Psychology Resources

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  • Carl Honore: In praise of slowness

    Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world‘s emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there’s a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives. Journalist Carl Honore is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. His book In Praise of Slowness dissects our speed-obsessed society and celebrates those who have gotten in touch with their “inner tortoise.” Why you should listen to him: Canadian-born journalist Carl Honore has written for The Economist, the Houston Chronicle, the Observer, and the National Post, but he is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. A loose and international effort by the harried and haggard to decelerate the pace of their lives, the Slow Movement spans everything from telecommunications (slow email) and health care (slow medicine) to diet (slow food) and public space (slow cities). Honore’s bestselling book In Praise of Slowness plots the lineage of our speed-obsessed society; while it recognizes the difficulty of slowing down, it also highlights the successes of everyday people around the world who have found ways of doing it. Honoré traces his “Aha” moment to his son’s bedtime, when Honore would race through storybooks — skipping pages, reading portions of paragraphs — to move things along. (He’s since reformed.) His next book, Under Pressure, is about how we are raising a generation of overprogrammed, overachieving and exhausted children. “[Honore] shows us various methods to release ourselves … from what Baudelaire denounced as ‘the horrible burden of time,’ to break free of the Matrix-like illusion that we have no choice. ”  The Washington Post    

  • Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

    Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.   Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong — a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness.   Why you should listen to him?   Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes — and fool everyone’s eyes in the same way — Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.   The premise of his current research — that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong — is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging — and often hilarious — style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert’s writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.   In fact, the title of his book could be drawn from his own life. At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, he enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.   “Gilbert’s elbow-in-the-ribs social-science humor is actually funny. … But underneath the goofball brilliance, [he] has a serious argument to make about why human beings are forever wrongly predicting what will make them happy.”  New York Times Book Review  

  • Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology

    Martin Seligman talks about psychology — as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become? Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism. Why you should listen to him: Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It’s a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures — traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones. In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists. Related articles Positive Psychology & the Quest to Find Happiness ( Why Focusing on Your Strengths is the Best Philosophy ( Gratitude Is a Choice (  

  • The Neuroscience of Emotions

    The Neuroscience of Emotions   The ability to recognize and work with different emotions is fundamental to psychological flexibility and well-being. Neuroscience has contributed to the understanding of the neural bases of emotion, emotion regulation, and emotional intelligence, and has begun to elucidate the brain mechanisms involved in emotion processing. Of great interest is the degree to which these mechanisms demonstrate neuroplasticity in both anatomical and functional levels of the brain.   Speaker: Dr. Phillippe Goldin  

  • Helen Fisher: The brain in love

    Helen Fisher: The brain in love     Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped.   Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She’s best known as an expert on romantic love, and her beautifully penned books — including Anatomy of Love and Why We Love — lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion.   Why you should listen to her:   Helen Fisher’s courageous investigations of romantic love — its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society — are informing and transforming the way we understand ourselves. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries, like why we choose one partner over another.   Almost unique among scientists, Fisher explores the science of love without losing a sense of romance: Her work frequently invokes poetry, literature and art — along with scientific findings — helping us appreciate our love affair with love itself. In her research, and in books such as Anatomy of Love, Why We Love, and her latest work Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, Fisher looks at questions with real impact on modern life. Her latest research raises serious concerns about the widespread, long-term use of antidepressants, which may undermine our natural process of attachment by tampering with hormone levels in the brain.   “In hands as skilled and sensitive as Fisher’s, scientific analysis of love only adds to its magic.”   Scientific American  

  • Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

    Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile     When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.   Chip Conley creates joyful hotels, where he hopes his employees, customers and investors alike can realize their full potential. His books share that philosophy with the wider world.   Why you should listen to him:   In 1987, at the age of 26 and seeking a little “joy of life,” Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality by transforming a small motel in San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin district into the now-legendary Phoenix. Today, Joie de Vivre operates nearly 40 unique hotels across California, each built on an innovative design formula that inspires guests to experience an “identity refreshment” during their visits.   During the dotcom bust in 2001, Conley found himself in the self-help section of the bookstore, where he became reacquainted with one of the most famous theories of human behavior — Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which separates human desires into five ascending levels, from base needs such as eating to the highest goal of self-actualization, characterized by the full realization and achievement of one’s potential. Influenced by Maslow’s pyramid, Conley revamped his business model to focus on the intangible, higher needs of his company’s three main constituencies — employees, customers and investors. He credits this shift for helping Joie de Vivre triple its annual revenues between 2001 and 2008.   Conley has written three books, including his most recent, PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, and is at work on two new ones, Emotional Equations and PEAK Leadership. He consults widely on transformative enterprises, corporate social responsibility and creative business development. He traveled to Bhutan last year to study its Gross National Happiness index, the country’s unique method of measuring success and its citizens’ quality of life.   “Chip Conley is that rare breed of CEO who possesses both a brilliant business mind and a very big heart. He’s a true role model for anyone who wants to lead.”  Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco     After fifteen years of rising to the pinnacle of the hospitality industry, Chip Conley’s company was suddenly undercapitalized and overexposed in the, post-9/11 economy. For relief and inspiration, Conley, the CEO and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, turned to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s iconic Hierarchy of Needs. This book explores how Conley’s company “the second largest boutique hotelier in the world” overcame the storm that hit the travel industry by applying Maslow’s theory to what Conley identifies as the key Relationship Truths in business with Employees, Customers and Investors.   Part memoir, part theory, and part application, the book tells of Joie de Vivre’s remarkable transformation while providing real world examples from other companies and showing how readers can bring about similar changes in their […]


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