The TED website offers “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” The following ten profiles are some of the best offerings from this site, inspiring us all with their courage, innovative thought and perseverance.
Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds
Autistic adult Temple Grandin, who has been dealing with her diagnosis since childhood, talks frankly about what autism spectrum disorders are. She shares how her mind tends to “think in pictures,” giving her some unique ways of looking at the world that other people might miss.
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
Introvert Susan Cain talks about her struggles, since childhood, in dealing with being introverted in a world where extroversion makes people popular and loved. Rather than focus on her differences being debilitating, Cain shares how her differences allow her to see the world differently.
David Pizarro: The strange politics of disgust
Psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates, in a sometimes graphic way, how emotions such as disgust, affect a person’s moral judgment and political intuitions.
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a cognitive neuroscientist, explains how physiological brain differences in adolescents explain why teenagers think differently than adults. Their impulsiveness and lack of self-awareness, she explains, is due to the fact that their brains are still growing.
Ami Klin: A New Way to Diagnose Autism
Ami Klin, an award winning autism spectrum disorder scientist working for TEDxPeachtree, explains how he studies the eye movements of infants to predict their social engagement skills. An infant who is likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder is more likely, according to Klin, to look at objects rather than people.
Elyn Saks: A Tale of Mental Illness — From the Inside
Elyn Saks, successful attorney, professor of psychiatry, public speaker and schizophrenic, describes her struggles to conquer schizophrenia and her triumph in staying out of psychiatric hospitals for more than three decades. While medication controls her symptoms, she is not yet symptom free and her life presents with many challenges.
Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile
Chip Conley, successful hotel entrepreneur, experienced an epiphany after the dot.com bubble burst. Using Buddhist principles and psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, he developed his own business model, based on building employee happiness.
JD Schramm: Break the Silence for Suicide Attempt Survivors
Sometimes a person can look happy and successful on the outside, yet being fighting personal demons. JD Schramm, successful businessman, was one of those people who everyone thought had everything going for him. Surprisingly, one night, he tried to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. In a moving, compelling manner, JD Schramm discusses, for the first time, his fight back after this suicide attempt in an effort to increase awareness of those struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness
Harvard psychologist and author of the book, Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert speaks on the sometimes elusive phenomena of happiness. One of the unique features of his book is that he differentiates between “natural” happiness, when we experience joy after getting what we want, and “synthetic happiness,” when we are happy despite not getting what we want. He purports that both kinds of happiness are equally important and valid.
Michael Shermer: The Pattern Behind Self-Deception
Skeptic Magazine founder and publisher, Michael Sherman asserts that “belief is the natural state of things,” and discusses what’s going on in our brains that causes us to believe or disbelieve things–everything from alien abductions to what ambiguous drawings look like on a screen.