Episode 143: EMDR – An Interview with Founder Francine Shapiro

Curious about EMDR? Listen to this interview with the founder of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Dr. Francine Shapiro talk about EMDR and how it is different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is an intriguing and unique type of therapy and if you want to learn more about it you’ve come to the right place.

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Episode 135: Adele Faber Interview on Parenting (Part 1)

Are you familiar with Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish‘s classic book “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk“? You should be. It’s not just for parents. The ideas in this book and in their other books should be required reading for all of us, but especially for parents, therapists and anyone interested in what we can do to better communicate with each other. I think you will be as charmed as I was listening to Adele and I encourage you to listen to part 2 of this interview.

We want to put an end to talk that wounds the spirit, we want to create an emotional climate that encourages children to cooperate because they care about themselves, and because they care about us.

Episode 113: Interview with Scott Lilienfeld on the 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology

I interview Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, author of 50 Myths of Popular Psychology and we talk about, a) does the polygraph actually work?, b) do women talk more than men?, c) does handwriting analysis reveal your personality? and d) when you’re taking a multiple choice test should you change your first answer or leave it alone? Along the way we also talk about whether the full moon really does make people act strangely (and cause more dog bites). Finally, Dr. Lilienfeld provides his opinion on whether psychotherapists need to be more up-to-date on the scientific research behind the various types of psychotherapy.

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  • Here’s another recent interview with Dr. Lilienfeld on the website Online Psychology Degrees.
  • Click the speaker to listen to Dr. Lilienfeld discuss the myths (in separate audio files):


Episode 112: Evolutionary Psychology – David Buss Responds to Critics – Part 2

In part 2 of my interview with David Buss, he responds to more criticisms of evolutionary psychology. Here’s what we cover: a) does evolutionary psychology just give criminals another reason not to take responsibility for themselves?, b) is all the research in evolutionary psychology done on American college students?, c) are evolutionary psychology theories falsifiable? We cover such topics as whether women’s mating strategies change depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle? and How does evolutionary psychology might explain homosexuality? and what does evolutionary psychology say about cultural differences in the desire for women with a low waist-hip ratio? All in this episode of The Psych Files.

Resources on Evolutionary Psychology

Episode 111: Evolutionary Psychology – David Buss Responds to Critics

There has been a lot of criticism of evolutionary psychology lately. How do researchers respond? One of the leading researchers in this field – Dr. David Buss of the University of Texas responds to these critics in part 1 of this 2 part episode. Find out how he responds to these questions: a) is evolutionary psychology sexist?, b) doesn’t evolutionary psychology just give people the ammunition they need to not take responsibility for themselves? c) theories from evolutionary psychology are not falsifiable, this it’s not scientific and d) human society is always changing – it hasn’t been stable enough long enough for any human behavior to have evolved.

Resources on Evolutionary Psychology

Episode 103: Raising Children – Interview with Author Jamie Raser

Having trouble raising your children? Join the crowd. There are lots of parenting books, but here’s one you should know about: "Raising Children You Can Live With" by Jamie Raser. He has an approach to parenting that is not about "picking your battles", but about staying out of battles altogether and talking with your child in a way that doesn’t lead to shouting, screaming and anger. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Listen to Jamie Raser talk about his ideas in this episode of The Psych Files.

Parenting is not a series of "techniques" or "manipulations" designed to gain control over another human being. When parents are in control of themselves and [the way they interact with their children], children will learn to control themselves. – Jamie Raser, Raising Children You Can Live With


Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select–doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years. John Watson, Behaviorism (1930). Thanks to the Wisconsin Association for Behavior Analysis for the complete quote (see the final sentence – italics mine).

Resources on Parenting

  • You can contact Jamie using his email address: jraser AT dpisd DOT org.
  • Research showing that spanking children does not work:
  • Gershoff, I. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539-579.
  • Kazdin, A. E., & Benjet, C. (2003). Spanking children: Evidence and Issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 99-103.


Although physical punishment may produce immediate compliance – children typically stop the behavior spanking is meant to end – there are a number of serious long-term side effects. For example, spanking is associated with lower quality parent-child relationships, poorer mental health for both child and parent, higher levels of delinquency, and more antisocial behavior. In addition, children who experience higher levels of spanking are less able to develop their own inner sense of right and wrong…Spanking also teaches children that violence is an acceptable solution to prolems by serving as a model of violent, aggressive behavior. – Robert Feldman, Development Across the Life Span

Episode 98: Evolutionary Psychology – An Interview with Dr. David Buss


David BussDo you know your own "mate value" in the dating world? Curious about evolutionary psychology? In this interview with Dr. David Buss we discuss a number of interesting and controversial topics, such as the matching hypothesis and date rape. Are there evolutionary roots to the battle of the sexes and can we change our behavior? Find out in this interview.

Evolutionary Psychology

  • Click to download Dr. Buss’ article, The Great Struggles of Life.
  • Dr. David Buss has an excellent website where you can learn more about him, his articles and books, and the Buss Lab, where his graduate students study evolutionary psychology.
  • From the great site Academic Earth (lots of free videos from well known teachers around the world), here’s an interesting video of a lecture by Paul Bloom (Yale University) entitled "Psychology, Sex, and Evolution"
  • Here’s the website for the Evolutionary Psychology journal.
  • I’m a subscriber to the excellent Skeptoid podcast, written and hosted by Brian Dunning, and in episode 10 he gave an excellent primer on evolution theory.
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  • Dr. Todd K. Shackelford maintains the Evolutionary Psychology Lab site. Excellent resources can be found here.
  • Lots of interesting information at this FAQ site for evolutionary psychology. The site "is maintained by Edward Hagen, formerly of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara."
  • Another site with lots of information about evolutionary psychology is maintained by the Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

Episode 90: The Learning Styles Myth: An Interview with Daniel Willingham

Guess what? There’s no such thing as "learning style" (the theory that each of us has a preferred way to learn new ideas. There are many supposed kinds of learning styles, such as a visual learning style, an auditory style, kinesthetic, etc.). Don’t believe it? Neither did I at first. I was sure for a long time that I personally had a visual learning style. Now I’m not so sure anymore.

Why Do We Still Believe in Learning Styles?

If there is no scientific support for learning styles then whey do we believe they must exist? We also discuss multiple intelligences. While there is support for this idea, many people are confused as to what Howard Gardner really says about his own theory. Let’s see if we can set the record straight about learning styles, abilities, and intelligences in this episode of The Psych Files.

Recommended Book

I have read Willingham’s book, Why Don’t Students Like School and I can tell you that it is excellent. Very readable and filled with the latest research on learning in school. If you’re a teacher or are interested in the field of cognitive Psychology, then this is a book to get (NOTE: as with all my Amazon links on this site, this is an affiliate link. Affiliate links help to support this site and I only link to books and products that I have read or used and know for sure you’ll find valuable).
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Resources for this Episode


  • An article by Steven Stahl entitled, “Different Strokes for Different Folks?” appeared in American Educator. This is an excellent review of the difficulties researchers have had with the various measures of learning styles (clicking the link will automatically download the full article).
  • The role of confirmation bias in learning styles: you think you have a visual learning style, so you recall all the times you believe you learned something visually but you don’t recall the times you learned something auditorily, kinesthetically, etc.

    “It’s worth thinking about not matching the child’s supposed learning style to how they are supposed to learn, but rather think about the content and what is it about this content that I really want students to understand and what’s the best way to convey that.” – Dr. Willingham


    Episode 85: How to Make Learning Fun Again – Constructivism and Democratic Schools – Part 2

    What is constructivism anyway? In this episode I explore that topic with Dr. Eugene Geist. We also explore what some would consider a radical concept in education: democratic schools. What would happen if we let children decide how they wanted to learn? Complete Chaos? Or an exciting new way to get students involved in and taking responsibility for learning? Find out in this episode of The Psych Files.

    Concept Map

    MeadMap is now called CoMapping. Feel free to contact me if you’d like me to send you my maps for the episode on New Year’s Resolutions and Weight Loss the Schools of Psychology and for Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development.

    Constructivism (Constructivist Education)

    • Children naturally enjoy learning
    • Let’s let children tell us where they want to go and let’s build on their natural curiosity
    • The teacher’s role: use questioning techniques and act as a facilitator
    • The teacher’s role: arrange the environment
    • The teacher’s role: encourage interaction with objects and other students

    Resources on Democratic Schools

    Episode 84: How To Make Learning Fun Again Part 1 – Piaget

    Jean Piaget
    Image via Wikipedia

    Can we make learning as fun as it was when you were a child? We can. Listen to Dr. Eugene Geist as he explains the cognitive development theories of Jean Piaget and you'll understand why we are all geared to learn. We actively seek out learning experiences. How can we keep that excitement alive? Find out in this episode and in the episodes to follow as we examine ideas such as constructivism, problem-based Learning, inquiry-based learning and democratic schools. This episode will also be helpful if you need to learn the different stages of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

    The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done. — Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss cognitive psychologist.

    Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development


    • Approximate ages: 0-2
    • An understanding of object permanence is achieved at the conclusion of this stage
    • When a child’s expectations of what is supposed to happen are not met, confusion disequalibrium results.
    • Confusion disequalibrtum can be resolved through assimilation in which you try to fit the new information into with what you already know
    • Confusion disequalibrium can also be resolved through accommodation in which you create a new “folder””, a new category in your brain’s understanding of the world.
    • Learning is an active process. Our understanding of the world becomes more complex – a :building process: (thus the term constructivism).



    • Approximate ages: 2-6
    • Pre-logical thinking – children think intuitively
    • Children can use symbols
    • Ego-centrism lessons at the end of this phase
    • Still believe in Santa Claus
    • conservation tasks are difficult to solve

    Concrete Operations

    • Approximate ages: 7-12
    • Children like to have more logical explanations at this age
    • Manipulatives are helpful in the learning process
    • Can think logically and a little bit abstractly, but not well with hypothetical situations

    Formal Operations

    • Approximate ages: 7-12
    • Characterized by a more free flowing logic
    • Can deal with hypothetical situations

    Key point of Piaget: children are not empty vessels as the behaviorists might say. Instead, they interact with their world because they want to learn.

    And, because I couldn’t help it: