"Speaking of Psychology" is an audio podcast series highlighting some of the latest, most important and relevant psychological research being conducted today. Produced by the American Psychological Association, these podcasts will help listeners apply the science of psychology to their everyday lives.
How Psychologists Can Do More to Address the Opioid Crisis (SOP84)
Every day in America, 130 people die from overdosing on opioids and an estimated two million people around the country are grappling with opioid addiction and it is devastating families and communities. In the face of these grim statistics, APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, explains how psychologists can offer new solutions to help end the opioid epidemic, including non-pharmaceutical treatment for pain and other interventions.
Americans spend nearly half of the day interacting with screens of all kinds -- smartphones, televisions and computers, according to a recent Nielsen report. While these technologies have made our lives better in many ways, it is easier than ever to become addicted to screens. Guest Adam Alter, PhD, author of "Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked" discusses the dark side of screen time and how our devices are affecting our well-being and happiness.
Anxiety among teens and young adults is rising, and studies have shown that it has skyrocketed in girls. One study found that the number of girls who often felt nervous, worried or fearful jumped by 55 percent over a five-year period. What factors are behind rising stress and anxiety in girls and what can we do about it? Our guest is Dr. Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist who has a new book out called "Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls."
As we grapple with a warming world and increasingly unstable weather, our mental health is at risk. Psychologists say that stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD will increase as climate change’s physical impacts accelerate, as many scientists predict. Is there anything we can do to mitigate the mental health risks of climate change? Our guest for this episode is Dr. Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at The College of Wooster.
Is your gut a second brain? Emerging research is showing that our brains and our gastrointestinal systems may be more connected than we previously thought – potentially holding profound influence over our moods, mental health and sense of well-being. Our guests are Faith Dickerson, PhD, a psychologist who researches the role of infectious and immune factors in serious mental illness, and Emeran Mayer, MD, one of the world’s leading experts on brain-gut interactions in GI disorders.
We spend a significant portion of our lives at work and feeling miserable on the job can be detrimental to our mental and physical health and productivity. A work environment that is psychologically healthy is one that focuses on employees’ health and well-being and the bottom line. Our guests for this episode are David Ballard, PsyD, who leads APA’s Office of Applied Psychology, and Bryce Veon, president and CEO of Autosoft, a winner of our 2019 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards.
Bonus Episode: After New Zealand - The Spread of Extremism in the Digital Age (SOP78)
In the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque attacks, we explore the psychological factors that cause a person to commit heinous acts of mass violence, technology’s role in spreading extremist propaganda and what governments and communities can do to prevent terrorism. The guest for this episode is Arie W. Kruglanski, PhD, an APA fellow and distinguished university professor in psychology at the University of Maryland, who is an expert on terrorism, radicalization and deradicalization.
Bonus Episode: The College Admissions Scandal and the Psychology of Affluence (SoP77)
The college admissions bribery scandal has generated a lot of conversations about the role of affluence and privilege in higher education. What would cause a parent to go to such great lengths to ensure their child’s spot at a prestigious university? What does this tell us about our high-pressure society? Our guest for this bonus episode is Suniya S. Luthar, PhD, foundation professor of psychology at Arizona State University, and an expert on affluence, resilience and adolescent development.
It is known as the chemical of love, creativity and addiction. It pushes us to achieve greatness, but it can also lead to our downfall. Dr. Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long discuss their book, "The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, Creativity – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race."
We all want to find meaning in our lives, our reason to get up in the morning, yet doing so may not be easy. What is meaning in life and how do we find it for ourselves? The guest for this episode is Clara Hill, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Maryland and author of "Meaning in Life: A Therapist’s Guide."
Half of Americans say they are lonely and the average person reports having only one close friend. Loneliness can also make us sick, contributing to heart disease, depression, suicide and cognitive decline. Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, explains the science behind why social connectedness is so essential for our health.
2018 was the worst year the U.S. stock market has seen since 2008 and worries about the economy are continuing in 2019. How do you deal with anxiety in a volatile market? Psychologist Frank Murtha, PhD, co-founder of MarketPsych, a consulting firm to the financial industry, explains how to calm stock market fears and ways to build a savvy investor identity.
Sharing your expertise with the world on YouTube and other social media platforms can be both thrilling and terrifying. If you want to know where to start, look no further than Ali Mattu, PhD. He’s a licensed clinical psychologist and creator of “The Psych Show” whose videos have been watched over 700,000 times. Mattu gives advice on where to begin, how to overcome impostor syndrome and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
We all dream yet many of us don’t know what to make of our nocturnal adventures. Dream scholar Deirdre Barrett, PhD, explains why we dream and what our dreams may be trying to tell us. She also offers tips on how to better remember your dreams to harness the power of your sleeping mind.
How to Cope with Political Discussions and Keep it Civil this Holiday Season (SoP 70)
Worried about making it through your next holiday gathering without it devolving into a political screaming match? Get advice from the experts, APA's Dr. Lynn Bufka and Dr. Jeanne Safer, host of the podcast, "I Love You But I Hate Your Politics."
Philip Zimbardo, PhD, on Heroism, Shyness and the Stanford Prison Experiment (SOP69)
Philip Zimbardo, PhD, is one of the most recognizable names in the field of psychology. In this episode, Zimbardo discusses recent criticism of his controversial 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment as well as his other work on time, shyness, men and heroism.
Headline issues, from immigration to sexual assault, are causing significant stress for teens and young adults in Generation Z with mass shootings topping the list of stressful current events and more than two-thirds of adults reported feeling major stress about the nation’s future, according to the 2018 APA Stress in America™ report. APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, explains the findings and shares coping strategies to combat stress.
Using Psychology for Pain Relief and Opioid Reduction (SOP67)
Millions of Americans use opioids to manage chronic pain. But can integrating psychological approaches into pain care offer some patients low-risk pain treatment options? Beth Darnall, PhD, from Stanford University, explains how psychology can reduce dependency on opioids and help people with chronic pain.
Making Love Last and Dating in the Digital Age (SOP66)
Love. We all want it but sustaining that spark can be difficult in our hectic world, especially with life stressors beyond our control. How do we find love and keep the passion alive throughout the years? Relationship expert Benjamin Karney, PhD, from the UCLA Marriage Lab shares valuable insights.
"Something Happened In Our Town" is a children’s book about racial injustice from Magination Press, APA’s children's books imprint. The story follows two families — one white, one black — as they discuss the police shooting of a black man in their community.
Looking at large numbers of social media postings in aggregate can tell us quite a bit about Americans’ mental state. Sharath Guntuku, PhD, has analyzed the language in tweets to identify regional variations in stress and well-being.
Today’s technology produces a continuous trail of digital breadcrumbs that allow human behavior to be examined even in complex natural environments. Alexander "Sandy" Pentland, PhD, discusses how large-scale studies can be used to predict and shape a wide range of important common behaviors.
Talking to loved ones about important end-of-life decisions can spark a complicated land mine of emotions. So much so, many people put it off until it’s too late. In this episode, Brian Carpenter, PhD, talks about why it’s important to have these conversations and how to approach these discussions successfully.
In this episode, Gayle Pitman, PhD, talks about her new book, "Feminism from A to Z," and how parents and teachers can use a feminist theory and perspective to give teenage girls the support, courage and energy to face the challenges of adolescence.
False confessions aren’t always what they seem (SOP49)
It defies intuition to think innocent people would confess to a crime they did not commit. But, research has shown that everyone has a breaking point. In this episode, Saul Kassin, PhD, talks about the psychology behind false confessions and how law enforcement officials and legislators can take steps to prevent them.
Mental preparation can affect performance, whether you're preparing for a big test at school or competing at the Olympics. In this episode, Steve Portenga, PhD, talks about the psychology behind performing at your best and how to help overachievers handle stress.
Protecting children from sadness, anxiety and stress is a natural instinct for many adults. But, finding ways to help them address these inevitable obstacles to happiness is a challenge parents, teachers and other caregivers have to face head on. In this episode, Bonnie Zucker, PsyD, talks about how to explain death to young children as well as the research into the effectiveness of relaxation and mindfulness techniques for kids.
Married people are often considered to be happier and healthier, while single people are often stereotyped as being isolated, self-centered and unhappy. But what if these are myths? In this episode, psychologist Bella DePaulo, PhD, talks about the benefits of remaining unattached and calls on psychology to pay more attention to why certain single people do, in fact, thrive.
Fear and anxiety are part of most normal children’s lives. But how do we know when anxiety is a problem in need of professional help? In this episode, Golda Ginsburg, PhD, talks about how to recognize the signs of an anxiety disorder in your child and what are the most effective, evidence-based treatments.
Are terrorists flooding into our country? Are we facing an epidemic of mass shootings and violence? Whatever your thoughts are on gun control or terrorism, psychologists who study human behavior, specifically thrill-seeking and risk taking behaviors, have a lot to contribute to the discussion. In this episode, Frank Farley, PhD, talks about why mental health experts need to be on the front lines of violence prevention efforts.
Political elections ought to bring out the good in people – aren’t they a chance to talk about plans and hopes for the future? But lately they have come to resemble brawls on a playground. When did it become OK to wave insulting signs at rallies or call candidates ugly names? Why are so many candidates focusing on the personal instead of policy? In this episode, Jonathan Haidt, PhD, talks about incivility in politics and how psychological research can help us understand each other a little better and r
How to talk to teen boys about dating and sex (SOP42)
Chances are parents know they need to tell their boys something about sex but aren’t sure where to start. As a result, television, friends and the internet often fill in the gaps, leading to confusion and misconceptions about what it means to be romantic and masculine. In this episode, Andrew Smiler, PhD, talks about his new book, a guide
Born bashful? Learning how to manage shyness (SOP41)
Have you ever felt awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with people you don’t know? We’ve probably all felt shy at one time or another, but for some people the shyness is so intense it can keep them from interacting with others even when they want or need to – leading to problems in relationships and even at work. In this episode, Bernardo Carducci, PhD, gives advice and tips to shy people who want to understand and manage their reticence.
Kids and psychologists team up to learn from one another (SOP40)
In order to understand how children think and behave, psychologists need to study them. Most of the time, these experiments take place in university labs or sometime in schools, but one program is taking psychological science into museums around the country. In this episode, Peter Blake, EdD, talks about the Living Laboratory and how it’s breaking down barriers between scientists and the public.
Where we live, work or socialize have an impact on our health. Poverty greatly increases the risk of heart disease, depression and stress, as do racism and ethnic discrimination, according to numerous psychological studies. In this episode, Elizabeth Brondolo, PhD, talks about how psychologists are taking the findings from those studies and using them in medical settings in an effort to improve patients’ quality of care.
The availability and quality of health care is often substandard when it comes to serving low-income boys and men in ethnic/minority communities. As a result, they have some of the worst health outcomes in the country. In this episode, psychologist Wizdom Powell, PhD, MPH, talks about how racism, discrimination and gender stereotyping can contribute to a decline in men’s health over time.
Narcissism is not just something attributed to people who post selfies and list all their favorite meals on Facebook. It’s a diagnosable personality disorder that causes people to have a delusional sense of self-worth and lack of empathy. In this episode, psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, talks about how people can recognize a narcissist and what to do if you’re in a relationship with one.
Experiencing discrimination in any form can be profoundly stressful for many people, according to the latest Stress in America™ survey, published by the American Psychological Association. In this episode, psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD, talks about how stress and discrimination are linked and what that can mean for people’s health and well-being over time.
Succeeding in any profession takes careful planning and skills that may not be obvious to people at the start of their careers. In this episode, psychologist Garth Fowler, PhD, talks about the benefits of having an individual development plan and introduces a set of videos that can help psychologists and other professionals take the next step in their careers.
If you think reading people is not a science, think again. Understanding expressions that only appear on someone’s face for tenths of a second can mean a lot to those who know what to look for. In this episode, psychologist and nonverbal communication expert David Matsumoto, PhD, talks about why nonverbal communication is so important in everything from police investigations to intercultural exchanges.
Putting an end to bullying and school violence (SOP33)
School violence and bullying are a concern for parents and educators alike. As a result, thousands of school districts have implemented anti-bullying programs. In this episode, psychologist and education expert Dorothy Espelage, PhD, talks about the effectiveness of these programs and what parents and schools can continue to do to curb everything from cyberbullying to dating violence.
Psychology’s influence on our digital world (SOP32)
Psychologists are key in understanding how and why we use technology the way we do. Our smartphones and activity trackers can gauge our moods, and there are apps that can act as mobile therapists. In this episode, Pamela Rutledge, PhD, applies psychological science to interactive and mobile media technology, an evolving area of research.
Racial bias is everywhere but we may not always see it. However, understanding the way people feel about and behave toward those outside their own group can help communities heal after a tragedy, as well as prevent future ones, according to Yale University psychologist John Dovidio, PhD.
Transgender and gender nonconforming people are becoming more accepted in mainstream society, but they still remain misunderstood and understudied. In this episode, psychologist Anneliese Singh discusses how she and other researchers are trying to understand resilience within this population. She also talks about new practice guidelines for the mental health professionals who work with them.
Combining mental and behavioral health services with pediatric medical care is a natural fit. But there have been relatively few studies on whether or not it actually works. In this episode, we speak with Joan Asarnow, PhD, who led one of the top studies comparing more traditional care with integrated health care models. She talks about why these studies can help expand integrated care to even more patients.
Much like in our arms or legs, our brain’s “muscles” can rebuild and grow if they’re given the right exercise. In this episode, neuroscientist Tracey Shors talks about how her research has led her to explore links between physical and mental exercise.
Dispelling the myth of violence and mental illness (SOP27)
Recent mass shootings have inevitably led to news reports of the suspected shooters’ mental health, but psychological research shows there is no clear link between mental illness and violence. In this episode, clinical and forensic psychologist Joel Dvoskin, PhD, talks about the misconceptions surrounding mental illness and violent behavior and how basic prevention efforts could help stop future violent events.
Research has shown that psychotherapy is an effective tool for people who are dealing with a wide range of mental and behavioral health issues, yet people are still hesitant to visit a therapist for treatment. In this episode, we talk with psychologist and researcher Bruce Wampold, PhD, about why psychotherapy works and can often be a better alternative to medications.
Millions of people suffer from mental illness but stigma prevents many of them from seeking out effective treatments. In this episode, psychologist Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, talks about how the city of Philadelphia is using several novel approaches to help improve the mental health of its residents, fight stigma and get people on a path to recovery.
Despite recent medical advances and drug treatments, HIV remains a burdensome condition for millions of people around the world. In this episode, psychologist Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, talks about how the lessons from the survivors of the AIDS generation can inform the lives of those who are newly infected with HIV and those living with other challenging diseases.
APA’s latest Stress in America survey found that 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at least some time in the prior month. In this episode, psychologist and researcher Linda Gallo, PhD, talks about how stress from finances and other sources can affect your health.
There are few things in life so strongly tied to our overall happiness as a stable and happy marriage. In this episode, psychologist Ty Tashiro, PhD, gives advice and tips on how to use psychological science to find lasting love, showing us that using our heads, and not just our hearts, can lead to our happily ever after.
A growing body of research has shown a connection between our minds and bodies – a relationship that can affect our overall health. In this episode, psychologist Parinda Khatri, PhD, discusses the impact of an integrated and patient-centered health care model, which brings psychologists, physicians and patients together to treat the whole person.
Improving lives through virtual reality therapy (SOP19)
Advancements in virtual reality technology have not only led to improved experiences for people who enjoy video games but they are also treating very serious psychological and physical disabilities. In this episode, psychologist Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD, discusses research into the effectiveness of virtual reality therapy and how this technology can improve the therapist-client relationship.
American teens from upper-middle class families are more likely to have higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse than any other socioeconomic group of young people, says psychologist Suniya Luthar, PhD. In this episode, she talks about the pressures facing economically advantaged teens and what parents can do to keep them from spiraling out of control.
Research into effective ways to prevent or slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has come a long way, according to researcher and neuropsychologist Glenn E. Smith, PhD. In this episode, he discusses the causes of dementia as well as the effectiveness of activities such as physical exercise and brain training games in preventing it.
Teenagers and young adults who use marijuana regularly are at risk of significantly altering the structure of their brains, according to research by neuropsychologist Krista Lisdahl, PhD. In this episode, she discusses what this means for parents, youths and policymakers considering legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana.
Deciding how to discipline a child can be one of the hardest parts of being a parent. Even parents of generally well-behaved children can find themselves at a loss when trying to discipline a defiant toddler or a surly teenager. In this episode, psychologist Alan Kazdin, PhD, discusses corporal punishment and the most effective techniques for getting the behavior parents want.
Suicide rates have been steadily increasing in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stigma and lack of access to mental health services prevent many people from receiving the help they need, according to this episode’s guest, psychologist, professor and 2014 APA President Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP. She talks about what psychologists are doing to enhance the services available to people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.
Are companies like people? According to Susan Fiske, PhD, companies may not be flesh and blood, but customers view even the largest publicly traded companies very much like the way they view other people. And the reasons for this way of thinking are not all that different from how humans evolved to trust one another.
Creating our own happiness can be stressful. But psychologist and clinician Pamela Hays, PhD, says implementing change in our lives doesn’t have to be stressful. Author of the book, “Creating Well-Being: Four Steps to a Happier, Healthier Life,” Hays discusses those four steps in this episode, as well as how life’s daily demands can keep us from becoming our best selves.
Can music make us healthier or even smarter? Can it change how we experience pain? In this episode, former rock musician and studio producer Daniel Levitin, PhD, talks about how music changes our brain’s chemistry and affects our health.
Do you have to be intelligent to be creative? Can you learn to be more creative? In this episode, we speak with neuropsychologist Rex E. Jung, PhD, who studies intelligence, creativity and brain function. He discusses why – even if it sounds counterintuitive – intelligence and creativity may not have all that much in common.
As the discussion over how to address climate change heats up this Earth Day, we’re taking a look at how people understand the risks of climate change and how they adapt. We talk with two psychologists in this episode about how psychological research can contribute to an understanding of global climate change. Psychology professor Janet Swim, PhD, and conservation psychologist John Fraser, PhD, discuss the psychology of communication, politics and behavior as well as how psychologists can encourage others
“Cyberheroes” are those who actively use the Internet and digital technologies to help others, animals and the environment, says psychologist Dana Klisanin, PhD. She researches how online interactions can promote compassion and altruism and is even designing a video game that could help young people tackle global challenges using their computers. In this episode, Dr. Klisanin discusses how social media and online interactions can be a force for good.
As our nation strives to improve health outcomes for all Americans, APA and its Center for Psychology and Health are working to expand psychology’s role in health care by improving access to psychological and behavioral health services, particularly in primary care settings. In this episode, APA’s CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, discusses the importance of integrated health care teams and how they can help people live better lives.
Oxytocin has been called the “love hormone.” But recent research has shown that the brain chemical may play a role in regulating our moral behaviors. Researcher and author Paul Zak, PhD, discusses how his experiments and clinical studies have given us a glimpse into how oxytocin affects how we interact with one another, both face to face and online.
In 1964, the release of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health prompted one of the largest public health behavior change success stories of the 20th century. Before and since this groundbreaking report’s release, psychology has been at the forefront of smoking cessation efforts. Research into the biological and behavioral mechanisms of addiction has led to many successful treatments for nicotine addicts. In this episode, we talk with Sherry McKee, PhD, a researcher whose work has focuse
Some foods marketed as healthy may instead sabotage our diets. Consumer psychologist Lara Spiteri-Cornish, PhD, studies how companies market foods to health-conscious consumers and why we should all be wary of what they’re trying to make us believe.
Figuring out what makes a terrorist tick is not easy and law enforcement and counterterrorism officials have been turning to psychologists to try to do just that. Psychologist John Horgan, PhD, has spoken face-to-face with former members of violent extremist organizations in an effort to understand how and why people become involved in terrorism as well as why some eventually turn away from such extremism.
When a school year begins, students are dealing with new classes, sports and other school-related activities. Most students will also face the challenges of peer pressure. Psychologist Brett Laursen, PhD, talks about the science behind peer pressure and what parents can do to help their kids.
Going back to school and making friends is a challenge, especially for students with autism spectrum disorder. Psychologist Elizabeth Laugeson, PsyD, discusses a training program that she developed to teach skills that allow them to interact with their peers and build lasting friendships. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is designed for adolescents through young adults and can be provided by professionals in the schools or mental health providers.