What makes you happy? As in, what generates happiness inside the squishy bits that reside inside your skull?
That’s what author and neuroscientist Dean Burnett set out to answer in his new book, Happy Brain, which explores both the environmental and situational factors that lead to and away from happiness, and the neurological underpinnings of joy, bliss, comfort, love, and connection.
In the episode you’ll hear all that and more as we talk about what we know so far about the biological nature of happiness itself.
In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with my friend and one of my favorite journalists, author Will Storr, whose new book just hit the shelves here in the United States. It’s called Selfie: How We Became so Self-Obsessed, and What it is Doing to Us.
The book explores what he calls “the age of perfectionism” — our modern struggle with our many modern pressures to meet newly emerging ideals and standards that tell us if we are falling short of the person we ought to be – and how that struggle to be that person is an impossible task. As he says in the book, “perfectionism is the idea that kills,” and you’ll hear him explain what he means by that in the interview.
Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner.
According to Victorian historian Kathyrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious and thus no place for a virtuous, fragile woman. The home was a paradise, a place for civility, where perfect angelic ladies could, in her words, “counterbalance the moral taint of the public sphere.”
When faced with an inescapable and unwanted situation, we often rationalize our predicament so as to make it seem less awful and more bearable, but what if that situation is a new law or a new administration?
When was the last time you changed your mind? Are you sure?
In this episode we explore new research that suggests for the majority of the mind change we experience, after we update our priors, we delete what we used to believe and then simply forget that we ever thought otherwise.
In the show, psychologists Michael Wolfe and Todd Williams, take us though their new research which suggests that because brains so value consistency, and are so determined to avoid the threat of decoherence, we hide the evidence of our belief change. That way, the story we tell ourselves about who we are can remain more or less heroic, with a stable, steadfast protagonist whose convictions rarely waver — or, at least, they don’t waver as much as those of shifty, flip-flopping politicians.