Psychology & Behaviour

Delve into what drives us as humans, from communication & memory to thought & emotion

Does power really corrupt?

Dr. Brian Klaas

Power is intoxicating, or so we're told. But do we really understand why people in power often end up becoming more tyrannical than benevolent? And why do they cling onto power once they have it?

Thu, 8 Sept 2022 5:00 pm UTC

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How do languages evolve?

Professor Simon Kirby

Language sets humankind apart from other species. Even our closest primate relatives haven't developed the same ability to acquire & use language. Why are humans the only species with language and how did language evolve?

Thu, 14 Jul 2022 6:30 pm UTC

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How do conjoined twins challenge our view of identity?

Alice Dreger

Conjoined twins are among the rarest of human beings. Revered in some cultures and vilified in others. How should we think about individuality in conjoined twinning, and should the phenomenon which is often seen as a medical “problem” be solved?

What can animals teach us about identity?

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

Some of mankind's most enduring questions are about who we are as individuals, how we can live successfully alongside others, and the tension between the two. What can we learn about identity and group dynamics from our furry, feathered and scaly friends?

How is the digital age transforming our response to stress?

Dr. Alexandra Crosswell

Humans are information-seeking beings at heart. But while technology has given us unprecedented access to the data we crave, it has created a deluge of side effects on our brains and bodies too. How are we adapting to information and stimulation overload?

How do you lose connection to your body under stress?

Dr David Plans

Stress starts in the mind, but it can take an enormous toll on the body too. Left unchecked, it can even prove fatal. What is stress, from a scientific perspective, and how does it wreak havoc on our bodies when we're in a state of burnout?

What happens in the brain when you meditate?

Prof. Steven Laureys

Meditation - training your attention and awareness to reach a calm and stable state - is an ancient practice found all over the world and used in the modern day to manage stress. What's going on in your brain when you achieve this level of focus?

How does where you grow up impact who you become?

Dr. Dorsa Amir

We often hear about nature vs nurture, but did you know that science can pinpoint specific personality traits that can be traced to the environment we grew up in? How much of our adult personality has its roots in not who we were born, but where?

How does love help us survive?

Dr. Anna Machin

Love can make us act against logic and reason. It can make us irrational. It can make us forget about our own best interests, or even risk our own safety. Why have we developed such a strong instinct to love, when in so many ways it would be easier not to?

Does where you're from change how you dream?

Prof. Sidarta Ribeiro

The study of dreams is a fascinating journey through neuroscience, biochemistry, psychology, history and anthropology. How do dreams differ around the world, and what do they tell us about the world itself?

Do you still have free will when your unconscious mind is in charge?

Dr. Uri Maoz

Have you ever arrived at your destination with no memory of the journey that got you there? Your unconscious mind has been at work. Does that mean we don't always have free will over our actions and decisions? And what does that tell us about the brain?

Where do we go when we go to sleep?

Dr Lauren N. Whitehurst

We think of sleep as a period of relaxation and recuperation, but while we snooze, our brains remain incredibly busy, often with intriguing "side effects" like dreams and sleepwalking. What does the mind get up to when we're not paying attention?

Are we living in an age of persecution?

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

What's driving us when we act as a collective? And why does modern life mean more people feel persecuted than ever before?

Is happiness a modern invention?

Prof. Darrin McMahon

Today, we tend to think about happiness as a right: a natural goal all humans strive towards. How could it be possible that this idea came into being just two hundred years ago?

Why does comedy make us happy?

Prof. Angus Fletcher

Humans have created art to provoke laughter for millennia. Why does comedy work, and what does it reveal about the counterintuitive biology of the human brain?

Are our hormones being hijacked by technology?

Dr. Anna Lembke, MD

Dopamine is our feel-good hormone: the one that encourages us to seek out pleasure. But the relentless pursuit of pleasure can lead to pain too. How can we find contentment in an age of instant gratification and overindulgence?

Why are teenagers so influenced by their peers?

Dr. Wouter van den Bos

Peer pressure is a powerful influence on adolescent decision-making. What is it about the brains of teenagers that makes it so important to be liked, and to go along with the crowd?

Do we eat with our ears?

Prof. Charles Spence

Besides taste, there are other senses at work when we eat. How much of an influence does the environment have over our food behaviour?

Were the first thought experiments in Shakespeare's plays?

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

Scientists have long used thought experiments to further their understanding of the world. But was Shakespeare the first person to do it?

Why do humans have such a unique relationship with food?

Dr. John S Allen

Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way humans do. What does the food we eat tell us about our own evolutionary history?

How do the stories we tell shape who we are?

Prof. Ann Phoenix

Conversation is a continuous act of curating, connecting and analysing the events in our lives. How do we decide how we want to be seen?

How can psychedelics help us understand consciousness?

Dr. David Luke

How can someone on an acid trip see sounds or hear colours? And why do some people have this same experience all the time, drug-free?

How do we handle mentally ill offenders?

Dr Sohom Das

It's not always clear what drives a criminal to act the way they do. How does the justice system deal with offenders whose behaviour is rooted in mental illness?

Why does the mind create real symptoms in the absence of disease?

Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan

The body can create a shocking array of symptoms, from paralysis to seizures, seemingly without any medical explanation. Is the brain responsible, and if so, why does it do it?

Why is a computer not a good analogy for the brain?

Prof. Angus Fletcher

Artificial intelligence systems are built to mimic human intelligence. Do they have any chance of replicating all the abilities of a brain?

What's the connection between stories and memory?

Dr. Michael A. Yassa

Stories make it easier to understand complex topics and make sense of our lives. But why does the brain work this way?

When does pain management become the pain of addiction?

Dr Kelly E. Dunn

More than 70% of deaths linked to drug use worldwide are related to opioids. How did these drugs designed to treat pain end up crippling communities?

Rethinking Serendipity: How is luck created?

Dr. Christian Busch

Research has proven that there's more to luck than simple chance. How can the right mindset turn uncertainty into serendipity?