playlist

Fascinating psych experiments

Human behavior is a riddle. In these talks, speakers share psychological studies—from asking kids to wait to eat marshmallows to planting false memories through a single word—that offer possible solutions as well as surprising new twists.

  1. 14:28
    Kelly McGonigal How to make stress your friend

    Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

  2. 16:35
    Paul Piff Does money make you mean?

    It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there's good news too.

  3. 17:40
    Tali Sharot The optimism bias

    Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

  4. 17:36
    Elizabeth Loftus How reliable is your memory?

    Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics — and raises some important ethical questions.

  5. 5:58
    Joachim de Posada Don't eat the marshmallow!

    In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification — and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.

  6. 14:02
    David Pizarro The strange politics of disgust

    What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between your sensitivity to disgusting cues — a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor — and your own moral or political conservatism.

  7. 21:02
    Amy Cuddy Your body language may shape who you are

    Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that "power posing" — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success. NOTE: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility. Read "Criticisms & updates" below for more details as well as Amy Cuddy's response.

  8. 24:08
    Sheena Iyengar The art of choosing

    Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

  9. 16:23
    Dan Ariely Our buggy moral code

    Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies the bugs in our moral code: the hidden reasons we think it's OK to cheat or steal (sometimes). Clever studies help make his point that we're predictably irrational — and can be influenced in ways we can't grasp.