Whether it is the growth in co-working spaces around the world full of 20 and 30-somethings starting their own thing, to TV shows on entrepreneurship, all the way to the big successes out of California’s Silicon Valley, the millennial generation are attracted to starting their own businesses. However, it is not just about making money but also about passion and doing good.
Christine Selph from Deloitte and professor Ethan Mollick from the Wharton School of Business give us an overview of...
We can now curate who we talk to in a way that wasn’t thinkable when a bulky landline phone sat in a corner of a house and rang with anonymous urgency. The screens on our devices allow us to communicate in any number of quick, cheap but silent ways.These modern technologies are very useful, which is why they are so ubiquitous, but are they taking something from us that is deeply human? Sandra Kanthal asks why we choose to text instead of talk, and if this incredibly popular form of...
Physical scars can be sources of shame or badges of honour: acquired accidentally or a cry for help. How should we read them, and what do they tell us about ourselves and our place in the world?
We explore the practice of scarification, intentional body modification which has been practised for millennia, where scars denote status within tribal communities and are worn with pride. Brent Kerehona tells us about the type of scarification he has: Ta Moko.
We meet stuntman Andreas Petrides,...
Dystopic fiction is going through a bit of a boom at the moment, but why is it that we can’t seem to get enough of stories where ordinary people struggle to survive against an all-powerful state or in a post- apocalyptic world? Is it because they reflect the anxieties we already feel about the world we live in, or because they allow us to escape it. Shabnam Grewal asks Why is Dystopic fiction so appealing?
Produced and presented by Shabnam Grewal
Editor: Andrew Smith
The trauma of sexual assault is both personal and brutal. But what may be an indisputably traumatic event for one person is often challenged by another, and the responsibility for events gets scattered in the process. In this edition of the Why Factor, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far asks: in cases of sexual assault, why do we so often blame the victim?
Presenter and producer: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far
Editor: Andrew Smith
(Photo: Protest sign held up during 'Slut Walk' protests against victim blaming...
It’s the festive season, which means there are lots of parties going on. If you’re planning a party, what kind of celebration will it be? Organising the right food, drink and, crucially, guest list requires time and effort. Party planning has been listed as one of the most stressful professions you can have so, in the spirit of the season, in this edition of the Why Factor, Sandra Kanthal is asking: why is it so hard to plan the perfect party?
Claire Derrick: Co-founder, The...
Resilience is one of the buzzwords of the moment with multiple self-helps books and motivational speakers all promising us we can learn to be resilient, and use this skill to manage our pain. But what exactly is resilience and why does it help some people to cope better in times of stress than others?
In this Why Factor, Abby Hollick examines why some people, in the face of trauma, seem to be extraordinarily resilient and tests her own inner reserves to discover if she is naturally...
An exploration of why and how music can exert a powerful effect on our emotions. Why does one particular collection of notes make us want to get up and dance, and another calm us down?
Edwina Pitman hears from record producer turned neuroscientist Daniel Levitin about how our brains process music and from psychologist Victoria Williamson about how we react to the memories that sounds trigger. Renowned Hollywood film composer Brian Tyler demonstrates how he creates music that reflects the...
Many men believe their gender is under siege from a welter of criticism about male attitudes and behaviours. Not everyone accepts the idea of a masculinity crisis, but this programme looks at the concept of the “man box” – a set of attitudes and assumptions which many males struggle to deal with. Artist Grayson Perry joins the discussion.
Presenter: Michael Blastland
Producer: Anna Meisel
Editor: Andy Smith
(Photo: James Mace, Barber. Credit: Ian Burt)
Asked to describe your grandparents, you may conjure fond childhood memories of trips to the park or going round for your favourite dinner after school. You may live just around the corner and see your grandparents daily or they might be a welcome voice on the phone, brightening your day from afar.
In this week’s Why Factor Elaine Chong discovers just why it is that grandparents matter so much to us and she finds out what happens when grandparents step in to raise their grandchildren.
Infidelity is seen as the ultimate betrayal, and many relationships are brought down by it. Around the world most of us agree that it’s wrong for a married person to have an affair, but that doesn’t seem to stop us: why? The answer could lie in our DNA. In this week’s Why Factor, Phoebe Keane hears how research into the mating habits of prairie voles could shed light on the extra marital affairs of humans and explores how we make decisions in the heat of the moment.
It turns out that much of what we do – much of our behaviour – can be conducted at an unconscious level. That raises a profound question. What is the point of consciousness? What evolutionary advantage does consciousness bestow? We speak to psychologists and neuroscientists for the answer. And we ask a philosopher whether science can ever unravel the deep mysteries of consciousness. The programme is guaranteed to hurt your brain.
Presenter and producer David Edmonds
Sleep, day-dreaming, meditation – these are all different states of awareness. In these states we’re not really aware of what’s going on around us. But even when humans are awake, we take in very little about our surroundings. So this week we speak to psychologists and neuroscientists to ask, why are we conscious of so little?
Presenter and producer David Edmonds
Editor: Richard Knight
(Photo: X-ray image of human head with lightning / Credit: Stock Photo. Getty Images)
About half the population consider themselves to have a shy personality, but most of us feel shyness in certain situations. Although some people may display outward signs of shyness such as blushing and being tongue-tied, shyness isn’t always visible to others; a surprising number of extroverts and performers are shy. Edwina Pitman examines what it means to be shy and attitudes towards shyness.
Professor Susie Scott, Professor of Sociology, University of Sussex
Kristie Poole, Department of...
In the second and final part exploring intuition Nastaran Tavakoli-Far speaks to cricket players who used data to win championships and hears about business leaders who trumpet their successes and forget the times their intuition led to failure. She talks to psychologists and Nobel Prize winners about why we get so attached to our intuitions and forget the times it was wrong, and why we should probably use a mix of both intuition and rational analysis when making decisions.
Alex Wakely –...
In part one of two episodes exploring intuition, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far speaks to a detective who had an intuition that someone was a serial killer, as well as hearing stories about firefighters who saved themselves from death after listening to their intuition.
She also speaks to psychologists, neuroscientists and a Nobel Prize winning economist to find out more about how intuition is formed and how it works, and also hears about intuition’s role in the world of politics.
From instant messaging, to online shopping and even smart fridges, we live in a connected age where all of life’s essentials can be obtained at the click of a button. So why do so many people ditch the trappings of modern life and head off into the countryside with a tent?
In this week’s episode of the Why Factor adventure journalist Phoebe Smith sets out on a journey to discover what makes camping so special.
Along the way she discovers a camper in Kenya who spends his weekends alone...
All over the world there are people rejecting the society they live in and choosing radically different pathways. Some are abandoning the idea of a ‘family house’ in favour of a nomadic, solitary life in a camper van. They live frugally as they travel around the country, or even the world, in their tiny homes.
Others go in a different direction, seeking a life which fulfils them and aligns with their values. They may end up in an ‘intentional community’, where both income and property are...
Statistics from around the world show huge improvements to our way of life, but many of us think the world is in decline. There are good reasons for this; climate change is often cited as the big one. But many of us aren’t aware of the huge strides we’ve made over the decades in reducing poverty, improving healthcare and tackling hunger. In fact, according to surveys of people in richer countries at least, the majority of people think the world is getting worse; but why? In this edition of...
In the 1970s, second wave feminists declared war on makeup - arguing it oppressed women, distracted them from gaining equality, and forced them to attain a beauty ideal not expected of men. And yet young women today wear more makeup than ever. Women have made gains in employment, education, sexual liberation, so why is it we can’t leave the house without makeup? In this Why Factor we explore the power and allure of makeup and why it works.
Presented and Produced by Gemma Newby
What does happiness mean to you? Friends, family, the rush of a crowd or the joy of solitude? Happiness is a fundamental human desire, yet we often struggle to achieve it. Understanding what does and does not make us happy is a growing field of scientific study. In this edition of the Why Factor, Sandra Kanthal asks if we can really teach people how to be happy.
Laurie Santos – Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Bruce Hood – Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of...
Christopher Gunness explores why funerals matter so profoundly to us, as individuals and societies. He talks to people who have lost loved ones in Ghana, Pakistan and the UK about the challenges they have faced. He discovers how burial and cremation have become popular in different countries at different times, visits a green burial place and looks at the growing world of online memorials.
Presenter: Christopher Gunness
Producer: Bob Howard
(Photo: Ghana, Accra Funeral Service. Credit:...
Blending ingredients to produce something new is a distinctively human urge, and one of our most creative acts. We blend all sorts of products, such as tea, champagne and perfume. Did you know that blended whiskies combine over 30 single malts? In this week’s Why Factor, Barry Smith asks - why we blend. And why some blends work whilst others don’t.
Presenter: Barry Smith
Producer: David Edmonds
Editor: Richard Knight
As the world grows more urban, humanity moves further away from nature. Could this be the reason anxiety has become the most diagnosed mental illness in the west? The idea of mindfulness is becoming more popular as the mainstream grows more aware of how panicked we all are. How are we tackling this issue? Jordan Dunbar dives into a niche of researchers and therapists who are learning about and treating the negative symptoms of urban life with a dose of nature.
Lea Kendall, Therapist and...