Programme exploring the limits and potential of the human mind
The Kindness Test
42:10When was the last time you did something really kind for someone or someone else did something really kind for you? In the Kindness Test Claudia Hammond and guests are looking at the place of kindness in today’s world, asking what it really means, what happens in our brains when we act kindly and whether there can ever be a role for it in the cut-throat worlds of business and politics. And with many aspects of kindness remaining under-researched, with your help Claudia will be asking you to fill in the gaps by taking part in the Kindness Test. www.thekindnesstest.org To launch this major new public science project, Claudia is joined by her guests: Robin Bannerjee, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex and principal investigator for the Kindness Test Dan Campbell-Meiklejohn, Lecturer in Psychology and Director of the Social Decision Lab at the University of Sussex Pinky Lilani, Founder and Chairman of the Women of the Future Programmes that unlocks a culture of kindness among leaders Jennifer Nadel, co-director of Compassion in Politics Producer: Erika Wright
All in the Mind Awards ceremony from the Wellcome Collection in London
35:25Claudia Hammond hosts the All in the Mind Awards Ceremony from Wellcome Collection in London and meets all the finalists. Back in November we asked you to nominate the person, professional or group who had made a difference to your mental health. Throughout the current series we've been hearing the individual stories of the nine finalists, and this edition offers the chance to recap the people and organisations who've made a huge difference to other people's lives - and to hear comments from the judges and winners from each of the three categories. The event is hosted by Claudia Hammond. Judges are BBC sports presenter and commentator Colin Jackson; mental health activist and researcher James Downs; mental health campaigner Marion Janner; Director of Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust Miranda Wolpert; former NHS mental health director Mandy Stevens Produced by Adrian Washbourne, Pam Rutherford and Paula McGrath
The psychology of courage and bravery
27:45Claudia Hammond explores the psychology of courage and bravery with an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Why is it that some people are able to keep calm in an emergency and do all the right things whilst others panic or freeze, not knowing what to do? Claudia discusses this question with her guests. The adventurer and ultra-runner Alex Staniforth,talks about his survival on Everest following the devastating Nepalese earthquake in 2015. Rachel Manning from Buckingham University considers why we do or don’t intervene in risky situations and in everyday life. And Patrick Tissington from Warwick University draws on the stories behind those awarded the Victoria or George Cross for bravery to suggest some of the best ways to manage our fear in allowing us to be more courageous. Producer Adrian Washbourne Produced in association with the Open University
Learning and taking breaks, the awards: Spectrum People, financial strain and pain
28:04Claudia is joined by Professor Kavita Vedhara from the University of Nottingham to discuss new research looking at what happens to the brain when it takes a break while learning a new task. They also discuss why the balance between receiving and giving practical support can affect when you die. Dawn nominates the charity Spectrum People for the support they gave her in Lockdown. 27 year old ex-basketball player Dale nominates 77 year old Mike for the friendship they formed after Dale retired from sport and ended up feeling depressed with low self esteem. Also why experiencing financial difficulties in early adulthood can cause pain decades later.
Autobiographical memory in lockdown; awards; psychosis and nightmares; Dean Burnett
27:50How well are our memory systems functioning after lockdown? Cognitive neuroscientist Prof. Catherine Loveday discusses her new preliminary research into recalling individual memories of things we did during 2020. What insights can we gain from their richness? There have been more than 1100 entries for the All in the Mind Awards, and in the Professionals category, Zaynab who is recovering from psychosis, nominates her psychiatrist Dr Claire Purcell who went out of her way to help Zaynab reintegrate back into the community after years of institutionalisation. Fewer than 1 in 10 of the general population have regular problems with nightmares, but for people suffering from psychosis they can be frequent (50%) and their impact more intense. Nightmares have been a relatively unresearched area and treatment to alleviate their impact on sufferers is rarely directly addressed. We hear of a unique trial trying to change all that, led by Bryony Sheaves, research clinical psychologist at Oxford University. What is it about modern life that seems to cause such difficulty for so many? It’s this question that neuroscientist and stand up comedian Dean Burnett has been exploring in his new book Psycho-Logical. Drawing on his two decades working in the neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry field, Dean is attempting to find a different way of demystifying mental health. Producer: Adrian Washbourne Produced in association with the Open University
Connecting older people to cut loneliness. Are moods contagious? Can gratitude change young people's lives? Awards finalist
27:52New research using weekly video or phone calls to help older people to identify which activities boost their moods does help to reduce loneliness and depression. Our studio guest Professor Daryl O'Connor from the University of Leeds is impressed by the pilot study which used a form of talking therapy - behavioural activation - to help people with long-term health conditions during lockdown. Can we "catch" moods from our friends? We hear from the researcher who has studied teenage choirs and orchestras to see if bad or good moods can be passed on. The latest finalist in the All in the Mind Awards 2021 and we hear from listeners about the noises which irritate them and their families, following our recent feature on misophonia. And how ten minutes of expressing gratitude every week can help to improve students' grades and wellbeing.
Entitlement and bad luck; Awards finalist; intermittent fasting and memory
28:01Why do some people feel they deserve good fortune - and what happens to them if they expect everything to go their way and then encounter bad luck? Emily Zitek, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cornell University, discusses her new insights into entitlement. There have been more than 1100 entries for the All in the Mind Awards and in the Professionals category, Joanna, who suffered from depression, nominates her occupational therapist, Richa Baretto. They’re now finalists and they tell Claudia about their special therapist-patient relationship. Could occasional fasting improve some important aspects of our memory? In what’s thought to be the first human study, Sandrine Thuret, head of the neurogenesis and mental health lab at Kings College London, showed that by restricting the number of calories you eat on 2 days a week, the ability to differentiate between very similar or overlapping memories can increase. Does this have the potential to be used as an intervention to prevent or boost cognitive decline. Claudia Hammond's guest is Mathijs Lucassen, Senior Lecturer in mental health at the Open University. Producer Adrian Washbourne Produced in association with the Open University
Voices & personality; Awards; canine jealousy; misophonia - noises that cause anger & anxiety, pink drinks make you run faster
28:00What can you learn about personality from someone's voice? Professor Kavita Vedhara talks about some new research. Claudia hears from Poppy who nominated her head of year at sixth form college, Sophie, who helped her through a severe depression. Also while dog owners may know their pets can show jealous behaviour, a new experiment reveals how complex that emotion might be in our canine friends. For some people certain sounds, often related to breathing and eating but also repetitive sounds like tapping or a clock ticking, can fill people with instant panic or intense rage. Claudia talks to Professor Julia Simner about her search for people with misophonia for some new research being done at the University of Sussex. And can pink drinks make you run faster? Apparently they might and it's all down to the placebo effect.
Psychology of soap operas like the Archers; Awards Finalist
27:41Checking in with a long-running soap opera can help us psychologically. Claudia Hammond grew up overhearing the Archers as her parents listened - and wants to know what fans get out of the drama. Life-long Archers fans Helen and Marjorie grew up listening to the world's oldest soap opera. Jane is the first in her family to listen and Callum got into it because of his nan. Sadly she now has dementia and can only remember characters and events from the 1960s. But Callum still feels close to her when he listens with his partner who's expecting their first baby this summer. He's been shocked by Alice's problems with alcohol but hopes that she can get the support she needs, now that her secret is out. Jane and Helen both had difficult relationships with alcohol in the past - and can relate to what Alice is going through. Jane explains that alcoholism is a life-long illness and not a moral choice. She believes that her past issues have helped to shape who she is today and is open about it to try to reduce some of the stigma surrounding alcoholism. Marjorie believes that Chris is out of his depth and needs to take advice on how to support Alice - information she has found invaluable in her own family. Professor of neuroscience at the University of Westminster Catherine Loveday is an enthusiastic part-time Archers fan. She tells us about new research on post-natal depression. We hear from Dr Dara Greenwood, who's associate professor of psychology at Vassar College in the United States and studies what we get psychologically out of soap operas. She's says our brains are hard-wired to be drawn to people's stories, whether they are fictional or from real life. She also recognises that the escapism has drawn people in during the pandemic. Producer: Paula McGrath
Pen or keyboard - what's best for notetaking; All in the Mind Awards; USA racist killings and mental health of black Americans
27:51The pen is mightier than the laptop when it comes to notetaking. Or so we used to think. Daryl O’Connor, Professor of Psychology at the University of Leeds, breaks the news to Claudia Hammond that one of her favourite studies showing writing notes rather than typing them is best, hasn’t been replicated. Apparently it’s how much you write – on a computer or on paper – that predicts success. There have been more than 1100 entries for the All in the Mind Awards and in the Professionals category, 30 year old Libby, who has an eating disorder, nominates her GP, Dr Celia Belk. They’re now finalists and they tell Claudia about their special doctor-patient relationship. It’s two weeks since the former Minneapolis police officer, a white man, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, who was black. Millions around the world saw the distressing film of his killing but researchers in Utah in the US decided to measure, using big data, how much hearing about racist killings like this, affect the mental health of black Americans. Dr David Curtis tells Claudia that his team selected 49 high profile cases of either police killing black people, a failure to indict officers accused of such killings, or white supremacist murders. And the results show worsening mental health for black, not white, Americans in weeks where there are two or more of these high profile cases. And Daryl O’Connor also reports on another American study, this one from the emerging area of research into micro-aggressions – denigrating somebody because of their ethnicity by micro assaults, micro insults and micro invalidations. This research shows exposure to microaggressions is linked to worse PTSD symptoms. Produced in association with The Open University Producer: Fiona Hill