My Dream Dinner Conversation: 10 Questions for 10 Famous Psychologists

June 18, 2024

My Dream Dinner Conversation: 10 Questions for 10 Famous Psychologists

May 29, 2023

I only took one psychology class in college and it was with Phil Zimbardo who engineered the famous Stanford Prison Experiment more than fifty years ago. Thirty years later as I was writing a book on emotions, I interviewed Phil (who is still living today at 91 years old) about the topic of evil - the subject of the Prison Experiment. I wanted to know if his perspective on how evil can be so porous, depending upon the habitat and circumstances, had shifted over time.

So, a few nights ago, I had this very weird dream in which I was sitting at a dinner table with the greatest psychology minds of all-time and listening to them converse. When I woke up the next morning, I had this burning desire to ask one question to each of 10 famous psychologists which I’m sharing with you this morning.. What question might you ask your favorite shrink?

Carl Jung: “What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had and what does it tell us about your unconscious?” 

Sigmund Freud: "Have you ever secretly worn a Freudian Slip and did you look good?” 

Ellen Langer: "You famously cooped up a bunch of old men in a New England home with all kinds of memorabilia to make them feel younger (the Counterclockwise Experiment) - what interventions could we do at scale to help older people feel younger without putting Elvis posters on the wall?"

Becca Levy: “What’s the easiest habit to adopt to help one change their mindset on aging from a negative to a positive?”

B.F. Skinner: "What are your thoughts on the current use of technology in behavior modification, and how do you see behaviorism evolving with advancements in artificial intelligence?"

Abraham Maslow: "Why didn’t you include self-transcendence in your original Hierarchy of Needs model and you only did so much later in your life?"

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "In what ways do you believe the concept of 'flow' can be applied to improve modern mental health and well-being?"

Erik Erikson: “Six of your eight life stages are finished by age 30, so you only offer two life stages for the rest of life - given that we’re living much longer now, how might you add some additional life stages after 30 and what would they be?"

Carol Dweck: "When is having a fixed mindset a good thing?"

Viktor Frankl: "In the worst of conditions a human could endure - the Nazi concentration camps - is there anything you missed after you were released and what’s your wisest piece of advice for how to find meaning in the worst of times?"

-Chip

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