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Psychology Today Blog - Curious? Discovering and creating a life that matters.

12 Book Recommendations to Blow Your Freaking Mind Open

More than a dozen books that you need to read in the months and years ahead. Some are far off the beaten path.


Letter to Dads of Daughters on a Sexual Misconduct Epidemic

I wanted to write a letter to dads of daughters everywhere on the sexual misconduct mayhem that is being revealed daily.


How Many Ways Can We Measure Well-Being?

A new framework can be useful for triggering conversation. Whether it breaks new ground scientifically is a different matter.


4 Steps for Effective Social Media Arguments

Public shaming. Flame wars. Cultural wars. Here is a post that hopes to improve people's thoughts on how to disagree and argue well.


Profanity and Seemingly Inappropriate Words in the Classroom

What is unacceptable in a classroom setting? Besides profanity, there are certain words that are antithetical to thinking. I had to put an end to what was wearing me out.


For a Profound Sense of Meaning in Life, Have Sex

How central is sexuality to the development of well-being? New research untangles the association between sexuality and various dimensions of well-being.


What Erroneous Beliefs Do You Hold about Resilience?

We only learn about what makes people resilient and how to help people become more resilient with sufficient scientific theories and methodologies. Read this course correction.


The Problem with Measuring Happiness

Public policy makers and entire countries are now using a happiness index to supplement economic indicators. But are they aware of the measurement problems? Here we explain a few.


How Do Character Strengths Help (and Harm) Romance?

This is the first study to suggests that the beliefs we hold about the personality strengths of our romantic partners influence our well-being and their well-being.


How I Learned About the Perils of Grit

Grit, the Scarlett Johannson of organizational cures, has problems. Neglected research points to the dark side of promoting and nurturing grit.


What Happened to Risk-Taking in Science?

Great strides have been made in psychology. No longer is it acceptable to run an experiment with 30 college students. But here we take a closer look at the questions being asked...


What Predicts Success in Psychology Graduate Programs?

Each year students acquire hundreds of hours of research experience, present science at conferences and yet never stand a chance to get into graduate school. Because of GRE scores.


How Does Gratitude Enhance Trust?

New research on how a weekly gratitude intervention influences monetary decisions, physiological responses, and emotional experiences during a decision to trust a stranger.


What Are the Standards for Citing Prior Literature?

Nobody has created a set of guidelines for how to cite prior work in psychology, other academic fields, or anywhere else such as trade books. Some thoughts...


An Essential Set of Tools for Productivity at Work

Productivity tips from 18 years as a scientist and author.


13 Amazing Books to Devour

The top 9 non-fiction and 4 fiction books off the beaten path that I digested this year.


In What Ways Do Socially Anxious Adults Suffer?

New research on touch as a neglected emotional experience that offers insights into the difficulties of individuals suffering from social anxiety problems.


3 Fascinating Discoveries About Laughter

Let us travel where scientists seldom tread—everyday, lowly human behaviors. Laughter. What myths do you hold? What truths are you ready to discover?


10 Discoveries About Well-Being That Everyone Must Know

More than three decades of research exists on well-being. I distill it into three principles that everyone should know.


Why Does Brain Training Make You Smarter?

Lumosity, a brain game app, recently paid 2 million dollars to settle charges of deceptive advertising. People want to be smarter. But what do we know about brain games?


8 Fascinating Discoveries About Yawning

Science often ignores the peculiar traits of humans and other social animals, such as yawning.


The Shortcut to Finding Pleasure From Pain

Why do people experience pleasure from pain? Who is more apt to do so? What are the lessons for dealing with stress, loss, and trauma? Read about the concept of benign masochism.


How Can Positive Psychology Be More Open to the Negative?

When people shut their eyes to the negative, they limit themselves—missing important insights that could prove to be invaluable to psychology.


3 Ways That Culture Shapes Happiness and Well-Being

It's no longer acceptable to view the body of research on happiness, meaning in life, personality, and leadership and apply it to countries around the world.


Is It a Good Idea To Build on Signature Strengths?

There is a surge of interest in assessing and using psychological strengths. In this blog post, I detail what prior journal articles, books, and expensive workshops are missing.


13 Reasons Why People Have Sex

New research on sexuality that offers insights into the different motives behind the act.


13 Emotionally and Intellectually Intense Books from 2015

My top 10 non-fiction books off the beaten path that I digested this yea, and as a bonus, 3 amazing fiction book recommendations.


What Is the Worst New Term Created by Psychologists?

Happiness research is all the rage. Mindfulness is the sexiest new topic in psychology. See what happens when scientists start burying their ideas in jargon.


Problems with the Research on Psychological Treatments

In this provocative blog post, I report on how much of what we know about therapy is based on clinical trials where the outcome is how much distress is reduced over weeks and months. Two, new meta-analyses provide evidence that the amount of distress people with anxiety and mood disorders experience has only a small association with how much impairment they experience.


5 Ways to Cultivate Curiosity and Courage in the Workplace

Results from the new Merck survey of 2,606 United States workers on the state of curiosity in the workplace. Learn about the 5 big barriers to curiosity at work. Learn 5 strategies for training companies, leaders, and employees to become more curious, courageous, and creative.


Speaker

I offer workshops and keynotes for business organizations, government, professional communities, continuing education for various disciplines, and the general public. With cutting-edge knowledge and humor, I offer practical suggestions for how people and organizations can flourish.


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Author

My books Curious? and The Upside of Your Dark Side offer the new message that the greatest opportunities for joy and personal growth do not happen when searching for happiness, certainty, or safety. When we acknowledge negative emotions and impulses, and use them wisely, and are open to new experiences, we attain greater success and become a better person.



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Researcher

In my Well-Being Laboratory, we conduct research to better understand strength use and development, social relationships, optimal performance, happiness, meaning and purpose in life, resilience, emotions and their regulation, and stress with a focus on how to apply this knowledge to better people's lives.


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