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Psychology

Radiolab

The Scratch

Monday, September 07, 2009

When executive producer Ellen Horne was expecting a baby, she really had no particular intention of becoming a self-made expert on a parasite named Toxoplasma gondii. Robert Sapolsky explains to us why Ellen had reason to worry when she was scratched by her cat, and he traces the unlikely ...

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The Takeaway

Being Literally Sick of the Economy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For our Thursday work segment, we're talking about how work, or the lack of it, puts a strain on mental health. Some health experts say that stress from a recession can negatively impact your mind and body. Stress on the economy can lead to stress in your body, in other words.  Joining us is our finance contributor Beth Kobliner, and Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and physical therapist.

Dr. Lombardo's "GREAT" acronym for avoiding stress-related physical effects:

  • G for Gratitude
  • R for Relaxation
  • E for Exercise
  • A for Assist others
  • T for Take care of yourself

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Radiolab

After Birth

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jad--a brand new father--wonders what's going on inside the head of his baby Amil. Is it just chaos? Or is there something more, some understanding from the very beginning?

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The Takeaway

Improving Troops' Mental Resiliency

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Army is starting a new program to help improve the mental health and mental strength of its soldiers. Every one of the Army's 1.1 million soldiers will be required take part in this intensive training to improve emotional resiliency. Programs similar to this have been used in schools for the past fifteen years, but can a program used on children work on our troops? Joining us is Karen Reivich, co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project and a research associate in thePositive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who put together this program. Also joining us is Ben Carey, science reporter for the New York Times.

For more, read Ben Carey's article, Mental Stress Training Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers , in the New York Times.

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WNYC News

Groups Call for Making Attacks on Home a Hate Crime

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lawmakers and homeless advocates are pushing for legislation that would make attacks against the homeless, a hate crime. The recommendation for the bill comes on the heels of a recent study from the National Coalition for the Homeless. It says there's an uptick in violence ...

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The Takeaway

Inside the Mind of Killer

Thursday, August 06, 2009

On Tuesday night, George Sodini executed a terrible plan. He opened fire at an aerobics class in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and shot 12 women, 3 fatally, before turning the gun on himself. This was not a spontaneous attack: he had mapped out his plan in painstaking detail in notes kept in an online diary. Those notes now provide a stark look at the mind of a killer. Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist and adjunct law professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, who studies killers, joins us with a look at the psychological profile of a mass murderer.

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The Takeaway

Jailed Journalists: The Road to Recovery

Thursday, August 06, 2009

President Bill Clinton negotiated for the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from North Korea. After months of imprisonment on charges of entering the country illegally and being sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, the two were whisked away in a private jet with the former president. When they stepped off the plane at Burbank airport and reunited with their families, their journey ended in one sense, but their road to recovery just began. To understand what lies ahead for them, The Takeaway speaks to two therapists who specialize in helping people recover from psychological trauma. Dr. Yael Danieli is a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist and Dr. Anthony Feinstein is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and author of "Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards Of Covering War."

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Radiolab

What’s the Difference Anyway?

Monday, July 27, 2009

5. 4 Seconds Down: Soren Wheeler tells the story of Ken Baldwin, a man who is looking for death but finds a new view on life. 6. Am I Dead?: Neurological psychologist Paul Broks introduces us to a patient who thinks she's dead. 7. If I Only Had A Brain: ...

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Radiolab

When Am I Dead?

Monday, July 27, 2009

1. Soul Has Weight, Physician Thinks: Biologist Lee Silver tells us the story of a physician’s ambitious 1907 experiment to discover the weight of the soul. 2. Metamorphosis: One possibility of the afterlife from David Eagleman, read by actor Jeffrey Tambor. 3. When Am I Dead?: Is ...

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WNYC News

Study: Air Pollution May Lower IQ

Monday, July 20, 2009

A study measuring the effects of air pollution on pregnant mothers suggests their children might have slightly lower IQ’s. Researchers placed air monitors on the mothers during pregnancy, tracked the children for five years, and then measured their IQ’s. Doctor Frederica Perera says those in ...

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The Takeaway

The Lowdown on High Self-Esteem

Friday, July 03, 2009

Stuart Smalley’s famous words of self love: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me" could be hazardous to your mental health. A new study out of the University of Waterloo suggests that people with low-self esteem actually sink into a darker state of mind when they articulate self-affirmations. This is just the latest from a new batch of self-esteem studies. Joining us for a look at how the self-esteem movement has morphed since it burst onto the scene nearly 30 years ago is Takeaway science contributor Jonah Lehrer. Jonah is author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

"American kids feel better about themselves than kids all across the world, but achievement hasn't gone up. So now we have this nagging disconnect where our kids feel great about themselves— they think they're doing great in math and reading, but they're actually not."
—Science contributor Jonah Lehrer on the negative side effects of positive affirmations

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Radiolab

A Very Lucky Wind

Monday, June 15, 2009

Laura Buxton, an English girl just shy of ten years old, didn't realize the strange course her life would take after her red balloon was swept away into the sky. It drifted south over England, bearing a small label that said, "Please send back to Laura Buxton." What happened next ...

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Radiolab

Seeking Patterns

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fine. Randomness may govern the world around us, but does it guide US?? Jonah Lehrer joins us to examine one of the most skilled basketball teams ever, the '82 - '83 '76ers, and wonders whether or not the mythical "hot hand" actually exists.

Then we ...

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The Takeaway

Attention! How To Lead A Focus-Driven Life

Friday, May 22, 2009

Although there is no calculator that can compute our national attention deficit, it is clear there are too many stimuli competing for our precious brain time. In a world where the temptations to twitter and text are 24/7, is there hope for our multi-tasked minds? Writer Winifred Gallagher says yes. In her new book, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, Gallagher reviews the latest developments in the psychology and neuroscience of attention. She joins us in our studio to discuss the benefits of training yourself to focus.

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The Takeaway

Terminator Salvation: Our Romance with Robots

Thursday, May 21, 2009



Terminator Salvation, the fourth installment of the Terminator franchise, hits theaters today. The film takes place in 2018, an apocalyptic world where humans are outnumbered by machines— hulking robots, the size of skyscrapers, with a penchant for wiping out mankind. And don't even get us started on SkyNet. But what about year 2009? For a reality check on human-robot relations, we are joined Sherry Turkle. She is a professor of Science, Technology and Society and MIT, where she is also the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. She is an author of numerous books, among them is her latest title, Simulation and Its Discontents.

What else can a robot do for you?
Provide care for the elderly
Play the violin
Dance
Tailor a suit for Woody Allen
Delicately package things
Provide endless entertainment

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The Brian Lehrer Show

High Functioning Alcoholics

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sarah Allen Benton, author of Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights, discusses how alcoholism may be more prevalent than we think and offers a window into the lives of high-functioning alcoholics. More info at High Functioning Alcoholic.com

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Market Psychology

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

George Akerlof, Koshland Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and 2001 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, discusses his new book Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism.

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The Takeaway

Staying mentally steady in tough economic times

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

“Times are tough.” “We are beginning to see glimmers of hope.” Those were two of the statements President Obama made in his speech on the economy yesterday. It seems like a mixed message. What’s the best way to cope emotionally and stay on an even keel in turbulent times? Annie McKee, founder of the global consulting firm Teleos Leadership Institute, advises business leaders on how to use emotional intelligence to be effective. She joins The Takeaway to tell how regular people can use those same skills to ride the economic waves now.

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The Takeaway

Dan Ariely on why we pay taxes (and why we sometimes don't)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Tax Day! In these challenging economic times, and in the wake of massive bank bailouts and several of Obama's cabinet nominees who took tax missteps, people may be fishing for an excuse not to pay all of their taxes. For a primer on what motivates us to cheat—and what keeps us honest—we are joined by behavioral economist Dan Ariely. He is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational.
"The majority of the financial burden of cheating doesn't come from those individuals who don't pay at all, it comes from lots of people who are just shaving their taxes just by a little bit."
—Duke University Professor Dan Ariely on people cheating on taxes

For more Tax Day drama, check out our Producer's Note on the Battle of the Tax Day Tea Parties.

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The Takeaway

Your brain on climate change: Why we fight the impulse to go green

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The world is now spending billions of dollars investigating the causes of climate change. Scientists are quickly putting together physical and biological experiments and projects, hoping for solutions and models that will show us how to slow warming and save the planet. But there's another body of work underway that's focused on the human brain. This research argues that climate change policy and solutions for global warming won't be worth much until we know how to influence the individual decisions that cause global warming. To help us figure out why it is so hard to get our brains to choose green options we are joined by Jon Gertner, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. His article on this will be available in the Times Magazine on Sunday.

Maybe this is a case for Captain Planet:

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