Psychology

Behavior

Is it better to be lucky or good? Should we trust our gut feelings or rely on probabilities and careful analysis when making important decisions? In this quick talk, professional poker player Liv Boeree shares three strategies

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she’s learned from the game and how we can apply them to real life.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Luck | Skill
In every workplace, there are three basic kinds of people: givers, takers and matchers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant breaks down these personalities and offers simple strategies to promote a culture of generosity

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and keep self-serving employees from taking more than their share.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Giving | Taking

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let’s begin …

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Humans | Robots
A male firefly emits a series of enticing flashes. He hopes a female will respond and mate with him. A female from a different species mimics his patterns: by tricking the male, she lures him in — and turns him into a meal.

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Where else do we see this kind of trickery in the animal kingdom? Eldridge Adams details the surprising complexity of how animals manipulate predators, prey and their rivals.

Lesson by Eldridge Adams, directed by The Duke and the Duck.

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Keywords: Animals | Deception
Doesn’t it seem like a lot of online news sites have moved beyond reporting the news to openly inciting your outrage (and your page views)? News analyst Sally Kohn suggests — don’t engage with news that looks like it just

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wants to make you mad. Instead, give your precious clicks to the news sites you truly trust.

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Category:  Psychology | Technology

Does the early bird really get the worm?
What If You Sleep 2 Hours Less Every Night?

Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Morning | Night
Can you imagine what life was like before smartphones and the internet? Or what old people think of tinder and selfies? Well, I decided to find out. I met with residents of a retirement community to learn more about

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their way of life, and if their values differ from ours in this modern digital world.

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Keywords: Advice | Modern life
Making toast doesn’t sound very complicated — until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step. Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected

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truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work. Learn how to run this exercise yourself, and hear Wujec’s surprising insights from watching thousands of people draw toast.

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Keywords: Companies | Team work
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from

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those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Motivation | Success

The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali shares some of the wisdom that he has acquired.

Category:  Psychology | Sports
Keywords: Life | Retirement | Time

They are hugely useful of course but in many ways, we buy the advantages our phones give us at a subtly high price we don’t entirely recognise. Some reflections on how to live well around phones.

Category:  Psychology | Technology
Keywords: Communication | Phones

Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Goals | Habits
There is a lot of advice out there about how to get the best night of sleep. But the fact that you can’t sleep might not be your fault. It turns out, night owls have an internal clock that functions differently. Forcing them to wake

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up early could have serious health consequences.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Morning | Night | Sleep

If you spend most of your day inside, this is for you!

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Alone | Inside | Outside | What if
In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percent of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience: staying awake can cause serious bodily harm. Claudia Aguirre

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shows what happens to your body and brain when you skip sleep.

Lesson by Claudia Aguirre, animation by TED-Ed.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Habits | Sleep
Vox
Many people consider The Room to be the worst movie of all time. So why do thousands of people flock to midnight screenings of it every month?

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Tommy Wiseau’s film The Room (2003) is by many accounts the worst movie ever made. The plot barely makes sense, the set design is comically inept, and most of the dialogue sounds like it was fed through Google Translate multiple times. Yet, for 14 years, people have been congregating at midnight screenings all across the globe to watch what some people call “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.”

Despite the film’s incoherency, audiences ritualistically throw plastic spoons, shout call and response lines at the screen, and toss around footballs in the aisles at monthly screenings. Knowing all the inside jokes and participatory cues gives viewers what sociologist Pierre Bourdieu termed “cultural capital.” People who know when to shout specific lines or when to hurl spoons are deemed Room veterans.

Contrary to what you may think, researchers have found that an appreciation of this kind of “trash cinema” can actually indicate higher levels of intelligence. Trash films share more characteristics with avant-garde art films than they do with typical commercial Hollywood fare. Audiences are drawn to both “trash” and “art” films for many of the same reasons, like their transgressive nature and their rejection of mainstream aesthetic norms.

Watch the video to know more about The Room and be sure to pick up Bissell’s book (that he co-wrote with Greg Sestero) to read many more legendary stories about the production of the “best worst movie.”

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Category:  Art | Psychology
Keywords: Movies | Worst

Fear & Sadness

We spend a little too much time worrying about how we must appear in the minds of others. However, the poignant, useful truth is that almost everyone doesn’t care at all about who we are, what we’re doing and how we’ve messed up.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Life | Worry
Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models — so she built a space where they could find each other. At TEDxTeen, she illustrates how the conversations on sites like Rookie,

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her wildly popular web magazine for and by teen girls, are putting a new, unapologetically uncertain and richly complex face on modern feminism. (Filmed at TEDxTeen.)

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Category:  Psychology
Vox

What’s likeliest to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? It’s probably not what you’d think.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Fear | End of the world
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world; in the United States, close to ten percent of adults struggle with the disease. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than, say, high

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cholesterol. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression, and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering.

Lesson by Helen M. Farrell, animation by Artrake Studio.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Health | Psychology
Whether we cry during a sad movie, while chopping onions, or completely involuntarily, our eyes are constantly producing tears. Alex Gendler tracks a particularly watery day in the life of Iris (the iris) as she cycles through

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basal, reflex and emotional tears.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by The Moving Company Animation Studio.

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Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Crying | Eyes
Vox
Their life arc is our life arc— from city to suburb, from tragedy to bliss. Special thanks to all Vox staffers and family that sent over their dog videos.

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When Alvin lost his dog Rainbow, he felt as though a human has died.

Humans have a special — and somewhat an odd — relationship with dogs. 60% of Americans own a pet, and the most popular of them are dogs. Our relationship with them actually goes back pretty far. Some scholars believe that wolves and humans hunted and lived among each other — and the reason humans came out on top was because we partnered with wolves. Then, as we evolved so did our furry friends. Now, we treat these animals like family. We give them names, keep them safe, and share our lives with them. So when it’s time for them to go, it feels a lot like we’re losing a part of the family.

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Keywords: Death | Dogs | Family | Pets

Happiness

We asked people of all ages what advice they would give to someone younger than they are.
We asked people of all ages the same question. What’s your biggest regret? Who’s your biggest celebrity

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crush? What’s your goal in life? From 5-year-olds to 75-year-olds, take a look at what people of every consecutive age think about their life experience.

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Keywords: Advice | Age | Generation gap
Loneliness doesn’t always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us — and it’s often the result of the homes we live in. She shares an

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age-old antidote to isolation: cohousing, a way of living where people choose to share space with their neighbors, get to know them, and look after them. Rethink your home and how you live in it with this eye-opening talk.

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Category:  Art | Psychology

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Happiness | Home | Shopping
Some of us feel most at home not in obviously beautiful or homely places, but in desolate, melancholy ones, places that are vast, barren, bleak or isolated. These places speak to our souls and deserve to be celebrated as

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our true homes.

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Keywords: Alone | Society
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there’s a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing

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the best within you — gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

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Category:  Psychology
Imagine winning a multi-million dollar lottery tomorrow. If you’re like many of us, you’d be ecstatic, unable to believe your good luck. But would that joy still be there a few years later? Raj Raghunathan describes a phenomenon

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called hedonic adaptation, which may shed light on the answer.

Lesson by Raj Raghunathan, animation by Allen Laseter.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Gambling | Happiness | Luck | Money | Wealth

Love & Relationships

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she

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knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Rules | Speaking | Words
Did you know you can fall in love with anyone just by asking them 36 questions? Mandy Len Catron tried this experiment, it worked, and she wrote a viral article about it (that your mom probably sent you). But … is that

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real love? Did it last? And what’s the difference between falling in love and staying in love?

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Love | Questions
EAT WHAT YOUR SPOUSE COOKS!
I didn’t say it was good… I simply ate what I was given and asked for seconds. Feel free to forward this

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marriage advice on to younger couples.

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Category:  Food | Psychology
Keywords: Food | Marriage | Meals | Relationships
One of the most intimidating things we’re ever called to do is to introduce ourselves to a stranger in a social context. Knowing how to pull this off isn’t a small question of etiquette, it goes right to the heart of knowing how

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to feel we deserve to exist and need not feel crippled by shame.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Advice | Communication | Friends | Pride
Let’s face it, online dating can suck. So many potential people, so much time wasted — is it even worth it? Podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace thinks so, if you do it right. In a funny, practical talk, Wallace shares

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how she used her MBA skill set to invent a “zero date” approach and get off swipe-based apps — and how you can, too.

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Category:  Psychology | Technology
Keywords: Apps | Dating | Love

Who can you relate to Veronica or Vanessa? Here is a cheesy song called It’s Valentine’s Day!

Category:  Art | Psychology
Keywords: Love | Music | Relationships
Don’t make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer. Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between

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artist and fan.

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Keywords: Asking | Music | People | Questions
One of the reasons many of us find social encounters difficult is that they force into that particular conversational byway called small-talk – where we have to pay a lot of attention to the weather and the upcoming holidays.

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But what is small talk, why does it exist and how can we learn to navigate it more fruitfully?

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Category:  Psychology
Hank gets all up in your face about kissing — where does it come from, why do it we do it, and do other animals do it? From ancient India to that date you were on last night (which we won’t tell anyone about if you won’t), we

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explore the history of snogging and its role in human evolution.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Kissing | Traditions
Ah, romantic love; beautiful and intoxicating, heart-breaking and soul-crushing… often all at the same time! If romantic love has a purpose, neither science nor psychology has discovered it yet – but over the course of

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history, some of our most respected philosophers have put forward some intriguing theories. Skye C. Cleary outlines five of these philosophical perspectives on why we love.

Lesson by Skye C. Cleary, animation by Avi Ofer.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Love | Philosophy

It may have happened when you locked eyes with your secret crush, or before an important job interview, but what exactly caused that strange, fluttering sensation in your stomach?

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Love | Stress

Mind

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for

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the first time.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Accidents | Learning | Life | Planes
When faced with a big challenge where potential failure seems to lurk at every corner, you’ve probably heard the advice, “Be more confident!” But where does confidence come from, and how can you get more of it? Here

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are three easy tips to boost your confidence.

Lesson by TED-Ed, animation by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Advice | Confidence
Townspeople are demanding that a corrupt merchant’s collection of 30 rubies be confiscated to reimburse the victims of his schemes. The king announces that the fine will be determined through a game of wits

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between the merchant and the king’s most clever advisor – you. Can you outfox the merchant and win back the greatest amount of rubies to help his victims? Dennis Shasha shows how.

Lesson by Dennis Shasha, directed by Artrake Studio.

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Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Jewelry | Problem solving
How do you know you’re real? Is existence all just a big dream? Has some mad scientist duped us into simply believing that we exist? James Zucker investigates all of these questions (and more) in this mind-boggling

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tribute to René Descartes’s “Meditations on First Philosophy.”

Lesson by James Zucker, animation by Stretch Films, Inc.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Dreams | Reality | Self
What are the origins of the Rorschach test and how does it work? Explore the inkblot tool psychologists use to test a subject’s perceptions and mental health.

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For nearly a century, ten inkblots have been used as an almost mystical personality test. Long kept confidential for psychologists and their patients, the mysterious images were said to draw out the workings of a person’s mind. But what can inkblots really tell us, and how does this test work? Damion Searls details how the Rorschach Test can help us understand the patterns of our perceptions.

Lesson by Damion Searls, directed by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Images | Psychology
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins

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explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Lesson by Anita Collins, animation by Sharon Colman Graham.

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Category:  Art | Psychology
Keywords: Brain | Hobbies | Music

These tips will give you the memory boost you need!

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Memory | Stress

Jennifer Jarrett never forgets a face. No, really. The super recognizer can see someone and immediately recognize them, regardless of how much time has passed.

Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Face | Memory

Playing sound effects both pleasant and awful, Julian Treasure shows how sound affects us in four significant ways. Listen carefully for a shocking fact about noisy open-plan offices.

Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Senses | Sounds
How long did it take you to learn how to ride a bicycle? How long do you think it would take you to un-learn how to ride a bicycle? Is it true that you can never forget how to ride a bicycle? How do these biases in your brain

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actually work? With the help of a group of welders, engineer Destin Sandlin created an experiment using a “backwards” bicycle to explore these very questions.

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Category:  Psychology | Science
Keywords: Bicycles | Brain | Learning
Imagine you’re on a game show and you can choose between two prizes: a diamond … or a bottle of water. It’s an easy choice – the diamonds are more valuable. But if given the same choice when you were dehydrated in the

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desert, after wandering for days, would you choose differently? Why? Aren’t diamonds still more valuable? Akshita Agarwal explains the paradox of value.

Lesson by Akshita Agarwal, animation by Qa’ed Mai.

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Keywords: Jewelry | Prices
Narcissism isn’t just a personality type that shows up in advice columns; it’s actually a set of traits classified and studied by psychologists. But what causes it? And can narcissists improve on their negative traits? W. Keith

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Campbell describes the psychology behind the elevated and sometimes detrimental self-involvement of narcissists.

Lesson by W. Keith Campbell, animation by TOGETHER.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Love | Personality | Psychology | Self
Explore the stages of how your memory stores information and how short-term stress impacts this process.
You spend weeks studying for an important test. On the big day, you wait nervously as your teacher hands

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it out. You’re working your way through, when you’re asked to define “ataraxia.” You know you’ve seen the word before, but your mind goes blank. What just happened? Elizabeth Cox details the complex relationship between stress and memory.

Lesson by Elizabeth Cox, directed by Artrake Studio.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Memory | Stress | Tests
What causes the sensation of déjà vu? Dive into the theories and psychology that could explain why you’re having that feeling… again.

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You might have felt it — the feeling that you’ve experienced something before, but, in reality, the experience is brand new. There are over 40 theories that attempt to explain the phenomenon of déjà vu. Michael Molina explains how neuroimaging and cognitive psychology have narrowed down the theories that could explain that feeling you’re having…again.

Lesson by Michael Molina, animation by Josh Harris.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Have you ever | Memory
Even after writing eleven books and winning several awards, Maya Angelou couldn’t escape the doubt that she hadn’t earned her accomplishments. This feeling of fraudulence is extremely common. Why can’t so many of us

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shake feelings that our ideas and skills aren’t worthy of others’ attention? Elizabeth Cox describes the psychology behind the imposter syndrome, and what you can do to combat it. Lesson by Elizabeth Cox, directed by Sharon Colman.

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Achievements | Failure
It’s a common saying that elephants never forget. But the more we learn about elephants, the more it appears that their impressive memory is only one aspect of an incredible intelligence that makes them some of the

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most social, creative, and benevolent creatures on Earth. Alex Gendler takes us into the incredible, unforgettable mind of an elephant.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Avi Ofer.

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Keywords: Africa | Animals | Memory

CGP Grey’s exploration of the fascinating disconnect between the right brain and the left brain.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Brain | Left brain | Right brain

Other

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbors’ answers —

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surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What’s your answer?)

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Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Death | People
Before Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, before Chuck Jones and Jackie Chan, there was Buster Keaton, one of the founding fathers of visual comedy. And nearly 100 years after he first appeared onscreen, we’re still

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learning from him. Today, I’d like to talk about the artistry (and the thinking) behind his gags.

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Category:  Art | Psychology
Keywords: Comedy | Laughter | Movies

Former Chief of Disguise for the CIA, Jonna Mendez, explains how disguises are used in the CIA, and what aspects to the deception make for an effective disguise.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Deception | Invisible | Visible

John Mulaney recalls he and a friend pranking an entire Chicago diner by playing Tom Jones’s “What’s New Pussycat?” on the jukebox 21 times in a row.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Comedy | Eating out | Jokes

Michael from Vsauce explores names, their meanings… and promptly digresses into a myriad of seemingly unconnected topics all more fascinating than the last.

Keywords: Laws | Names

Poet Rives does 8 minutes of lyrical origami, folding history into a series of coincidences surrounding that most surreal of hours, 4 o’clock in the morning.

Category:  Psychology
Keywords: Mysteries | Night

Vocabulary:
cove
secluded
float
shore
anchor
lighthouse
greenhouse
handsaw
hammer
power tool
nail
board (noun)
ton
land sick
biomass
canoe
paddle
real estate
prosper
fulfilled

Expressions:
subsistence living
hon

Vocabulary:
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word

Expressions:
expression
expression
expression
expression

Vocabulary:
prestigious
involuntary
swindler
fraudulence
unwarranted
concern
unfounded
impostor
syndrome
faculty
pervasive
prevalent
disproportionately
underrepresented
downplay
abnormality
self-esteem
spiral
accolade
threshold
susceptible
voice (verb)
peer
dismiss
excel
ease
mentor
competence
banish
frank

Expressions:
nagging doubt
shake a feeling
put something to rest
surefire way

Vocabulary:
filmmaker
principle
handcuff
clown
distill
underdog
aspect
familiar
unfamiliar
chopsticks
keyboard
organic
grounded
clarity
stuntman
steady
gag
perfectionist
rhythm
distinct
continuity
elbow
bunch
flail around
unlike
invincible
impressive
humanize
asset
payoff
relentlessness
finale

Expressions:
kick ass
going above and beyond
get smacked in the face
sell a joke

Vocabulary:
explosion
smoke (noun)
engine
unique
pilot
route
unemotional
terror
instant
reach out (to someone)
postpone
urgency
purpose
regret
humanity
ego
reflect
eliminate
frame (verb)
artistic
talent
bawl
miracle

Expressions:
bucket list
brace for impact
mend fences
make sense
connecting dots