A Person in the World of People: Self and Other

This is the study of how we think about ourselves, other people, and social groups. Students will hear about the famous “six degrees of separation” phenomenon and how it illuminates important individual differences in social connectedness. This lecture at Yale University also reviews a number of important biases that greatly influence how we think of ourselves as well as other people.

A Person in the World of People: Morality

Professor Bloom at Yale University provides an introduction to psychological theories of morality. Students will learn how research in psychology has helped answer some of the most central questions about human morality. For instance, which emotions are “moral” and why did these moral feelings evolve? What factors guide our moral judgments? And what factors predict when good people will do bad things?

Foundations: Skinner

Professor Bloom at Yale University opens with a brief discussion of the value and evolutionary basis of unconscious processing. The rest of this lecture introduces students to the theory of Behaviorism, particularly the work of prominent behaviorist, B. F. Skinner. Different types of learning are discussed in detail, as well as reasons why behaviorism has been largely displaced as an adequate theory of human mental life.

The past, present, and future of violence

Award-winning author Steven Pinker from Harvard University closed off the 2015 Forum for Economic Dialogue with a tour de force on the history of conflict and violence, presenting an absolutely impressive amount of historical data that historians, criminologists, economists, anthropologists, and other researchers had been collecting and producing over the past few decades. The main message that this data conveys is that violence has been in decline over millennia and that – completely contrary to the picture we get in the media and in public discourse – the present is probably the most peaceful time in the history of the human species.

The Good Life: Happiness

Professor Bloom at Yale University ends with a review of one of the most interesting research topics in “positive psychology,” happiness. What makes us happy? How does happiness vary across person and culture? What is happiness for? Students will hear how the most recent research in psychology attempts to answer these questions and learn how people are surprisingly bad at predicting what will make them happiest.

Why Are People Different? Differences

Why are people different from one another? This lecture at Yale University addresses this question by reviewing the latest theories and research in psychology on two traits in particular: personality and intelligence. Students will hear about how these traits are measured, why they may differ across individuals and groups, and whether they are influenced at all by one’s genes, parents or environment.

Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Love

Guest lecturer Peter Salovey, Professor of Psychology and Dean of Yale College at Yale University, introduces students to the dominant psychological theories of love and attraction. Specific topics include the different types of love, the circumstances that predict attraction, and the situations where people mistakenly attribute arousal for love.

Foundations: Freud

This lecture at Yale University introduces students to the theories of Sigmund Freud, including a brief biographical description and his contributions to the field of psychology. The limitations of his theories of psychoanalysis are covered in detail, as well as the ways in which his conception of the unconscious mind still operate in mainstream psychology today.