Ep 216: Working Remotely – Psychological Advantages and Disadvantages

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The idea of working from home sounds great - but be aware of the downside. In this episode of The Psych Files I talk about what factors influence your job satisfaction and motivation when you work from home. I also discuss the interesting concept of "emotional labor" - what is it like when you know your boss is watching you and judging whether you are "acting happy" to customers? What's the cost to you of acting in a way that is contrary to how you actually feel? … [Read more...]

Ep 194: What Do I/0 Psychologists Really Do?

What do I/0 psychologists do anyway? Are you interested in this subfield of psychology? Well, here are a few things they DON'T do: they don't do "therapy in the workplace" and they don't do "motivational speaking". It's not what you think. Industrial/Organizational psychology is practiced by professionals who's goal is to make sure that employees are productive and - and here's what I'll focus on in this episode - that job applicants are chosen based upon the skills and personality characteristics that are relevant to the jobs they are applying for. Find out more in this episode of The … [Read more...]

Ep 193: Mindfulness Benefits on the GRE and at Work

There is a lot of talk about mindfulness among psychologists today. Find out what mindfulness is and how it differs from meditation in this episode of The Psych Files. What might you use mindfulness for? Well, in addition to what you might expect - reducing stress - mindfulness training is also being used to improve job satisfaction and productivity. Interested in increasing your score on the GRE? Being more mindful might also help out there as well. … [Read more...]

Ep 188: Psychologists Are Keeping You From Getting the Flu

Wash Your Hands to Avoid Illness

Didn't get the flu this past winter? Thank a psychologist. What? Well, it could be that a psychologist was involved in helping health care professionals to do what they know they need to do (but sometimes don't): wash their hands. The issue here is persuasion and motivation: how to we get people to do something - and keep doing it? Health care workers like doctors and nurses can fall prey to the availability heuristic: they can easily remember times when they didn't wash their hands and they didn't get sick so they might develop an "illusion of invulnerability". How do psychologists get … [Read more...]

Episode 142: How To Make Jobs More Satisfying and Motivating

Do you have a dull job? Wonder how it can be made more motivating? That's the challenge - how can we make jobs that are typically not much fun (like an assembly line job) more interesting to do? There is a lot of research on this important topic (check out The Five Drivers of Happiness at Work from the Wall Street Journal). And Dan Pink wrote a good deal about this in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (you can hear him talk about work motivation in this interview called Dan Pink on the Modus Operandi of Motivation). This is one of the challenges facing I/O … [Read more...]

Episode 116: Social Loafing – Don’t Be a Sucker or a Free Loader!

Do you like working in a group? Most people don't because they're afraid that they'll have to do most of the work (wind up being a sucker) and that other group members won't do their share of the work (free loaders). Want to find out how to avoid this and make your group work productive? Learn how the Agile software development technique can be adapted to your help your next group project be a success. [adsenseyu2] Social Loafing (free riding) occurs when... ...group members don't value the group goal ...individual contributions to the group effort cannot be measured ...a group … [Read more...]

Episode 92: Passion For Your Work is Overrated

Everyone tells you that you should have "passion for your work". Personally, I think that's a bunch of malarky, balderdash and hooey. And much of it could be the fault of psychologists who have studied job satisfaction. You might actually enjoy work that you never dreamed could make you happy. In this episode I talk about what Mike Rowe of the show Dirty Jobs had to say about work and how that ties into the research of psychologist Dan Gilbert author of Stumbling on Happiness.. Just because things hadn't gone the way I planned didn't necessarily mean they had gone wrong...the secret is … [Read more...]

Episode 91: The Psychology of Effective Meetings


Do you hate meetings as much as I do? How do you make them work? Business people and students often hate meetings and group projects because it's hard to get everyone to participate and it's hard to just get things done. In this episode of The Psych Files I show the many connections between a typical Introductory Psychology textbook and the everyday event of a business or group meeting. In the end I talk with professional project manager April Montana who shares with you some of her secrets to making group members get things done. Thank you to April Montana for sharing her experience … [Read more...]

Episode 79: Models of Effective Leadership – Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great and Ginger the Chicken?

What makes for an effective leader and how can you improve your leadership skills? Well, who's the best role model for a leader? How about a chicken? In this episode of The Psych Files we examine [easyazon-link asin="B00003CXJ4"]Chicken Run[/easyazon-link] to see how she embodies the best qualities of a leader. I know - sounds a little weird, but I guarantee you'll come away with a better understanding of leadership and some of the top leadership theories. [adsenseyu2] Characteristics of Effective Leaders Provides followers with a compelling vision for the future Has Specific ideas and … [Read more...]

Episode 71: Horse Sense or Nonsense? Clever Hans is Alive and Well

Can horses be used for corporate training or is this nonsense? If you listened to the NPR piece called, "Horse Sense: New Breed Of Executive Training" you might have had the same reaction I did: sounds a little "fishy". Find out why "Clever Hans" just might be alive and well in the field of management training. You'll also see some very subtle operant conditioning at work here. Here's a recent article from the Telegraph - it looks like "Clever Hans" has been reincarnated - this time as a dog: Chinese dog is 'maths genius,' according to owner. Watch how the owner changes bodily position … [Read more...]