10 Great TED Talks for Psychology Students and Professionals

Whether you are a psychology student or a licensed psychologist, it is important to be aware of the numerous TED talks about psychology that are available to provide very intriguing insights about the brain and mind from professionals on the cutting edge of psychological research. From positive psychology and pleasure to self-deception and shame, read on to view our must-seek picks on the 10 best TED talks covering topics in psychology.

1. Martin Seligman: The New Era of Positive Psychology

As the founder of the newest modern emerging branch, Martin Seligman utilizes this TED talk to discuss how positive psychology is revolutionizing the field by moving beyond a focus on mental illness and shifting towards examining human healthy states, including happiness and optimism.

2. Brené Brown: Listening to Shame

With her own humor and humanity shining through every word, researcher Brené Brown focuses this TED talk on addressing the unspoken epidemic shame and exploring what can happen when individuals choose to confront their shame head-on. Instead of showing weakness, Brown proclaims that allowing oneself to be vulnerable is the beginning of strength.

3. Paul Bloom: The Origins of Pleasure

Have you ever wondered why people tend to enjoy an original painting better than a forged one? Well, psychologist Paul Bloom addresses some of the most puzzling aspects of human nature in this TED talk that centers on how our essentialist beliefs about the history of an object can actually alter how we experience it as painful or pleasurable.

4. Matt Killingsworth: Want to be Happier? Stay in the Moment

After designing an innovative app called “Track Your Happiness” to enable people to report their feelings in real time, researcher Matt Killingsworth presents his surprising conclusions that humans tend to be happiest when lost in the moment and unhappier when their mind wanders.

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5. Philip Zimbardo: The Psychology of Evil

Well-known for being the leader of the infamous 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment and an expert witness at the notorious Abu Ghraib trials, psychologist Philip Zimbardo focuses this interesting TED talk on discussing how simple it was for good people to turn bad to uncover the true nature of evil as well as heroism.

6. Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

While today’s culture has a more positive view on extroversion and often shames those who are naturally introverted, quiet revolutionary Susan Cain focuses this passionate TED talk on sharing her argument that introverts actually bring outstanding talents and abilities to our society that should also be celebrated.

7. Jeffrey Kluger: The Sibling Bond

In this extraordinary TED talk about the effect of sibling relationships, senior editor of TIME magazine Jeffrey Kluger explores the deep lifelong bond that is created between brothers and sisters as well as the profound impact that birth order, favoritism, and sibling rivalry can have on the development of human personalities.

Related: The Birth Order Effect [Infographic]

8. Alison Gopnik: What Do Babies Think?

With an outstanding reputation for being a child development psychologist that takes us into the fascinating minds of babies and young children, Alison Gopnik utilizes this TED talk to present her research findings on the complex decision-making that babies are actually capable of doing when they play.

9. Michael Shermer: The Pattern Behind Self-Deception

From myths and urban legends to superstitions, author Michael Shermer focuses this intriguing TED talk on discussing the human tendency to believe outlandish ideas due to the brain’s natural hard-wired survival skills. Not only does he explain why we believe them, but Shermer also touches upon how they can actually get us into trouble.

10. Philip Zimbardo: The Psychology of Time

Although he is best known for his work exploring the nature of evil, psychologist Philip Zimbardo shifts gears in this TED talk to discuss how happiness and success are strongly rooted in the way people orient themselves towards the past, present, and future. Within this framework, Zimbardo provides powerful insights on how we can adjust our outlook to improve our well-being.

Overall, TED talks are a valuable resource for both psychology students and professionals because they often invite viewers to look at a psychological question in a new way and find solutions to real-world psychological problems. Therefore, be sure to check out these ten TED talks about psychology to explore the latest findings from some of this dynamic field’s greatest minds.

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