Ed Diener giving a lecture
March 18, 2013

Quantifying Happiness

What makes you happy? Can you quantify it? This hour on Focus, we talked with Ed Diener, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, who is a pioneer in the study of happiness. He’s the recipient of the 2012 William James Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Psychological Science.

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December 04, 2012

Growing Up In Poverty

Nearly one out of every five children in Illinois is growing up in poverty, and in more than half of Illinois' counties, 1 out of every 4 kids experiences food insecurity. Nationwide, childhood poverty costs the country $500 billion a year, or 4 percent of GDP. In addition to the economic costs, there are high personal costs: children growing up in poverty face ongoing psychosocial stress that affects their health and development, from high blood pressure and impaired immune functioning to deteriorated connections in the brain. We’ll explore the effects of poverty on children, and what can be done to ameliorate those effects.

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November 12, 2012

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Related Anxiety Disorders

Guest: Shayla Parker.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that affects more and more Americans every year, but the symptoms are so subtle that years or even decades may pass between the onset of symptoms and treatment. Today on Focus, we'll talk about OCD and related disorders with professional counselor Shayla Parker.

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October 30, 2012

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough, Writer specializing in education, child development, poverty, and politics and contributor to "This American Life."

Host: Craig Cohen

Children's success in school is usually measured by test scores – the SAT, IQ test, standardized exams. But in How Children Succeed, writer and This American Life contributor Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. As scientists discover more about the longterm effects of early adversity on the developing brain, Tough argues that the ways parents can instill these qualities in children can have ramifications that last a lifetime.

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October 11, 2012

Bullying Intervention and Prevention: What Works, What Doesn't and What You Can Do

Dorothy Espelage, Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Illinois

Debra Chasnoff, Filmmaker, President and Senior Producer of GroundSpark, a film, education and advocacy organization

Host: Kimberlie Kranich

Most of us would agree that bullying and name-calling are harmful behaviors.  And most states have mandatory anti-bullying programs in their schools.  Which programs work?  Which ones don't?  What's the difference between prevention and intervention?  How can I talk to my child or my student about bullying? How can I talk about group-specific bullying, especially anti-gay bullying, at home and at school?

We'll offer some tips and provide you with resources as we talk about efforts to stop and prevent bulling in Illinois and around the nation with two guests:  Dorothy Espelage, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Debra Chasnoff, documentary filmmaker.

Dorothy Espelage has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. She leads a team of undergraduates, graduate students and staff in an effort to make schools more safe.

Debra Chasnoff is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has fueled progressive social-change movements in many fields. She is president and senior producer at GroundSpark, a national social justice media, advocacy, and education organization, and co-creator of The Respect for All Project, a program that produces media and training resources to help prevent prejudice among young people.

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August 06, 2012

The Five-Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts

Peter T. Coleman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, Department of Social-Organizational Psychology, Columbia University

Host: David Inge

Most conflicts, whether global or interpersonal, end up being resolved peacefully. Yet one of every 20 ends up in a stalemate, with the two sides locked in to their positions. These disputes rarely go away. Often they get worse, escalating to the point of violence. Peter Coleman says the only solution is to see these conflicts in a new way. Coleman, director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, offers a new strategy for resolving stubborn arguments, the subject of his book "The Five Percent."

This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, February 02, 2012, 10 am

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