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Technology allows us to bank, shop and dine without talking to another human, but what toll is this taking on our happiness? The inventor of the ATM and the Talking Heads singer David Byrne join Dr. Laurie Santos to explore the ways in which talking to strangers can bring us all genuine joy.

To learn more. . .

Don Wetzel’s wikipedia page

Laurie’s brother Aaron Santos’s webpage

Aaron Santos’s book “How Many Licks

Nick Epley’s webpage

David Byrne’s webpage

Links to references from this episode:

 “My brother Aaron wrote a book”

Santos, A. (2009). How many licks?: Or, how to estimate damn near anything. Running Press Adult.

“There had been earlier attempts at automated bank machines and they’d all failed”

“Today, many of us experience what scientists call time famine.”

Whillans, A. (2019). Time for happiness. Harvard Business Review. 

“People who report feeling short on time are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and less happy than people who feel like they have lots of free time.”

Whillans, A. V., Weidman, A. C., & Dunn, E. W. (2016). Valuing time over money is associated with greater happiness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(3), 213-222.

“We call it time affluence”

Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2009). Time affluence as a path toward personal happiness and ethical business practice: Empirical evidence from four studies. Journal of Business Ethics, 84(2), 243-255.

“While there’s lots of work showing that we feel busier than ever before, there’s very little evidence showing that we actually are busier.”

Whillans, A. (2019). Time for happiness. Harvard Business Review. 

“Take one famous study by positive psychologists Ed Diener and Marty Seligman.”

Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological science, 13(1), 81-84.

“Another study by nobel prize winning psychologist Danny Kahneman confirmed this.”

Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D. A., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method. Science, 306(5702), 1776-1780.

“People today report feeling lonely at double the rate they did in the 1980s.”

Murthy, V. (2017). Work and the loneliness epidemic. Harvard Business Review.

“Nationally in the US right now, more than 64% of college students report feeling very lonely most of the time.”

American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2018. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2018.

“Feeling isolated is said to be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.”

2018 Cigna Loneliness Index.

“Nick decided to test this. He recruited passengers sharing his commute to work, dividing them up into three groups.”

Epley, N., & Schroeder, J. (2014). Mistakenly seeking solitude. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(5), 1980.

“David recently authored a fantastic article for the MIT Technology Review on the hidden dangers of automation. It’s title: ‘Eliminating the Human’”

Byrne, D. (2017). Eliminating the human. MIT Technology Review. August 15, 2017.

“Nick was surprised why the train company had made a decision that completely contradicted his research.”

Epley, N. (2011). Let’s make some METRA noise. The Chicago Tribune. June 3, 2011.

The Host

Dr. Laurie Santos

Dr. Laurie Santos is Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Professor and podcast host Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition and the…