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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.




How To Be The Love You Seek w/ Dr. Nicole LePera

This week Scott is joined by “The Holistic Psychologist ”, Dr. Nicole LePera, author of the new book "How To Be The Love You Seek". They discuss the importance of being emotionally connected to yourself, healing personal traumas, and expressing your emotions authentically to others. See for privacy information.


Cancelling Cancel Culture w/ Greg Lukianoff & Rikki Schlott

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No Bad Parts w/ Richard Schwartz

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Climbing The Mountains of Life and Fulfilling Your Maximum Potential w/ Alison Levine

This week Scott is joined by Author and American Mountain climbing legend, Alison Levine, to discuss pushing through fatigue to find your inner strength, turning personal moments of “no” into moments of “yes”, and tapping into your fullest potential whatever mountain you are climbing. See for privacy information.


Right Brain, Creativity, and Meaning in Life w/ Iain McGilchrist

This week, Scott is joined by Psychiatrist and Author of "The Matter with Things", Iain McGilchrist, for a wide-ranging conversation spanning the main differences between left brain and right brain functions, the creative brain, intelligence, the source of truth, and the metaphysical realm of human existence. See for privacy information.


New Year, New Personality: Science-Backed Tips to Actually Change Yourself

Happy 2024 Psychology Podcast listeners. It's a new year and it's time to finally change your personality. Forget the fluff-- Scott is here to bring you some science-backed tips to actually become a new you. See for privacy information.


A Message To Our Listeners

Happy 2024 listeners! A heads up that we'll be dark to start the year but will be back and better than ever in 2 weeks! See for privacy information.


Best of Series: The Latest science of Growth Mindset With Carol Dweck

Today it’s a real honor to have Carol Dweck on the podcast. Dr. Dweck is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research examines the role of mindsets in personal achievement and organizational effectiveness. Dr. Dweck has also held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups around the world, has addressed the United Nations, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and has won 12 lifetime achievement awards for her research. Her best-selling book Mindset has been widely influential and has been translated into over 25 languages. See for privacy information.


Best of Series: Inside Consciousness with Antonio DiMasio

Today we welcome Dr. Antonio Damasio. He is an internationally recognized neuroscientist whose extensive research has shaped the understanding of neural systems and consciousness. With over a hundred journal articles and book chapters, he has earned many prestigious awards throughout his career. Currently, he serves as University Professor, the David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Philosophy, and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. His books Descartes’ Error, Looking for Spinoza, Self Comes to Mind, The Strange Order of Things, and Feeling & Knowing, have been published in translation and are taught in universities throughout the world. In this episode, I talk to Antonio Damasio about consciousness. People often think that the mind and consciousness are the same thing, but Dr. Damasio disputes this notion. He argues that it’s the complex relationship of both our brains and bodies that makes sentient thought possible. Homeostatic feelings like hunger and pain developed before emotions; and along with it came consciousness. We also touch on the topics of perception, mental illness, evolution, panpsychism, AI and machine learning. Website: Twitter: @damasiousc See for privacy information.


Best of Series: On Human Nature and Human Progress With Noam Chomsky

Today it’s great to have the legendary Noam Chomsky on the podcast. Noam is a public intellectual, linguist, and political activist. He’s the author of many influential books, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, and his latest book with Robert Pollin called Climate Crisis and The Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving The Planet. Chomsky is also known for helping to initiate and sustain the cognitive revolution. He’s the Laureate Professor of Linguistics at The University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. Topics [02:06] The cognitive revolution of the ‘50s and ‘60s [03:49] Noam’s first encounter with behaviorism [12:41] What it was like to be part of the cognitive revolution [17:49] Implicit learning and artificial grammar [26:30] Noam’s view on modern-day behavioral genetics [28:05] Noam's thoughts on intelligence [32:02] Noam’s take on creativity [38:41] Chomsky's view vs. Foucault's view [42:49] Noam’s thoughts on modern-day social justice movements [45:50] Is there such a thing as human nature? [49:06] Identity vs. human nature [54:54] Noam’s views on race consciousness in America [59:16] Why Noam thinks Trump is the worst criminal in human history [1:00:34] How can democrats appeal to Trump supporters? [1:03:47] Cancel culture [1:05:10] The complexities of the slogan "defund the police" [1:08:36] Noam reflects on his life regrets [1:10:17] Chomsky's life advice See for privacy information.


Best of Series: Where Does Greatness Come From? With David Epstein

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: Twitter: @DavidEpstein See for privacy information.


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 Angela Duckworth. Angela Duckworth researches self-control and grit, which is defined as passion and perseverance for long term goals. Her research has demonstrated that there are factors that can be more predictive of success than IQ. In this episode we cover some of her findings on grit, including academic and popular misconceptions of this work. We also discuss research on standardized testing, self-control and more. 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.