Subscribe to this channel

You can subscribe to new audio episodes published on this channel. You can follow updates using the channel's RSS feed, or via other audio platforms you may already be using.

RSS Feed

You can use any RSS feed reader to follow updates, even your browser. We recommend using an application dedicated to listening podcasts for the best experience. iOS users can look at Overcast or Castro. Pocket Casts is also very popular and has both iOS and Android versions. Add the above link to the application to follow this podcast channel.

Signup to

Sign up for a free user account to start building your playlist of podcast channels. You'll be able to build a personalised RSS feed you can follow or listen with our web player.

Millennials and business

Whether 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’s 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 this generation and of entrepreneurship. We go to a session run by Pop Up Business School to speak to some millennials about their motivations. Ayzh founder Zubaida Bai and Upstart founder Richard Dacalos tell us about the power of social entrepreneurship to solve problems which can be neglected by governments while former World Bank economist Charles Kenny cautions us about focusing too much on the individual at the expense of government.

Why do physical scars matter?

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, who has been Obi-Wan Kenobi’s stunt double. He also wears his scars with pride, but for different reasons: they are trophies of his profession.

For millions, scars can be sources of embarrassment. We examine the constructs of beauty that might underpin those feelings. We speak to Hemani Modasia, who suffered scarring from burns to 35% of her body when she was a child, and who wishes, ultimately, she never had them. Scars can also be interpreted as a cry for help, transversing the space between the physical and the deeply emotional. Japanese photographer Kosuke Okahara tells us about his project which captured the scars of Japanese women who suffered from self-harm across a period of 6 years.

Former Vogue editor Jackie Dixon, tells us the fashion industry is now embracing scars - they are part of the zeitgeist. We spoke to Jackie at a photoshoot in central London, where she was photographing a model for a book she is producing that celebrates scars.

The programme also hears from Professor Parashkev Nachev, a neurologist at University College London, and Nichola Rumsey, founder of the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England. Parashkev tells us the creation of scars is not fully captured by science, suggesting they are both deeply mysterious and profoundly human. Nichola places scars in a social context, and points out they often render us outliers which, for many people, is challenging and uncomfortable.

Presenter: Christopher Gunness
Producer: Oliver Newlan
Editor: Carl Johnston

(Image: Hemani Modasia. Credit: Spencer Murphy for the Scar Free Foundation)


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

(Photo: Destroyed Cityscape. Credit: Stock Photo/Getty Images)


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 resilient or not.

Dr David Westley, head of psychology at Middlesex University
Ann Masten, professor at the University of Minnesota
Lucy Wairimu Mkuria, psychologist
Dr Nimmi Hutnik, author of Becoming Resilient: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Transform Your Life
Melanie Reid, journalist for The Times
Dr Atle Dyregrov, clinical psychologist and Director of the Centre for Crisis Psychology in Bergen.

Presenter and Producer: Abby Hollick
Editor: Andrew Smith

(Photo: Man being rescued by two firefighters. Credit: Getty Images / Stock Photo)

Why does music affect the way we feel?

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 shades of emotional grey between happy and sad, and Emmanuel Jal, the South Sudanese-Canadian musician and former child soldier, reveals how music helped him come to terms with the trauma of his childhood.

Bryan Tyler - film composer and conductor
Dr Daniel Levitin - neuroscientist, and Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at The Minerva Schools at KGI and author of This Is Your Brain On Music
Dr Victoria Williamson - Lecturer in Music Psychology at the University of Sheffield and author of You Are The Music
Rob Wood - founder of Music Concierge
Bibi Heal - opera singer
Emmanuel Jal - singer and musician

Presented and produced by Edwina Pitman
Editor: Andy Smith

Why grandparents are important

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.
In the township of Umlazi, near Durban in South Africa, she meets a group of grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren singlehandedly, after the children lost their parents in the Aids pandemic.
She uncovers research showing grandmothers have played a vital role in the survival of their grandchildren for centuries, especially before modern medicine and support services existed.
She hears the incredible story of an 11-year-old boy who is being raised by his grandparents and repays their devotion, by saving his grandad’s life.
Have you ever stopped to consider why your grandparents hold such a dear place in your heart?
Elaine hears evidence all those childhood visits, trips and gatherings play an important and lasting role in shaping our personalities.

Presenter: Elaine Chong
Producers: Ben Robinson, Nicola Dowling and Carl Johnston
Editor: Andy Smith

(Photo:Grandmother’s at the Community Centre, Umlazi, South Africa. Credit Nkosinathi Shange)

Why are we conscious?

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
Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: X-ray image of human head with lightning / Credit: Stock Photo. Getty Images)

Why are we conscious of so little?

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)

Why are we shy?

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 Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
Professor Joe Moran, Professor of English and cultural history at Liverpool John Moores University and author of Shrinking Violets, A Field Guide to Shyness
Sylvie Guillem, Ballet Dancer
Susan Cain, Author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Members of The London Shyness Social Group
Professor Yiyuan Xu, Professor of Psychology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Presented and produced by Edwina Pitman
Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Woman wearing paper bag. Credit: Stock Photo / Getty Images)

Intuition: Why should we be cautious of it?

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 winning economists 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 – former Northamptonshire County Cricket Captain

David Ripley – Northamptonshire County Cricket Coach

Thomas Gilovich – Professor of Psychology, Cornell University

Prof Daniel Kahneman – Winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Psychology Professor at Princeton University, author of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’

Eric Bonabeau – Chief Scientific Officer, Telepathy Labs

Prof Gary Klein – Cognitive Psychologist and President of Shadowbox LLC

Right Honourable Lord David Willetts – Resolution Foundation and former UK Minster for Universities and Science

Presenter and producer: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far
Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Toddler looking at a birthday cake on a table. Credit: Stock Photo. Getty Images)

Intuition: Why should we trust it?

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.

Detective David Swindle – Head of Crime Solutions

Prof Gary Klein – Cognitive Psychologist and President of Shadowbox LLC

Prof Daniel Kahneman – winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in in Economic Sciences, Psychology Professor at Princeton University, author of ‘Thinking fast and slow’

Prof Antonio Damasio – professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of Southern California and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute

Dr Michelle Wright – Investigative Psychology Researcher and Chartered Psychologist

Right Honourable Lord David Willetts – Resolution Foundation and former UK Minster for Universities and Science

Presenter and Producer: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far
Editor: Richard Knight

(Image: Firefighter and Fire. Credit: Stock Photo. Getty Images )

Why do we love camping?

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 immersed in nature, a family in Greenland who turned their backs on the rat race to live in a tepee and she even convinces her dad to join her for a night’s wild camping on an island in the River Thames in England.
She discovers that leaving our phones and tablets behind to spend a few peaceful nights under the stars might not just be a good way to unwind but research shows it can improve our sleep patterns and well-being. So the question is why aren’t we all doing it?

Reporter: Phoebe Smith
Producers: Nicola Dowling, Oliver Newlan and Ben Robinson
Editor: Carl Johnston

(Photo: Camping at Mount Kenya. Credit: Martin Ngugi / Getty Images)

31 episodes

« Back 1—12 More »