psychology

"All happy families are alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So wrote Leo Tolstoy. Was he right, or are there shared characteristics that toxic families tend to have in common? A certain amount of shared sadness and conflict is inevitable; what differentiates a family that responds with closeness and trust from a family that cracks under pressure? Plus, strategies for mending toxic relationships or getting distance.

Guest:

  • Dacia Moore, licensed professional counselor
NPR / Invisibilia

NPR's newest show, Invisibilia, combines narrative storytelling and scientific research to address the intangible forces that affect our lives, like our thoughts, our emotions, and our ideas.  

On Tuesdays's Up To Date, the show's hosts talk about the making of Invisibilia, and the stories they hope to tell. 

Guests:

Good criticism can make all the difference, but that doesn't make it fun to hear. It can also be tough to deliver, even when it's intended in a loving spirit. Self-examination, careful listening and sensitive timing can go a long way, when both giving and receiving input.

Guest:

  • Bruce Liese, psychologist and professor of family medicine, The University of Kansas Medical Center

There's a silence in the conversation. Does your hand start inching involuntarily toward your phone? The speed and easy access of communication technology has changed the way we relate: to each other, our surroundings, ourselves, and our time. But as we communicate more quickly and more often, are the bonds we forge any stronger?

Guest:

Teens process and express grief in very particular ways. In the aftermath of two suicides at an Olathe high school, and while the shooting of Michael Brown is still a recent memory, experts shed light on how people at this sensitive developmental stage cope with profound loss. Plus, information on how adults in their lives can help.

Guests:

High standards. A desire for greater control. A predisposition toward anxiety or depression. These traits are common among people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses are complex, multifaceted and incredibly dangerous. Body image is just the tip of the iceberg.

Guests:

  • Dr. Ashley McCune, counselor, InSight
  • Jon Smith, patient in recovery

With just one day left before midterm elections, this conversation explores how our behavior at the polls -- and even the decision to either get out and vote or stay home -- is influenced by personality, emotion, group affilation. In short, plenty having little if anything to do with cold hard facts.

Guests:

MattysFlicks / Flickr, Creative Commons

When storms roll in, some people rush to the window to watch, while others are rushing to the basement. What is the difference between a healthy fear of weather and out-of-proportion anxiety? A mother and daughter professor duo have combined their expertise in the separate fields of geography and psychology to investigate severe weather phobias.

Guests:

An emotional reaction begins with a set of reflexive messages originating in the brain. It happens faster than thought and is beyond our control. But what we do with that emotion and how long we hold onto it beyond the initial reflex? That's another story.

Guest:

Twenty years after the Violence Against Women Act, the Ray Rice scandal has prompted new conversations about domestic violence. What don't most people understand, from the outside looking in? And who decides what's best for victims?

Guests:

Hien Nguyen CC Flickr

   

At "cuddle houses," you can pay a stranger to cuddle with you--it's supposed to be a form of touch therapy. Professional cuddling has set up shop in Wisconsin, New York and has now come to Kansas City. How does touch affect our physical and psychological well-being?

Guests:

  • Anne Graham, ​former professional cuddler
  • Jason O’Brien, director, Cuddle: A Documentary
  • Carolyn Guenther Molloy,  infant touch therapist, Stress Free Start LLC
Michael Zupon / Flickr-CC

There's good reason to be excited about the Kansas City Royals right now. The team is in a pennant race for the playoffs for the first time since 1985, and it actually looks like they have a good chance to move on.

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

In sports, we teach kids valuable lessons like, “Winning isn’t everything. The most important thing is that you did your best.” But if you’re a pro athlete, that goes out the window. Your job is to win.

On Friday's Up to Date, we look at the psychology of the clubhouse in a pennant race as the Royals gear up for possibly their first post-season appearance in a generation. We also hear from a team official about what it feels like to be at the K these days.

Guests:

More than a quarter of Americans self-identify as being under a great deal of stress. What's troubling us, and why do some people respond to stressful situations with greater resilience than others?

Guest:

Ken Wilcox / Flickr, Creative Commons

The bonds and battles between siblings are unique and long-lasting. For some people, their brother or sister is the most treasured person in their life; others can't spend an hour in the same room together. On Monday's Central Standard, we discuss the psychology of these lifelong relationships. 

Guest:

Will Taylor / Flickr, Creative Commons

It's one of life's great inevitables, and we don't mean taxes.

Death Cafes, where people get together to hang out and talk about death and dying, have started popping up in cities worldwide. Locally, we have two Death Cafes: one in St. Joseph, Mo. and another in Kansas City, Mo. 

public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." 

But making excellence a habit is easier said than done. For most people, the word habit evokes thoughts of junk food or television, not excellence.

Psychologist Bruce Liese stopped by Central Standard to talk about the ins and outs of habit formation, and help us recognize the difference between a good habit and a bad one. He offered advice on getting to the root causes of our most deeply ingrained patterns and offered insight into the common problem of relapse. 

A University of Kansas professor's recent research at a domestic violence shelter indicates that the way survivors must tell their stories in order to gain access to resources could be working against the emotional recovery process.

Jean / Flickr, Creative Commons

A recent article in the New York Times compiled a growing body of evidence suggesting that the more frequent our interactions with strangers, the happier we tend to be. The findings apply to introverts and extroverts alike. In response to the enthusiasm around that article, Central Standard asked whether the people of Kansas City encounter strangers often enough in their day-to-day lives. Does Kansas City's built environment facilitate or prohibit these kinds of interactions?

Creative Commons

In the aftermath of the shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom on April 13, a suspect has been charged with murder and hate crime charges will likely be filed against him.

As that question looms, Central Standard inquires into the nature of the word hate — its psychological underpinnings, as well as the definition of hate crime in our legal code. 

Guests:

RelaxingMusic / Flickr - CC

We live in a wired, digital world where our work is as portable as a smartphone or tablet. It’s tempting to check our email or reply to a message when we should be more focused on ‘living in the moment.' For many people, the work week is stretched far beyond the typical 40-hours per week. But in a fast-paced work environment, how does one rationalize between putting food on the table, and still being able to enjoy life?

What is balance?

What Is Sex Addiction?

Oct 9, 2013
Lynda Sanchez / Flickr - CC

Now more than ever, our society seems preoccupied with sex. Sexting and twerking are a part of our lexicon. Whether we’re talking about television, popular music or movies, sexual images and innuendo are everywhere. And access to pornography is as easy as a click of a mouse for the over 40 million people who log into porn websites. Given the highly sexualized society we live in, can a person really become addicted to sex? And at what point does sex become an unhealthy addiction—a bad habit that interferes with work, relationships and mental health?

SCA Svenska Cellulsa Aktiebolaget / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Obsessive thoughts can lead to obsessive behaviors. According to psychologist Dr. Bruce Liese, obsessive compulsives typically have a recurring, persistent and unwanted thought or thoughts that won't go away. These thoughts tend to be irrational and very closely correlated with anxiety and can often cause anxiety themselves.

Victor1558 / Flickr - CC

    

There are multiple tests out there that reduce your personality to a number, a one-word description, or a series of letters. Some say they’ve helped match the right person to the right job—maybe even to the right colleagues or romantic partners. But is personality simple enough to fit in such a box, or could a personality label lead people to change it, or live into it?

Jessica Zee/ Flickr-CC

When it comes to pornography, the days of sneaking a peek at a Playboy at the drugstore have faded. The internet seems to have everything, and that’s especially true when you’re talking about porn.

On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw joins us to discuss how the availability and increasing explicit nature of pornography is affect sexual development in teens. We discuss why the impact of pornography is different today and how parents can approach the topic with their teens.

Jason Weaver/ Flickr-CC

We all know that texting while driving often results in accidents, and a New Jersey court recently ruled that it's not only the driver who's responsible-- if you know someone's driving when you send a text, you might be held responsible if he or she gets into an accident.

scottfeldstein / Flickr - CC

Human beings have always been pain-avoiding creatures. We seek to avoid the things we don't like or that could bring pain to us, and we pursue the things that bring us pleasure and happiness. Oftentimes, this human practice takes form in procrastination.

Kamal Zharif Kamaludin/Flickr-CC

Playing cops and robbers is just part of normal childhood, right? Should we be more concerned about what children learn through these games?

Do you remember that friend your mom said was no good? Or that buddy your dad said was a bad influence on you? As it turns out, they might have been right.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with Carlin Flora, author of Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are, about how friends shape our personalities and help create the mold for our attitudes and future actions.

Embracing Anger To Be Happier

Jun 9, 2013
HarperCollins Publishers

Have you ever felt so angry that steam could be pouring out your ears? 

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