How Political Leanings Boil Down to Moral Beliefs and Group Loyalties
By Ryan Howes - Perhaps you've had the experience of getting lost in a political argument in which you became exasperated that people on the other side couldn't see what was so obvious, despite your best efforts to reason with them. In the following interview, author Jonathan Haidt explains why politics is ultimately about our stance on fundamental moral beliefs and group loyalties--things that aren't usually influenced by facts, figures, or rational policy debate.
Author Susan Cain Explains the Link Between Solitude and Creativity
By Ryan Howes - More often than not, we tend to give preference to the people we see as more social, gregarious, and comfortable in the limelight and in crowds. But according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, maybe it’s time the world came to appreciate the strengths and contributions of the 50 percent of Americans who are introverts.
An Interview with Steve Silberman on the Intricacies of Autism and Asperger's
When it comes to autism, how do we separate truth from fiction? Steve Silberman is a Bay Area writer who, for his Wired article “The Geek Syndrome,” dove into Silicon Valley culture in 2001 to explore the contribution of people on the autism spectrum to the dot-com boom. He followed up that article with years of research and study, culminating in his new book, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. In a recent conversation, Silberman teased out the intricacies of autism as a pathology and as a different way of seeing the world.
Gretchen Rubin on the Power of External Motivation
For her 2009 book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin spent a year test-driving dozens of techniques and notions that purport to make people happier. More recently, Rubin explored the nature of habit and challenges some basic psychotherapy principles to propose that, rather than awareness and insight, many people just need more external motivation to make the changes they need in their lives. In the following conversation, she focuses on what she considers limitations of psychotherapy as a road map for change.
Susan Johnson on What Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Can Tell Us
Susan Johnson, the inventor of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT), bases her work on the fundamental understanding that teaching communication skills to couples in conflict is like trying to teach the whirlwind how to blow more gently. That's why EFCT is based on the new science of bonding, clarifying people's attachment needs and helping them understand how they trigger each other's deepest fears, then helping them move into interactions where they can more safely bond with each other.
Using Meditative and Mindfulness Practices to Redefine Emotion
We Americans believe profoundly not only in the pursuit of happiness, but in our unalienable right to obtain it. Despite roughly 5,000 years of written evidence to the contrary, we believe it isn’t normal to be unhappy. But according to Steven Hayes, the creator of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), it’s suffering and struggle that are normal---and not the reverse. Furthermore, dealing with our inevitable psychic struggles by trying to get rid of them doesn’t work and may actually make them worse. In this interview, he explains the origins of ACT and what he sees as its future.
Esther Perel on Relationship Dynamics in the Age of Consumer Marriage
When it comes to couples, we still hold onto the romantic ideal of finding that one soulmate who’ll fulfill all our needs for companionship, emotional intimacy, and erotic adventure in a single relationship. In our interview with Esther Perel, she shares her thoughts about how broader social context shapes expectations of marriage in crucial ways that are often ignored by many models of couples therapy.
Elizabeth Loftus Revisits False Memory Controversy
In the late 1980s and 1990s, after the growing recognition that child abuse was far more prevalent than had been believed, an increasingly vocal adult survivors’ movement began to form, determined to bring to light the previously ignored subject of child abuse. During this period, research psychologist Elizabeth Loftus emerged as the most prominent public critic of the notion that memories of childhood abuse could be recovered years later. In this interview, she reflects on her role in the memory wars of the 1990s and whether our increasing understanding of the brain has illuminated the difference between real and false memories.
An Interview with Lou Cozolino
Pepperdine professor-psychotherapist Lou Cozolino believes that the key to improving our schools is learning how to incorporate an understanding of attachment theory and social neuroscience into our educational system. Throughout his career, he’s devoted himself to bridging the world of academic research with the realm of practical applications.
An Interview with Daniel Amen
Today’s cutting-edge therapists take pride in their growing knowledge of brain science. For nearly 20 years, Daniel Amen has led a controversial quest to make brain imaging common practice in the field.