Discussion Groups


Behavioral Economics: When Psychology and Economics Collide


Welcome back to our lively discussion of Behavioral Economics, presented through the Great Courses DVD series by Dr. Scott Huettel, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. Drawing on methods from psychology, sociology, neurology, and economics, this remarkable discipline illuminates one of the most fundamental activities of human existence: the decision process.

We will explore key motivators for our decisions, such as probability, risk, reward, and the passage of time. This fascinating course will shed light on how our brains process information and shape our perceptions as we make decisions.

Two of the following topics will be covered in each session:

  • What is a Good Decision?
  • The Rise of Behavioral Economics
  • Reference Dependence—It's All Relative
  • Reference Dependence—Economic Implications
  • Range Effects—Changing the Scale Probability Weighting
  • Risk—The Known Unknowns
  • Ambiguity—The Unknown Unknowns
  • Temporal Discounting—Now or Later?
  • Comparison—Apples and Oranges
  • Bounded Rationality—Knowing Your Limits
  • Heuristics and Biases
Professor Huettel earned his Ph.D. from Duke in Experimental Psychology and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in functional brain imaging and decision science at the university's medical center. He is the founding Director of the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Science.

Facilitators: Jeffrey Jones & Mary Cruise, OLLI Members

6 Mondays: September 15, 22, 29; October 6, 13, 20
10 am - 12 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: $15
NLLL 257 Section 01, Course No. 43019

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Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill


Influence and persuasion aren't just abstract concepts of interest exclusive to psychologists and sociologists. Rather, they're a fundamental part of our everyday life. Whether you realize it or not, you're constantly surrounded by people and groups trying to influence the way you think, act, and feel.

This Great Courses DVD course is delivered by award-winning Professor Kenneth G. Brown of the University of Iowa, an expert in management and a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. The 12 lectures will teach you in clear and accessible language how and why influence works. Packed with eye-opening scientific and sociological experiments, case studies from fields including business and politics, practical exercises to test your skills, and more, this course will show you how to harness the power of influence at home, work, store, in your social life, and anywhere else you may need it.

Dr. Brown says, "You can actively take charge of your decisions—and your life$#151;by grasping the science behind how influence works and by strengthening your own skills at influence and persuasion. And whether youo're in the corporate boardroom or at the family dinner table, you'll find yourself reaping a wealth of rewards when it comes to the myriad ways you interact with other people and groups on a daily basis."

There will be two lectures per session and they are as follows:
  • A Model for Successful Influence and Characteristics of Influential Agents
  • The Dark Side of Influence and Characteristics of Suggestible Targets
  • Influence Tactics—Hard and Soft and How to Make the Most of Soft Tactics
  • How Context Shapes Influence and Practicing Impression Management
  • Selling and Being Sold and Delivering Effective Speeches
  • Developing Negotiation Skills and Becoming a Transformational Leader

6 Mondays: September 15, 22, 29; October 6, 13, 20
1:30 - 3:30 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: $15
NLLL 155 Section 02, Course No. 42997

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How to Grow Anything; Container Gardening Tips and Techniques


If you have been thinking about starting a garden, but don’t have the space, maybe containers would work better for you. Join us this fall as we explore “Gardening Tips and Techniques,” a DVD Series from The Great Courses. Expert Melinda Myers is a horticulturist and certified arborist, TV/radio host, columnist, and author. This course will teach you “Designs in a pot—thrillers, spillers, fillers,” how to create new space, edibles and ornamentals, cool-season changes and indoor gardens. We hope this will help beautify your environment and promote hours of enjoyment.

Facilitators: Eula Slater, OLLI Member and Registered Dietitian, and OLLI Members Donald Means and Toni Freeman

5 Wednesdays: September 24; October 8, 22, 29; November 12
1:30 - 3:30 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1210
Fee: $15
NLLL 355 Section 02, Course No. 43037

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The Thursday Morning Book Club
A reading and discussion group, free to OLLI Members


The Thursday Morning Book Club offers four books for your reading and discussion pleasure. Topics will be left to the interests of the group. However, some questions to consider are: How well has the author made her/his point(s)? What surprised you about a character(s) or the ending? How does the story relate to today’s ideas and life in America? The group begins in September and ends in December. We talk over light refreshments (bring your favorite beverage and Discussion Leaders will bring a snack).

  • Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George
    The daughter of her friend Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can’t really help—Azhar never married Angelina, and has no legal claim. They hire a detective, but the trail goes cold…
    Thursday, September 25, 10 am - 12 pm
    Discussion Leader, Valerie Dingwall, OLLI Ambassador
  • Caesar's Women, by Colleen McCullough
    New York Times bestselling author re-creates an extraordinary period in Julius Caesar’s ascent—when Rome’s noblewomen were his greatest conquest. He adored them, used them, and destroyed them, and one of them would seal his fate.
    Thursday, October 23, 10 am - 12 pm
    Discussion Leader, Toni Freeman, OLLI Ambassador
  • A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick
    In the bitter cold of rural Wisconsin in 1909, Ralph Truitt waits alone for Catherine Land, who answered his advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But she’s not the simple, honest woman Ralph is expecting. She is complex, devious, and has an evil plan. Truitt has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, their story unfolds in unimaginable ways.
    Thursday, November 20, 10 am - 12 pm
    Discussion Leader, Frankie Stewart, OLLI Ambassador
  • A Cookbook Conspiracy, by Kate Carlisle
    Brooklyn’s sister Savannah became a successful chef, but her ex-boyfriend Baxter Cromwell became a culinary superstar. When he invites his former classmates to the opening of his new restaurant, Savannah asks Brooklyn to restore a rare antique cookbook as a gift for him. The night they all gather, Baxter is found dead, the cookbook has disappeared, and Savannah becomes the suspect du jour. But Brooklyn knows her sister is innocent, and she turns up the heat on the investigation before Chef Savannah finds herself slinging hash in a prison cafeteria.
    Thursday, December 18, 10 am - 12 pm
    Discussion Leader, Mary Cruise, OLLI Ambassador

Facilitators: See Discussion Leaders
Mary Cruise, OLLI Ambassador

4 Thursdays: September 25, October 23, November 20, December 18
10 am - 12 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: Free to OLLI members, but please register
NLLL 154 Section 03, Course No. 42994

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What Should We Do About Unemployment and Low Wages, if Anything?


What kind of economy do we want for our kids, our kids’ kids, and our friends’ kids? Must we feel responsible for the younger generation? Do we like the idea of YOYO (you’re on your own) better than WITT (we’re in this together)? How about: we’re retired, so leave us alone?

Discussant Frank Stricker will present history and key facts related to efforts to get more good jobs. Discussion will focus on societal aspects of issues such as unemployment, which is often too high, 4 years post recovery, the quality of jobs held by the labor force, average wages and inflation, percentage of adults with college degrees, expectations of current retirees, and so on.

Presenter: Frank Stricker, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of History, Labor Studies & Interdisciplinary Studies, CSUDH, and Author of Why America Lost the War on Poverty (2007)

Thursday: November 20
1:30 - 3:30 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: $5
NLLL 255 Section 02, Course No. 43007

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The World's Greatest Geological Wonders: 36 Spectacular Sights


OLLI members have been asking for more courses on travel, so we have turned once again to The Great Courses for assistance in learning about sites we have often dreamed about traveling to or been fortunate to have experienced. The focus of this travel course is on “geologic wonders,” which Professor Michael E. Wysession describes as “something that is often rare or, at least, infrequent...and makes us curious about its origins or formation...such as waterfalls, glaciers, and so on.”

The scope of this DVD course takes us to the world’s most spectacular geological wonders as identified by Professor Wysession, explains the forces that have formed them, and tells us the stories that have grown up around them. The goal of this course is to heighten our sense of wonder, awe, and respect for our planet. The Great Courses promises that, “As we watch these lectures, we will begin to notice countless new features of the geologic world around us and our growing interest and fascination will add a new dimension to our appreciation for the world in which we live.”

The titles of the DVDs selected for Fall are:

  • Galapagos Rift—Wonders of Mid-Ocean Ridges; Antarctica—A World of Ice

  • The Rock of Gibraltar—Catastrophic Floods; Uluru/Ayers Rock (Australia)—Sacred Nature of Rocks

  • Mammoth Cave—Worlds underground; The Amazon Basin—Lungs of the Planet

  • The Grand Canyon—Earth’s Layers; The Dead Sea—Sinking and Salinity

  • Columbia Glacier—Unusual Glacier Cycles; Siwa Oasis—Paradise amidst Desolation

  • Santorini—Impact of Volcanic Eruptions; Mount Fuji—Sleeping Power
  • Facilitators: Mary Cruise & Lynn Fisher, OLLI Members

    6 Mondays: October 27; November 3, 10, 17, 24; December 1
    10 am - 12 pm
    Extended Education Building, EE 1210
    Fee: $15
    NLLL 256 Section 01, Course No. 43008

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