All In The Mind is ABC RN's weekly podcast looking into the mental universe, the mind, brain and behaviour — everything from addiction to artificial intelligence.
It’s a condition which affects some patients who end up in intensive care … and can continue after they’re released from hospital. People often experience paranoia and fear, sometimes believing doctors are trying to kill them or that ghostly figures have visited during the night. Disrupted sleep, bright lights, the endless beeping of alarms — all are thought to play a role in bringing on the condition. On All in the Mind this week, delirium in the ICU – and how our hospital system might be r...more
Tom Vanderbilt didn’t know how to play chess. That fact had never bothered him – until his four-year-old daughter decided she wanted to have a go. Within a couple of months, they’d recruited a teacher and both Tom and his daughter combo were battling it out over 64 squares. Tom found the experience of being an adult beginner so challenging and interesting he thought he'd give it a proper go - with a range of different skills and hobbies. Over the next year he embarked on learning multiple ne...more
More than a year after the novel coronavirus pushed much of the world into lockdown, a generation of new mothers are still coming to terms with having been pregnant - and giving birth - in a pandemic. And if you consider the uncertainty of the past year, the stress, the isolation - there are lots of reasons to be concerned about the impact that might have had on new mums, as well as their babies. On All in the Mind this week, we delve into new research on the impact of the pandemic on new moth...more
From 2008 to 2018, the prescription of antidepressants in young people grew by 66 per cent. There’s data to suggest that last year, among the lockdowns and anxiety of the pandemic, that figure ticked even higher. In last week’s episode we looked at how the mental health of teenagers fared through the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, another big issue among teenagers and young people - antidepressant medications. We hear from young people themselves about their mental health j...more
Your teenage years can be tumultuous, but did you know that half of all mental conditions in adulthood emerge by the age of 14? And on top of regular stressors like school and relationships, teens today have social media to contend with – and a little something called the global coronavirus pandemic. On All in the Mind this week, we speak to experts – and teens – about how young people fared last year.
There's a condition so bizarre and rare that most doctors haven't even heard of it. It causes people to hear their own blood moving, bones creaking, lungs breathing - even eyeballs moving. Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome can have a profound impact on a person's life and mental health... so can it be fixed? We go into a hospital operating room to learn about this little-known condition. Warning: this episode contains a description of a surgical operation. This episode first aired on 29 M...more
Have you ever tried a self-help book? Did it… well, help? On All in the Mind this week, why self-help sometimes falls short ... and the problem with pop psychology more generally.
On All in the Mind this week, the guru playbook and why we should get smart to their tactics.
Anastasia Woolmer explains the techniques memory athletes use to recall names, facts and figures, and how you can apply them to everyday life.
Are you good at recognising voices?
From the Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, Taylor Swift to BTS – music changes, but screaming fans never seem to fade.
How would you describe your parents? Nobody's perfect, but some parents leave more of a mark than others.
Virtual reality technology is increasingly being used as a form of therapy – treating everything from the depressive symptoms of dementia to the paranoia people develop as part of psychosis.
Having a baby is supposed to be a joyous time, despite the sleep deprivation and constant crying. But for many women, it's an extremely vulnerable period.
Dr Richard Taylor is a forensic psychiatrist — and he’s assessed well over a hundred accused killers in his career.
For two decades of Hannah Byford’s life, she kept a secret. When things at home got too much to bear, she’d retreat to an imagined life, inside her head — an elaborate daydream.
A few years back, Dr Toni Sturdivant was looking for a preschool for her three-year-old daughter. After considering a few schools around their Texas suburb, she thought she’d found the perfect place.
It’s the lightest metal on the periodic table. Its origins lie in the very beginnings of our universe. And it's taken, in the form of a pill, by thousands of Australians every day.
Graham doesn't think I am broken, but I still suspect I might be.
How to collect your tears, the existential angst of the shampoo aisle, and the boy returns.
We have 60,000 thoughts each day. I will try to track every single one of them.
There are no good snack options in psych hospital. And it’s really hard to not look crazy.
Hunting for a psychiatrist is a lot like hunting for 'The One'. Only much more expensive and with a tiny dating pool.
We all have that voice in our head. The one that is brutally honest. It’s a good thing, right? Except when it really isn’t.
On All in the Mind, we look at the problems in Victoria's mental health system and what needs to change going forward.
Our relationship with music begins at birth, if not before, and plays a role in the formation of our identity when we are young. Now a heart-warming movement called Music & Memory is creating personalised music playlists for residents with dementia in nursing homes—who use their mobile device to hear it.
The corpus callosum links one side of our brain to the other. It’s not essential for survival, but in some people it’s missing or malformed, causing quite mild to extreme disabilities. The good news is that research is now revealing that it holds intriguing secrets about brain plasticity. This program was first broadcast in May 2016.
Most people tend to think of autism as a male disorder, and the character in the film Rain Man often comes to mind. But emerging research shows that girls often have different symptoms which cause them to slip through the net. This program was originally broadcast in June 2015,
Warning: some listeners may find aspects of this program confronting. The compelling account of a woman who lived with dissociative identity disorder—and how she eventually became integrated.
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.
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.
Being a parent can be very rewarding, but if you are managing your own mental health you may not be able to be the parent you’d like to be. It can be sad and confusing for kids too—and they often take on a caring role.
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.
Anxiety is an essential human emotion—it kicks in to protect us from threats—but sometimes those threats are only perceived. When worries start to become overwhelming, approximately 25 per cent of us experience clinical anxiety. But it is highly treatable. A ten-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man share their anxious thoughts and their strategies to manage them.
At the age of 12 Martin Pistorius developed a mysterious neurological illness. He fell into a coma and was unable to move or communicate. It was assumed he had no awareness but a couple of years later he began to wake up—yet no-one knew. He was trapped inside his body for almost 10 years until he found a way to communicate. Using computer-generated voice technology he tells us about how he coped with this terrifying ordeal, and how he found the love of his life.
Scientists and philosophers have been perplexed by our sense of the self for millennia. Now, by investigating neurological conditions which disrupt the self—such as body identity disorder, schizophrenia, and the doppelganger effect—neuroscience is finding new clues.
As part of our program about Resilience, Lynne spoke with former Olympian - and now medical doctor - Jana Pittman. We thought you'd like to hear the full interview.
As Lynne Malcolm gets ready for life outside the ABC, she’s been thinking about how all of us cope with changes and challenges, and how our sense of ourselves is influenced by our surroundings. This has become even more relevant for us as we get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
What happens in our brain when we make assumptions about people who don’t seem to be like us – when they may look, speak, or behave differently. And can brain science help us to override our potential prejudices? I explore some research on this topic, which specifically looks at how we perceive other people, animals, and things outside ourselves - such as technology.
The rate of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is double that of non-Indigenous people in Australia, and it’s reached a crisis point – particularly amongst the young. In this NAIDOC week 2020 we hear from researchers and practitioners, and those with lived experience about the best strategies to stem the tide of indigenous suicide
Folk wisdom suggests that playing ‘hard to get’ can help you attract a potential partner. But many psychologists have been skeptical about whether it does have an effect in dating. Over the past few years several new studies on the effect have aimed to pin down the rare circumstances where it might actually be effective.
Lynne Malcolm's extended interview with Timothy Carey about how he applies his perspective on control to address inequality in Rwandan society.
We all have a natural need for a sense of control in our lives – but the over-controlling kind can get out of hand. People with a psychopathic personality disorder are highly skilled in manipulative techniques – which can wreak havoc if you’re on the receiving end. But every-day controlling behaviour may be getting an unfair bad rap – and may be essential for our wellbeing.
Claims about human psychology and behaviour in top international journals are largely based on the WEIRDest people in the world. People from Western Educated Industrialised Rich Democratic - or WEIRD - societies are widely used as research subjects, but the assumption that they represent a universal human population may be vastly wrong, and skew psychological research. More cultural psychology could be the answer.
The mind contains everything we think and feel – our experiences are created by the brain, mostly without our awareness. This makes it pretty much impossible to fully know the mind of others. Research shows that, to ensure our survival, the brain constantly attempts to predict what will happen next.
When you're near coriander or parmesan cheese, do you smell fresh sweetness or vomit and soap?
Can you rewire your brain to recover from depression?
What small changes can we make in our daily lives to improve our mental health?
When two strangers meet, how do they figure out whether to trust one another?
Tara Lal was engulfed by grief after the loss of her mother and brother, but found in her brother's diaries her reason to keep going.
Even big diseases start small... PATIENT ZERO is a new podcast that tells the stories of disease outbreaks: where they begin, why they happen and how we found ourselves in the middle of a really big one. Over four episodes the team follow the aftermath of a natural disaster, reset the timeline of one of Australia's most devastating epidemics, get to the bottom of a shocking medical mystery, and do their best to keep pace with the new normal. PATIENT ZERO is a co-production of ABC Science and...more
If you’re having particularly vivid dreams during this CoVID pandemic then you’re not alone. But your dreams may collectively say something about broader society. Across the globe from Italy to Australia, social dreamers have been meeting in Zoom matrices, to share dreams and gain insights. It’s like a megaphone from the unconscious..
Many of us have had more vivid dreams and nightmares during this global pandemic. A multinational study is set to find out how COVID-19 is affecting our dreams, and whether changes to our inner consciousness could affect our mental health. Along the way researchers will investigate the mysteries of why we dream, why they are often so bizarre, and whether there’s really a difference between dreams during sleep and mind wandering.
Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation caused by bad or foolish behaviour and can affect our mental health. This is seen particularly in the rise of anxiety and of self-harm. But public shame - especially in our digital age - can be a strong tool to regulate our social behaviour.
An extra to our recent episode about spinal cord injury research where we heard from surfer Sam Bloom. Sam's beautiful and lively personality made us want to share the whole interview.
Around 350 Australians are affected by spinal cord injury each year. Sam leant against a balcony railing and fell six meters; James had a rare injury while learning to surf. Both were left paraplegic. But cutting-edge research may bring back sensation, and even assist people like them walk again. A baby magpie and a commitment to investigation help to bring hope.
As mentioned in yesterday's program, here’s a taste of one of the Culture Dose sessions called 'Joy in everyday life'. Head to our program webapge for a brief meditative exercise with Katherine Boydell from the Black Dog Institute, then Access Programs Producer at the Art Gallery of NSW, Danielle Gullotta, guides the viewer through the painting.
In this time of social isolation, many of us have turned to getting creative...baking bread, picking up a paintbrush, or checking out online theatre performances and virtual gallery tours. Now there’s research on whether prescribing art could help with mental health conditions, such as depression. Take a dose of culture for your wellbeing.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome is sometimes called the ‘plaything of the brain’ for the blind and visually impaired. The syndrome isn’t associated with mental illness or dementia, yet people with it are able to ‘see’ things — like little wriggling children in pink and white pyjamas, or a goat riding on a bike through their lounge room.
We could never have guessed the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic would have on us. We’re all affected in different ways but the need to stay physically distant from one another has highlighted the importance of human connection, empathy, and kindness. We hear about the research showing that strong social networks will keep us living longer than any fitness tracker or superfood. And one man’s determination to promote kindness throughout the world after a family tragedy.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has a chequered history, but its modern iteration is nothing like the scenes depicted in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Used to treat severe depression and psychosis, ECT's side effects include some degree of memory loss. We delve into the discussion around benefits vs side effects, and speak to three patients about their varying degrees of success with the treatment.
It’s hard to know how to look after your mental health at a time like this. But what happens if that’s something you were already struggling with, before the pandemic hit?
In Zimbabwe mental health has become a very big challenge, yet there are fewer than 20 psychiatrists in a population of over 14 million people. To help create accessible and effective care, psychiatrist Dr Dixon Chibanda began a talk-based cognitive behavioural therapy called Friendship Benches: training grandmothers to become health workers for their communities. Presenter Kim Chakanetsa hears the grandmothers are having astounding results, and recent clinical trials found they are more effecti...more
If recently you’ve been poring over old photos and reminiscing, then you’re not alone. Take heart in learning that nostalgic reminiscing may be an effective strategy to cope with isolation, and perhaps to combat anxiety. But it’s a paradoxical emotion because it can be both sad and uplifting.
At night our brain can have adventures. Even if they're fully asleep, some people end up sleep walking or sleep driving! The neuroscience of nightmares and dreaming—and what they can tell us about the workings of our brain. This program was originally broadcast in June 2019.
Do you consider yourself a shrewd manipulator? Are you cynical about the nature of human beings? If so, you might rank highly in Machiavellianism - a personality trait that's based on the writing and views of Niccolo Machiavelli, the 16th-century Italian political philosopher. We look at what makes a Machiavellian personality, and how it fits into the so called ‘dark triad’ of traits.
Dr Mark Cross understands anxiety viscerally. Not only is he a psychiatrist, he’s also lived with the condition nearly all his life. And he’s made the decision to be open about his struggle – a rare move for a doctor. His latest book is called ‘Anxiety: Expert Advice from a Neurotic Shrink Who’s Lived With Anxiety All His Life’'.
All in the Mind has become a big fan of the new ABC audio series Nature Track. It's been made by ABC producer Ann Jones - who, as well as making the Radio National program Off Track, has been collecting wildlife and nature recordings from all over Australia and the world. And now you can hear these pristine sounds wherever you are ... anywhere. Nature Track comprises five soundscapes of varying durations, five chances to give yourself the space you need. No music, no voice, just nature. Sana t...more
In Australia there are an estimated 17,000 Stolen Generations survivors, and a lack of culturally relevant mental health services is a major barrier to healing for many of them. Now programs led by Indigenous communities themselves are helping people to confront and move past their trauma. We talk with Stolen Generations survivor Aunty Lorraine Peeters, whose life experience led to a pioneering healing program, and became part of a groundswell of Indigenous-led solutions to address trauma. And I...more
Last week we heard about the different shades of boredom that people can experience in a dull moment. Although it’s considered a broadly negative emotion, believe it or not, it seems boredom can sometimes be beneficial - especially when it lets us daydream. Some research suggests it can even promote our creativity. But do people differ in how they experience boredom? Are some more likely to be able to benefit from getting bored?
Many Australians have reported a higher level of boredom during the long stretch of isolation brought about by COVID-19. So, if you have felt some boredom, was it good or bad? Psychologists believe they’ve classified several different shades of the beast and not all are bad. So we check out ways to embrace the better versions.
What ultimately drives human behaviour? A leading professor of psychology, Michele Gelfand, suggests that culture is one of the last uncharted frontiers. From her pioneering research into cultural and social norms she’s found an important distinction between tight and loose cultures, and their tendency to make or break rules. These social norms or informal rules of conduct determine whether we co-operate or come into conflict, at both the collective and individual levels. This program was first...more
Over the past few weeks many of us have been living more isolated lives than we’re used to. We might not be in government-mandated quarantine but there’s no doubt that COVID-19 has upended our social lives. Yet isolation can be deeply troubling for humans because we’re social animals; and that’s just as true in our current circumstances as it is in very extreme forms of isolation.
Sharing with you one of the ABC's other great podcasts. Join Jan Fran and friends as they take life’s prickly bits and make them sweeter and easier to deal with.
If you’ve noticed a change in your mental well-being over the past few weeks you’re not alone. As the effects of the pandemic and the conditions of isolation begin to be take hold, many Australians are searching for support for the first time in their lives. So if you choose to ask for help, how do you take the first steps.
The uncertainty, isolation, and danger posed by the Coronavirus pandemic affects the mental health of many people - but for those on the frontline, all of those feelings can be heightened. We talk to health professionals who have been managing their own panic attacks and anxiety.
Growing older is something we only get to do if we’re lucky, so why are so many of us unenthusiastic about the prospect of ageing? We speak to neuroscientist and author Dan Levitin about his new book The Changing Mind, which looks at the ways the brain actually improves as we age, and how we can help it.
Design and creativity really can work together. We talk with a design critic and a product design educator who both have an interest in toys - their history, and how they’re created and assessed in the real world. Get your blocks ready to play along.
There's a condition so bizarre and rare that most doctors haven't even heard of it - it's called Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome and it causes people to hear their blood moving, bones creaking, lungs breathing and even eyeballs moving. It can have a profound impact on a person's life and mental health. So can it be fixed? We go into a hospital operating room to learn about this little-known condition. Warning: this episode contains a description of a surgical operation.
Believe it or not … a Formula 1 car can be driven by someone just using their brain. We consider the neurogeneration: people who in the future are likely to be using some kind of brain-powered technology to do their job or to extend their knowledge. But we don’t leave the past behind, there’s also a peek into the brain collection of Cornell University.
We all know that certain diseases are contagious, but sometimes behaviour is contagious as well. We take a look at some historical examples—such as the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962, and the 1518 case of uncontrollable dancing—and we consider what might drive copycat crimes. There's also the possibility of suicide contagion. Trigger warning: this episode touches on the subject of suicide, please take care while listening.
Habits are notoriously hard to change—exercising more often, practising calmness, getting healthy—it all takes time and effort. So perhaps you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a way to get habits into your routine. We talk with Bernard Balleine, Director of the Decision Neuroscience Lab at UNSW; and with B J Fogg, founder of the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University about his new book Tiny Habits.
How good are you at imagining or hearing music in your head? Can you think of the tune to ‘Happy Birthday’ and bring the notes to mind without actually singing? We consider the mind’s musical ear and what it reveals about us. And ... earworms—those pesky songs stuck in your head—where they come from and persuading them to leave.
When it comes to pseudoscience you might consider yourself to be a sceptic But don’t give yourself too much credit because we’re all vulnerable to believing dubious claims. This is because of powerful cognitive biases in the brain—and we could actually be satisfied with quite shallow explanations for things—and for being suckers for pseudoscience.
Indigenous people in Australia are having a very difficult time finding a psychologist who understands Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. Sometimes Indigenous patients seeking treatment have been denied a voice, and the reality of their situation. There are about 800,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, but only 218 Indigenous psychologists. Australia needs more of them—and we look at what many mainstream psychologists fail to understand about In...more
Dr Rebecca Gelding is a cognitive scientist who investigates what is going on in the brain as people imagine musical pitch and rhythm. As part of the series This Sounds Like Science, you can explore music on a different level in a free lunchtime event by Dr Gelding, presented by City Recital Hall and Inspiring Australia. In an upcoming program, All in the Mind will feature an interview by Sana Qadar with Dr Gelding, so stay tuned—in the meantime, here's a short extract about some topics being d...more
At some point in your career there’s a good chance that you’ll cross paths with a workplace bully. If you do, it can have a profound impact on your well-being and mental health. But why do bullies do it and what motivates them? And do corporate psychopaths fit into the picture? We take a look at the personality and organisational factors that play a role in workplace bullying.
While presenter Lynne Malcolm takes a short break, the program will be presented by Sana Qadar—looking forward to your continued company for 2020.
We used to believe that babies and young children had irrational and naive thinking skills. Developments in psychology and neuroscience now reveal that infants are actually smarter, more thoughtful, and have a different consciousness to adults. Children’s exploratory and creative style of thinking may even inform improved AI design.
Questions about whether we are masters of our own destiny and if we really have free will have puzzled philosophers and scientists for many years. Now neuroscience is challenging much of what we thought we knew about ourselves—from how much our pre-birth experience affects our later lives, to how we make decisions and form our own reality.
When you’re waiting in a queue there are various ways to bide your time: chat to someone, gaze off into the distance, or check your phone. The science of human interaction tells us that the impact on your brain and body is vastly different depending on your choice. Live person-to-person connection changes us and the society we live in, so it’s in our best interests to use technology sensibly. This program was first broadcast in June 2019.
Picture this—an Australian journalist sitting near a squat toilet under the only light in the prison cell he shares with 140 others, writing pages of notes about happiness. After 15 months in a notorious Cambodian prison, for a crime he denies, James Ricketson shares his insights into his personal experience in Prey Sar prison—and his new reflections on the state of happiness. Please note that this episode contains a small amount of strong language This program was first broadcast in July 2019...more
Would you be comfortable with a Huntsman spider crawling on your arm, or a python slithering over your shoulder? Not many of us would, but when this discomfort causes you so much anxiety that it interferes with your daily life – it’s become a phobia. But there is treatment, and virtual reality can assist.
Smart people are not only just as prone to making mistakes as everyone else—they may even be more susceptible to them. This idea has been dubbed the Intelligence Trap. It explains the flaws in our understanding of intelligence and expertise, and how the decisions of even the brightest minds and talented organisations can backfire.
The connection between our minds and bodies determines our health and well-being, and the rate at which our cells age and die can be influenced by lifestyle choices. We hear about keeping our genes in good order by protecting our telomeres—a buffer zone at each end of our chromosomes. We'll also hear about a mindfulness-based intervention which could really help millions of extremely traumatised displaced people around the world. This program was first broadcast in August 2019
Dementia affects around 450,000 Australians, and it comes in hundreds of forms. New research reveals that one form of dementia takes away the ability to daydream, and this has implications for improved care. Sleep disruption in middle age also emerges as another risk factor. And we hear how, after diagnosis, one person found a meaningful role in breaking down the stigma of dementia.
Music deeply affects us emotionally, and individually—and now we know that our relationship with music provides a unique opportunity to gain further insight into the workings of the brain itself. We discuss the latest in music research with one of the editors of The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain. Hear about why we may prefer particular types of music, how being a musician can change the brain over time, and what happens to our musicality as we age.
There’s more and more scientific evidence that climate change is having a major impact on our planet. Recently more than 11,000 scientists across the world declared a climate emergency, and many of us are experiencing grief, anxiety and powerlessness about the future. We discuss the connection between climate change and mental health, and the strategies we need to maintain hope and take action.
What we see, hear, and feel as a child affects us later in life—and our brain is changed by childhood traumas. A leading Canadian psychiatrist is working to understand how childhood harm can impair brain development and affect mental health, in the hope of effective treatment. And we hear about an intervention which can improve educational outcomes for vulnerable children.
Even when it gets the go-ahead, research on sex and the brain is still highly stigmatised—yet there is still so much to learn. Sometimes a brain injury or disease causes hypersexuality, or a change of sexual preference; orgasm can cause a brain aneurysm to rupture, and the latter becomes more likely if it’s sex with someone other than your usual partner.