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Can People Change? A Conversation with Gena Gorlin

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer is joined by Gena Gorlin, professor and clinical psychologist, to discuss the psychology of personal change and its connections with philosophy.

Among the topics covered:

  • Gorlin’s view of New Year’s resolutions, and why change is so hard;
  • Considerations for making effective New Year’s resolutions;
  • Whether and how we can change fundamental aspects of ourselves;
  • How conscious and subconscious beliefs impact our mental health;
  • How our motivations impact our ability to change;
  • How we can tell when a change is worth making;
  • The role of heritability in shaping our character.

Mentioned in the discussion are Ayn Rand’s essay “Causality Versus Duty” and her book Atlas Shrugged. Also mentioned are Gorlin’s Psychology Today article “What It Really Looks Like to Rebuild Your Soul” and her paper, with Reinier Schuur, “Nurturing Our Better Nature: A Proposal for Cognitive Integrity as a Foundation for Autonomous Living.”

This podcast was recorded on December 29, 2020. Watch or listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

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