21. Sports Psychology: Why Do Humans Love Football?

Dr. Matthew Goldenberg joins us to talk about why we love sports in general, but football in particular.

Back in August an opinion piece caught our eyes.  The title of the piece was “Scientist seeks answers: Why do we love football?”  

Matthew Goldenberg, M.D., is a psychiatrist who has been on the faculty at Yale and the staff of Yale-New Haven Hospital since 2013. Prior to arriving at Yale, he was a faculty member at Uniformed Services University (USUHS) and Dartmouth Medical School.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Goldenberg graduated from Yale College in 1999 with a degree in history and received the Potter and Clement prizes for his senior thesis, Touchdown, Brown: Race, Football and the Desegregation of Birmingham Schools, 1954-1980. He received his medical degree from Yale in 2003 and then completed residency training in general psychiatry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he also served as chief resident.

He is the author of A is for Artisanal: An Alphabet Book for the Hip, Modern Baby.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John

Definition of Tribalism

Rick Bragg Football in the South article

How Alabama coach Nick Saban used psychology to build a football dynasty

Dr. Goldenberg’s Twitter

Join the Belle Curve Bookclub as we discuss The Happiness Project on November 5th!

All three of us are big football fans, and we knew we’re not alone!

Rachel watching her son play
Liz with her husband at an Alabama game
Mary Scott with friend of the show Vickie!


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2 thoughts on “21. Sports Psychology: Why Do Humans Love Football?”

  1. A wonderful interview and discussion. I’m particularly a huge sports fan, love soccer (I’m from Brazil, of course soccer runs in my veins) and since living in Alabama, back in the 90’s I’ve developed a great passion for American Football and I can’t stop following the games. Now, living in Portugal, it’s not easy to watch the games live due to the time difference, but on Sundays, one of my favorite things to do, as I wake up earlier than my whole family (wife and daughters), is to watch the replay of the game without knowing the result, trying to simulate the live emotion. Great job girls!

    1. I carry my Alabama cap everywhere and the weirdest place I got a Roll Tide was while visiting a medieval party that takes place every year in August in a small city in the countryside of Portugal called Óbidos. I didn’t have the chance to talk to the person who yield but apparently it was a Portuguese man who also went to school in Alabama.

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