Peterson Interviews: James W. Pennebaker

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Discussion for Dialogues with Interesting People - Dialogue with great U Texas Austin Psych Prof JW Pennebaker

My lecture notes:

  • 3:00 The inspiration for Peterson’s self-authoring program.
  • 5:00 Writing about traumatic experiences increased immune system and decreased doctor visits, increased memory, cognitive function, mental health, physical health.
  • 7:00 connecting emotions and thoughts, just letting out emotions had no effect.
  • 12:00 linking cognitive words, like cause and effect were the types of usages that were therapeutic.
  • 14:00 shared language is an efficient way to work through complex issues. (the people that don’t get better are the people that don’t have someone to talk to.) (confessions)
  • 18:00 repeated ‘doses’ of cortisol, (stress), lower immune system (Crime and punishment)
  • 19:00 lose sleep, lose friends, lose ability to talk through problems.
  • 22:00 writing about the future, or the past, (not really both), writing about positive things, writing about the things that are weighing upon us most. What you don’t want to talk about.
  • 26:00 people are afraid of hope, and afraid of specifying what they know would mean failure.
  • 27:00 dopamine only activate when fulfilling a specified goal. (aside from direct pleasure)
  • 29:00 [I need to retake the future authoring program]
  • 33:00 Could be uncertainty reduction was what improved people.
  • 37:00 function words are used 60% of the time, and control how we connect with each other.
  • 38:00 depressed and suicidal people use the word ‘I’ much more. Always looking inwards.
    39:00. Self-consciousness increased by neuroticism. Advice: really focus onto the other people.
  • 40:00 leaders and higher status persons use I less, and you can tell how a person sees themself in regard to status by how much they use I when talking with another person.
  • 41:00 maturity linked from self-focus to outward focus.
  • 43:00 pay attention to the people that are paying attention to read their reactions.
  • 45:00 people telling the truth use I more often, liars try to distance themselves from what they’re saying.
  • 46:00 honest people are more capable at speaking about what they did, and did not do, liars less so.
  • 49:00 people can retain paradoxical beliefs if held at different times, only when the two contradict each other in the moment do things break down.
  • 51:00 ‘let me assure you, that this is a glass of water.’ This is your brain helping you to lie honestly.
  • 52:00 performative as a marker for deceit. ‘Believe me.’
  • 54:00 language style matching, to be in tune with one another using the same words.
  • 56:00 able to predict outcomes of relationships based upon style-matching score.
  • 58:00 People have an almost fingerprint for their writing within the analytic-to-narrative writing style. Able to match different writings to the author.
  • 59:00 higher they were on analytic thinking, the better they did in college.
  • 1:00:00 A sensor for how smart someone is, just based on their writing style. Was able to fairly confidently determine that a lost play was written by shakespeare.
  • 1:07:00 frequent testing was causing lesser students (who had been memorizing previously) to adapt to conceptual thinking instead.

Personal notes:

  • People articulate their thoughts and their problems differently: writing, speaking, hearing.