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Seminars in Psychology

A collection of interesting seminars, presentations and lectures from various institutions relevant to pschology.

1. The Neuroscience of Social Behavior: From Looking at Faces to Understanding Autism - Oct 2008
Ralph Adolphs, Caltech's Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology, discussed how his lab has used brain imaging, direct recordings from the brain in surgical patients, and studies of clinical populations to understand face processing. He explained that specific regions of the brain are required to recognize emotions, that aspects of face perception are fast and automatic, and that people with autism look at faces in unusual ways.
(California Institute of Technology: Caltech Today)

2. Positive psychology (2004)
Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It's a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures -- traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones. In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists.

3. Why are we happy? (2004)
Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong -- a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness. Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone’s eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.

4. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow (2004)
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow" - a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life."

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