Ep: 231: Multiple Personalities and Tips on Getting People to Help

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Is there such a thing as a person having multiple personalities? What about Sybil and “All About Eve” – did they really have multiple personalities? The idea makes for great headlines and fascinating talk shows, but what’s the real story? I talk about that in this episode of The Psych Files along with giving tips on how to maximize the chances you’ll get help in an emergency and answer the question: is the new generation of teens lazy or is something wrong with the way we’re thinking about them? Another good example of Social Comparison theory.

Multiple Personalities

Social Comparison Theory


Bystander Intervention


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 not so either and I think you’ll find a lot of interesting information in this episode about what affects your own level of happiness. Join me for a fascinating discussion about how we really react to the ups and downs of life.
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Ep 206: What It’s Like to Have Autism – Interview with Alex Lowrey

Alex Lowrey

Alex LowreyIts time to hear from someone who has been diagnosed with autism what life is like. Alex Lowery joins us to talk about growing up with autism – about the heightened sensations, the frustrations of not being understood and what has helped him get to where he is today. At 20, Alex gives talks about his life. This is a great place to increase your understanding of autism.
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Ep 186: The Shootings at Newtown – Could We Have Prevented It?

sanctuary Model


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“Hurt people, hurt people” – The Sanctuary Model

Everyone was horrified to hear that an adolescent, Adam Lanza, walked into an elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 adults as well as killing himself. Many people have offered their view as to what was wrong with Adam and about what we could have done and should do to prevent these incidents. In this episode I’ll share my concerns over what I think is going wrong with community mental health centers and why they probably would NOT have been able to help Adam, which is the extraordinary focus on productivity – the application of the factory model – to current mental health settings. I also introduce one approach that might help if more mental health centers adopted it, which is the “Sanctury Model”. [Read more…]

Borderline Personality: What is it? Could Your Cell Phone Help Deal With It?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a difficult disorder to understand and treat. Briefly, people who suffer from BPD tend to have a heightened sensitivity to rejection. When they feel that they are being rejected they can react with strong feelings of anger. Their emotions can be very intense and vary widely during the day. This can also make their relationships very unstable. They can also be very impulsive. However, a recent fascinating piece of research used a mobile device and what’s called an “experience sampling” technique to gain further insight into what it is like to have BPD. In this episode I discuss that research and then wonder what else we might be able to learn as our mobile devices become even more powerful.


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Episode 122: DSM-V and On Being Sane – Are Psychiatric Labels Really Harmful?

What does the movie Shrek have to do with labeling, the DSM-V and the self-fulfilling prophecy? In this episode I take a close look at the well-known Rosenhan study. This was the study in which "pseudopatients" pretend to hear voices and on the basis of this they get admitted to psychiatric centers. Then they were told to act "normally". It took an average of 19 days for these "pseudopatients" to be discharged from the hospital and even then they were diagnosed as "schizophrenia in remission".
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Does this study show that psychiatric diagnoses are not only useless but also possibly harmful? Or do we find what we found back in episode 47 on Little Albert, and what we found in episode 36 on Kitty Genovese – what we thought we knew is largely wrong.

“[The Rosenhan study is]…a prime example of extremely compelling writing in conjunction with remarkably sloppy reasoning.” – Scott Lilienfeld

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…a careful examination of this study’s methods, results, and conclusions leads me to a diagnosis of “logic, in remission.” – Robert Spitzer

Resources on the Rosenhan Study

Popular Press Articles on the Revision to the DSM

DSM-V Resources

Episode 121: Top 10 Psychology Apps for the iPad, iPhone, & iPod

Best Psychology Apps on the iPad/iPhone
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I show you 10 of what I consider to be the best psychology apps in the app store. There are a lot of psychology apps and many are not so good, but in this episode I pick out what I consider to be credible therapy apps, excellent mind mapping tools, relaxation apps, and some of the best 3 dimensional ways to look at the brain.

Here are three apps created, maintained and constantly updated by me – Michael A. Britt, Ph.D.:

Episode 117: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – An Interview with Bobbi

What is it like to live with OCD?

Listen to this interview with Bobbi, a young woman who deals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder every day and you’ll get a much better understanding of what OCD is like. You have probably heard of the term OCD and perhaps you’ve seen shows like Monk or you’ve seen characters on TV and in the movies who show symptoms of obsessional thoughts or compulsive behaviors and perhaps you’ve wondered yourself about some of your own thoughts and behaviors. Learn more about OCD in this episode of The Psych Files.


Resources on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Definition of OCD (Wikipedia): Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, or by combinations of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). The symptoms of this anxiety disorder range from repetitive hand-washing and extensive hoarding to preoccupation with sexual, religious, or aggressive impulses. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and economic loss. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and come across to others as psychotic. However, except in some severe cases, OCD sufferers generally recognize their thoughts and subsequent actions as irrational, and they may become further distressed by this realization.

    OCD is the fourth most common mental disorder and is diagnosed nearly as often as asthma and diabetes mellitus. In the United States, one in 50 adults has OCD. The phrase "obsessive–compulsive" has become part of the English lexicon, and is often used in an informal or caricatured manner to describe someone who is meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed in a cause, or otherwise fixated on something or someone. Although these signs may be present in OCD, a person who exhibits them does not necessarily have OCD, and may instead have obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) or some other condition, such as an autism spectrum disorder. The symptoms of OCD can range from difficulty with odd numbers to nervous habits such as opening a door and closing it a certain number of times before one leaves it either open or shut.

  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a treatment method available from behavioral psychologists and cognitive-behavioral therapists for a variety of anxiety disorders, especially Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is an example of an Exposure Therapy.

    The method is predicated on the idea that a therapeutic effect is achieved as subjects confront their fears and discontinue their escape response. An example would be of a person who repeatedly checks light switches to make sure they’re turned off. They would carry out a program of exposure to their feared stimulus (leaving lights switched on) while refusing to engage in any safety behaviors. It differs from Exposure Therapy for phobia in that the resolution to refrain from the avoidance response is to be maintained at all times and not just during specific practice sessions. Thus, not only does the subject experience habituation to the feared stimulus, they also practice a fear-incompatible behavioral response to the stimulus. While this type of therapy typically causes some short-term anxiety, this facilitates long-term reduction in obsessive and compulsive symptoms.


    Resources on OCD

    Neurological Connections between OCD and the Left VentroLateral PreFrontal Cortex

    • Sex Differences in Neural Responses to Disgusting Visual Stimuli: Implications for Disgust-Related Psychiatric Disorders,
      Xavier Caseras, David Mataix-Cols, Suk Kyoon An, Natalia S. Lawrence, Anne Speckens, Vincent Giampietro, Michael J. Brammer, Mary L. Phillips
      Biological Psychiatry – 1 September 2007 (Vol. 62, Issue 5, Pages 464-471
    • Mataix-Cols D, An SK, Lawrence NS, Caseras X, Speckens A, Giampietro V,
      Brammer MJ, Phillips ML (2008) Individual differences in disgust sensitivity modulate neural responses to aversive/disgusting stimuli. Eur Journal of Neuroscience 27:3050–3058.

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Episode 110: Narcissism Among Celebrities, on Facebook and in Shakespeare


Are celebrities really more narcissistic than you are? Is your Facebook page telling the world that you are a narcissist? And finally: who is Shakespeare‘s most narcissistic character? I’ll give you a hint: the character can be found in Twelfth Night. So if you’re looking for more information about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or just everyday narcissism, as well as examples of famous narcissists, you’ll find it in this in this episode of The Psych Files.


Resources on Narcissism

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