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April 11, 2012

15 Best Psychology TED Talks on Happiness, Motivation, & More

Today we present our picks for the 15 best TED talks covering the topics of psychology and neuroscience. With talks on positive psychology, autism, behavioral economics, electroshock therapy, and more you'll hear some very interesting insights from thinkers on the cutting edge of ideas about the mind and brain.

1. Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight

In this moving talk delivered at the TED conference, brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor provides a first-person account of her own stroke and the experience of losing control of her bodily functions as well the functions of the left side of her brain. Instead of it being a painful or frightening experience, she said the stroke put her in a intense state of bliss and nirvana. Sharing this experience became her motivation for recovery.

2. Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology

In this TED talk Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology and the author Authentic Happiness and Learned Optimism, looks at ways healthy people can lead happier, more engaged, and more meaningful lives. While Seligman acknowledges that psychology has done a pretty good job over the past 50 years of making miserable people feel less miserable, he shows that there is a whole other realm of positive psychology which he and a group of other psychologists are only beginning to study. Seligman tells some of his findings on what contributes to healthy states of mind and what fosters genius. Going beyond the conventional pleasure seeking form of happiness, Seligman points to practices that truly give life meaning.

3. The Surprising Science of Motivation

Learn how to better motivate yourself and others in this recent popular TED Talk. In this talk writer Daniel H. Pink lays out the facts about what drives the best results in business. In study after study any work that requires creative problem solving does not benefit from external rewards such as money. Only mechanical tasks benefit when there is reward and punishment, but when creative solutions are required, workers are more motivated when they feel there is intrinsic value to what they are doing. Pink lays out some of the ways businesses have benefited by implementing policies to encourage the best in right brained, creative thinking.

4. Helen Fisher: The Science of Love, and the Future of Women

In this TED talk, anthropologist Helen Fisher discusses a study she was involved in which examined the brains and biochemistry of people in love. She points out the ways in which we have evolved in order to trigger love, lust, and attachment to a mate. She also examines the changes of women's roles in society and how she feels this will ultimately lead to the happiest marriages.

5. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Flow

Check out this TED talk from psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who authored the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Csikszentmihalyi talks about how he became interested in psychology after World War II when he heard a lecture by Carl Jung. Csikszentmihalyi eventually began his psychological study of how average people become extraordinary which he attributes to the idea of "flow" when one become completely involved in an activity for its own sake. Csikszentmihalyi provides many examples of individuals who have tapped into this "flow" state.

6. Matthieu Ricard: Habits of Happiness

Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard examines happiness and well-being in this TED talk. He differentiates between pleasure and happiness as pleasure if fleeting and reliant upon circumstance. He feels that true happiness is found by training the mind to be happy regardless of the situation we find ourselves in and to tap into the deeper happiness of the awareness that we are more than our fleeting emotional states.

7. Vilayanur Ramachandran: A Journey to the Center of Your Mind

In this TED talk, neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran provides some neuroscientific explanations for puzzling psychological and physiological phenomena. He covers why after certain brain injuries patients cannot visually recognize their mother, how to amputated patients can overcome the pain of phantom limbs for only $3, and why certain people see colors when they look at numbers and letters.

8. Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

In this TED Talk, Animals in Translation author Temple Grandin discusses her autism and the wide spectrum of autism, and how she has used her insights into autism to help her relate to the inner worlds of animal. Her autism leads to hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli and she correlates it to how animals perceive the world through their senses.

9. Dan Gilbert: Why Are We Happy? Why Aren't We Happy?

Check out this TED talk from Harvard psychologist and the author of Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert provides info from studies that reveal that what we often think will make us happy is the opposite of the case. He shows that because we have the ability to consider the future, we are much better prepared for the results and can usually be happy regardless.

10. How Ordinary People Become Monsters... or Heroes

Renowned social psychologist Philip Zimbardo talks about the ideas in his book The Lucifer Effect which explores how good people turn evil. He looks at Abu Ghraib prison scandal which he was called as a witness to, and he compares it to the influential Stanford prison study which he conducted in the early 1970s. In both these circumstances normal individuals were given power without oversight over the prisoners. Zimbardo emphasizes the importance of circumstance when it comes to the potential evil, indifference, or heroism in all of us. Note: Zimbardo shows some graphic imagery of Abu Ghraib in this video.

11. Why We Think It's OK to Cheat and Steal (Sometimes)

In this TED talk Dan Ariely, author of the bestselling book Predictably Irrational, talks about his experiments in cheating in an attempt to understand the economic cheating that happened during the Enron scandal and later the Wall Street financial crisis. At MIT Ariely tested students at various activities and he details the many findings him and his colleagues discovered such as that most people like to cheat a little bit but not so much that it gives them negative impression of themselves as a "cheater".

12. Nancy Etcoff on the Surprising Science of Happiness

In this fast-paced talk from cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff she looks the science of happiness and the many ways in which it is achieved along with the ways that it eludes us. She describes in basic terms the neuroscience of happiness including the importance of neurotransmitter dopamine and the hormone oxytocin. She also talks about the rise of stress, depression, and anxiety in the modern world. It's an interesting overall view of some of the recent findings in the science of happiness.

13. Daniel Goleman: Why Aren't We All Good Samaritans?

In this brief TED talk, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman discusses his research into the psychology of compassion and being a "good Samaritan". He suggests that our emotional response to be compassionate towards others is an automatic response when we see people suffering, and it is only by turning this emotion off through the busyness of our daily lives that we suppress this desire to help others. He then provides some inspirational stories for how we might all work towards being good Samaritans.

14. Sherwin B. Nuland on Electroshock Therapy

In this TED talk American surgeon, author, and Yale professor Sherwin B. Nuland talks about the history of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for treatment of severe major depression and other mental illnesses. He then proceeds to tell about his own recovery from major depression through electroshock therapy back in the 1970s. After his first marriage failed he fell into a deep depression until he could no longer function. When no other treatments worked the doctors attempted electroshock therapy which led to a remarkable recovery.

15. Oliver Sacks: What Hallucination Reveals About our Minds

Neurologist Oliver Sacks talks about Charles Bonnet syndrome where visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. Sacks points out that about 10% of visually impaired people experience these hallucinations, but few mention it because they are often frightened that they are losing their minds. Sacks gives examples of many of his patients who have had these hallucinations and what they often consist of. Through brain scans scientists have actually been able to identify which parts of the brain are activated when such hallucinations occur.

 

April 1, 2012

Laugh Out Loud - Funniest Videos on the Internet

For the funniest videos on the web go to ComedyForProfit.com!

April Fools! We present to you "Laugh Out Loud: The Funniest Videos on the Internet". At LearnOutLoud.com we've tried in vain to change the meaning of the acronym "LOL" and we even considered buying the LOL.com domain at one point, but we have realized that "LOL" will forever be regarded as the Internet slang for "Laugh Out Loud". So lets laugh out loud together with this list of the funniest videos on the Internet. Compiled from 100s of hours of watching humorous viral videos, these are truly some of the funniest videos on the Internet. We'll keep adding to this list when we find videos worthy of being called "the Funniest Videos on the Internet". In no particular order of hilarity:

1. DUANE!!! - The all-time classic video from the website www.everythingisterrible.com. For hours of hilarity check out Everything is Terrible on YouTube and Everything is Terrible on Vimeo.

2. Dramatic Prairie Dog - This dramatic prairie has caused a day's worth of laughing out loud to many who have seen it. And if you'd like to see how this star was born see this funny video as well: How the Dramatic Prairie Dog was Born.

3. Amazing Skateboarding Jack Russell Named Pete - There are a lot of funny dog videos out there but none may be as stunning as this skateboarding Jack Russell Terrier named Pete. He often skateboards near our offices in Santa Monica and never fails to entertain. Pete's trainer also trained the amazing Jack Russell Terrier named Uggie who was featured in this year's Academy Award Best Picture The Artist. And Uggie can skateboard too!

4. Tampa Bay Rays: DJ Kitty - And there are plenty of funny cat videos but does any cat stand a chance against DJ Kitty!

5. "Love Story" One Man. One Dream. One Chance. - For the lovers out there and the fans of Bad English. This video is both inspirational and funny.

6. America We Stand As One - This video is both patriotic and funny. We stand as one laughing out loud.

7. Auto-Tune the News: Bed Intruder Song - From the Auto-Tune the News gang comes their undisputed masterpiece starring Antoine Dodson. And watch the original bed intruder newscast to see the raw material that was auto-tuned. For more amazing auto-tuned videos check out their channel: The Gregory Brothers Channel.

8. Michel & Sven - Der Tischdeckentrick - Teil 4 - To preface this video, nobody was harmed in the making of this video! So it is okay to laugh. But then keep watching the video and try to figure out how nobody was harmed. It's a mystery. We think the explanation might be in this video but it's in German and we don't have a translator.

9. Rebecca Black - Friday - Official Music Video - It's only been a little over year since RB made her debut and the music video still stands as the funniest music video on YouTube. For anyone wondering why Rebecca Black was contemplating sitting in the front seat or back seat of a convertible, watch this music video called "Say What You Want" by Ark Music Factory producer Patrice "Pato" Wilson who raps and explains RB's dilemma.

10. SUV Stunt - A Guy Sits on the Roof - What was he thinking??!!

11. Shining - Classic fake trailer of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

12. Falling for Fall Hidden Camera Prank - This one is juvenile but the laughs keep on coming.

13. I Want My Mama - No dog talks quite like this dog.

14. Little Kid Does Parallel Parking - Thumbs up for parallel parking! This kid will make you smile.

15. DEA Agent Shows Guns in School - This DEA Agent does some show and tell in class and things get a little out of hand.
We hope you've had some good, clean "LOL" laughs and we'll bring you more laughs in the future.