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The Psychology Podcast


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.


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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.




Best of Series: The New Science of Resilience With George Bonanno

In this episode, I talk to George Bonanno about trauma and resiliency. We start off by discussing what people get wrong about trauma and how this led to the invention of the PTSD diagnosis. George defines what resilience is, how it’s different from growth, and its paradoxical correlation to individual differences. Finally, he elaborates on how the flexibility mindset and sequence help us get through personal traumatic events or global tragedies like 9/11 or the COVID-19 pandemic. See for privacy information.


Best Of Series: The Power of Passion and Perseverance With Angela Duckworth

In this week's episode of The Psychology Podcast, we continue the "Best of Series" with Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.Our conversation revolves around judgment and decision-making. According to Kahneman, noise and bias are everywhere but we don't tend to notice it. We talk about how to reduce noise and bias, and what it means to think fast and slow. See for privacy information.


Best of Series: A Remarkable Life, Fast and Slow With Daniel Kahneman

In this week's episode of The Psychology Podcast, we continue the "Best of Series" with Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.Our conversation revolves around judgment and decision-making. According to Kahneman, noise and bias are everywhere but we don't tend to notice it. We talk about how to reduce noise and bias, and what it means to think fast and slow. See for privacy information.


Best of Series: Surprising Truths about the Human Brain with Lisa Feldman Barrett

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. See for privacy information.


The Secret to a Happy Life || Robert Waldinger

Today we welcome Robert Waldinger to the podcast. Robert is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest. He is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development. His TEDx talk on this subject has received nearly 44 million views, and is the 9th most watched TED talk of all time. He is the co-author of The Good Life with Dr. Marc Schulz.In this episode, I talk to Robert Waldinger about the secret to a happy life. Robert shares with us the recent findings of The Grant Study, which is the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted. It’s been ongoing for more than 80 years now, and has had high profile participants like US President John F. Kennedy. Robert and I get into the details of how they continue to conduct research and how to make sense of both the new and old data. Sure enough, what the study has found consistent is the power of connection. We also touch on the topics of psychodynamic therapy, defense mechanisms, attachment, and psychological research. See for privacy information.


The New Science of Flow || Orin Davis

Today we welcome Orin Davis to the podcast. Orin Davis earned the first doctorate in positive psychology, and is a self-actualization engineer who enables people to do and be their best. As the Principal Investigator of the Quality of Life Laboratory, he conducts research on flow, creativity, hypnosis, and mentoring. Dr. Davis consults for companies from startups to multinationals on hiring strategies, culture, innovation, and employee well-being. He is the author of Team Flow: The psychology of optimal collaboration. In this episode, I talk to Orin Davis about the new science of flow. A lot of people are familiar with the concept of flow, but according to Dr. Davis, the experience of it is not very common. We discuss Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work and how Dr. Davis is expanding the research of flow by studying it at a group level. He talks about how we can increase the chances of experiencing flow for both individuals and teams. We also touch on the topics of microflow, hypnosis, absorption, positive psychology, and self-actualization. Website: Twitter: @DrOrinDavis Topics 02:11 Orin’s dissertation 03:18 What is the flow experience? 09:01 Neuroscience of flow 11:57 Team flow 18:53 The whole team needs to be in flow 20:32 Flow is rare 22:07 How to increase flow 28:42 Democratizing flow 31:00 Microflow 35:14 How to spark team flow 36:43 Hypnosis and absorption 44:59 The autotelic personality 47:03 Modern-day positive psychology 51:44 Know thyself See for privacy information.


The Psychology of Secrets || Michael Slepian

Today we welcome Michael Slepian to the podcast. Michael is the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia University. A recipient of the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science, he is the leading expert on the psychology of secrets. He’s authored more than fifty articles on secrecy, truth, and deception. Michael’s research has been covered by The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR, BBC, The Wall Street Journal and more. He is the author of The Secret Life of Secrets. In this episode, I talk to Michael Slepian about the psychology of secrets. Everyone has secrets that they keep from others—how does this affect our relationships and well-being? According to Michael, maintaining privacy is not the most burdensome aspect. Carrying a secret all by ourselves is what weighs us down. Michael and I explore the different categories of secrets and we talk about when to reveal the deepest parts of ourselves and who to reveal them to. We also touch on the topics of personality, morality, trauma, developmental psychology and communication. Website: Twitter: @michaelslepian Topics 02:04 Michael’s family secret 05:38 Defining secrecy 11:12 Correlation of personality with secret keeping 13:01 Revealing secrets 18:56 Categories of secrets 24:31 Healthy communication with children 29:50 Morality of secret keeping 34:20 Jamie Kunz and Dale Coventry's secret 36:27 Journaling and emotional support 40:25 Three dimensions of secrets 44:09 How to deflect direct questions 46:05 Sharing secrets anonymously 47:46 Secret joys See for privacy information.


The Power of Wonder || Monica Parker

Today we welcome Monica Parker to the podcast. Monica is the founder of global human analytics and change consultancy HATCH, whose clients include blue-chip companies such as LinkedIn, Google, Prudential, and LEGO. Her career has been nothing short of colorful, having been an opera singer, a museum exhibition designer, a policy director, a Chamber of Commerce CEO, and a homicide investigator. She is also a world-renowned speaker, writer, and the author of The Power of Wonder. In this episode, I talk to Monica Parker about the power of wonder. In today’s fast-paced world, most people fail to notice the richness of life. To become more wonder-prone, Monica encourages us all to slow down and pursue meaningful exploration. When we pay more careful attention to the world, we become more empathetic, resilient, and exuberant. Monica shares with us her cycle of wonder framework and how we can be more open and present in our daily lives. We also touch on the topics of personality, post-traumatic growth, mindfulness, and education. Website: Instagram: @monicacparker Topics 02:06 Monica’s background and expertise 03:26 The Power of Wonder 06:41 Cycle of Wonder 17:22 The wandering mind 22:18 Wonder shifts our perception 27:15 Slow thought and quality sleep 30:21 Wonder-prone mindset 32:28 Wonderstruck during crisis 36:26 Wonder bringers 39:14 Teaching wonder in schools 45:29 There’s more to life 47:37 Take a daily wonder walk See for privacy information.


Life Without Free Will || Robert Sapolsky

Today we welcome Robert Sapolsky to the podcast. ​​Robert is professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. His research has been featured in the National Geographic documentary "Stress: Portrait of a Killer". At age 30, Robert received the MacArthur Foundation's "genius" grant. He is author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, A Primate's Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone and Monkeyluv. His latest book is called Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will. In this episode, I talk to Robert Sapolsky about life without free will. Humans like the idea of having control over their lives, but Robert asserts that free will is just an illusion. Life beyond free will may sound unpleasant, but Robert explains the profound consequences of this belief in reforming the justice system, meritocracy, and education. We also touch on the topics of philosophy, quantum physics, mindfulness, grit, and responsibility. LinkedIn: Topics 02:38 Robert’s background and upbringing 05:43 Life without free will 13:16 Believing in free will 24:05 Responsibility and punishment 33:14 The future cannot be determined 43:45 Mindfulness - a form of free will? 48:37 The human experience 53:41 Abolish the justice system and meritocracy 1:04:03 Statistical guilt 1:07:21 Effort, grit and taking credit 1:16:40 Nobody is more “worthy” 1:23:29 Life is worth living See for privacy information.


The Psychology of Humor || Bob Mankoff

Today we welcome Bob Mankoff to the podcast. For over 40 years, Bob Mankoff has been the driving force of comedy and satire at some of the most honored publications in America, including The New Yorker and Esquire. He is the founder of Cartoon Collections, parent company to, the world’s most successful cartoon licensing platform. For twenty years as Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker, Bob pored over thousands of submissions each week, analyzing, critiquing, and selecting each cartoon. In 2005, he helped start the “New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest.” Bob is the author of numerous books, including his New York Times bestselling memoir, How About Never – Is Never Good For You?: My Life In Cartoons. In this episode, I talk to Bob Mankoff about the psychology of humor. Looking back at his illustrious career as a cartoonist, Bob talks about his early beginnings and the people he's mentored in the field. He explains the anatomy of a joke and reveals his all-time favorite cartoons. While humans are creative creatures, Bob believes that using AI and technology can further augment our intelligence and humor by opening up worlds of possibilities. Website: Twitter: @BobMankoff Topics 02:14 Bob’s childhood & upbringing 10:42 Personality of cartoonists and comedians 19:54 Types of humor 23:44 The grand scheme of time 26:28 Augmenting intelligence and creativity 38:30 Cartoon Bank 44:24 All-time favorite cartoons 52:17 Theory of humor 57:49 Censorship & cancel culture 01:01:24 Bob Mankoff’s legacy See for privacy information.


Buddhism and the Impermanence of Life || Joseph Goldstein

Today we welcome Joseph Goldstein to the podcast. Joseph is a co-founder and the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) along with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg. He is one of the first American vipassana teachers and has been teaching Buddhist meditation worldwide since 1974. A contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism, his publications include Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, One Dharma, Insight Meditation and others. In this episode, I talk to Joseph Goldstein about Buddhism and the impermanence of life. Being too attached to the self can bring suffering. However, this doesn’t mean that we need to forego our identities or self-care. Joseph explains that enlightenment can be achieved when the mind is free from clinging. He talks about the different states that can help us realize the insight of impermanence and selflessness. We also touch on the topics of mindfulness, compassion, creativity, and wisdom. Website: Twitter: @onedharma Topics 03:01 Joseph’s background and expertise 09:31 Enlightenment 15:11 Balance of mind 24:15 Noticing per minute 31:02 Mindfulness and flow 35:38 Wisdom is insight 38:00 Creativity 41:20 Different mind states 49:51 The tales of Sisyphus and Icarus 55:29 Skillful means 58:53 Flow of being 1:02:04 Unprompted mindfulness 1:04:42 Equanimity 1:09:24 Compassion and connection See for privacy information.


Expand Your Self || Dan Siegel

Today we welcome Dan Siegel to the podcast. Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Dr. Siegel is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute. He’s authored numerous articles, chapters, and books including the New York Times bestsellers Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human and Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence. His latest book is called IntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) as the Integration of Self, Identity, and Belonging. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Dan Siegel about expanding the notion of the self. Modern culture has taught us that the self is all about individual identity and personal experiences. But Dr. Siegel posits that who we are is not limited to the brain or body. He argues that the self is not isolated, it’s composed of our relationships to other living beings and to the natural world. This expanded view of the self has important implications for the trajectory of humanity. We also touch on the topics of consciousness, neuroscience, quantum physics, and the flow state. Website: Instagram: @DrDanSiegel Topics 02:20 Me + We 06:08 Expand your self 12:58 The self, the mind, and consciousness 42:15 Integrating all brain networks 59:43 Different styles of daydreaming 1:02:08 Wheel of awareness 1:08:38 We’re IntraConnected 1:11:21 Widening the window of tolerance See for privacy information.


Human Flourishing in Education || Nick Holton

Today we welcome Nick Holton to the podcast. Nick is an international speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. His work focuses on helping individuals become better versions of themselves through the application of the cutting-edge science of human flourishing, a synergistic development of both peak performance and overall well-being and fulfillment. He works with individuals, teams, businesses, and organizations ranging from professional athletes, NCAA programs, educational institutions, first responders and Fortune 100 executives. He is co-founder of The Antifragile Academy and he also co-hosts the podcast, FlourishFM which is sponsored by the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard and the Department of Education at Oxford. Nick has worked with clients, given talks, and delivered training across the U.S., Europe, India, Australia, Uganda, Singapore, Mexico, and South America. In this episode, I talk to Nick Holton about human flourishing. Our current education system is primarily concerned with teaching academic subjects. While building knowledge is essential, this is not enough to allow students to self-actualize. Nick points out that young people’s need to matter should be addressed as well. To facilitate human flourishing, we need to embed the different principles of positive psychology both inside and outside of the classroom. Nick and I believe that education can transform society for the better, and we exchange ideas on how we can build an ecosystem that fosters holistic development. Website: Twitter: @dr_nickholton Topics 02:23 Nick’s background and expertise 11:16 Coaching each individual 13:35 The need for mattering 21:49 What is human flourishing? 25:21 Education can transform society 29:56 Positive education 38:59 The Shipley School 42:40 Holistic development 51:38 FlourishFM 55:41 Flourishing outside the classroom See for privacy information.


The New Landscape of Leadership || Jeffrey Hull

Today we welcome Jeffrey Hull to the podcast. Jeffrey is a highly sought-after facilitator, keynote speaker and executive coach to both nonprofit and for-profit global organizations. He is the Executive Director of the Institute of Coaching, based at McLean Hospital. Jeffrey is also a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct professor of leadership at New York University. His latest book is called Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World. In this episode, I talk to Jeffrey Hull about the new landscape of leadership. The world is changing, and alpha leadership is not the only way to manage a team. Jeffrey highlights the importance of beta leadership, a style that values emotion and collaboration. According to him, the most effective leaders know which style to lead with, depending on the situation. In addition to learning other ways of being, Jeffrey believes we need to leverage perspectives from the indigenous and neurodiverse communities. We also touch on the topics of emotional intelligence, coaching, creativity, and authenticity. Website: Twitter: @JeffreyHullPhD Topics 02:18 The beta boss 09:07 Inclusivity in all ways 12:50 Flexible communication 18:29 Emotional intelligence and vulnerability 25:48 Physical energy of being 28:27 Engagement: productivity or creativity 30:35 Collaboration occurs in safe spaces 33:01 Self-coaching 37:49 The future of coaching 43:46 We all have unique gifts 46:40 Dialogue, not disagreement 49:08 Age of convergence See for privacy information.


Build the Life You Want || Arthur Brooks

Today we welcome back Arthur Brooks to the podcast. ​​Arthur is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. He is also a columnist at The Atlantic, where he writes the popular weekly “How to Build a Life” column. A world-renowned speaker, he talks about human happiness, and works to raise well-being within private companies, universities, public agencies, and community organizations. His latest book, which he co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, is called Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier. In this episode, I talk to Arthur Brooks about building the life you want. People often think that happiness is a static end goal. But in reality, life will always have its ups and downs. According to Arthur, we can make choices that can improve our well-being despite the presence of challenges. He talks about how to find satisfaction through family, friends, meaningful work, and faith. Arthur also shares actionable steps around managing emotions and habits that can help us create a better life. We also touch on the topics of neuroscience, transcendence, evolutionary psychology, and love. Website: Twitter: @arthurbrooks Topics 02:50 Build the Life You Want 03:55 Writing the book with Oprah 10:14 Extremes are unhealthy 15:35 Unhappiness is not your enemy 17:38 Faith and transcendental experiences 21:22 Look for real friends, not deal friends 25:09 Work is love made visible 27:27 Love your enemies 37:28 Conflict is not hatred 39:59 Patterns of happiness vs individual variation 44:04 Family as a source of growth 47:36 The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) 49:07 Emotional substitution 51:13 Overcoming the negativity bias 55:40 Keep it simple See for privacy information.


Spotting Creative Potential || Troy Carter

Today we welcome Troy Carter to the podcast. Troy is the co-founder and CEO of Venice Music, a technology and media company focused on powering the business of music via distribution, services, and data analytics. Formerly, Troy was the founder and CEO of Atom Factory, where he rose to prominence, nurturing the careers of global superstars including Lady Gaga and John Legend. He most recently served at Spotify as its Global Head of Creator Services, overseeing the company's growth strategy for artists and record labels. In this episode, I talk to Troy Carter about spotting creative potential. Working in the entertainment industry has given Troy an eye for talent, but that’s not all it takes to become successful. Hard work, determination, and letting your personality shine through are also key components. Troy and I talk about musical geniuses and the future of the music industry with the advent of sophisticated AI tools. Website: Twitter: @justcallmetroy Topics 02:21 The golden age of hip hop 06:50 Spotting creative potential 13:26 East coast VS West coast hip hop 19:16 Discovering Lady Gaga 26:35 Be willing to bet on yourself 29:50 Musical geniuses 36:00 The creative process 41:59 How AI is changing music 49:36 Discovering new artists 53:19 Helping independent labels See for privacy information.


Find the Potential in Change || Maya Shankar

Today we welcome Maya Shankar to the podcast. Maya is a cognitive scientist and the creator and host of the podcast, “A Slight Change of Plans”. It was awarded as the Best Show of 2021 by Apple and received an Ambie award from the Podcast Academy in 2022. Maya has a postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive neuroscience from Stanford and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Oxford. She's a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music's pre-college program, where she was a private violin student of Itzhak Perlman. In this episode, I talk to Maya Shankar about change. Humans have a desire to attach roles to identities. But when events disrupt that, we may feel unsure of who we are. Having gone through huge shifts herself, Maya shares with us ways in which we can reconfigure our identities and pivot to pursue our goals in different ways. Change can be disorienting, but it affords us a deeper understanding of ourselves. Maya also believes it’s also an opportunity to re-examine our long held beliefs and values. We also touch on the topics of cognitive science, mindfulness, awe, and hope. Website: Twitter: @MayaUmaShankar Topics 02:43 Maya as a violinist 06:00 Identity paralysis 13:02 Reconfiguring identity 18:08 A blind cook becomes a master chef 21:10 Post ecstatic growth 24:07 It’s okay to change values 28:38 Mindfulness and awe 34:15 Re-examining our values 38:29 Embracing a flexible mindset 40:49 Cognitive closure 44:51 Maya’s Slight Change of Plans 48:31 Pivot your goals See for privacy information.


Finding Spiritual Peace through Mindful CBT || Seth Gillihan

Today we welcome Seth Gillihan to the podcast. Seth is a licensed psychologist who specializes in mindful cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Seth is also a therapy advisor with the self-therapy app Bloom, a medical reviewer for Everyday Health, and host of the Think Act Be podcast. Over the years, he’s authored multiple books on mindfulness and CBT. His latest book is called Mindful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Simple Path to Healing, Hope, and Peace. In this episode, I talk to Seth Gillihan about mindful CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to address mental health issues. Although proven to be helpful, Seth Gillihan believes that adding the component of mindfulness will not only improve our well-being, but can also help us find meaning, purpose, and peace. He shares with us the Think Act Be paradigm and ways we can be more in tune with ourselves. We also touch on the topics of alignment, spirituality, suffering, and openness to experience. Website: Instagram: @sethjgillihan Topics 02:30 Mindful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 11:11 Finding spiritual peace 17:17 Think Act Be paradigm 21:56 Connect with yourself 28:06 Saying yes to life 34:59 Work in alignment 40:53 Alignment practice 44:50 Coming home to yourself See for privacy information.


Find Freedom from Regret || Roberty Leahy

Today we welcome Dr. Robert L. Leahy, the Director of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy NYC and clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical School. Dr. Leahy serves on a number of scientific committees for international conferences on cognitive behavioral therapy and is a frequent keynote speaker throughout the world. He has authored 27 books about CBT, depression, worry, anxiety, and emotion regulation, which have been translated in 20 languages. His latest book is called If Only...: Finding Freedom from Regret. In this episode, I talked to Dr. Robert Leahy about finding freedom from regret. Regret is an unpleasant emotion that can motivate us to learn and grow, but there are times when it can keep us frozen in place. According to Dr. Leahy, this is why it’s important to make a distinction between productive and unproductive rumination. He shares the cognitive biases we have about loss and opportunity as well as strategies on how to let go of regret when it no longer serves us. Website: LinkedIn: Robert Leahy Topics 02:12 Why do we feel regret? 07:30 Regret is tied to expectations 12:57 Affective forecasting, coping, resilience 18:31 Existential perfectionism 20:45 The free lunch myth 24:19 Inaction inertia 26:58 Hindsight bias 28:32 Adaptive humility 32:39 Letting go of regret 36:36 The boredom technique 40:01 Productive guilt 43:45 The 8 habits of highly regretful people See for privacy information.


Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess || Caroline Leaf

Today we welcome Caroline Leaf to the podcast. Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a Masters and PhD in Communication Pathology and Logopaedics. Since the early 1980s, she has researched the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health and the formation of memory. Dr. Leaf is also the bestselling author of Switch on Your Brain, Think Learn Succeed, and Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess. Her latest book is called How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Caroline Leaf about managing the mind. The world is a crazy place and our minds can get disorderly trying to keep up with it! But according to Dr. Leaf, to have a messy mind is to be human. We don’t have to pathologize our emotions and thoughts. Instead, we can embrace them and implement strategies that allow us to better direct ourselves. Dr. Leaf shows us how to make sense of the messy mind and the scientific research behind those steps. We also touch on the topics of self-compassion, consciousness, trauma, and neuroplasticity. Website: & Instagram: @drcarolineleaf Topics 02:10 Dr. Leaf’s background and expertise 08:23 Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess 16:14 Managing the mind 23:47 Emotions are warning signals 30:26 Intrusive rumination 34:40 Detox from trauma 42:24 The Neurocycle 46:22 Where CBT works best 49:13 Dr. Leaf’s research See for privacy information.