Do you have free will? Or are you simply a product of your culture?
Can you consciously change your personality? Or is it set in stone from a young age?
Why are life crises (quarter, mid and late) so common in modern society? And how can you use them as a catalyst for personal growth?
These are just some of the questions we’ll be exploring at this upcoming Day on Potential at The Weekend University.
In this series of talks, we’ll explore the science, psychology, and philosophy of human potential.
We’ll discuss evidence-based ways human beings transform, grow and develop over time, and how you can use these insights to realise more of your potential in this lifetime.
You’ll leave with a clear understanding of how these ideas can help you become a better version of you, and also how to bring out the best in those around you.
Your personality is the set of basic traits that makes you you, influencing your habits of thought and behaviour. But how fixed are they? The great American psychologist William James said that our personality is set like plaster by age 30. But new findings show that while there is a degree of stability in our traits, we also continue to change in meaningful ways through our lives – our personalities are more like plastic than plaster.
In this talk, psychologist and author Dr Christian Jarrett will explore the pros and cons of the main personality traits, the role they play in shaping our lives, how your traits are likely to change as you age and in response to different experiences. But we don’t have to be passive: you’ll also discover evidence-based ways that you can deliberately change your personality.
Dr Christian Jarrett is a psychologist and author of PERSONOLOGY – using the Science of Personality Change to your advantage. A cognitive neuroscientist by training, Christian now works for the BPS as editor of their award-winning Research Digest blog. He writes regularly for the BBC, 99U and his recent TED-ED lesson has been viewed over 500,000 times. He tweets at @Psych_Writer.
If you log onto Facebook, you will see reams of photos of your friends doing happy and fulfilling things, and seemingly cruising through life. Yet below this surface of carefully-staged online impression management, life is a far rougher ride for many adults that they would be likely to admit. Indeed, in a nationwide survey, participants were asked to evaluate whether their life was in a major crisis. 22% said yes, 33% said maybe, and 45% said no.
So why is crisis so prevalent in adult life? Does it have a function, or are humans just inherently fragile? In this talk, Dr Oliver Robinson explores how crises can help you unlock new potential that would otherwise remain dormant, that they have a clear function in acting as a stimulus for seeking new information, making positive changes, and making new (sometimes hard) discoveries about ourselves and the reality around us.
Dr Oliver Robinson is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, and the course coordinator for Adult Development and Mental Health. His research focuses on how identity, wellbeing and mental health are affected by major life transitions, crises and ageing processes during adulthood. Dr Robinson’s work has gained attention from the New Scientist, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4, The Telegraph and The Times.
Do you have free will? Or are you simply a product of your culture? How much responsibility should you take for your actions? Are your neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open? What role does your brain play in the construction of free will, and how much scientific evidence is there for the existence of it?
In this talk, Julian Baggini will explore free will from every angle, blending neuroscience, philosophy, sociology and cognitive science. Contemporary thinking tells us that free will is an illusion, but Baggini challenges this position, providing instead a new, more positive understanding of our sense of personal freedom: a freedom worth having.
Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and author of several books including ‘The Ego Trick’, ‘The Pig that Wants to be Eaten’, ‘Freedom Regained’, and most recently ‘A Short History of Truth.’ He runs the popular blog: Microphilosophy, and writes regularly for national newspapers and magazines such as the Guardian, the Financial Times, the TLS and Prospect. He is a regular guest on BBC Radio 4, and tweets at @microphilosophy.
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