Talk Titles and Descriptions

Submitted by Catherine A. Sanderson on Thursday, 5/7/2015, at 10:16 AM

The Science of Happiness
This talk presents both surprising and not-so-surprising information on the science behind happiness.  What role do money, IQ, marriage, friends, children, weather, and religion play in making us feel happier?  Is happiness stable over time?  How can happiness be increased?  Professor Catherine Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and provide participants with practical (and relatively easy!) ways to increase their own psychological well-being.


What Predicts Success?
Many people focus on the importance of cognitive intelligence in predicting academic and professional success.  But a growing amount of evidence suggests that other traits - including the ability to control impulses, manage adversity, find internal motivation, and build relationships – are essential in achieving the best outcomes in both personal and professional relationships.  This talk will therefore focus on the importance of so-called emotional intelligence (or EQ) in predicting success, and provide specific strategies for increasing your own EQ. 


The Power of the Mind and Body
How much power does the mind have over the body? Can the size of a plate, the presentation of food and our dining partners influence how much we eat? How and when do placebo medicines lead to faster recovery from surgery? Why is a person with a stronger social support network less likely to develop a cold, even when directly injected with a cold virus? How can taking tango lessons, going on a safari and bungee jumping with your romantic partner increase your relationship satisfaction? Professor Catherine Sanderson will discuss these and other ways in which our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes both directly and indirectly influence our physiology and physical health.

The Psychology of Good and Evil

 In 2011, a 2-year-old in China wandered into a busy road and was struck repeatedly by passing cars. Although people walking and driving in the road clearly saw what had happened, not a single person stopped to help for 10 minutes;  the child died of her injuries a week later.  In Guyana in 1978, nearly 1000 members of the “Jonestown Cult” killed themselves – and their children - by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid following the order of leader Jim Jones.  In the 1930s and 1940s, more than 23,000 non-Jews risked their lives to save Jewish people - usually strangers - from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis.  What explains these kinds of events?  What drives human beings to be so horrifically cruel and callous to one another—or so heroically helpful and generous? Professor Catherine Sanderson examines these complex questions in this talk.  

The Psychology of Persuasion

 How do we explain the annual holiday craze about some toy (Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle-Me-Elmo, ZhuZhu pets)?  Do warning labels about violence and sex on video games actually increase teen's interest in these games?  Why do television advertisements typically feature young and highly attractive people?  This class will focus on these and other topics in the field of persuasion, meaning communications that are designed to influence people’s attitudes and behavior.  You’ll learn about different strategies of persuasion, the factors that influence the effectiveness of persuasion techniques, and how to resist persuasion attempts.

The Power of Relationships

 We all have relationships in our daily lives - at home, at work, in our community.  But did you know these relationships have a major impact on personal happiness, work success, and physical health?  This talk will examine the role of relationships in leading to happiness (and how some relationships increase our happiness whereas others decrease it!), the importance of emotional intelligence in fostering work productivity (and how our "EQ" is even more important in predicting business success than IQ), and the impact of our relationships on sickness and survival. 

The Psychology of Sports

 Why do some athletes choke at the crucial moment whereas others rise to the challenge?  How does team chemistry or cohesion impact athletic success?  What makes a good coach?  This talk will examine these and other issues related to how our thoughts and feelings can influence sports performance in amateur and professional athletes alike, and provide specific strategies athletes at all levels can use to experience success.  

The Psychology of Romantic Relationships

What leads to attraction?  Do relationships that start on-line work?  How can we all have stronger, better romantic relationships?  This talk will examine the role of social, biological, and cultural factors in influencing attraction, love, and relationship satisfaction, and provide specific strategies we all can use to experience greater relationship satisfaction.


Submitted by Catherine A. Sanderson on Monday, 5/18/2015, at 6:36 PM

General Public

  • One Day University ( - New York City; Providence, RI; Montclair, NJ; Lenox, MA; Rye, NY; Sandwich, MA; Washington, DC; Minneapolis; Dallas; Philadelphia; Tampa, FL; Scottsdale, AZ; Seattle; Boston; Pittsburgh; Naples, FL; Portland, OR; Jacksonville, FL;  Cleveland, OH; San Diego;
  • IvyConnect ( - Washington, DC; New York; Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Miami, FL
  • The Women's Club, Richmond, VA

Business, Law, and Social Services Audiences

  • Alliance Bernstein, New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Antonio
  • JP Morgan, New York City
  • Ziff Brothers Investment, New York City
  • New Jersey Judicial College, Teaneck, NJ
  • Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Association (FICP), Boston
  • PSDA's Young Innovators Conference, Denver
  • Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (MAPERS), Osage Beach, MO
  • Boston Association for the Education of Young Children (BAEYC), Framingham, MA
  • Children's Trust, Marlborough, MA
  • John Wiley Publisher, Hoboken, NJ

Education Audiences

  • Amherst College Alumni - Amherst, MA; New York City; San Francisco
  • Center for Global Humanities, University of New England, Portland, ME
  • The Williston Northampton School, Easthampton, MA
  • Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA
  • Texas Community Colleges Teachers Association, Dallas
  • Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, RI
  • Providence College, Providence, RI
  • Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA


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