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.

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2:37am

Tue September 27, 2011
Science

How Psychology Solved A WWII Shipwreck Mystery

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:52 am

A gun turret on the sunken Australian warship HMAS Sydney. All 645 people aboard the Sydney died.
AP

In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged, and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.

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10:01pm

Sun September 11, 2011
Your Health

For The Dying, A Chance To Rewrite Life

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 11:47 am

Kate Frego pins the turban of her mother, Aida Essenburg. Before Essenburg died in July of this year, she sat down with a dignity therapist to record the history of her life in what became a 50-page document.
Courtesy of Kate Frego

For several decades, psychiatrists who work with the dying have been trying to come up with new psychotherapies that can help people cope with the reality of their death. One of these therapies asks the dying to tell the story of their life.

This end-of-life treatment, called dignity therapy, was created by a man named Harvey Chochinov. When Chochinov was a young psychiatrist working with the dying, he had a powerful experience with one of the patients he was trying to counsel — a man with an inoperable brain tumor.

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10:01pm

Mon August 8, 2011
Environment

Why Cleaned Wastewater Stays Dirty In Our Minds

Brent Haddad studies water in a place where water is often in short supply: California.

Haddad is a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. About 14 years ago, he became very interested in the issue of water reuse.

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4:24pm

Wed July 6, 2011
Law

To Prevent False IDs, Police Lineups Get Revamped

Using revamped photo lineup procedures, a Dallas police officer shows a victim of a robbery a single photo of a suspect in an interview room at police headquarters in 2009. Dallas officially adopted lineup reforms two years ago.
LM Otero AP

In a small room at police headquarters in Dallas, Texas, a police officer and the eyewitness to a minor crime recently sat down together to consider six photographs in a photo lineup.

Eyewitness identifications like this happen every day in America, and on the surface, it is a straight-forward transaction. The witness looks at the pictures. The witness picks a person from the photos. Or the witness doesn't.

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12:01am

Mon June 20, 2011
Your Health

Why Seeing (The Unexpected) Is Often Not Believing

Union College psychology professor Chris Chabris and his students staged an outdoor fight to study inattentional blindness.
Matt Milless Union College

Two months ago, on a wooded path in upstate New York, a psychologist named Chris Chabris strapped a video camera to a 20-year-old man and told him to chase after a jogger making his way down the path.

For close to two years Chabris, who teaches at Union College, had been conducting this same experiment. He did the experiment at night, in the afternoon, with women, with men. All were told to run after the jogger and watch him.

The goal of all this was to answer a question: Is it possible to see something really, really obvious and not perceive it?

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