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Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality | Brian Little

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Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality | Brian Little

What makes you, you? Psychologists like to talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in moments when we transcend those traits — sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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Brian R. Little: Being Oneself

Each of us is unlike anybody else, but none of us is completely unique. Psychologist Brian R. Little has mined the field of personality science and helped re-shape the old way of thinking about character types. He discusses his findings with Steve Paikin.
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How Are We Unique? A Study of Personalities | Dr Brian Little | CDI 2016

¿Qué es lo que nos hace tan singulares? A partir de una breve explicación sobre las teorías de la personalidad y los tres aspectos de la naturaleza humana, Little expone las diferencias entre los individuos introvertidos y los extrovertidos y concluye diciendo: no eres un conjunto de características. Eres los proyectos personales que consideras importantes”.

What makes us so singular? Through a brief explanation of personality theories and the three aspects of human nature, Little exhibits the differences between extroverted and introverted individuals, and then concludes by saying “you are not a set of features. You are the personal projects you consider to be important.”

Todos los derechos reservados. © Poder Cívico A. C.
Prohibida su copia, distribución y venta sin permisos del autor.

La Ciudad de las Ideas es un Festival Internacional de Mentes Brillantes con sede en la ciudad de Puebla, México. Andrés Roemer, Presidente de Poder Cívico A.C., es el audaz curador del festival.

Dan Pink: The puzzling secret to motivation (Key Points Talk)

In this key points talk we take a look at Dan Pink's TED Talk from 2009 in which he discusses the unintuitive nature of Motivation.

Studies have found that incentives (money) can help people to very simple tasks, but the moment a task requires even a little bit of creativity, incentives can reduce performance.

Dan goes on to explain that Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose are the most important points to engaging people in their work. They need to have the autonomy to be able to work on their tasks without someone micromanaging their methods. They need to have a sense of improvement in their skill as they do their work. Last, they need to feel that the work they are doing serves some bigger, more meaningful purpose than just getting them a paycheck

Check out the full 18 minute talk at



Full Talk description
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.
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Who are you, really The puzzle of personality Brian Little

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Do you really know why you do what you do? | Petter Johansson

Experimental psychologist Petter Johansson researches choice blindness -- a phenomenon where we convince ourselves that we're getting what we want, even when we're not. In an eye-opening talk, he shares experiments (designed in collaboration with magicians!) that aim to answer the question: Why do we do what we do? The findings have big implications for the nature of self-knowledge and how we react in the face of manipulation. You may not know yourself as well as you think you do.

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Why The Science of Trait Psychology May Just Predict Everything In Your Life w Dr. Brian R. Little

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In this episode we go deep on the science of personality. We look at how we’ve moved way beyond the debate of nature vs nurture, we look at the “Myth of Authenticity and the danger of “just being yourself,” we examine why human wellbeing (aka success) depends on the sustainable pursuit of core projects in our lives, explore the complex dance of self improvement between the limitation of biological, social factors and the identity of individuals, and look at how much agency and control we really have in shaping our personalities and lives among all of these different factors with our guest Dr. Brian Little.

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Who are you, really

Summary of Dr. Brian Little's TED talk:
Who are you Really? The Puzzle of Personality

Here's a link to Dr. Little's presentation:

YOW! 2016 Dr. Brian Little - Personalities at Work #YOW

Why did the normally shy and reticent member of my team do what he did last Thursday? Why did my short-tempered, brutish CEO rise to that occasion with such warmth and largesse? For the last ten months, people have been asking me if I am myself. Who else could I possibly be? Such questions are intriguing and consequential for understanding ourselves and our organizations.

This presentation provides guidance for answering them based on Dr. Little’s work on free traits, personal projects and wellbeing. A central tenet of this perspective is that people often act out of character in order to advance their personal projects. Such behaviour may puzzle us, and we wonder what is going on. What is going on is both complex and deeply human. Audiences come away with some very practical examples of how they drive each other to distraction and with a clearer understanding of why it is essential to their organizations that they continue to do so.

The presentation merges psychological insights with an exceptionally motivating message about respect for differences between individuals. Dr. Little’s presentations have been described by highly diverse groups as ‘utterly hilarious’ and ‘profoundly moving,’ suggesting he is a ‘cross between Robin Williams and Einstein.’

Dr. Brian Little is an internationally acclaimed scholar and speaker in the field of personality and motivational psychology. His pioneering research on how everyday personal projects and ‘free traits’ influence the course of our lives has become an important way of explaining and enhancing human flourishing.

Brian received his early education in British Columbia and his PhD in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. Currently dividing his time between Canada and the UK, Dr. Little teaches at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Psychology and Judge Business School, and is a fellow of the Well-Being Institute. In 2015, he was also a Senior Fellow at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Previously, Professor Little has taught at Oxford, Harvard and McGill Universities. His course on personality in Harvard’s Department of Psychology was immensely popular: the graduating classes of Harvard elected him as a ‘Favorite Professor’ for three consecutive years.

In his presentations, Dr. Little helps organizations and professionals understand the profound effect that personality has on performance, and how to use this knowledge to their advantage.

Brian’s unique approach to the science of personality is the focus of his book, Me, Myself and Us which was published in October 2014 by Public Affairs Books in the USA and HarperCollins in Canada and is being translated into multiple languages.

For more on YOW! Conference, visit

Discover the Red Thread in Brian Little's TED Talk, "Who Are You Really?" - EP005

This week, Tamsen Webster finds the Red Thread in a TED talk by Brian Little: “Who Are You Really? The Puzzle of Personality.” The presence of the Red Thread is often the difference between a good talk and a great one.

Watch the video for yourself first, and see if you can pick out the first four elements: the goal, the problem, the idea, and the change. Little doesn’t get into step five, the action, but that’s because he’s so focused on laying out a compelling case for a big idea and a surprising path to change.

See if you can pick out the elements for yourself, and then you can compare how Tamsen breaks it down to learn how to make the Red Thread work for you.

Get more tips and tricks on finding the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.
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How does the Rorschach inkblot test work? - Damion Searls

What are the origins of the Rorschach test and how does it work? Explore the inkblot tool psychologists use to test a subject’s perceptions and mental health.

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For nearly a century, ten inkblots have been used as an almost mystical personality test. Long kept confidential for psychologists and their patients, the mysterious images were said to draw out the workings of a person’s mind. But what can inkblots really tell us, and how does this test work? Damion Searls details how the Rorschach Test can help us understand the patterns of our perceptions.

Lesson by Damion Searls, directed by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

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Brian Little: How Do Introverts & Extroverts Learn Differently?

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Personality and Motivational Psychology expert Brian Little describes the different learning styles and teaching techniques that separate introverts and extroverts.
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Are you a giver or a taker? | Adam Grant

In every workplace, there are three basic kinds of people: givers, takers and matchers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant breaks down these personalities and offers simple strategies to promote a culture of generosity and keep self-serving employees from taking more than their share.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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The power of introverts | Susan Cain

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality | Anil Seth

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience -- and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we're all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it reality. Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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How to build your confidence -- and spark it in others | Brittany Packnett

Confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows, says educator and activist Brittany Packnett. In an inspiring talk, she shares three ways to crack the code of confidence -- and her dream for a world where revolutionary confidence helps turn our most ambitious dreams into reality.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You're welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know. For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request here:

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The surprising habits of original thinkers | Adam Grant

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies originals: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most, Grant says. You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

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Brian Little Presents Me, Myself and Us

Scott Schwefel -Ted Talk - Your Personality and your Brain-

Your conference will explode in colorful communications, as each delegate learns about their own and each other's unique communication styles Have Scott speak at your next event.

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window -- and encourages us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.

For more from Tim Urban, visit Wait But Why:

Get TED Talks recommended just for you! Learn more at

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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