An academic speaker series presenting captivating psychological findings from professors, researchers, and graduate students aimed to inspire, spark conversation, and cultivate curiosity.
Dr. Margaret Clark: Emotions & Relationships
We all experience an intricate range of emotions daily. Yet what kind of roles do they play in our close relationships? How do our abilities to read emotions in other people affect the quality of these connections? Moreover, how does it affect our own cognition? Does it have the potential to interrupt or facilitate our own lives? These are the types of questions that Dr. Margaret Clark has been working on answering in her lab at Yale. Besides her decorated background in social psychology and academia, she’s actively working towards understanding the processes that promote supportive close interpersonal relationships. She believes emotions play a significant role in how these interactions play out. However, our emotions don’t just “happen”, Dr. Clark argues that we construct them. Hear more about this constructivist theory of emotions and much more during our conversation.
Dr. Daniel Schacter: Memory
Memories make up an integral part of the human experience. We use them to steer clear of potentially risky or harmful future situations or to even evoke a sense of joy and happiness in the present from reflecting on positive past experiences. They influence our everyday decisions and judgements. But how reliable are our memories? Do we really remember everything exactly the way they happened? Dr. Daniel Schacter, a faculty professor and researcher at Harvard, investigates exactly these types of inquiries. He’s one of the nation’s top experts in memory, and his book, The Seven Sins of Memory, explains that although we are prone to, and often experience, memory failures, it’s exactly how evolution intended. Surprisingly, Dr. Schacter argues that memory may be much more about the future than the past, contrary to what we usually consider memories to be – “of the past”. We discuss false memories and false crime confessions, along with the notion that we construct our memories based on past experiences, current knowledge and beliefs. Listen to all of these riveting topics and more during our conversation.
Dr. John D. Mayer: Emotional & Personal Intelligences
As a preeminent expert in emotional intelligence and personality psychology, Dr. John D. Mayer (University of New Hampshire) has spent decades understanding the features of personality through the current group of intelligences that exist. At the genesis of his research, he partnered with Peter Salovey, Yale’s President since 2013, and David Caruso to study the intricacies of these intelligences, specifically emotional. Before emotional intelligence became the current trendy state many strive towards, Dr. Mayer shares his journey towards the popularization of the word combination and how many people early on didn’t give it much attention. He also elaborates on a new term called “people-centered intelligence”, which primarily includes personal and emotional, and explains how this term is slightly different, yet possibly more important than its peers. Listen to why this may be along with us covering more topics during our conversation.
Dr. Daniel Casasanto: Culture, Language & Bodily Experiences
Dr. Daniel Casasanto has a knack for explaining complex and abstract concepts in a such a digestible way that you’re left leaving the conversation inspired. And this comes at no surprise. After receiving his PhD in Cognitive Science from MIT and currently a professor and active researcher at Cornell, he’s spent almost two decades exploring how language, culture, and bodily experiences influence the way people think, feel, and make decisions. By exploring how people with different experiences think differently, we can better understand universal processes by which people turn concrete interactions with their environment into abstract thoughts. During our conversation, he shares his insight into how language affects our perception and relativity of time, how our right- or left-handedness affects our subconscious understanding of what is good, and how these same hand tendencies affect our approach-avoidance behavior. We discuss all this and more.
Dr. David Pizarro: Emotions & Morality
With a Ph.D. from Yale and currently on the psychology faculty at Cornell, Dr. David Pizarro has been investigating the correlations between our emotional states on thinking and deciding for almost two decades. More specifically, he’s been researching how emotions, such as anger, disgust, and fear, impact the ways we process information, remember events, and generate moral judgments of others. We take a deep dive into what disgust is and how that word has shaped our interpretation of experiences, both generally and interpersonally. During our conversation, Dr. Pizarro shares his fascinating findings linking a person’s unique “disgust sensitivities” to political orientation, aversion to change, and the small clues into their personality. These exact sensitivities suggest ways in which we perceive and judge others, especially from a moral perspective. Ever wonder how your tongue may play a role in determining which direction you might lean morally? We discuss all of this and more
Dr. Ellen Langer: Mindfulness
Dr. Ellen Langer has been considered by many as the "mother of mindfulness". As the first tenured female professor of psychology at Harvard, she's spent over 40 years studying what exactly being mindful means and how to cultivate it for personal and interpersonal good. During our conversation, Dr. Langer shares the different studies that she's been working on these past years and most recently, along with where her research is going. She's an unwavering force within the world of psychology, and perhaps it's because her mantra, "uncertainty should be the rule, not the exception", has provided her with the grit and understanding to weather any type of storm. She provides invaluable takeaways on how to harness mindfulness and what the solution is to some of our mindless problems. We discuss all of this and more.