Dr. Erin C. Westgate holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and uses it as a researcher and assistant professor. Her work explores boredom, inner lives, and thoughts. In this conversation, we turn boring research studies into insight with interesting stories and useful advice. Plus, we explore productive procrastination, the profound thing Erin’s changed her mind about recently, and why we should all be pursuing psychological richness over happiness.
Behind Her Brilliance: a family that embraced curiosity
Say hi to Erin on Twitter: @erinwestgate
DR. ERIN C. WESTGATE | Assistant Professor, University of Florida
Dr. Erin Westgate (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, where she studies boredom, interest, and why some thoughts are more engaging than others. She received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Virginia in 2018, and her undergraduate degree from Reed College. Much of her research has been on the conditions under which people enjoy or do not enjoy their own thoughts. She has extended that work to the larger question of why people become bored, developing a new model of boredom that explains what boredom is, why we experience it, and what happens when we do. She spends her free time looking at fish in her many fresh and saltwater aquariums and — when lucky — in the ocean while scuba diving. Luckily, research suggests watching fish is good for you!
How Erin found her path to social psychology in academia
Why we should think more and how to do it effectively
The difference between happiness and psychological richness
What it means to create a psychologically rich life (and how to create one)
How to beat procrastination
What Erin has recently changed her mind about (this is especially good)
And much, much more!
STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
The graphic that inspired this episode (bottom of p.2)
Kindred by Octavia Butler (Erin’s book pick)