Ep 192: An Example of How Psychoanalysts Really Interpret Dreams

Dream AnalysisWhat do psychologists really think about your dreamsdo 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 that happened in the dream that you remember) and a latent content (the unconscious meaning of the dream). Do we still think this? Also: can you look up in a book or online to find out what your dreams meant? If you dream about a cat for example – what does this mean? In this episode I explore these questions with author and psychoanalyst Kerry Malawista. She and her colleagues discuss this topic in their book, Wearing My Tutu To Analysis. I’ll talk to her and include my own thoughts about whether or not dreams have meaning and whether you should be taking the time to analyze them.
[Read more...]

Ep 187: I’d Like to Have an Argument Please (critical thinking part 3)

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 effectively argue. And they do a darn good job of it as it turns out. Perhaps this is the way to teach our young people critical thinking: give them some great books to read – like The Giving Tree – and have them discuss what they think about it. The key ingredient: making sure that they fully understand the point of view of the other person. This’ll be fun. I promise. Especially since I’ve got a couple funny clips from Monty Python’s Argument Clinic sketch to help move things along. [Read more...]

Ep 184: Critical Thinking (Part 2) – Important? Yes. But Can We Teach It? Well….

The importance of critical thinking for childrenIn 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 teachers on what they can do to effectively teach critical thinking – something that couldn’t be more important in today’s world where misinformation is all around us. Make sure to take a look at the concept map below. [Read more...]

Ep 183: Critical Thinking – Important? Yes. But Can We Teach It? Well….

Can We Teach Children to Think Critically?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 of time spent in most psychology classes is spent learning how to think critically. Why is it such a central part of our classes? And here’s a kicker: it might be a lot harder to teach it than we had hoped. Find out why critical thinking is so central to psychology. Sounds kinda dry? I think you’ll find this a lot of fun (in a mental kind of way…).

Critical thinking is essential if we are to get to the root of our problems and develop
reasonable solutions. After all, the quality of everything we do
is determined by the quality of our thinking. – The Critical Thinking Community

[Read more...]

EP 177: Why You Hate Psychology – Media Bias and Misunderstandings about How Science Works

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 money for giving out common sense advice. I hope you’ll see that psychology is not unlike other sciences in that we study something extremely complex and yes, sometimes our findings are contradictory and they change over time. However, psychologist Timothy Wilson makes some excellent points about this concern in his recent article in the Los Angeles times, Stop Bullying the Soft Sciences. Also, the media focuses – as usual – on only the most unlikely behavior of psychologists (like having sex with patients) or portraying them as having messed up personal lives. Let’s find out the truth (well, at least from one psychologist’s perspective).
[Read more...]