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...]

Ep 192: An Example of How Psychoanalysts Really Interpret Dreams

What Do Dreams Mean?

What do psychologists really think about your dreams - do 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 … [Read more...]

Ep 190: Why Do You Get So Absorbed in that Book (or Movie)?

Experience Taking

Have you ever become so immersed in a book or movie that you actually felt like the character? Or you felt the character's pain or joy? Why does this happen? When does this happen? What is it about the book or the movie and its characters that draws us in like this? It's amazing isn't it? To be so moved like this. Psychologists have studied this experience and we have some ideas regarding what factors have to be present in order for this to happen. And would you believe that this understand might help us to combat racism and bullying? Pretty amazing stuff. Join me as I explore what … [Read more...]

Ep 189: The Psych Files Brief #6 – Facebook Untagging, Money and Happiness, and Memory and Aging

We have some great articles covered in this episode so I hope you find them thought-provoking and leave your comments below! We cover four topics, all of which can be relevant to your everyday life.  Join me and my intern Madison for a fascinating discussion on some new research in psychology. First, a throwback to a previous episode on how to spend your money; experiences only beat out material possessions if they are spent with others. Social settings beat solitary settings every time. … [Read more...]

Ep: 166: The Secret Life of Pronouns – an Interview with James Pennebaker

What do you reveal about yourself in the way you use the smallest and seemingly most insignificant words you use every minute? That's the focus of Dr. James Pennebaker's fascinating book and one of the most interesting psychology books of 2011: The Secret Life of Pronouns. If you're fascinated by language then you'll find this episode especially interesting. … [Read more...]

Ep 164: What’s So Disgusting About Poop?

Just about everyone finds poop disgusting right? So who finds it not so disgusting? Would you believe women in their 20s who are in the middle of their menstrual cycle, and who have motherhood as one of their goals in life? Disgust has become quite a popular topic in psychology lately. Join me as I discuss one of the more interesting studies that looks at how the intensity of our emotions can be affected by our nonconscious goals. More interesting than you might think really. And certainly not to be poo-pooed at… … [Read more...]

Ep 162: How to Spend Your Money and Truly Make Yourself Happy – Part 2

In episode 160 I discussed the first 2 ideas on how to spend your money wisely. In this episode I'll talk about 4 more great ideas on how to get the most from your money and 2 things you have to be careful about. Get the latest findings from positive psychology researchers like Elizabeth Dunn, Tim Wilson and Dan Gilbert on this episode of The Psych Files. … [Read more...]

Ep 160: How to Spend Your Money and Truly Make Yourself Happy

Why aren't rich people happier than those with less money? We think money will bring happiness, but research in the area of positive psychology has consistently found that having more money does NOT make us happier. Find out how to spend your money the right way so that it really can bring happiness into your life. … [Read more...]

Ep 157: Do Pets and Religion Make You Happier?

You hear a lot these days about how pets make us happy. This is called the "pet effect". But is it so? The answer appears to be a qualified yes. But in what ways do pets make us happy? How strong is their effect on our lives? Also, how about religion? We also hear that religious people are happier, but is this true everywhere in the US or everywhere in the world? Why does religion make us happy and in what societies are people likely to benefit from this "religion effect"? Finally, some helpful advice on getting into grad school. [easyazon-block asin="0061730866" align="center"] … [Read more...]

Episode 138: Zombies – 6 Reasons Why We Are So Fascinated By Them

Zombie Fascination eBook

Afraid of zombies? Heard about the coming zombie apocalypse? Have you watched the TV show [easyazon-link asin="B0049P1VHS"]The Walking Dead[/easyazon-link] or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps [easyazon-link asin="B002WY65VU"]Zombieland[/easyazon-link] or [easyazon-link asin="B0002ABURA"]Dawn of the Dead[/easyazon-link])? Zombie Fascination What is so fascinating about the undead? Why do many of us get a strange pleasure out of seeing a zombie get killed? In this episode I explore that strange part of ourselves which seems to enjoy watching the undead get really dead. The … [Read more...]