brain_manWelcome to TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY a series of curated lessons derived from TED. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. Speakers are selected for their originality, clarity of vision and insight into present problems. Many of their presentation conclude with optimistic suggestions for change.

The speakers are given less than 18 minutes to present their ideas in an innovative and engaging manner. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. Presenters include leading thinkers, innovators, scientists, and many Noble Prize winners.

TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY was created by two university professors with over 90 years of professional practice and teaching to help psychology students and their professors see beyond the material (often dated material) found in their text books and tune in to some of the most cutting edge thinking and research currently going on anywhere on the planet.

They have taken TED talks and assembled them into specific topic areas within psychology. They have provided advanced organizers (or pre-thinking prompts) to engage student awareness. After viewing the each talk, a series of higher level thinking questions are presented to stimulate critical thinking.

What are the advantages to you of using TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY? Twelve good reasons for using the guides to enhance student participation, motivation and interest are provided below. For teachers, there are similar good reasons for employing the Study Guide.

A sample lesson is available for preview by clicking here.

A more recent addition to our site is a page composed of lessons derived from TED ED. The material in TED ED has been curated by a number of educators and animated by TED. We have included it on our site to provide additional resources for people using our site. As with the material on our site, this material has been used in accordance with the copyright usage of Creative Commons.


About the TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY Curators:

jim_head_shot James Carroll is a professor emeritus of Psychology at Central Michigan University. He received his psychology degrees from Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Rutgers University. His research interests include aspects of abnormal behavior as well as personality variables that affect behavior, learning styles and creativity. During the last 45 years he has published numerous articles in professional journals. In addition, he has written and edited several books, and has made many presentations at state, national, and international conferences. For the past 14 years he and his wife have been creating curriculum for children in developing nations; you can see some of that work at: Jim is happily married to Sheila. They have three wonderful children, four horses, two cats and a dog.

Ralph BaberR. Ralph Baber was born in Canada. His degrees are from Laurentian University, and Central Michigan University. He has 45+ years teaching at the college and university level. Ralph is an expert in curriculum design and development. He has taught in Canada, the U.S., and China. In China he worked to develop curricula preparing Chinese international students to study, live and work in other countries. His teaching disciplines have varied from teaching composition – including technical writing, business writing and interpersonal communication — as well as literature; through teaching the design and development of learning units in a range of subject areas. Ralph says, “To teach students to write well, you have to teach them to observe and carefully analyze human behavior. These are the same characteristics of a psychologist”. Ralph has a wonderful wife, a yellow lab, and two cats. He also has a large collection of fly-fishing paraphernalia that he doesn’t get to use nearly enough.


Twelve reasons to use the TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY Study Guide

  1. Application: Ted speakers show you where and how theory develops into praxis.
  2. Humor: Ted speakers are often funny – sometimes quite funny.
  3. Brief: Ted speakers are brief – they show what can be done to increase learning in a short timeframe.
  4. Recognized: Ted speakers are well respected in the profession.
  5. Insightful: Ted speakers have ideas/insights that stimulate our own thinking. The questions that you will answer through this program will richen your understanding of psychology.
  6. Electronic: Ted speakers are available wherever your tablet has connectivity.
  7. Curated: Ted speakers gathered in this collection has been organized and sequenced to make sense.
  8. Guided: Ted speakers are each provided with questions that will help you related them to the science of psychology.
  9. Supplement: Ted speakers are independent of your textbook. They are designed to add resources to all texts.
  10. Selectable: Ted speakers can be taken a unit at a time and not all speakers who are available for every unit need be viewed.
  11. Ted Speakers: Can be viewed individually or with a group.
  12. Kick starter: Ted speakers can be used to start your research for papers or seminar presentations.


Reasons for teachers to use the TED TALKS PSYCHOLOGY Study Guide

Anybody who is familiar with TED talks could go through and find material for their classroom. In this system the work has been done for you by Baber and Carroll. Not only have they sorted the talks into categories but they have provided thought provoking advanced organizers and critical thinking questions for each talk.

These talks allow you to bring into your class experts, researchers and gifted communicators whose work is on the cutting edge our discipline. Not only will your students get to see noted psychologists, but they will also be exposed to women and men from other disciplines whose research is shaping the way psychologists currently understand emotion, mental process and behavior.

The material is expressed with a humor, energy and conciseness that provides your students with excellent models for their own presentations.

The talks will be updated monthly so that you and your students are getting the most current information available within the TED system.

A teacher’s feedback site is available comments @TTP is available for teachers to provide feedback about pre-think materials and questions.



What do we know about TED and its policies?

Over the past 30 years Ted has grown into an international platform for “Ideas Worth Sharing”. But what is its history and its guiding principles. Below, presents, in TED’s own words, answers to these questions.

What is the history of Ted Talks?

How did a one-off conference about technology, entertainment and design become a viral video phenomenon and a worldwide community of passionate people?

TED was born in 1984 out of Richard Saul Wurman’s observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. The first TED included a demo of the compact disc, the e-book and cutting-edge 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines using his developing theory of fractal geometry.

But despite a stellar lineup, the event lost money, and it was six years before Wurman and partner Harry Marks tried again. This time, the world was ready and the numbers worked. The TED Conference became an annual event in Monterey, California, attracting a growing and influential audience from many different disciplines united by their curiosity and open-mindedness – and also by their shared discovery of an exciting secret. (Back then, TED was an invitation-only event.)

Twelve years after the first Conference, the first 6 talks were posted online…

The first six TED Talks were posted online in June 2006. By September, they had reached more than one million views. TED Talks proved so popular that in 2007, TED’s website was relaunched around them, giving a global audience free access to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and teachers.

Each one is powerful and moving — and still resonates today.
Watch now

How did TED become a not-for profit and what did that mean in terms of the trajectory of the Conference?

Here is a video of a talk by Chris Anderson, as he deals with this question.

In 2002, Chris Anderson shares his vision for the future of TED.
Watch now

Meanwhile the roster of presenters broadened to include scientists, philosophers, musicians, business and religious leaders, philanthropists and many others. For many attendees, TED became one of the intellectual and emotional highlights of the year. That was certainly true for media entrepreneur Chris Anderson, who met with Wurman in 2000 to discuss the conference’s future. A deal was struck, and in 2001, Anderson’s nonprofit Sapling Foundation acquired TED, and Anderson became its Curator.

In taking the conference nonprofit, Anderson stood by the principles that made TED great: the inspired format, the breadth of content, the commitment to seek out the most interesting people on Earth and let them communicate their passion. It soon became clear that the ideas and inspiration generated at TED should have an impact well outside the city limits of Monterey.

Accordingly, the years 2001–2006 saw three major additions to the TED family:

  • a sister conference, TEDGlobal, held in locations around the world
  • the TED Prize, which grants its winners one wish to change the world
  • an audio and video podcast series, TED Talks, in which the best TED content is released free online.


In 2008, in part thanks to new awareness created by TED Talks, we launched TEDActive a simulcast version of the springtime TED Conference, allowing more people to attend at a lower price. By 2009, the number of TED Talk views had grown to 100 million views, making Internet heroes out of speakers like Jill Bolte Taylor and Sir Ken Robinson.

radical opening up of the TED format to local, independently organized events. Around the same time, we embarked on the Open Translation Project, creating the infrastructure for TED Talks to be translated into 100+ languages.

In March 2012, TED-Ed was launched, creating short video lessons aimed at educators, and April 2012 saw the debut of TED Radio Hour, a partnership that brings ideas and stories from TED Talks to public radio listeners. All of these projects aim to create ever-greater access to ideas, for free.

In the fall of 2012, TED Talks celebrated its one billionth video view. As TED Talks continue to be watched around the world, with an average of 17 new page views a second, the TED, TEDActive and TEDGlobal conferences continue to inspire, motivate and thrill attendees. In 2014, TED celebrated its 30th anniversary in Vancouver, Canada, with TEDActive happening simultaneously in nearby Whistler. The theme of this milestone conference: “The Next Chapter,” both a reflection on the most significant developments of the past 30 years as well as a look at what’s ahead.

And of course, the TED story continues…

What do we know about TED’s policies? (from the official web site).

As TED has grown, we’ve picked up a few misconceptions along the way — some more vexing than others. If you’ve heard a rumor and want to know the facts, or have your own questions about who the heck we are and how we operate, we have a few answers below.

Is TED elitist?

In one sense, yes — we curate our speaker list and our TED Talks lineup very carefully. And we “curate” our audience at conferences to make sure we have a balanced, diverse group that can support our mission of bringing great ideas to the world for free.

But we also work hard not to be elitist in ways that matter. We actively seek out ideas from all over the world in multiple languages. We work to diversify both our lineup and our attendee roster, devoting time and budget to seeking out and supporting attendees who couldn’t afford to come on their own, but who’ll be great contributors. We also devote significant time and money to bringing TED Talks to people who lack access to broadband or have other accessibility issues. We hope the proof of the pudding is that our talks are available for free to anyone in the world.

Is TED biased?

Not every talk given at a TED conference or a TEDx event makes it to the front page of Some speakers have suggested that their live talks didn’t become TED Talks because of a bias against their political stance. In truth, TED is nonpartisan and we do our best to post talks that will contribute to a productive conversation. TED is not a place for partisan slams and one-sided arguments.

Is TED full of pseudoscience?

As the global TEDx movement grows, some local events have been targeted by speakers who make unsupported claims about science and health — from perpetual motion to psychic healing. TEDx’s science guidelines clearly state that science and health information shared from the stage must be supported by peer-reviewed research. If you have concerns about the content of a TEDx talk, please write to and let us know.

Does TED ban discussion of GMOs and food?

In 2013, another website created this meme in order to draw page views (and sell vitamin supplements). The story went viral because it seemed simply too awful to believe. And indeed it was not true. TED does not ban discussion of GMOs and food. Our formal response includes a long list of TED Talks about food, GMOs, food science and the sustainability and health of our food supply.

Does TED ban [insert topic]?

TED has no formal bans on any topic. If you notice we have not covered a topic of interest to you, please suggest a speaker who can do it justice, and feel free to let us know we’ve been missing out! We are always looking for new ideas, topics and speakers.

Is TED rich?

TED is owned by a nonprofit. Our North American conference itself makes money, as do partnerships with companies and foundations — but we spend it as soon as we get it, supporting big projects like making TED Talks available for free, and supporting the independent TEDx community around the world. We pay fair salaries to our workers and we pay our interns. No one at TED HQ is getting rich; every dime we make goes right back into supporting our work.


© TED Conferences, LLC is a fervent supporter of TED’s mission to spread “Ideas Worth Sharing”!!!