Ep 228 (video): Did B.F.Skinner Raise His Children in a Skinner Box?

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You may have heard this rumor about B.F. Skinner raising his children in one of his (presumably oversized) "Skinner boxes". Is there any truth to this? Related rumors: that Skinner's daughter became mentally ill as a result of being raised in this box and that she sued her father when she became an adult. We finally find the answer to this long held belief in this fictional interview with B.F. himself (the audio is really Skinner talking). ...Ladies Home Journal ran a piece on the new crib in 1945...The title of the article, “Baby in a Box,” as well as Skinner’s use of the word … [Read more...]

Ep 227: I Remember How I Felt (Or Do You)?

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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 often we make mistakes doing it. In this episode you'll learn more about positive psychology from the authors of a new book called Pollyanna's Revenge. Another myth put to rest: "depressive realism" - the idea that there's an advantage to being depressed - that depressed people are more realistic about the world than non-depressed people. That's … [Read more...]

Ep 226 (video): The Psychology of Dance Part 2 – Importance of Marking

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Most performers "mark" when they're tired during rehearsals. Are they "not giving it their all" or are they getting quite a benefit from doing this? You'd be surprised at how beneficial marking can be. I talked about the psychology of dance in a previous episode but in this one I review the research on "marking", a practice which many performers do. If you're not familiar with marking, here's a definition from the authors of a recent study on how marking benefits dancers: "Marking involves enacting the sequence of movements with curtailed size and energy by diminishing the size of steps, … [Read more...]

Ep 225: What’s Best for Memory – Coffee or a Nap – or Both?

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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? Well, apparently you can get the benefit of both - if you do it right. In this episode we not only learn about the so-called "students' coffee" but we learn about the "coffee nap". If you do it just right you can get some great memory boosts. The Psychology Test Prep App Bundle is Here! Everything you need to prepare for your psych … [Read more...]

Dementia: When “Living in the Moment” is Not A Good Thing

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Tomorrow my mother turns 94 and her physical health is amazing. I have spoken about my mother and her husband Roy (who turns 99 next Spring) on this podcast several times including this episode where I interview him since he is in the final stage of Erikson's Eight Stages of PsychoSocial Development. Like many people her age my mother suffers from dementia which means that while her long term memory is good, her short term memory is not good at all. When she meets a new person you have to tell her that person's name many, many times. Eventually she will get it, but she does not remember … [Read more...]

Psychologists React to Robin Williams’ Death

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Shock and Sadness How has the mental health community reacted to Robin Williams' suicide? I've been reflecting on my own reaction as well as reading blog posts and news articles from other mental health professionals. Here's my take on what we're thinking. Like everyone else, mental health professionals found themselves saddened and speechless at Williams' loss. He was so unique and gave so much. He will be so missed. But Why Couldn’t He Have... It's so natural for us to think, "But he was rich and famous - couldn't he have brought himself out of this?". There are two things we … [Read more...]

Ep 224 (Video): If Freud Worked Tech Support

A humorous way to learn about the Freudian defense mechanisms (actually elaborated by Anna Freud) of Displacement, Denial, Sublimation, Reaction Formation, and Projection. A little dream analysis thrown in. Who knows? Maybe Freud would have been good at tech support...(technically, this is a video version of episode 209). … [Read more...]

Ep 223: Little Albert’s Real Identity – Time to Rewrite the Textbooks

[This] dispute ... has been settled to the satisfaction of all neutral observers from journal editors to manuscript reviewers to ... textbook authors who have seen our articles. The argument is settled.....I would turn to the question of why it took the field of psychology 5+ years to get this sorted out." 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 indicating that a boy named Douglas … [Read more...]

Ep 222: How To Remember Jokes

How to Remember Jokes

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 for you along with a mnemonic to help you remember all 4 of them. I challenge you to listen to these 4 jokes, then listen to and picture my mnemonic images. Then wait a little while and go through the mnemonic image and I guarantee you'll remember all 4 jokes. Remembering anything for more than a few minutes requires not only repetition, but also something else that will make the to-be-remembered thing stick in your head. That thing can be a … [Read more...]

Ep 221: The Facebook Experiment: Reaction from Psychologists

Facebook Experiment on Social Contagion

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. They interpret this as an indication of Social Contagion on a massive scale (almost 700,000 Facebook users were part of the study). How did this affect these users? Did those who say negative posts become more negative and vice versa? The answer is that the research indicates that some of them - though a very, very few of them - did subsequently write posts that were similar to the ones … [Read more...]