February 15, 2022

Dr. Maya Shankar: Find the Asset in your Defect

Dr. Maya Shankar (cognitive scientist, Senior Advisor to Obama administration, host of Slight Change of Plans podcast) breaks down the role of language in cognition and why understanding human behavior makes a huge difference in informing government policy. She discusses her pivot from Juilliard violinist into neuroscience after suffering a permanent hand injury as a teenager, and how she created her own role in the White House. Mayim and Maya explain why "I" statements are the best way to communicate difficult emotions, the benefits of speaking to yourself in third person, and achieving positive lifestyle changes through a technique called "temptation bundling." Maya opens up about using her anxious thoughts to propel her to strive for positive change in the world, and the benefits of spending effective time in the past and future. Mayim addresses the notion of self-sabotage within a relationship in another installment of Ask Mayim Anything.

Theme Song Written, Produced, and Performed by Ed Robertson. Mixed by Kenny Luong.
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Dr. Maya Shankar

Cognitive Scientist, Host

Mayim Bialik


Jonathan Cohen





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Guest References

A Slight Change of Plans (Dr. Maya Shankar's Podcast)
Maya Shankar blends compassionate storytelling with the science of human behavior to help us understand who we are and who we become in the face of a big change. Maya is no stranger to change. “My whole childhood revolved around the violin, but that changed in a moment when I injured my hand playing a single note,” says Shankar, who was studying under Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School at the time. “I was forced to try and figure out who I was, and who I could be, without the violin." Maya soon discovered a new path in the field of cognitive science, where she earned her PhD as a Rhodes Scholar studying how and why we change
Behavioral Science, from The White House to Google
Behavioral science has a lot to offer and I think it’s especially important that we account for these insights that scientists have been gleaning over the years to make sure that when we are designing policies and programs, they’re optimised with these insights in mind...
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Maya Shankar Delivers Keynote at at Velocity 2019, UCLA Anderson's Women's Summit
The final keynote of the February 1, 2019 Velocity Conference, UCLA Anderson's annual Women's Leadership Summit was Maya Shankar, Google’s global head of behavioral science. Shankar is the founder and former chair of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team.
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Read Publications Recommended by Dr. Maya Shankar
Read important publications about policy and research recommended and linked on Dr. Maya Shankar's website...
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