Top 10 TED Talks on Psychology

Throughout time, people have been in near constant pursuit of motivation, happiness, inner strength, love and fulfillment. In recent years, a new approach to understanding these feelings and the motivation behind pursuing them has led some to look at how they are related, and how they may be achieved.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

The question of what motivates us is one that never seems to have a defined answer. In this talk, Shawn Achor proposes that happiness motivates us, rather than the other way around. Happy people are inspired and productive people.

Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

Many believe that the key to improving performance is to provide incentives for results. While it would seem obvious, it is not always true. Once a small degree of cognitive skill and creativity is needed, incentives often become less effective. What may be more effective? More autonomy and a greater sense of purpose for employees in their work.

Barry Schwartz: The Paradox Of Choice

Choice is supposed to be a good thing. The idea is that with more choice, people gain more freedom and are better off in their lives. However, Barry Schwartz proposes that too much choice paralyzes decision making, stifles progress and warps expectations. Choice allows us to do better and achieve more, but our expectations may never be met.

Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology

For many years, psychology has concentrated on what is wrong with people and finding ways to repair damage. Instead, psychology may need more focus on building strength in individuals, as well as identifying and repairing damage in those seeking treatment. Those who have engagement and meaning in their lives appear to be happier, stronger and more productive.

VS Ramachandran: 3 clues to understanding your brain

Dr. Ramachandran presents three interesting examples that examine the relationship between the tissue of the brain absorbs and transmits, and what the mind understands. The difference between the “real world” and the goings on of the mind can be profound.

Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

What would it be like to think in pictures instead of words? The autistic mind sees and solves problems that a typical brain may not be able to deal with. A broader range of minds can solve a broader range of problems in the most effective manner possible.

Oliver Sacks: What Hallucination Reveals About our Minds

We often think of hallucinations and assume that a person is on drugs, has gone insane, or perhaps both. This is not always the case, but what our minds see in these hallucinations says quite about who we are.

Nancy Etcoff on the Surprising Science of Happiness

We have no choice but to try to be happy. What will we do to increase how happy we are? How attached is happiness to our day to day lives and circumstances? How programmed are we to bias towards the negative and to respond to difficult circumstances with excessive stress, killing our ability to be happy? If we
were happy all of the time, could we even survive the troubling times?

Matthieu Ricard: Habits of Happiness

From biochemist to Buddhist monk, a presentation on the habits that foster happiness, serenity and a sense of well-being. How do we nurture the conditions within the mind that lead to happiness?

Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat

What causes us to love one person instead of another? An examination of the chemical factors that influence emotions like love. More importantly, what current societal factors are influencing these emotions?