In this episode I'll talk about 4 more great ideas on how to get the most from your money and 2 things you have to be careful about. Get the latest findings from positi...Show More

35:52 | Oct 3rd, 2011

Looking for a self-help book with some meat? One that won't insult your intelligence with flowery words and hyped up promises and pseudoscience? Take a look at the book Redirect by psychologist and author Tim Wilson. Redirect will give you a lot t...Show More

32:40 | Sep 6th, 2011

What's Wrong With a Little Gossip? While some research points out that gossipers are in general disliked, there is an upside: sharing negative gossip can actually help two people like each other better. In this episode we'll find out the benefits o...Show More

30:19 | Aug 19th, 2011

But I studied!! Don't be frustrated with low grades. If you study RIGHT you will get good grades. What does that mean to study right? I've got 5 techniques that will help you get better grades and one very important warning about something you ma...Show More

36:04 | Aug 10th, 2011

You hear a lot these days about how pets make us happy. This is called the "pet effect". But is it so? The answer appears to be a qualified yes. But in what ways do pets make us happy? How strong is their effect on our lives? Also, how about re...Show More

30:17 | Jul 29th, 2011

What do you have to do to get into grad school in Psychology? A lot of people apply. Who ARE these people and how are you going to stand out among them? Meet one future grad student - Erin Breedlove - who is a college junior and she's already posit...Show More

32:22 | Jul 19th, 2011

Is cuddling good - especially for men - in marriage? Do baths make you feel less lonely, is Google really making you stupid, how does your body language affect your feelings, and....is that your cell phone vibrating? In this 2nd Psych Files brief I ...Show More

28:56 | Jul 8th, 2011

The trial of accused child murdered Casey Anthony is over and Casey was found not guilty. Most people are extremely upset because she appeared to be guilty for many reasons. I give you 5 reasons why Casey Anthony might not be guilty. None of these ar...Show More

24:31 | Jun 28th, 2011

What is the REAL reason why you either support or oppose gay marriage? We may give logical reasons for our opinions, but the roots behind your opinion lies - where else? - in your past. So let's dive into your mind as we always do here in the Psych...Show More

25:46 | Jun 21st, 2011

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 ...Show More

16:49 | Jun 7th, 2011

Piaget's concept of object permanence is essential to understand. But how did they study this idea among 1 year olds? Obviously children can't tell you that they believe that something no longer exists when they can't see it, so how do we know what...Show More

32:19 | May 31st, 2011

You've probably heard of many times when people knew that someone was hurt or might be hurt and they did not help. How can we prevent that from happening? You may have learned about bystander apathy and the concept of diffusion of responsibility. ...Show More

34:05 | May 22nd, 2011

What can we do to end bullying against gays? There is a shocking increase in the number of young homosexuals who are commit suicide. Many anti-bullying programs don't work and in this episode I talk to Dr. Elizabeth J. Meyer of Concordia University...Show More

22:04 | May 18th, 2011

In this first Psych Files Brief episode, we look at whether swearing actually reduces your sensation of pain (ever stub your toe?), whether or not vertical stripes actually do make you look thinner (no surprise - the answer is no), whether you're mor...Show More

27:35 | May 12th, 2011

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...Show More

30:35 | Apr 12th, 2011

Feeling guilty about not being a "Tiger Mom" (or Dad)? Let me give you 3 reasons why you don't have to feel that way. Get yourself ready for the next time that someone says that you (or parents in general) have to be tougher on our kids. You've...Show More

25:32 | Mar 25th, 2011

Americans spend billions of dollars on self-help products each year, but does someone else hold the answers to your questions about what your life is all about? Join me as I discuss a fascinating book called If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill ...Show More

24:24 | Mar 19th, 2011

Curious about EMDR? Listen to this interview with the founder of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Dr. Francine Shapiro talk about EMDR and how it is different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is an intriguing and unique ty...Show More

19:09 | Mar 6th, 2011

Do you have a dull job? Wonder how it can be made more motivating? That's the challenge - how can we make jobs that are typically not much fun (like an assembly line job) more interesting to do? This is one of the challenges facing I/O psychologis...Show More

18:09 | Feb 27th, 2011

Join me as I describe a psychological study that tested a new kind of lie detector. The study involved Agents, Missions, an Interception, and a mysterious package. This is psychology? You better believe it.

27:44 | Feb 6th, 2011

In this episode I put Jack Lalanne on the couch. I take selections from several of his vidoes and see what they reveal about his personality. He was clearly passionate about exercise, but what drove this passion? What was his underlying motivation...Show More

20:39 | Jan 23rd, 2011

I'll bet you've heard of the expression, "Whatever doesn't kill you...", or "Suffering is good for the soul". Could these expression represent another way that we deal with our own anxiety after we hear about someone else's tragedy?

41:38 | Dec 23rd, 2010

Have you watched the TV show Walking Dead or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps Zombieland or Dawn of the Dead? What is so fascinating about the undead? Why do many of us get a strange pleasure out of seeing a zombie get killed? In this episo...Show More

26:40 | Dec 13th, 2010

Can science study love? Are we able to scientifically determine what romance is all about? There seem to be times, particularly when people hold strong beliefs, that we just don't want to hear what scientists have to say. We talk a lot these days ...Show More

38:19 | Nov 28th, 2010

In part 2 of my interview with Adele Faber, co-author along with Elaine Mazlish of "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" we talk about what do do when you've got nothing left emotionally to give to your children, how to handl...Show More

28:02 | Nov 19th, 2010

Are you familiar with Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish's classic book "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk"? You should be. It's not just for parents. The ideas in this book and in their other books should be required readin...Show More

39:30 | Nov 2nd, 2010

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. ...Show More

21:55 | Oct 22nd, 2010

Are you embarrassed to take your clothes off in front of your doctor? Most of us are. Well, what if your doctor was a robot? Would this make it easier or harder to remove your clothes? Before you answer - would it matter if the robot looked like ...Show More

15:17 | Oct 8th, 2010

What part of your brain is lighting up when you're singing? In this episode I take a look at a neat new study that involved having singers lie down in an MRI while their brains were scanned.

31:28 | Sep 16th, 2010

Here's a fun piece of psychological research: finding out whether children use statistical information to figure out other people. We know kids are very perceptive and learn quickly. This study shows just how smart they really are.

20:18 | Jul 13th, 2010

You've probably heard about these Brain Training games. Do they really help you to keep your mind sharp? Will they prevent cognitive decline or slow the effects of alzheimer's disease? In this episode I review some recent studies on the effectiven...Show More

34:29 | Jun 7th, 2010

For some reason we believe that our memories are accurate. They are far from it. What we remember is a hodge-podge, a patchwork of images, stories, and bits and pieces from our past. In this episode I describe some of the very interesting research...Show More

23:21 | May 31st, 2010

Would you be surprised if I told you that your memories of the attacks on September 11, 2001 are inaccurate? How much of what you remember of that day or of other Flashbulb Memories actually happened? Where were you, for example, when the Challenger...Show More

34:03 | Apr 22nd, 2010

What does the movie Shrek have to do with labeling, psychiatric illness and the self-fulfilling prophecy? In this episode I take a close look at the well-known Rosenhan study. This was the study in which pseudopatients pretend to hear voices and on ...Show More

28:51 | Mar 29th, 2010

Have you ever deliberately replaced small words with bigger ones in order to sound more intelligent? Guess what - it usually doesn't work. In a series of studies Daniel Oppenheimer showed that writers actually came across as less intelligent when t...Show More

22:20 | Mar 23rd, 2010

Have you ever been less than truthful in an email? Or perhaps a little more blunt or emotional than you might have been if you delivered your message in person? Why is it that people can sometimes be so mean in their online comments? In this episo...Show More

25:43 | Mar 12th, 2010

A lot of people get into psychology because they think they are good listeners, but are you really a good listener? What does it mean to be a good listener? In this episode I look at a fascinating acting exercise created by Sanford Meisner called t...Show More

27:00 | Feb 23rd, 2010

What is it like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD? Listen to this interview with a young woman who deals with OCD every day and you'll get a much better understanding of what OCD is like. You have probably heard of the term OCD and p...Show More

27:45 | Feb 12th, 2010

Do you like working in a group? Most people don't because they're afraid that they'll have to do most of the work (wind up being a sucker) and that other group members won't do their share of the work (free loaders). Want to find out how to avoid t...Show More

19:57 | Jan 5th, 2010

Little Albert - one of the most famous subjects in the history of psychology - has finally been identified. Researchers spent 7 years tracking down every possible lead in order to discover who John Watson's "Albert B" really was. In this video epis...Show More

44:51 | Dec 28th, 2009

I interview Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, author of 50 Myths of Popular Psychology and we talk about, a) whether the polygraph actually works, b) whether women really talk more than men, c) does handwriting analysis reveals your personality and d) when you'r...Show More

27:13 | Dec 17th, 2009

In part 2 of my interview with David Buss, he responds to more criticisms of evolutionary psychology. Here's what we cover: a) does evolutionary psychology just give criminals another reason not to take responsibility for themselves?, b) is all the...Show More

29:49 | Dec 6th, 2009

There has been a lot of criticism of evolutionary psychology. How do researchers respond? One of the leading researchers in this field - Dr. David Buss of the University of Texas responds to these critics in part 1 of this 2 part episode. Find out ...Show More

29:37 | Nov 22nd, 2009

Are celebrities really more narcissistic than you are? Is your Facebook page telling the world that you are a narcissist? And finally: who is Shakespeare's most narcissistic character? I'll give you a hint: the character can be found in Twelfth Nig...Show More