Claudia busts some myths in neuroscience. She meets scientists attending the British Neuroscience Association's Christmas symposium on Neuromyths. She talks to Professor Chris MacManus about myths around left and right and how we use the different sides of our brain. She discusses with Duncan Astle from Cambridge University about the brain myths that have been used in education in primary schools. Cordelia Fine from Melbourne University discusses the myths about the differences between male and female brains. Anne Cook from the BNA talks about some historical myths which have been busted but why others still persist. Emma Yhnell from Cardiff University talks about whether brain training really works.
Citizens UK and Mental Health, Robin Ince, Film Cuts and Attention
A year ago a community organisation in Tyne and Wear called Citizens UK brought together people from schools, mosques, churches, politicians and the NHS to address mental health issues in their area. Claudia Hammond revisits the scheme a year on, to examine how a wide variety of local improvements now appear imminent. It follows months of hearing hundreds of personal testimonies and winning commitment from decision makers and those in power, to pledge to take action.
What can those of us who would never dream of doing stand-up learn about human nature from comedians? Comedian Robin Ince who of course co-presents The Infinite Monkey Cage here on Radio 4 has written a book all about this called I'm a Joke and So Are You. He discusses the value his audiences get from him openly discussing anxieties on stage......
If you're a fan of old films you might well have noticed that they were cut together with much longer shots than we tend to see these days - with an average change of image every ten seconds in the 1930s and 40s to just four seconds currently. Celia Andreu Sanchez from the Autonomous University of Barcelona has looked closely at impact this has on the way we pay attention to movies, with surprising results.
Psychologist Prof. Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster is this week’s studio guest.
Self-care, Schadenfreude, How maths ability might relate to ball-catching skills
What is self-care and what's the evidence that it works for anxiety and depression in young people? Claudia talks to Professor in Evidence Based Practice and Research at UCL, Miranda Wolpert and Maggy Van Eijk, author of Remember this when you're sad - Lessons learned on the road from self-harm to self-care. They discuss how useful is self-care and what are the kinds of strategies that work. Liam Hill from the University of Leeds explains why mathematical ability might relate to ball catching skills and his work with pupils at a primary school in Bradford. Claudia discusses schadenfreude with historian of emotions, Tiffany Watt-Smith and psychologist, Wilco Van Dijk from the University of Leiden.
Antidepressant withdrawal, Mates in Mind, Eyes that betray personality
Antidepressants are a helpful treatment for many, but some people do have problems when they stop taking them. A recent review of the evidence about antidepressant withdrawal symptoms found more people may experience them for longer than previously thought, and many people describe these symptoms as severe. But the study has come in for some criticism over data analysed and the fact that withdrawal symptoms also may vary by antidepressant type. So what does this mean in practice? Claudia Hammond is joined by the survey’s author John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, and by Dr Sameer Jauhar, Senior Research Fellow, King’s College London.
Poor mental health in the construction industry is ‘the silent epidemic’, reporting more suicides than any other profession. Greater mental health support for construction workers is now identified as a priority area. Claudia Hammond examines Mates in Mind, a new initiative to improve mental health in the sector by increasing awareness and the confidence amongst its predominantly male workforce to openly discuss the issues.
And do eye movements reveal more about our personality than previously thought? Claudia Hammond speaks to Sabrine Hoppe from the University of Stuttgart who carried out the first real world study that appears to find a relationship between our changing eye movements with our distinct character traits.
Studio guest is Dr Mathijs Lucasson from the Open University
MDMA for alcohol dependence, Music and sleep, Interoceptive skills, Parasites and entrepreneurship
Claudia Hammond finds out how MDMA assisted psychotherapy could help treat people with alcohol dependence. Trials are in their early stages but initial results are promising. Could this in the future be a new way to treat an addiction which ordinarily can have high relapse rates? Clinical psychologist, Laurie Higbe, explains how she and co therapist, Dr Ben Sessa, conduct the therapy and why MDMA might work at helping tackle the causes of alcohol addiction. Also, why city traders who can detect their own heartbeat may have better instincts when they have to make quick decisions on what's happening in the financial markets. Professor Sarah Garfinkel from the University of Sussex explains why the heart can be a powerful source of information guiding our behaviour without us being consciously aware of it. And Stephanie Johnson from the University of Colorado discusses her research exploring the relationship between risk taking and entrepreneurial behaviour and the toxoplasma gondii parasite.