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Social relationships are crucial for our happiness and well-being. This class will discuss topics such as (1) Why are social relationships important? (2) How do we make judgments about other people’s behavior and what they are thinking? (3) What influences the way we relate to other people? (4) How do social relationships or the lack of them affect our physical and mental health? (5) How are invisible processes in our brain involved in social relationships, in creating our emotions, and helping us understand the emotions of others? Time permitting, we may also discuss topics such as empathy, social touch, how humans relate to animals and robots, and relationship therapy. The course will consist of lectures and in-class exercises to help you get in touch with your own social experiences. The goal is to make connections between what psychological research has taught us about social relationships and emotions and what we experience in everyday life.
Instructors: Bruce Goldstein, Joe Breck
Bruce has taught OLLI courses Your Amazing Mind, Cognition and Aging, The Social and Emotional Mind, The Mystery and Science of Shadows, The Art of Shadows, and Writing for Self-Discovery. While teaching in the psychology department at the University of Pittsburgh he received the Chancellor's Undergraduate Teaching Award for his teaching and textbook writing. He is the author of two college textbooks: "Sensation and Perception" and "Cognitive Psychology" and two books for general readers, "The Mind: Consciousness, Prediction and the Brain” (MIT Press) and “Shadows: Culture, Science, and Art” (Univ of Cambridge Press).
Joe Breck is currently retired from a career in the helping professions. After graduating from Yale in 1967, he spent fifteen years in various capacities in a treatment program for court-placed teens. He then practiced Rolfing, a kind of therapeutic hands-on body work. He returned to school and received an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate School. He has worked in clinical settings as well as providing short term counseling to military personnel in bases in Europe and Asia. He and his wife love to travel and lived in Germany for three years.
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