Alix Spiegel

NPR correspondent Alix Spiegel works on the Science desk and covers psychology.

Arriving at NPR in 2003, much of Spiegel's reporting has been on emotion mental health. She has reported on everything from the psychological impact of killing another person, to the emotional devastation of Katrina, to psycho-therapeutic approaches to transgender children.

Over the course of her career in public radio, Spiegel has won awards including the George Foster Peabody Award, Livingston Award, and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. Spiegel's 2007 documentary revealing mental health issues and crime plaguing a Southern Mississippi FEMA trailer park housing Katrina victims was recognized with Scripps Howard National Journalism Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Her radio documentary 81 Words, about the removal of homosexuality from psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is being turned into a film by HBO.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Spiegel graduated from Oberlin College. She began her career in radio in 1995 as one of the founding producers of the public radio show This American Life. Spiegel left the show in 1999 to become a full time reporter. She has also written for The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times.

Pages

3:33am

Wed October 3, 2012
Science

How Politicians Get Away With Dodging The Question

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 10:14 am

In a 2004 debate in St. Louis, President Bush answers a question as his opponent, Sen. John Kerry, listens. Both candidates used a number of "pivots" in their debates.
Ron Edmonds AP

3:36am

Mon September 17, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 9:52 am

Teachers interact differently with students expected to succeed. But they can be trained to change those classroom behaviors.
iStockphoto.com

In my Morning Edition story today, I look at expectations — specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach.

Read more

2:39pm

Tue September 4, 2012
Music News

Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:48 pm

A less complicated time? Petula Clark holds her 1965 gold record for "Downtown," an uptempo song in a major key.
R. McPhedran Getty Images

4:02am

Mon September 3, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Can We Learn To Forget Our Memories?

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 7:06 pm

Research shows that under certain circumstances, we can train ourselves to forget details about particular memories.
iStockphoto.com

Around 10 years ago, Malcolm MacLeod got interested in forgetting.

For most people, the tendency to forget is something we spend our time cursing. Where are my keys? What am I looking for in the refrigerator again? What is that woman's name?

Read more

2:58am

Fri August 17, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Would Judge Give Psychopath With Genetic Defect Lighter Sentence?

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:06 am

In 1991, a man named Stephen Mobley robbed a Domino's pizza in Hall County, Ga., and shot the restaurant manager dead.

Crimes like this happen all the time, but this particular case became a national story, in part because Mobley seemed so proud of his crime. After the robbery, he bragged about the killing and had the Domino's logo tattooed on his back.

But there was another reason Mobley's case became famous.

Read more

4:59pm

Tue May 29, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Small Change In Reading To Preschoolers Can Help Disadvantaged Kids Catch Up

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Kimberly Payton, a teacher at the Small Savers Child Development Center, reads to a group of preschoolers in Washington, D.C., in 2010. Researchers say that teachers who make small changes in how they read to 4-year-olds can improve kids' reading skills later on.
Ricky Carioti The Washington Post/Getty Images

On a recent Monday morning in Washington, D.C., a group of 3-year-old preschoolers bumbled their way into a circle, more or less, on the rug of their classroom. It was time to read.

The children sat cross-legged as their teacher, Mary-Lynn Goldstein, held high a book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. There was a short conversation about pigeons, then, for reasons that weren't entirely clear, cows; and then Goldstein began to read. She read as most teachers read, occasionally stopping to ask a question, point out a picture or make a comment about the story.

Read more

3:20pm

Tue May 1, 2012
Science

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Adam Cole/NPR

Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis.

Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior.

In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.

Read more

3:35am

Mon April 30, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

To Predict Dating Success, The Secret's In The Pronouns

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 11:17 pm

People who are interested in and paying close attention to each other begin to speak more alike, a psychologist says.
iStockphoto.com

On a recent Friday night, 30 men and 30 women gathered at a hotel restaurant in Washington, D.C. Their goal was love, or maybe sex, or maybe some combination of the two. They were there for speed dating.

The women sat at separate numbered tables while the men moved down the line, and for two solid hours they did a rotation, making small talk with people they did not know, one after another, in three-minute increments.

Read more

3:16pm

Tue February 7, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

A Fresh Look At Antidepressants Finds Low Risk Of Youth Suicide

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:35 pm

In 2004, after an extensive review, the Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning to doctors who prescribed antidepressants to teens and children.

Antidepressants, the FDA said, appeared to increase suicide among kids and teens. Doctors needed to be careful. The FDA even mandated that a "black-box warning," the strongest type, be placed on antidepressant packaging.

Read more

12:01am

Mon January 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn't The Whole Story

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 1:13 pm

The antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin.
Paul S. Howell Getty Images

When I was 17 years old, I got so depressed that what felt like an enormous black hole appeared in my chest. Everywhere I went, the black hole went, too.

So to address the black-hole issue, my parents took me to a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She did an evaluation and then told me this story:

Read more

Pages