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Health & Wellness

Episode 192: What Motivates Us and the Science of Behavior Change with Dr. Maya Shankar

October 5, 2022

Dr. Maya Shankar, cognitive neuroscientist, former White House Senior Advisor, and creator of the podcast A Slight Change of Plans, joins the WHOOP podcast to share what it really takes to change our patterns of behavior, what motivates us, and how to make progress on our goals, no matter what happens

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Cognitive neuroscientist, former White House Senior Advisor, and creator of the top podcast A Slight Change of Plans Dr. Maya Shankar joins the WHOOP Podcast this week. Maya has a postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive neuroscience from Stanford where she studied decision making, a Ph.D. from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and a B.A. from Yale. Before she found her path as a neuroscientist, she was on a path to become a concert violinist, studying under the famed Itzhak Perlman. Her life took a turn, a story she shares as part of her podcast A Slight Change of Plans, which led her to study behavioral science. She sits down with VP of Performance Kristen Holmes to dive into what motivates us – and what can easily set us off track. This is an episode that dives deep into the science of changing our patterns of behavior, especially as it relates to our health. 

Want to see your questions answered? Email us – Podcast@whoop.com – or you can call our listener line (508-443-4952) and leave a voicemail, and your question might be answered on a future episode.


2:22 – Studying violin under Itzhak Perlman

5:41 – How a hand injury spurred what she calls identity foreclosure

8:48 – Her transition to neuroscience

10:31 – How she changed her own plans and found a new career path

17:14 – What the endowment effect is

18:22 – The benefits of the fresh start effect

23:44 – How to think about restarting after your goals have been derailed

25:29 – The best ways to cement new habits

29:43 – The power of data and behavioral science

31:11 – How to make good decisions

34:15 – The illusion of control


Additional Resources:

A Slight Change of Plans

Follow Dr. Maya Shankar on Instagram

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