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Speaking of Psychology

A weekly Science, Health and Fitness podcast
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Episodes of Speaking of Psychology

Super-recognizers have an extraordinary ability to recognize faces – they can pick faces they’ve seen only briefly out of a crowd and can recognize childhood acquaintances they haven’t seen in decades. Dr. Josh Davis, a professor of applied psy
We’ve all had good reason to feel anxious over the past two years. But sometimes, anxiety is more than a normal response to stress. Anxiety disorders are among the most common of all mental health disorders, affecting an estimated 15% to 20% of
More than 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from some form of chronic pain. For many, effective treatment remains elusive, with medications and even surgeries giving little in the way of relief. But in recent years, psychologists’ research has b
Many people around the world have lost their sense of smell this past year due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, scientists had already begun to gain a deeper understanding of how sophisticated our sense of smell is and how it is intertwined wi
For people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, or HSAM, every day is memorable. Ask them what they were doing on this date 10 years ago, and they’ll be able to tell you. Markie Pasternak, one of the youngest people identified with HSA
Just in time for toy-buying season, Dr. Barry Kudrowitz, a toy designer and professor of product design at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Doris Bergen, a professor emerita of educational psychology at Miami University in Ohio, discuss the
For most people lucky enough to live a long life, aging comes with some cognitive decline. But memory loss isn’t inevitable. Some people -- “SuperAgers” -- have memory abilities that remain intact into their 80s, 90s and even beyond. Emily Roga
Does shopping bring you joy? Or do you feel a bit of pain and regret every time you have to make a purchase? Many of us will be shopping for gifts in the upcoming weeks -- whether we enjoy it or not. Scott Rick, PhD, of the University of Michig
The role that animals can play in improving people’s mental health has garnered increased attention in recent years -- from service dogs for PTSD to emotional support animals on planes to therapy dogs in offices. Dr. Maggie O’Haire, a psycholog
For thousands of years, people have turned to religion to answer questions about how to lead a happy, moral and fulfilling life. David DeSteno, PhD, a psychology professor at Northeastern University and author of the book “How God Works,” discu
The vast majority of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone and at least one social media account, and recent headlines seem to confirm parents’ worst fears about the effects of all that time spent online. But psychologists’ research suggests t
Close relationships are essential to our happiness and well-being and are also an important predictor of physical health. Richard Slatcher, PhD, of the University of Georgia, talks about why the support we receive from our partners, family and
Just in time for Halloween, we talk about the psychology of strange stuff – including ghostly visitations, alien abductions, ESP, and more – with Chris French, PhD, head of the anomalistic psychology unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Dr
Is there anything more agonizing than being in limbo? Time may seem to slow to a crawl when you’re waiting for high-stakes news like a hiring decision, a biopsy result – or the end of a pandemic. Kate Sweeny, PhD, of the University of Californi
Stoic. Self-reliant. Unemotional. For many men, these watchwords of traditional masculinity still hold powerful sway. Men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health issues, they die by suicide more often, and they commit and are
For many people, the stereotypical image of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is an 8-year-old boy who can’t sit still in class. But in recent decades, scientists have gained a more sophisticated understanding of the causes and lifelong
On hot-button topics such as climate change, vaccines and genetically modified foods, science denial is rampant – and it crosses party and ideological lines. What are the psychological forces that lead people to disbelieve scientific consensus?
What can you learn from the science of behavior change that can help you make the changes you want to see in your life? Katy Milkman, PhD, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book “How to Change
Human memory is imperfect – we all misplace our keys, forget acquaintances’ names and misremember the details of our own past. Daniel Schacter, PhD, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, discusses why memory is so fallible, the cause
This week marks 20 years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Researchers call this kind of shared disaster a “collective trauma.” Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD, of the University of California
What is power? Why do people seek it and how do they get it? Is it human nature to abuse power? And how might power – or powerlessness – affect our health and wellbeing? Dacher Keltner, PhD, psychology professor at the University of California,
The mental health of athletes has been in the news a lot this year, thanks to Olympians Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles. The attention may be new, but the field of sport psychology is not. How do sport psychologists work with athletes? How might a
“Eureka moments” have led to some of humanity’s greatest achievements in science, medicine, mathematics and the arts. But they’re not always that dramatic -- we’ve nearly all had the experience of solving a nagging problem in a flash of insight
Just in time for Friday the 13th, we discuss the psychology of superstition with Stuart Vyse, PhD, author of the book “Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.” Vyse discusses the origins of some popular superstitions, the psychologi
Speaking of Psychology is taking a one-week summer break, so we’re revisiting one of our favorite episodes from the past year. In February, we talked to University of California, Berkeley psychologist Alison Gopnik about how children’s brains a
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