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New Books in Psychology

Author: Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Psychologists about their New Books

324 Episodes
Terrorism and radicalization came to the forefront of news and politics in the US after the unforgettable attacks of September 11th, 2001. When George W. Bush famously asked "Why do they hate us?," the President echoed the confusion, anger and fear felt by millions of Americans, while also creating a politicized discourse that has come to characterize and obscure discussions of both phenomena in the media. Since then the American public has lived through a number of domestic attacks and threats, and watched international terrorist attacks from afar on television sets and computer screens. The anxiety and misinformation surrounding terrorism and radicalization are perhaps best detected in questions that have continued to recur in the last decade: "Are terrorists crazy?"; "Is there a profile of individuals likely to become terrorists?"; "Is it possible to prevent radicalization to terrorism?" Fortunately, in the two decades since 9/11, a significant body of research has emerged that can help provide definitive answers. In Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2020), Sophia Moskalenko and Clark McCauley propose twelve mechanisms that can move individuals, groups, and mass publics from political indifference to sympathy and support for terrorist violence. Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know synthesizes original and existing research to answer the questions raised after each new attack, including those committed by radicalized Americans. It offers a rigorously informed overview of the insight that will enable readers to see beyond the relentless news cycle to understand where terrorism comes from and how best to respond to it. Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What does it take for a company’s culture to enable ongoing growth? Today I talked to Charlene Li, author of The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail (IdeaPress, 2019). Li is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership, and is also the co-author of Groundswell. She is the Founder and Senior Fellow at Altimeter, a research and consulting firm, as well as a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Topics covered in this episode include: Five kinds of employees, and how that that model feeds into the four archetypes of disruptive leaders: steadfast managers, realist optimists, worried skeptics, and agent provocateurs. How mid-size companies can avoid the “permafrost” layer that limits the flexibility of larger companies. How is the challenge of being a disruptive leader different if you’re female or a minority member versus being a white male? Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. ( To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
For decades, statisticians, social scientists, psychologists, and economists (among them Nobel Prize winners) have spent massive amounts of precious time thinking about whether streaks actually exist. After all, a substantial number of decisions that we make in our everyday lives are quietly rooted in this one question: If something happened before, will it happen again? Is there such a thing as being in the zone? Can someone have a “hot hand”? Or is it simply a case of seeing patterns in randomness? Or, if streaks are possible, where can they be found? In The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks (Custom House, 2020), Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Cohen offers an unfailingly entertaining and provocative investigation into these questions. He begins with how a $35,000 fine and a wild night in New York revived a debate about the existence of streaks that was several generations in the making. We learn how the ability to recognize and then bet against streaks turned a business school dropout named David Booth into a billionaire, and how the subconscious nature of streak-related bias can make the difference between life and death for asylum seekers. We see how previously unrecognized streaks hidden amidst archival data helped solve one of the most haunting mysteries of the twentieth century, the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg. Cohen also exposes how streak-related incentives can be manipulated, from the five-syllable word that helped break arcade profit records to an arc of black paint that allowed Stephen Curry to transform from future junior high coach into the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history. Crucially, Cohen also explores why false recognition of nonexistent streaks can have cataclysmic results, particularly if you are a sugar beet farmer or the sort of gambler who likes to switch to black on the ninth spin of the roulette wheel. Paul Knepper was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Austin. He used to cover basketball for Bleacher Report and his first book titled Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers Who Almost Won It All is due out this year. You can reach Paul at and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Attachment theory is a popular lens through which psychologists have examined human development and interpersonal dynamics. In Attachment in Religion and Spirituality: A Wider View (Guilford Press, 2020), Pehr Granqvist uses that lens to examine the psychology of religion and spirituality. He focuses on the connections between early caregiving experiences, attachment patterns, and individual differences in religious cognition, experience, and behavior. The function of a deity as an attachment figure is analyzed, as are ways in which attachment facilitates the intergenerational transmission of religion. The book suggests that the attachment perspective can aid in understanding mystical experiences, which are extraordinarily difficult to examine. The “wider view” of the title encompasses connections between religion and mental health, and cultural differences between more and less religious societies. Despite the density of the material, Granqvist's conversational writing style, concrete examples, and references to popular culture render complex concepts accessible. Pehr Granqvist teaches in the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, Middle East television commentator, and host of the Van Leer Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How should we think about the relationship between subjectivity and experience? In Anaesthetics of Existence: Essays on Experience at the Edge (Duke University Press, 2020), Cressida J. Heyes approaches this question through interrogating the apparent limits of experience found in unconsciousness—including sleep; forms of “checking out”—including general anesthesia and a glass of wine; and childbirth. Using genealogy and critical phenomenology grounded in feminist theory, Heyes approaches the project of conceptualizing agency through an interrogation of things that affect us, that happen to us, that we fall into, and undergo, but that are at the limits of experience and what can be said about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How are we going to address inequality and put the economy on a sounder footing? Today I talked to Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth about their new book Angrynomics (Agenda Publishing/Columbia University Press, 2020). Lonergan is an economist and macro fund manager in London whose writings often appear in The Financial Times. Blyth is a political economist at Brown University who received his PhD in political science from Columbia University. Topics covered in this episode include: --An exploration of how the emotions of anger, fear and disgust animate both the long-term economic stresses in society and those brought on by the Covid-19 crisis. --What the differences are between moral outrage versus tribal outrage. --Descriptions of three, potentially viable and game-changing solutions, including among them a “data dividend” and the creation of national wealth funds like those in Norway and beyond. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. ( To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Do you have an active intellectual life? That is a question you may feel uncomfortable answering these days given that the very phrase “intellectual life” can strike some people as pretentious or self-indulgent, even irresponsible in a time of pandemic disease. But what better time could there be for an examination of the subject of the inner life? And what is “the intellectual life,” anyway? In her 2020 book, Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life (Princeton University Press, 2020), Zena Hitz explores the interior world and shows that intellectual endeavor is not simply a matter of reading by oneself but can encompass everything from a lifelong fascination with falcons to strategies for retaining one’s sanity and humanity in a gulag or producing ground-breaking political and sociological writings in a prison cell in Mussolini’s Italy. In the course of her book, Hitz deploys real-world examples from young Einstein in his day job in a Swiss patent office to Malcolm X’s encounter with the fellow prison inmate who first urged him to embark on a life-changing course of reading to Dorothy Day’s encounters with books throughout her life and their influence on her youthful secular radicalism to her conversion to Catholicism and continued activism. We also encounter St. Augustine and take a deep dive into Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels and travel with a Preston Sturges hero in a screwball comedy/social commentary film. Hitz’s reader-friendly examination of the intellectual life is ideal reading for the millions of us confined to our homes due to the coronavirus and who now have time to read and think seriously about matters of mortality and the meaning of life, which are suddenly front and center in our daily lives. And at a time of pandemic-related economic peril for liberal arts colleges and programs, Hitz’s take on what ailed them even before our current crisis and her prescription for a way forward for those that survive the next several years are must reading for not only academics but all citizens who care about how civilization itself carries on. Give a listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The concept of the unconscious has a complicated place in the history of psychology. Many areas of study ignored or outright denied it for a long time, while psychoanalysis claimed it as one of its central tenets. More recently, many non-psychoanalytic researchers have addressed the unconscious, but under different names—automaticity, implicit memory and learning, and heuristics, among others. The result is a lack of consensus in psychology on what the unconscious is and how it bears on psychotherapy processes. In their new book, The Unconscious: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications (Guilford Press, 2019) authors Joel Weinberger and Valentina Stoycheva undertake to bring together the various lines of study concerning the unconscious in order to arrive at an integrated model of unconscious processes. In our interview, they discuss the urgency for writing this book, what we might learn from various models of unconscious processes, and how psychotherapy might be enhanced by their state-of-the-art findings. This interview will be illuminating and useful for mental health therapists, researchers, and anyone interested in how the mind works. Joel Weinberger, Ph.D., is Professor in the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University and a founder of Implicit Strategies, which consults for political campaigns, nonprofits, and businesses. Valentina Stoycheva, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, where she works with military service members, veterans, and their families. She is also a cofounder and director of Stress and Trauma Evaluation and Psychological Services (STEPS), a group practice that focuses on the integrative treatment of trauma. Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate and faculty of William Alanson White Institute in Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in New York City and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group; and faculty at Florida Psychoanalytic Institute in Miami. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What are some of the prevalent ways in which we lie to ourselves and limit our flexibility? Today I discussed this and other questions with David R. Grimes, the author of The Irrational Ape: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk, and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World (Simon & Schuster, 2019). Grimes is a cancer researcher, physicist, and writer. He contributes to media outlets such as PBS, the BBC, the Guardian, the Irish Times, and the New York Times. This is his first book. Topics covered in this episode include: --What’s the origin of the term “snake oil” and how it illustrates the book’s larger points. --Which emotions social media, especially Facebook, exploit most effectively and why. How are the “sins” of social media similar to different from how traditional mass media operates? --In both work settings and in one’s private life, what kind of human foibles and illogical fallacies put us most at risk. What one emotion may help us grow and interact with others best. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kurt Braddock's new book Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization (Cambridge University Press, 2020) applies existing theories of persuasion to domains unique to this digital era, such as social media, YouTube, websites, and message boards to name but a few. Terrorists deploy a range of communication methods and harness reliable communication theories to create strategic messages that persuade peaceful individuals to join their groups and engage in violence. While explaining how they accomplish this, the book lays out a blueprint for developing counter-messages perfectly designed to conquer such violent extremism and terrorism. Using this basis in persuasion theory, a socio-scientific approach is generated to fight terrorist propaganda and the damage it causes. --Describes four key theories and perspectives related to persuasion and how they relate to radicalization and counter-radicalization. --Identifies future challenges that security officials will face in trying to stop terrorist messaging from promoting violent radicalization. --Suggests future directions that security officials, researchers, and policymakers can take persuasion theory to develop effective counter-messaging campaigns. Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed (HMH, 2019) is a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist's world-where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she). One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients' lives-a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a 20-something who can't stop hooking up with the wrong guys-she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell. With startling wisdom and humour, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. Elizabeth Cronin, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher with offices in Brookline and Norwood, MA. You can follow her on Instagram or visit her website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What makes a building’s design come alive as it helps shape our existence? Listen in as I discuss this and other questions with Susie Hodge, author of The Short Story of Architecture: A Pocket Guide to Key Styles, Buildings, Elements & Materials (Laurence King Publishing, 2019) Hodge is an art and design historian, author and artist with over 150 books published for adults and children alike. She’s also a frequent contributor to magazines, museum and gallery web resources, and radio and TV news programs and documentaries. Topics covered in this episode include: --The religious, civic, and cultural buildings that most stand out for Hodge, among the book’s stellar options, with the specific emotional responses each one elicits. --Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Antoni Gaudi weren’t just great architects, they also had forceful, colorful personalities revealed here through select anecdotes. --Which of the houses in this book influenced the top 10 must popular house styles in America? Learn as well which rooms in their houses Americans favor the most. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
To what degree did each of The Beatles exhibit emotional intelligence in the band’s final year? You'll find out in the discussion I had with Kenneth Womack about his new book Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and The End of The Beatles (Cornell University Press, 2019). Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. His forthcoming book, John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life, will be available in October 2020. Topics covered in this episode include: --Womack explains what Solid State refers to and where Abbey Road might rank in the band’s legacy. (Fortunately, the Magical Mystery Tour album wasn’t a top-three choice of his!) --Using the Big 5 model for personality traits, what might be the dominant traits of The Beatles given the options of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. --Why the band had reached a point where, like a bad marriage, it couldn’t survive any longer. For a transcript of this episode, click here. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How is the retail sector going to be best able to survive the Amazon juggernaut? I address this question with B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore in a discussion of their book The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020). Pine and Gilmore are the cofounders of Strategic Horizons, LLP. Besides their other books and activities, Pine is a Lecturer at Columbia University and Gilmore teaches at Case Western Reserve University. Topics covered in this episode include: --What have been the relevant emotions in play as the economy has evolved across the four stage of commodities, goods, services, and now experiences and transformations alike. --How is achieving “customer satisfaction” too limiting, and what’s the emotional storyline that, first, Walt Disney and now business leaders worldwide must embrace to survive and thrive. --How does the emotional labor of employees being “on stage” as part of an experience square with workers’ and customers’ desire for authenticity. For a transcript of this episode, click here. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How did Donald Trump’s leveraging of emotions get him to The White House? Today I discussed this question with Steven E. Schier and Todd E. Eberly, co-authors of the new book How Trump Happened: A System Shock Decades in the Making (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020). Schier is professor emeritus of political science at Carleton College and Eberly is an associate professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. This is Schier’s 23rd book as author or editor, and the co-authors fourth book together. Topics covered in this episode include: --The emotive similarities and differences between four political leaders: Donald Trump, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and Ross Perot, with a special focus on the Trump / Nixon affinity. --Analysis of Trump’s emotional playbook, especially how he elicits and leverages voter anger. --What the lessons are for leaders everywhere in terms of understanding Trump’s successes and failures as the country’s current, all-consuming focal point. A transcript of the episode can be found here. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Combining expert storytelling with genuine self-scrutiny, Casey Schwartz details the decade she spend taking Adderall to help her pay attention (or so she thought) and then considers the role of attention in defining our lives as it has been understood by thinkers such as William James, David Foster Wallace, and Simone Weil. From our craving for distraction to our craving for a cure, from Silicon Valley consultants and psychedelic researchers to the findings of trauma expert Dr. Gabor Maté, Schwartz takes us on an eye-opening tour of the modern landscape of attention. Blending memoir, biography, and original reporting, Schwarz examines her attempts to preserve her authentic life and decide what is most important in it. Attention: A Love Story (Pantheon, 2020) will resonate with readers who want to determine their own minds, away from the siren call of their screens. Lucas Richert is an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He studies intoxicating substances and the pharmaceutical industry. He also examines the history of mental health.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced. John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at and @johnwphd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Stress is our internal response to an experience that our brain perceives as threatening or challenging. Trauma is our response to an experience in which we feel powerless or lacking agency. Until now, researchers have treated these conditions as different, but they actually lie along a continuum. In Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma (Avery Press, 2020), Dr. Elizabeth Stanley explains the significance of this continuum, how it affects our resilience in the face of challenge, and why an event that’s stressful for one person can be traumatizing for another. This groundbreaking book examines the cultural norms that impede resilience in America, especially our collective tendency to disconnect stress from its potentially extreme consequences and override our need to recover. It explains the science of how to direct our attention to perform under stress and recover from trauma. With training, we can access agency, even in extreme-stress environments. In fact, any maladaptive behavior or response conditioned through stress or trauma can, with intentionality and understanding, be reconditioned and healed. The key is to use strategies that access not just the thinking brain but also the survival brain. By directing our attention in particular ways, we can widen the window within which our thinking brain and survival brain work together cooperatively. When we use awareness to regulate our biology this way, we can access our best, uniquely human qualities: our compassion, courage, curiosity, creativity, and connection with others. By building our resilience, we can train ourselves to make wise decisions and access choice–even during times of incredible stress, uncertainty, and change. With stories from men and women Dr. Stanley has trained in settings as varied as military bases, healthcare facilities, and Capitol Hill, as well as her own striking experiences with stress and trauma, she gives readers hands-on strategies they can use themselves, whether they want to perform under pressure or heal from traumatic experience, while at the same time pointing our understanding in a new direction. Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite bad, even fatal, consequences for the people who hold them? In The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread (Yale University Press, 2018), Cailin O’Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what’s essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false beliefs. It might seem that there’s an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that’s right, then why is it (apparently) irrelevant to many people whether they believe true things or not? The Misinformation Age, written for a political era riven by “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, shows convincingly that what you believe depends on who you know. If social forces explain the persistence of false belief, we must understand how those forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, Middle East television commentator, and host of the Van Leer Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel. Contact: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Consider a couple with an infant (or two) whose lives have become so harried and difficult the marriage is falling apart. Would it be ethical for them to take oxytocin to help them renew their emotional bonds, or would this be an unethical evasion of the hard work that keeping a marriage going requires? What if someone has sexual desires that they consider immoral – should they be able to take a drug to suppress those desires, or alternatively can society force them to? Debates about the ethics of using drugs for enhancement rather than treatment usually focus on the individual, such as doping in sports. In Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships (Stanford University Press, 2020), Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu consider the case for using drugs to alter our love relationships. Earp, who is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and and Health Policy at Yale University, and Savulescu, the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, note that drugs that alter sexual desire and attachment are already available, although are restricted or illegal. What is needed, they argue, is more research into the interpersonal effects of drugs, and more discussion of the ethics of their use for non-medical purposes. Let’s turn to a fascinating interview on a complex topic with no easy answers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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