In early January, we brought you a set of 15 tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions, straight from The Willpower Instinct, a bestselling book by Dr. Kelly McGonigal. Today, we’re highlighting a course that McGonigal organized for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, entitled How To Think Like a Psychologist. The premise is simple: McGonigal introduces prominent Stanford psychologists, who proceed to discuss their research and explain precisely why their field happens to be so fascinating, after which McGonigal leads a short discussion with the guest. An audience Q&A session follows.
Each of the course’s six lectures is a neatly packaged primer on a researcher’s area of expertise: Greg Walton gives a detailed talk about his work on academic stigma, and the role it plays in the achievement gap so evident in American education, while in later lectures, James Gross discusses his research on emotional regulation, and Bridget Martin Hard explains the benefits of studying animals to better understand humans. The strength of the course lies both in its accessibility, and its level of depth: one does not need a background in science to learn something tangible about current psychological research. What’s more, one gets a sense of how relevant psychology is as a practical science, governing every fleeting thought and social interaction.