SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Description
01High Anxieties20140421Psychology is as old as the human race. People have always sought to understand what makes us think, feel and act the way we do.
In Episode 1, Martin examines the government's plan for a national 'happiness index' and traces our search for ourselves back to the ancients.
The term 'psychology' was first used in about 1600 and means, literally, 'study of the soul'. But it was only in the late 19th century that psychology emerged as a separate science. Today it draws on the intellectual legacy of philosophy, physiology and, increasingly, neurobiology and social science.
The author and broadcaster Martin Sixsmith retrained as a psychologist in the last decade, following careers as a BBC correspondent and government adviser. Martin's experience both studying applied psychology and as a recipient of therapy reflects the growing acceptance of psychological counselling in Britain and the lessening of the stigma attached to mental illness. There has been a growth of interest in the therapeutic aspects of psychology, but many of us still have a frustratingly incomplete knowledge of its history, techniques and broader applications.
This series taps into a defining aspect of modern existence and addresses the widespread desire to know more, charting the path from today's democratisation of psychological care back to early beliefs, the birth of modern experimental psychology, the related 'psy professions' - psychiatry and psychotherapy - and the splits and controversies of the 20th century.
Produced by Alan Hall and Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
02The Freudian Age20140422In Episode 2, Martin traces a line from current government interest in 'talking cures' back to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, visiting Freud's private apartments and also Europe's oldest mental asylum, the Narrenturm - literally, the Tower of Fools - in Vienna.
Producers: Alan Hall and Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
03It's All About Sex20140423Freud's development of a new psychological science, psychoanalysis, provoked controversy because of his focus on sexuality.
In episode 3, Martin examines Freud's legacy, with audio archive of his one-time colleague then rival Carl Gustav Jung, his daughter Anna Freud and a new interview with Christopher Hampton, author of the play 'The Talking Cure'.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
04Pavlov's Bell20140424Starting with the 'conditioned reflex' that the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov famously identified while studying dogs, Martin explores the development of a significant alternative to the Freudian way of thinking, 'behaviourism' - including recordings of the controversial American psychologist BF Skinner and an interview with his daughter Deborah, who as a child was the subject of her father's close scientific observations.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
05Talking Cures?20140425Martin considers some of the therapies that combined the psychoanalytic principles of Freud and Jung with the behaviour modifying techniques of the mid-Twentieth Century's other significant psychological movement 'behaviourism'.
With reference to the 'Gloria' tapes that featured the same patient being treated by three different 'talking cures' - Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, Fritz Perls's Gestalt Therapy and Carl Rogers's Person Centred Therapy.
Series consultant, Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck, University of London.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
06Lock 'em Up20140428This week, Martin examines the evolution of psychology's medicalised model, clinical psychiatry.
In this programme, he traces the origins of the asylum movement, visiting London's 'Bedlam' hospital, the York Retreat, the centre of 'moral treatment' in the late Eighteenth Century, and the dark Victorian buildings of the former Winwick asylum.
Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
07The Cuckoo's Nest20140429From the late Eighteenth Century, the treatment - or containment - of mentally ill people was taken out of the hands of the church and into the hands of doctors.
Martin talks to psychiatrist Professor Tom Burns about changing models of treatment and to Joanna Moncrieff, author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
08The Snake Pit20140430Martin talks to clinical psychologist Vaughan Bell about different forms of mental disturbance - psychoses and neuroses - and their manifestation in popular culture, including the Polanski film Rosemary's Baby and the poetry of Spike Milligan. And he meets Dolly Sen, a film-maker who's experienced psychosis for most of her life.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
09Sane In Insane Places20140501Psychiatric treatments have had their fair share of controversy.
In this episode, Martin looks at the extraordinary popularity of lobotomies during the middle of the last century, the continued use of Electroconvulsive Therapy and the 'anti-psychiatry movement' of RD Laing in the 1960s.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
10Care In The Community20140502At the end of this week of programmes examining psychiatry, the medicalised model for treating mental illness, Martin outlines the impact of reforms during the latter half of the Twentieth Century that resulted in the closure of Britain's Victorian asylums and a new policy of 'care in the community'.
Series consultant, Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck, University of London.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
11In The Beginning20140505In this first of ten programmes on experimental psychology, Martin Sixsmith examines its origins in the work of philosophers such as John Locke and scientists like Luigi Galvani, who in the 1700s investigated nerve impulses in frogs. He looks at the popular psychology of Victorian times including phrenology and physiognomy, going behind the scenes at the Science Museum with curator Philip Loring. And he talks to historian and philosopher John Forrester of Cambridge University.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
12Brains And Brass Instruments20140506Martin Sixsmith investigates how medical research helped identify different areas of the brain - from the speechless patient of French physician Paul Broca to the brain damaged American railway worker Phineas Gage.
He looks at how new ways to measure time helped German psychologists like Wilhelm Wundt to assess the speed of thought, whilst in Britain archivist Subhadra Das explains the impact on psychology of Sir Francis Galton's statistical mass observations.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
13The Mind Observes The Mind20140507In this programme Martin Sixsmith examines the evolution of psychology on both sides of the Atlantic, from the founding father of American psychology William James to the Gestalt movement in Germany, through the rise of behaviourism in the United States to the cognitive revolution of the 1960s.
He talks to the veteran psychologist George Mandler, who was part of that revolution, about how it still influences thinking today.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
14War20140508Martin Sixsmith looks at the ways in which war has influenced psychology.
He examines the impact of shellshock and the treatment methods of pioneer doctors like W.H. Rivers at Craiglockhart Hospital in Scotland. He talks to military psychiatrist and Falklands veteran Dr Morgan O'Connell and to Edgar Jones, Professor of the History of Psychiatry at Kings College London. And he explains how war changed society's attitude to mental health and boosted psychology as a profession.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
15We Do What We're Told20140509Following the Second World War, psychologists wanted to understand how so many ordinary Germans could have agreed to participate in the Nazis' atrocities.
Martin Sixsmith looks at their attempts to explain the banality of evil, including the controversial experiments of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo. And he talks to Oxford Professor Miles Hewstone about how far social psychology has come in clarifying how we think and act within a group.
Series consultant, Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck, University of London.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
16The Stages Of Life20140512In this programme Martin Sixsmith looks at the stages of human development from childhood to old age, including Erik Erikson's psychosocial model with its eight phases of the human life cycle.
He examines Jean Piaget's influential work on childhood development and John Bowlby's theory of attachment between mother and child.
He considers how the study of animals such as Konrad Lorenz's work with geese on imprinting and Harlow's controversial experiments with baby monkeys informed research, as well as talking to Bristol University's Professor Bruce Hood about early years development and theory of mind.
Produced by Sara Parker.
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
17Dna And Darwin20140513Martin Sixsmith looks at how our DNA and the development of our brain informs who we are and how we think.
He re-examines the nature versus nurture debate and considers the claims of evolutionary psychology from Robert Sapolsky's work with baboons to the increasing interest in epigenetics.
He talks to geneticist Steve Jones of University College London and visits the Oxford Brain bank to interview neuropathologist Margaret Esiri about the structure of the brain.
Producer: Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
18Mapping The Brain20140514From early research into how different areas of the brain function to President Barack Obama's announcement in 2013 of a one hundred million dollar brain mapping project, Martin Sixsmith examines the impact of neuroscience on what we know about the way we think, feel and act.
He undergoes transmagnetic cranial stimulation to map the workings of his brain and he looks down a microscope at the Oxford Brain Bank to see what individual brain cells can tell us.
He listens to the chattering of neurons communicating with each other through a single wire implanted in a rat's brain and finds out why London cabbies have larger hippocampi than the rest of us.
Producer: Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
19Man, Machine And Memory20140515In the 1950s, mathematician and Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing envisaged a sophisticated computer whose mechanical generation of responses would be indistinguishable from that of a human.
In this programme Martin Sixsmith looks at the way this metaphor of human cognition has informed research into memory and perception.
He considers the work of the 1930s Cambridge psychologist Frederic Bartlett and the American memory specialist George Miller. He talks to Alan Baddeley who with Graham Hitch developed a new theory of working memory, and to Peter Thompson of the University of York about the way our brains perceive and process information - sometimes failing to spot the most obvious.
Producer: Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
20A Problem Of Consciousness20140516In this programme, Martin Sixsmith examines the 'hard problem' of consciousness and the work of psychologists such as Susan Blackmore who believe it is 'just an illusion'.
He asks what drives us to think and act as we do, and questions the role of freewill and morality. He discovers how emotions affect our cognitive functions and examines the importance of insight, including Gestalt psychologist Wolfgang Kohler's work with chimpanzees.
He looks at Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman's 'thinking fast and thinking slow' model and the impact decision making has not only on individuals but also for the success of the economy and society.
Produced by Sara Parker
Series consultant, Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck, University of London.
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
21The Criminal Mind20140519In the final week of the series, Martin Sixsmith starts by investigating the criminal mind and how psychology is used in the police and justice system.
He interviews one of Britain's leading forensic profilers Julian Boon about the early days of profiling, from Jack the Ripper in Victorian London to the capture of 'Mad Bomber' George Metesky in1940s New York.
He looks at criminal responsibility and witness suggestibility and he asks about the place of modern neuroscience in ensuring a fair trial.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
22Power And Persuasion20140520Martin Sixsmith looks at how psychology is used in shaping our behaviour and desires through advertising, information campaigns and propaganda.
He talks to Professor David Welch about the history of propaganda, particularly in war and times of social change, and examines the impact of advertising and the retail environment on our choices with the help of consumer behaviourist Nancy Puccinelli from Oxford University's Said Business School - and uncovers some surprising influences.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
23Bedside Manners20140521In this programme, Martin Sixsmith examines the ways in which thinking, emotions and mental events can affect our physical state, and the efforts of doctors and nurses to deploy psychological levers in the fight for wellbeing.
He discovers how medical students at Manchester University are being trained in better communication with patients and he looks at different ways of encouraging empathy in the next generation of doctors through poetry and music.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
24The Sex Factor20140522As celebrity candour around mental illness fights stigma and promotes better understanding, Martin Sixsmith looks at the public perception of psychology with the help of comedian Ruby Wax.
He examines what it is that interests us about human thinking, including the pioneering research into sexual relationships by Kinsey, Masters and Johnson in 1950s and 1960s, as well as the social impact of a rising interest in gender differences.
He uncovers how the work of women psychologists went largely unrecognised in the early history of the science and compares it with the feminisation of psychology these days.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
25The Happiness Project20140523In the concluding programme of this 25-part series, Martin Sixsmith looks at where we are now in terms of understanding what makes us think, feel and act the way we do.
He re-visits the Government's 2010 pledge to increase happiness and well-being and talks to former 'happiness tsar' Richard Layard. He examines initiatives such as the provision of thousands of newly-trained CBT therapists to make treatment for mental health problems more widely available and other ways in which we are being encouraged to modify our behaviour, asking 'what is happiness' and whether it's achievable both for an individual and society.
Produced by Sara Parker
Series consultant: Professor Daniel Pick of Birkbeck, University of London
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
The Stages Of Life20140512In this programme Martin Sixsmith looks at the stages of human development from childhood to old age, including Erik Erikson's psychosocial model with its eight phases of the human life cycle.
He examines Jean Piaget's influential work on childhood development and John Bowlby's theory of attachment between mother and child.
He considers how the study of animals such as Konrad Lorenz's work with geese on imprinting and Harlow's controversial experiments with baby monkeys informed research, as well as talking to Bristol University's Professor Bruce Hood about early years development and theory of mind.
Produced by Sara Parker.
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
The Stages Of Life20140512
ONI05 LAST20140523In this final week of In Search of Ourselves, Martin Sixsmith looks at the practical and applied use of psychology. He examines the use of psychological understanding in all areas of society, from forensic profiling and the criminal justice system to the ways in which thinking, emotions and mental events can affect our physical state, and the efforts of doctors and nurses to deploy psychological levers in the fight for wellbeing.
He also considers the power of persuasion employed in advertising, propaganda and information campaigns, as well as the influence of celebrity in tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness and changing public attitudes and perception.
Finally he revisits the Government's 2010 happiness and well-being agenda - and asks where are we now and what is the future of psychology in tomorrow's society?
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
(OMNI 01)20140425Psychology is as old as the human race. People have always sought to understand what makes us think, feel and act the way we do.
The term 'psychology' was first used in about 1600 and means, literally, 'study of the soul'. But it was only in the late 19th century that psychology emerged as a separate science. Today it draws on the intellectual legacy of philosophy, physiology and, increasingly, neurobiology and social science.
The author and broadcaster Martin Sixsmith retrained as a psychologist in the last decade, following careers as a BBC correspondent and government adviser. Martin's experience both studying applied psychology and as a recipient of therapy reflects the growing acceptance of psychological counselling in Britain and the lessening of the stigma attached to mental illness. There has been a growth of interest in the therapeutic aspects of psychology, but many of us still have a frustratingly incomplete knowledge of its history, techniques and broader applications.
This series taps into a defining aspect of modern existence and addresses the widespread desire to know more, charting the path from today's democratisation of psychological care back to early beliefs, the birth of modern experimental psychology, the related 'psy professions' - psychiatry and psychotherapy - and, in this first episode, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, as well as his successors and rivals in the Twentieth Century.
Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
(OMNI 02)20140502In the second week of his series about the history of psychology and the mind, Martin examines the medicalised model for the care of mentally disturbed patients, psychiatry. He visits a Victorian asylum, traces changing treatments - from lobotomies and Electroconvulsive Therapy to pharmacological solutions - and he considers the impact of reforms that led to 'care in the community'.
Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
(OMNI 03)20140509In the third week of his series about the history of psychology and the mind, Martin Sixsmith turns his attention to experimental psychology, starting with its foundations in the early philosophers and Victorian popular psychology.
He looks at the way medical cases in the 1800s began an understanding of different areas of the brain, how new ways to measure time helped German psychologists like Wilhelm Wundt to assess the speed of thought as well as the impact of Sir Francis Galton's statistical mass observations in Britain and how across the Atlantic, behaviourism gave way to the 1960s cognitive revolution which still influences thinking today.
He examines the influence of war and the rise of social psychology post war with controversial experiments which attempted to explain how so many ordinary Germans could have agreed to participate in the Nazis' atrocities.
Produced by Sara Parker
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.
(OMNI 04)20140516In the fourth week of the series Martin Sixsmith examines the impact of different areas of experimental psychology, beginning with the stages of human development from childhood to old age.
He looks at Piaget's and Bowlby's influential theories and considers early animal research, such as Konrad Lorenz's work with geese on imprinting and Harry Harlow's controversial experiments with baby monkeys. He investigates how our DNA and the development of our brain informs who we are and how we think. He re-examines the nature versus nurture debate from evolutionary psychology to the increasing interest in epigenetics. We hear from eminent psychologists and psychiatrists about consciousness, free will and morality. And we learn about memory, perception and problem solving.
Martin undergoes transmagnetic cranial stimulation to map the workings of his own brain. He considers the impact of neuroscience, listens to the chattering of neurons communicating with each other through a single wire implanted in a rat's brain and finds out why London cabbies have larger hippocampi than the rest of us.
Produced by Sara Parker.
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

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Genre

  • "Documentaries / Health and Wellbeing / Factual / History / Documentaries / Health and Wellbeing / Factual / History