All in the Mind

BBC  |  Podcast , ±30 min episodes every 2 weeks, 1 day  | 
All in the Mind examines how we think and behave. It’s presented by psychologist Claudia Hammond. She investigates the latest techniques being used by mental health practitioners, speaks to people with psychological issues and uncovers all the most recent research from the world of the mind. Every year there are 2 series of 8 episodes of All in the Mind, in the spring and autumn. Each programme is 28 minutes long.

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With busy lifestyles many turn to devices for aide memoires. Claudia discusses new findings with Dr Sam Gilbert who studies so called ‘offloading’ and gives tips on how best to remember the important things. And a visit to Manchester’s Turn it Up exhibition reveals what psychological research can tell us about the safest music to drive to; while guest Professor Catherine Loveday unpicks this year's trend, 'Dopamine Gifting'.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder and the launch of the 2023 All in the Mind Awards

Claudia launches the 2023 All in the Mind Awards with mental health campaigner Marion Janner and actor Maddie Leslay, Chelsea from Radio 4's "The Archers" and a 2018 awards finalist.
We ask why it takes nine and a half years to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder following a recent report and joining Claudia in the studio is Professor Catherine Loveday whose recent paper tells us about the benefits of swearing.

Negotiating a crisis

Claudia meets Professor Elizabeth Stokoe author of 'Crisis Talks' whose research shows when preventing a suicide, that words really do matter and can save lives during a crisis. Through analysing real time recordings of actual conversations between people in crisis and police negotiators, new findings highlight what can work and what doesn't. And are you good with faces? Dr James Dunn from the University of New South Wales explains his new research on the top 2% who are so called 'super recognisers'. Plus Science writer David Robson reports on the big neuroscience conference from San Diego with news of sleeping spiders and seeing faces in clouds.

Presenter: Claudia Hammond
Producer: Erika Wright

Steven Pinker

Claudia Hammond meets cognitive scientist and author Steven Pinker. He describes the times we are living in as a pandemic of poppycock and has advice on how to be more rational.

Urban rewilding for wellbeing, oxytocin and kindness, false alarm crowd panic

What amount of biodiversity in our cities is enough to benefit our wellbeing? Good evidence can be hard to come by. Andrea Mechelli, professor of Early Intervention in Mental Health at Kings College London, together with landscape architect Joanna Gibbons discuss their pioneering Urban Mind citizen science project which adopts a smartphone app to work out how much trees, birdsong and access to water have a significant effect on an individual’s mood.

How does kindness breed kindness? Daniel Martins reveals his new research into the so called 'cuddle hormone' oxytocin which helps to uncover the biological mechanism into how well our brains learn the impact of a task when we’re doing it to benefit someone else.

Are crowd stampedes to a false alarm a genuine overreaction? Claudia hears from Dermot Barr whose team have been analysing the dynamics of crowd flights from around the world in the hope of preventing them from happening.

Claudia’s guest is Professor Catherine Loveday from University of Westminster.

Made in partnership with the Open University

Producer: Adrian Washbourne

The Psychology of Regret

Claudia Hammond explores the psychology of regret with an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival. What role do rueful thoughts on "what might have been" play in our lives? Is regret a wasted emotion or does it have some hidden benefits?

Joining Claudia on stage : Teresa McCormack - Professor of Cognitive Development at the School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast who researches how regret in childhood can shape our decisions; novelist and essayist Sophie White - whose latest novel The Snag List examines the opportunity to go back in life and follow the road not taken; Fuschia Sirois - Professor of social and health psychology at Durham University whose research examines the impact of those "what if" thoughts on our health and wellbeing.

Producer Adrian Washbourne

Made in partnership with the Open University

Breastfeeding Trauma and the Psychology of Awkwardness

When breastfeeding goes wrong some women feel guilty that they have failed to do what should come naturally. But Professor Amy Brown from Swansea University says those with the most severe physical and emotional impact could be experiencing trauma, similar to the effects of a traumatic birth. We hear from Linzi Blakey who had problems with breastfeeding when she gave birth to her daughter and son and had to give up before she wanted to. A specialist therapist has helped her to realise that she did the best she could - despite a lack of the right kind of support when she was feeling vulnerable.

Awkwardness can result when we do something embarrassing - and science writer Melissa Dahl set out to write a book on how to overcome those feelings of embarrassment. Cringeworthy: How To Make The Most Out of Uncomfortable Situations is the result of her discussions with scientists. She challenges herself to feats such as performing a stand-up routine, going to see a professional cuddler and reading out her teenage diaries to an audience at the Brooklyn show, Mortified. She now feels awkwardness is part of being human- and encourages us all to show more empathy to each other.

Claudia's studio guest Catherine Loveday, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Westminster shares her own cringeworthy stories plus news of a spat in the world of psychedelic drugs research and how hallucinations seem to be a lot more common than we thought.

Producer: Paula McGrath
Made in Partnership with The Open University

Post-pandemic mental health; navigation ability; conversations with strangers

Back in 2020 at height of pandemic lockdown the “ Social Study” a longitudinal study began looking at the psychological and social impact of the pandemic involving over 95,000 UK adults. What started as a 12 week study has now been running for 2 years. So now, as we’re emerging from restrictions of the pandemic, epidemiologist Daisy Fancourt of University College London discusses the post -pandemic’s impact on our mental health.

Do you find yourself keep getting lost? Many factors influence our ability to navigate but the environment we grow up in is often overlooked. Could living in the city compared to the countryside help or hinder our sense of direction? Claudia hears from Professor Hugo Spiers whose major new study across 40 countries reveals people who grew up in rural or suburban areas have better spatial navigation skills than those raised in cities, particularly cities with grid-pattern streets.

Good conversation can be one of life’s most enjoyable experiences, but we are surprisingly bad at judging how well conversations could go with a stranger. Mike Kardas of North Western university has attempted to examine the time course of enjoyment after getting 1000 participants to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Surprisingly we don’t run out of things to say. but how deep can a conversation go?

Claudia Hammond’s studio guest is Professor of health psychology Daryl O’Connor from the University of Leeds

Producer Adrian Washbourne

Manifestation; Overconfidence; Radio drama changing attitudes

Instagram is awash with people sharing dream homes, holidays, partners and jobs which they claim to have 'manifested' into being. Proponants of manifestation say that thinking positive thoughts attracts tangible positive things into your life. They believe that 'asking the universe' for what you want via journaling, mood boards, and mantras can have a powerful real-world impact. Hayley Sparkes is a successful TV presenter and model but when the pandemic started she found herself with no work or income and turned to manifestation to try to improve her situation. Now she credits manifestation with bringing her a dream partner, home, and job, and all in under a year. Claudia Hammond and her studio guest David Robson ask whether there is any research evidence that manifestation really can change your life.

Last week a passenger in Florida landed a place safely after the pilot become unresponsive. Do you think you could do the same thing in an emergency? Researchers in New Zealand found that people are surprisingly confident about their ability to fly a plane with no training. Claudia talks to one of the researchers, Kayla Jordan from the University of Waikato.

Finally, new research showing a radio soap opera in Burkina Faso changed attitudes towards violent insurgency. Psychologist Rezarta Bilali from New York University talks to Claudia about the power of radio to change minds.

Producer: Lorna Stewart

Air Traffic Control Source:

Treating refugee mental health; Improving personal growth; Dreamachine

What role can psychologist play in supporting the mental health of displaced Ukrainians? Millions of people have had to flee either abroad or to other parts of the country and the implications for mental health are huge – not only in terms of trauma but for those who’ve escaped, the constant anxiety of watching what’s happening back home and worrying about loved ones. Claudia talks to Emily Holmes, Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Uppsala University, and Clinical Psychologist Professor Marit Sijbrandij of Vue University Amsterdam who have been working to ensure the interventions with the best evidence behind them get used.

And we pay a visit to the Dreamachine, an immersive sound and light installation that uses the power of flickering white light to create psychedelic experiences. Will it open a new window into how our brains make sense of the world? We hear from two scientists behind the project - Anil Seth Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex and Fiona MacPherson Professor of Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Claudia Hammond’s studio guest is Professor of Health Psychology Daryl O’Connor of Leeds University, armed with new research into how deliberately seeking out discomfort can help drive our personal growth

Producer Adrian Washbourne

36 episodes

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