9 of the Best Psychology Podcasts to Help You Figure Out What the Fuck

9 of the Best Psychology Podcasts to Help You Figure Out What the Fuck
Illustration: Angelica Alzona (Images: Shutterstock)

Are you trying to figure out what makes us tick? Or maybe you’re looking to improve your communication and your relationships? Whatever your interest in the brain and human behaviour, we’ve collected our favourite psychology podcasts that you can listen to whenever you’re in the mood to try to figure out why people do the things we do.

Hidden Brain

Screenshot: Hidden Brain Screenshot: Hidden Brain

Created and hosted by journalist Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s Hidden Brain “explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour and questions that lie at the heart of our complex and changing world.” Each episode dives into a different topic in which Vedantam is joined by a psychologist to explain things like becoming more empathetic, finding meaning at work, laughing at people, and more.

Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel

Screenshot: Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel Screenshot: Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel

Interested in the intimate details of real relationships? Step into famous couples’ therapist Esther Perel’s office. This podcast offers a raw listening experience as Perel counsels real couples through “the most intimate, personal, and complicated details of the conflicts that have brought them to her door.” From the podcast’s home page: “This season, [Perel takes on open marriage, racism inside an extended family, coming out in a religious home, and chronic infidelity, among other delicate dynamics. Esther creates a space for us to hear our own lives and struggles articulated in the stories of others. So….where should we begin?”

The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman

Screenshot: The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman Screenshot: The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman

Each episode of The Psychology Podcast, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman is joined by a guest “who will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of your self, others, and the world we live in,” ‎according to its homepage. Kaufman is best known for his attempts to redefine intelligence, and this podcast is a great match for those interested in the mind, creativity, and all the possibilities for how humans think.

The Psych Files

Screenshot: The Psych Files Screenshot: The Psych Files

Although there aren’t new episodes past 2020, this is a great listen if you’re looking for a basic understanding of human psychology. Host Michael Britt, Ph.D., is an experienced educator, and listening to this pod is like stepping into a college seminar. According to the show’s description, Britt “shows you how ideas from the field of psychology apply to everyday life. If you are a life-long learner, a student or a teacher, you will find his 20-30 minute episodes enjoyable and educational.” I recommend Ep 337: Why Do We Think Women Aren’t Funny? (You can guess my stance on the matter.)

Under the Cortex

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This podcast from the Association for Psychological Science (APS) covers a wide range of topics from “journals, member research, policy initiatives, and the public impact of psychological science.” The bite-sized episodes are typically under or around 20 minutes, with recent topics diving into the (oh-so-limited) Myers-Briggs test, gender in a nonbinary world, and whether coping with COVID can makes things worse.

Pop Psych 101

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Pop Psych 101 is the perfect pod if you’re interested in exploring mental health through an entertainment lens of movies, music, books, and TV. Hosted by two therapists, Ryan Engelstad and Hayley Roberts, each episode pays careful attention to the way pop culture treats mental health (spoiler: movies are not always realistic). From the show’s homepage: “PopPsych can be raw and real, and very serious; it can also be very funny. If we really want to normalize the conversation about mental health, then we need to start having real and normal conversations.”

Speaking of Psychology

Screenshot: Speaking of Psychology Screenshot: Speaking of Psychology

Get your knowledge straight from the pros at the American Psychological Association (APA). Their goal with this podcast is to highlight “the latest, most important and relevant psychological research being conducted today” and to help listeners “apply the science of psychology to their everyday lives.”

Shrink Rap Radio

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This pod promises to provide all the psychology you need to know, including “just enough to make you dangerous.” Hosted by psychologist David Van Nuys, each episode features an in-depth interview on topics ranging from psychotherapy, dreams, consciousness, business psychology, personal growth, social issues, spirituality, art, and much more.

Personality Hacker

Screenshot: Personality Hacker Screenshot: Personality Hacker

According to the show’s homepage, hosts Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge “teaches you the coding language of your mind” so you can hack your relationships, career, and happiness. A lofty promise? Perhaps. But this one is an interesting listen if you’re curious about the different ways people can approach personality. (I mostly saved this pod for last because I’m partial to their name.)

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