All In The Mind - ABC RN

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All In The Mind is Radio National's weekly foray into the mental universe, the mind, brain and behaviour — everything from addiction to artificial intelligence.

Episode Date
The art of neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is a radical social movement challenging the notion of what’s normal and what’s a disorder. What better place to explore neurodiversity than in the arts and theatre—we hear from actors on the autism spectrum and a synesthete using her perceptions of colour and music to create art.
Dec 16, 2018
Neuroscience, consciousness, and leadership
The recent revolution in technology allows us to peer into the mind as never before—says Dr. Hannah Critchlow. She’s explored what neuroscience can tell us about consciousness, free will, and fate. she’s also investigated the neuroscience leadership to build a more ethical, altruistic work environment.
Dec 09, 2018
A mother's story of madness, murder, and love
One Sunday afternoon Mary Pershall received a devastating call from the police that her daughter Anna had murdered someone. Anna had struggled throughout her life with mental illness and drug addiction, and the tragic event lead Mary to ask how society can protect a child in crisis.
Dec 02, 2018
Podcast extra: Layne Beachley talks surf therapy
Seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley discusses the mental health challenges she's faced in her life, how the ocean and surfing have been emotionally healing for her, and the benefits of surf therapy for mental wellbeing.
Nov 25, 2018
The stoke of surf therapy
You might have seen Australian surfers decked out in fluro gear raising awareness for mental health. The OneWave community is all about increasing the visibility of mental illness — and it's part of a growing international community exploring the therapeutic benefits of surfing. What is it about being in the ocean that can benefit your mental health? All In The Mind heads to Bondi Beach.
Nov 25, 2018
The extremes of love
From old fashioned 'lovesickness' to sex addiction, obsession, and jealousy — how does society decide what's normal in love? Drawing on the latest scientific research into the mechanisms underlying love and romantic attachment, a leading psychotherapist explores the extremes of love.
Nov 18, 2018
Transitioning to motherhood: Perinatal mental health
Pregnancy and early parenthood is an exciting and rewarding time — but for many families, it brings about unexpected challenges. In Australia, one in five expecting or new mums will experience anxiety or depression, some experience both. What's being done to support women as they transition to motherhood?
Nov 11, 2018
The Australian Mental Health Prize winners
Janne McMahon has drawn on her own lived experience of mental illness to advocate for patient-centred care. Professor Gavin Andrews introduced cognitive behaviour therapy to Australia. Meet the dual winners of the 2018 Australian Mental Health Prize.
Nov 04, 2018
The mind's eye
Picture an apple. Now picture your favourite character from a novel. And now a loved one's face. Can you see those images in your mind's eye? Some people can't because they have a condition called aphantasia which disrupts their ability to create a mental image.
Oct 28, 2018
First impressions: the face bias
The science behind our judgement of faces for their trustworthiness, competency, and character.
Oct 21, 2018
Ways to stay alive
When you're overwhelmed by distressing feelings and big emotions, it can feel lonely, particularly if you can't find the help you need in the mental health system. Alternative grassroots approaches to staying alive are now being explored, which focus on connecting with others in a similar space.
Oct 14, 2018
Preventing suicide
Each year, around 3,000 people in Australia die at their own hand. More young people die by suicide than in car accidents, and Indigenous Australians are more than twice as likely to take their own lives. Hear some of the latest thinking in prevention.
Oct 07, 2018
The enigma of time
When we’re bored time drags, and wouldn’t you swear that time seems to speed up as you get older? Drawing on the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience we explore the mystery of time perception, it’s connection to our sense of self and how we could be the architect of our own perception of time.
Sep 30, 2018
Ethics and the brave new brain
Advances in neuroscience and AI could revolutionise medicine but they also pose significant ethical and social challenges. If a brain computer interface can allow a blind person to see, or restore speech to those who’ve lost the ability to communicate, what does this mean for a person’s sense of self, personal responsibility, or privacy?
Sep 23, 2018
Psychedelic plants, culture, and rituals Podcast Extra
Kathleen Harrison is an ethnobotanist studying the relationship between plants, people, and culture. She's worked throughout Latin America since the 1960s and informed by long relationships with indigenous healers, naturalists, and her own decades of psychedelic curiosity. She co-founded the organisation Botanical Dimensions with Terence McKenna in 1985.
Sep 16, 2018
Tripping for depression
In 1966, as a reaction to disturbing reports of people having bad trips, the Psychedelic drug LSD was banned in the U.S. But now some scientists are seeing promising results from studies into the therapeutic benefits of using psychedelic drugs to treat mental illness.
Sep 16, 2018
Psychedelic research in Australia podcast extra
The not-for-profit association Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine Incorporated (PRISM) was set up over 7 years ago to initiate and progress psychedelic medical research in Australia. PRISM is currently collaborating with the USA-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
Sep 10, 2018
MDMA—its potential therapeutic use podcast extra
Some exciting news was published earlier this year in the Psychiatric Journal JAMA, about the potential mental health benefits of psychedelic drug research. It’s likely that within the next 5 years researchers will know whether the psychoactive drug commonly known as ecstasy—methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA—can be used to treat psychiatric disorders.
Sep 10, 2018
Turn on, tune in
Turn on, tune in and drop out … that was the catch cry of U.S. psychologist Timothy Leary in the 1960s. By 1966 psychedelics were demonised and banned, but now—in controlled scientific settings—there's a psychedelic 'renaissance' in mental health therapy. Early research on the use of ecstasy in the treatment of stress disorders looks promising.
Sep 09, 2018
Mothering and mental illness
Having children can be wonderful but there’s no doubt that parenting can be challenging, especially for women with mental illness. We hear about the lives of mothers diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder—it’s a disorder defined by extreme emotional instability and is surrounded by stigma. The treatment can make a real difference to the wellbeing of families.
Sep 02, 2018
The art of empathy
Empathy is the power of understanding other people, which in turn allows societies to co-operate and function. But a leading British media executive is concerned that it’s lacking in today’s society, and that the arts and popular culture can bridge the gap.
Aug 26, 2018
Memory loss and identity
Our memories form the basis of our sense of self. When a brain disorder damages memory, it’s not clear what remains of the person when some of those memories are missing. A neurologist from the UK explores memory and identity through the moving stories of her patients.
Aug 19, 2018
Carrots, sticks ... and other ways to motivate
What does it take to drag yourself off the couch and get motivated on a fitness regime? In all areas of life, to be well motivated we need to feel autonomous and find our own internal rewards. We hear from a renowned motivational psychologist and a personal trainer about what works.
Aug 12, 2018
The mental health of refugees
When refugees first arrive in Australia they’re understandably relieved to be relatively safe. But significant trauma—from their past as well as the daily stresses of their lives here—can cause real disruption to their wellbeing. Top 5 scientist in residence Belinda Liddell teams up with us to discuss her research into the refugee experience and its impact on mental health and the brain.
Aug 05, 2018
Depression and your sense of self
If you’ve ever been depressed you may have wondered—is this the real me? And if anti-depressants work for you, do they get you back in touch with who you really are or make you feel more inauthentic? The findings from a University of Cambridge study suggest that how authentic you feel when being treated for depression may be relevant to your recovery.
Jul 29, 2018
Leadership in mind
We're so bombarded by our mobile devices that our ability to pay attention is declining—and extensive research on leadership shows a crisis of engagement in the workforce. Leaders are not satisfying their employees’ needs to find engagement in what they do. Hear about the three most important qualities a leader needs to help solve the crisis.
Jul 22, 2018
On being a dog
If you love your pet dog, do they love you? This question intrigued Professor of Neuroscience Gregory Berns. He wanted to know what it’s really like to be a dog—if they feel the same emotions and have similar thoughts to us. So he persuaded his own dog to get into an MRI machine for a brain scan. He’s now trained 100 dogs to go into the scanner and they think it’s a fun game.
Jul 15, 2018
Tics, twitches, and Tourette's
Adam Ladell was delighted to be runner-up in The Voice on Australian TV a few years ago. He’s a talented and confident singer—but offstage it’s a slightly different story. He caused a stir at school with his involuntary repetitive movements and loud, inappropriate vocal twitches which are part of his Tourette syndrome. Adam talks to us about working with Tourette’s and developing his performance skills.
Jul 08, 2018
Optimism and hope—with Martin Seligman
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Optimism may protect you from depression. But pessimism could be roughly equivalent to smoking more than 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Known as The Father of Positive Psychology, Professor Martin Seligman continues his talk to an Australian audience about how to promote human flourishing, and positive education.
Jul 01, 2018
Positive psychology—with Martin Seligman
During the 1960s the field of psychology focussed on the science of how past trauma creates present symptoms, and how to reduce people’s misery. Professor Martin Seligman wanted to change that focus. He’s become known as the Father of Positive Psychology, and he’s had a profound influence worldwide. In Part 1 of our 2 programs with Martin Seligman, hear him address an exclusive audience in Australia on happiness and human flourishing.
Jun 24, 2018
Synesthesia and art
Throughout art history we see a culture of expanded perceptions from artists like Kandinsky, to musicians like Duke Ellington. Artist Nina Norden sees colours and shapes in association with just about everything she experiences. In fact, she can’t imagine how things can exist without a colour and a shape—she has synaesthesia and it forms the basis of her art.
Jun 17, 2018
Synesthesia: seeing sounds, hearing colours
For some people the number six is red and music evokes a range of colours and shapes. Seeing sounds and hearing colours is one type of synesthesia—where the senses are crossed.  Meet an 11-year-old girl who was surprised to find out that not everyone sees colourful auras around people, and who feels that numbers have colours and personalities.
Jun 10, 2018
Strange brains and rare perceptions
We take it for granted that we have a common understanding of the world. But there are some rare and strange brain disorders which offer a very different insight into our very existence. Their experiences and the latest research illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes brilliant or alarming ways.
Jun 03, 2018
Epilepsy and seizure prediction
If you’ve ever witnessed someone having an epileptic seizure you’ll know how frightening it is. And if you have epilepsy you’ll know that the unpredictability of seizures severely impacts your life. It’s like an ‘electrical problem’ in your brain. Researchers are now using AI technology to develop a wearable seizure forecaster.
May 27, 2018
Creativity and your brain
We humans have ‘creative software’ in our brains—so says neuroscientist and author David Eagleman. We're driven to invent and innovate, yet at the same time we’re attracted to the familiar—and our creativity lives in that tension.
May 20, 2018
Memories and fears panel discussion from Big Ideas
An extra from All in the Mind—and RN's Big Ideas program with a panel discussion moderated by Lynne Malcolm. From at the 2018 World Science Festival—Probing the Eternal Sunshine: Memories and Fears.
May 14, 2018
Ready for revolution—the psychology of protest
May 1968 saw over a million people protesting on the streets of Paris. Some say it caused a social revolution, and things were never the same again. We look at extensive research on protest behaviour, and what makes community action effective.
May 13, 2018
Women's brain business
The brain is shaped and changed by our lives, our genes, and our hormones. Neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay investigates the influence of female biology and hormones on the brains of women as they move through key stages of life.
May 06, 2018
Compassion therapy for voice-hearing
We all have different sides to ourselves. The angry self, the anxious self, the sad self … and then there’s the compassionate self. We head to a workshop which explores the power of cultivating compassion in those who hear voices, and in their therapists.
Apr 29, 2018
The believing brain
Billions of people across the world and throughout time have held strong metaphysical beliefs—whether religious in nature, or more supernatural or spiritual. This year’s World Science Festival dared to ask what science can tell us about religion, spirituality and our belief instinct—without passing judgement.
Apr 22, 2018
The kids of today
Some surprises from the updated results of a famous psychological test involving marshmallows—and, when it comes to mood and happiness, teens of today may be on the brink of a mental health crisis—due to the widespread use of smart technology.
Apr 15, 2018
Letting go of dad
All in the Mind would like to share with you a story from the ABC podcast Tall Tales and True. Vanessa O'Neill tells the story about being with her father as he gradually declined due to Alzheimer's disease. It was a long, drawn-out period of grief, for the sufferer and for the whole family. Vanessa's story is a heartfelt, first-hand account of losing a parent. And note that the story also contains some strong language.
Apr 11, 2018
Placebo power
The placebo effect demonstrates that the mind-body interaction can be powerful. Placebos can turn on the body’s natural biological processes to relieve a range of conditions, and in the future deception may not even be necessary.
Apr 08, 2018
Adventures with smart pills and brain hacks
How far would you go to reveal your true, super-smart inner self? Athletes have used substances and techniques to enhance their performance physically. Now there are ways to boost your intelligence—which we don’t suggest you try it at home. But David Adam did—to try and cheat his way into Mensa using smart pills and brain hacks. But this also brought moral dilemmas.
Apr 01, 2018
The art of neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is a radical social movement challenging the notion of what’s normal and what’s a disorder. What better place to explore neurodiversity than in the arts and theatre—we hear from actors on the autism spectrum and a synesthete using her perceptions of colour and music to create art.
Mar 25, 2018
Podcast extra—MDMA and its potential therapeutic use
Some exciting news has just been published in the Psychiatric Journal JAMA about the potential mental health benefits of psychedelic drug research. It’s likely that within the next 5 years researchers will know whether the psychoactive drug commonly known as ecstasy—methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA—can be used to treat psychiatric disorders.
Mar 21, 2018
Trauma, memory, and mental health
Trauma has a deep impact on the lives of survivors. It’s associated with mental and physical health problems, including substance abuse, and neuroscience is showing that a traumatic memory is quite different from a normal memory. Mental health services now realise that early trauma must be taken into account as an essential part of recovery from mental distress.
Mar 18, 2018
Do you never forget a face? You might be pretty good—but are you a super-recogniser? Research is trying to identify our face recognition abilities, and how we compare to those of a computer algorithm.
Mar 11, 2018
Frontiers of the changeable brain
If something goes wrong with the brain we often assume that things can’t change much—especially with extreme conditions. But neuroplasticity, and the almost limitless capacity of the brain to remould itself, is beginning to turn that assumption on its head.
Mar 04, 2018
BPD and healing relationships
Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental illness which causes deep pain and tumultuous relationships. But there is good therapy.
Feb 25, 2018
Borderline Personality Disorder: stigma to strength
Borderline Personality Disorder is the cause of deep pain—yet it is steeped in stigma and often not thought of as a legitimate disorder. But with good treatment it’s possible to live a normal and full life.
Feb 18, 2018
A highly superior memory
If you were given a date from the last five years could you say what day of the week it was? One young woman in Australia can remember every single day of her life since she was born. We hear about her life and the research she’s involved with—as a single participant.
Feb 11, 2018
The scientist, the monk, and Ruby Wax
Comedian Ruby Wax has teamed up with a Buddhist monk and a neuroscientist to explore how the mind works—and have a laugh at the same time. Ruby talks about her experience of depression, and whether her traumatic upbringing relates to her hilarious take on the human condition.
Feb 04, 2018
Most of us are vulnerable to forming bad habits and addictive behaviours— to binge eat, to smoke, take harmful drugs, or over-exercise. But if we better understood our craving mind we could mend our ways.
Jan 28, 2018
What's in a face? Prosopagnosia
The faces of our friends and family are instantly recognisable to us—but about 1 in 50 of us say that looking at a face is like looking at a brick wall.
Jan 21, 2018
Dissociation and coping with trauma
The compelling account of a woman who lived with dissociative identity disorder—and how she eventually became integrated.
Jan 14, 2018
A superhuman escape
Maude Julien was imprisoned by her father in an isolated mansion in France and subjected her to endless horrifying endurance tests in a plan to create a superhuman.
Jan 07, 2018
Definitely tone deaf?
Are you a good singer, or are you only comfortable singing in the privacy of your shower? We explore a condition called congenital amusia—also known as tone deafness—and track a self-confessed bad singer trying to get back in tune.
Dec 31, 2017
The medical muso
There’s nothing like a favourite piece of music to lift your spirits, and music is known to play a powerful role in the healing process. Musician Andrew Schulman now uses music as medicine in hospital intensive care units.
Dec 24, 2017
Brain stimulation for depression
Clinical depression is sometimes not helped by medication. One promising alternative treatment is TMS: a magnetic pulse passed through the skin to a focussed part of the brain.
Dec 17, 2017
Prize winners in mental health advocacy
Joint winners of the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize—Allan Fels, who focusses on improving our mental health care system; and mental health advocate Janet Meagher.
Dec 10, 2017
Why we deny the science
In this age of contested political issues and unchecked information, we examine the psychological tricks and the quirks of neuroscience which often lead us to believe untruths and ignore the facts.
Dec 03, 2017
All In The Mind presents ... Sum of All Parts
Fans of All In The Mind might enjoy this new podcast from the ABC! Sum of All Parts tells extraordinary stories from the world of numbers. Like this story, about a young man with an unusual type of epilepsy, where he hears what are called ‘musical auras’ whenever he has a seizure.
Nov 26, 2017
Judgement day and the science of belief
The world would end on Judgement Day—21 May, 2011. Some people were convinced, others were sceptical. But the science of belief may explain post-truth politics, and why fake news can appear so believable.
Nov 26, 2017
Brain diversity and modernisation
A neuroscientist and entrepreneur in rural India is researching on the way brain activity may be influenced by modern progress, and even by income.
Nov 19, 2017
Does mental 'illness' exist?
A leading professor of psychology says that seeing mental distress as an illness is the wrong approach. We need a model of care which supports people who are distressed due to their social and life circumstances.
Nov 12, 2017
Lived experience in mental health care
It’s not always helpful for someone to be labelled as having an illness when they are emotionally distressed. Sometimes simple support can make more of a difference to a person’s outlook. A possible shift in the provision of mental services might be to increase the provision of social justice.
Nov 05, 2017
The sound spiral: misophonia
For some people certain sounds not only annoy them, but send them into panic, anxiety, and even rage. This hyper-sensitivity is a recently discovered condition called misophonia. We discuss the the research trying make sense of it.
Oct 29, 2017
Life as a brain surgeon
Brain surgery is bloody, messy, and dangerous. Britain’s foremost neurosurgeon Henry Marsh likens it to a blood sport—but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered and he shares with us his victories, mistakes, and musings on consciousness and death.
Oct 22, 2017
Emotional CPR
Psychiatrist Daniel Fisher would like to shift the paradigm of mental health services and empower people to play a strong role in their own recovery—so he’s teaching emotional CPR.
Oct 15, 2017
Therapy outside the box
New research on anxiety and depression is looking at the underlying emotional processes which trigger mental distress, and this is leading to a transdiagnosic approach to treatment.
Oct 08, 2017
The gambling zone
People who spend a lot of time at the pokies could be familiar with ‘the zone’—a state of mind enhanced by the gambling environment to keep them at the machines.
Oct 01, 2017
The psychology of hoarding
We all have different approaches to how much stuff we accumulate. But what happens when your attachment to things becomes so strong that a decision to let go of anything is impossible?
Sep 24, 2017
The divided brain
Your brain is divided into distinct hemispheres which work together to give you different experiences of the world. But has the balance between the two halves of your brain got out of whack—and what’s the impact?
Sep 17, 2017
All in the Mind presents Science Friction
If you enjoy All in the Mind you may be interested in this Science Friction episode on the psychological impact of working on the U.S. drone program.
Sep 10, 2017
Contemplating consciousness
We contemplate the nature of consciousness with a philosopher, a neuroscientist, and a Buddhist scholar.
Sep 10, 2017
Racial bias and the brain
Racism can be blatant and violent but often it's subtle and insidious. We explore the psychology and neuroscience of racial bias.
Sep 03, 2017
The enigma of time
When we’re bored time drags, and wouldn’t you swear that time seems to speed up as you get older? Drawing on the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience we explore the mystery of time perception, it’s connection to our sense of self and how we could be the architect of our own perception of time.
Aug 27, 2017
Young people surviving cancer
When you are young the last thing you expect is to be diagnosed with cancer and have to face your own mortality. Psychologists are working on ways to support young adults through their diagnosis, treatment and life post treatment.
Aug 20, 2017
Off the hook
How to renegotiate your relationship with your smart phone.
Aug 13, 2017
A meaningful life
It may well be that the most significant factor to determine sustained happiness is a sense of purpose and meaning in your life.
Aug 06, 2017
Considering pain
The context in which we sense pain can change the experience of it—but there are things to learn about how this happens.
Jul 30, 2017
First impressions—the face bias
The science behind our judgement of faces for their trustworthiness, competency, and character.
Jul 23, 2017
A superhuman escape
Maude Julien was imprisoned by her father in an isolated mansion in France and subjected her to endless horrifying endurance tests in a plan to create a superhuman.
Jul 16, 2017
The creation of emotions
Are the emotions we experience the same as everyone else's? New research shows that emotions are not 'hard-wired', and are developed by our brains and our bodies as we go through life.
Jul 09, 2017
Contemplating happiness with Matthieu Ricard
Scientific studies have shown that your brain can be trained to be more compassionate; and together with altruism, it can generate a positive outlook for everyone.
Jul 02, 2017
The genetics of depression
Depression is the most disabling chronic condition worldwide and research is now underway to precisely identify the genes associated with it—the results may lead to dramatically improved and personalised treatment.
Jun 25, 2017
Connecting with baby
Emerging theories of child development suggest that a babies have agency over their movements even in the womb, and that their actions help them to make sense of the world.
Jun 18, 2017
The science of hedonism
Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n' roll. It’s a winning trifecta—no matter what the potential dangers are. Hear about the discovery of LSD, and the wide-ranging effects that music has on our brain.
Jun 11, 2017
The psychology of paedophilia
The psychology of paedophilia. Are there differences in the brains of paedophiles or is attraction to children on a universal continuum, controlled only by socialisation?
Jun 04, 2017
End of life care
At a specially designed palliative care unit at a leading Sydney hospital we hear from a patient about his needs and expectations for the final stages of his life—and the staff reflect on what they learn about their own priorities in life by caring for others.
May 28, 2017
When a healthy diet becomes an unhealthy obsession
We’re bombarded by blogs and social media with rules for healthy eating: quit sugar, go gluten-free, cut out carbs, eat paleo. But taking the rules too far could lead to an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.
May 21, 2017
The food-mood connection
In the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry, the evidence is now building that particular foods could have a significant influence on our mental health—particularly depression.
May 14, 2017
Learning to learn
Most of us love being able to look up just about anything on our smart phones and know the answer in an instant. But do you ever worry about what that’s doing to our brains and our capacity to retain knowledge?
May 07, 2017
In the therapy room
We go behind the closed doors of the consulting room with renowned psychotherapist of 40 years—Susie Orbach.
Apr 30, 2017
The secret history of self-harm
After self-harming as a teenager, a historian delves into the past for some important insights into how we can better manage and treat those who self-harm today.
Apr 23, 2017
The medical muso
There’s nothing like a favourite piece of music to lift your spirits, and music is known to play a powerful role in the healing process. Musician Andrew Schulman now uses music as medicine in hospital intensive care units.
Apr 16, 2017
The brain makers
We’re beginning to understand the most complex piece of highly organised matter in the universe: the human brain. In international collaborations, scientists are unravelling its mysteries by using brain-inspired approaches to computing
Apr 09, 2017
Turbulent minds collide
Martin is a happily-married GP, until he’s suddenly hit with the lows, then the highs of bi-polar disorder. A fictional work by one of Australia’s leading psychiatrists gives an intimate insight into people living with mood disorders.
Apr 02, 2017
Children who hear voices
Imagination is vital for children's development, but sometimes kids hear voices of characters who aren’t there—a new book helps kids understand what's behind these voices.
Mar 26, 2017