Behavioral Grooves Podcast

How To Find Meaning IN Life | Dr Brian Lowery PhD

Aug. 15, 2022

Three things generate a sense of meaning IN life;

  1. Coherence - can you make sense of the world?
  2. Purpose - do you feel a sense of purpose with what you do? And
  3. Significance - does your life matter?

Having meaning in your life is correlated with a sense of self certainty. Knowing who you are and having a sense of self, gives you structure and a stable way of seeing the world.


But how do you answer the question “who am I?” Our guest, Dr Brian Lowery PhD says the answer isn’t as individualistic as we may have been led to believe. Not only do those around us; our friends, co-workers and parents contribute to who we are, Brian claims they actually create who we are. Putting it bluntly, there is no way of separating “you” from your relationships.


We’ve waited a long time to talk to Brian, who is the Walter Kenneth Kilpatrick Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a social psychologist by training, but Brian’s work is by no means traditional in that field. He studies how individuals perceive inequality, and his research explores individuals' experiences of inequality and fairness in a way that sheds light on intergroup conflict and the nature of social justice. Brian is also a fellow podcaster, hosting the show Know What You See which is definitely worth checking out.


Listeners can become a Behavioral Grooves supporter by donating to our work through Patreon. Or please consider writing us a podcast review on your app. Thanks!



(5:21) Welcome to Brian Lowery and speed round questions.

(7:34) The meaning IN life vs. the meaning OF life.

(9:23) How meaning in life is linked to a sense of self certainty.

(13:30) Context matters: those around us create who we are.

(17:13) What are you referring to when you talk about you?

(19:23) The responsibility we have when interacting with others. 

(21:27) Does authenticity assume a stability of self?

(26:17) Our relationships define us while also limiting our freedom.

(30:59) The myth of rugged individualism.

(36:35) Do we really have freewill?

(42:06) What Brian talks about on his podcast, Know What You See.

(43:42) What role does music play in the identity of self?

(51:43) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim discussing the meaning in life.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Know What You See Podcast: 

Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life: 

Episode 67, George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom: 

Episode 248, John Bargh: Do We Control Situations or Do Situations Control Us? 

Kimberle Crenshaw: 

Episode 307, Groove Track | Mind Over Milkshakes: Why Expectations Matter A Lot: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon:


Musical Links

Killer Mike “Untitled”: neither hosts nor alters podcast files. All content © its respective owners.