Psychology RSS feed for this section

Creativity and Madness – with Shelley Carson

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard Extension School. This fourth interview of the series is with Shelley Carson, an associate of Harvard University’s Department of Psychology, a lecturer at Harvard Extension School, and also a blogger for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post!

Carson’s scholarship focuses largely on the connection between creativity and mental illness. While it’s common knowledge that artists and writers have a tendency towards depression (and drink!) only recently has the link been so clearly established.
But Carson also argues that creativity is not just the province of an elect few, it’s a trait that, with a bit of effort, we can all claim for ourselves.  Her new book, called Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity and Innovation in Your Life, lays out a clear method for awakening and encouraging our own inherent creativity.
Carson’s expertise also extends to the subject of resilience, and if there’s anything this planet needs, it’s the ability to bounce back, and live to fight another day.  Her research has also caught the attention of the Department of Defense, where she consults on web-based PTSD treatments for soldiers recovering from trauma.

This video of our interview is only an introduction, so….
Click here to hear the entire conversation! (13 minutes)

Posted on March 5, 2011 in Faculty Insight, Psychology
Continue Reading

Is Addiction a Choice? Harvard’s Gene Heyman says yes!

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard University Extension School. This first interview of the series is with Gene Heyman, a faculty member at the Extension School and a lecturer on psychology at Harvard Medical School. Professor Heyman’s controversial new book, called Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, asks if addiction is a disease, and anwers: no!

Posted on June 5, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Psychology
Continue Reading

Jonah Lehrer on Emotional Hijacking and “How We Decide”

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Note: this interview was broadcast on WGBH in Boston as well as on the WGBH Cape and Islands affiliate WCAI/WNAN!

Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer (photo credit: Lori Duff)

Jonah Lehrer, the precocious author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, has come out with a new book called How We Decide. He spoke at the Harvard Book Store, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Click here to listen (28 minutes.)

After his talk, ThoughtCast spoke with Lehrer briefly about the value of emotion in rational decision making, the power of wishful thinking to hijack our reason, and the potential to retrain the brain via the mind. According to Lehrer, we’d generally be better off sticking to our instincts, our initial reaction or impulse, rather than over-think things. Calm, cool deliberation, it turns out, doesn’t always lead to the best results. Jonah Lehrer is a Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, and has written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
Click here to listen to this rather noisy interview (8:50 minutes.)

Posted on July 20, 2009 in Economics, Ideas, Philosophy, Psychology, Science
Continue Reading

The Dopamine Economy

Note: this story was picked up by WAMC, Northeast Public Radio, and also broadcast on the WGBH affiliate WCAI/WNAN, on the Cape and Islands!

dopamine brain
dopamine brain
Wall Street on Drugs: What motivated these former masters of the universe? And why did they act like kindergartners? ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh speaks with James Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT, and Jonah Lehrer, the author of “Proust Was a Neuroscientist” and “How We Decide”, as well as the writer and public intellectual Jim Holt and the Harvard economist Alberto Alesina.
Here’s another question — don’t the continental Europeans like dopamine as much as we do? And — where do we get our fix now??

Click here to listen (3:24 minutes.)

Posted on April 7, 2009 in Economics, MIT, Psychology
Continue Reading

The Economic Pits with James Poterba

Note: this interview was broadcast on the WGBH public radio affiliate WCAI, on the Cape and Islands!

James Poterba

What is the right expression to describe today’s economic nightmare? I’m sick of “mess” and “crisis” is too bland. What about “cesspool”? Well, I compromised with “pits” — feel free to add your own juicy descriptions in ThoughtCast’s comments section!
Either way, I dived into the “pool” with MIT’s Mitsui Professor of Economics James Poterba, who’s also the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the think tank in charge of determining when recessions start … and end. Wouldn’t that be nice? Headlines proclaiming the “end” of this rather inordinate business cycle.
Are these ups and downs indeed just a part of capitalism’s inevitable booms and busts? Ought we to accept them as natural, rather than resist them? Or ought we to scrap the “system” and rebuild? You tell me…
But first, listen to this: (15:30 minutes).

Posted on February 23, 2009 in Economics, MIT, Politics, Psychology
Continue Reading

Marc Hauser on “Moral Minds”

Marc Hauser
Note: This interview was broadcast on WCAI/WNAN, and is also featured on WGBH’s Science Luminaries series, as part of WGBH Science City.
The provocative Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser recently spoke about “The Evolution of Our Moral Intuitions” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. This ThoughtCast interview with Hauser serves as a good “first course” — but to get to the meat and potatoes, check out his book Moral Minds.
Click here: to listen. (17:40 minutes)
And to listen to Marc Hauser on the WGBH Forum Network, click here!

Posted on April 20, 2007 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Psychology, Science
Continue Reading