Deeply Human

Deeply Human

Why you do what you do! Exploring our loves, our fears, our habits and hopes, Dessa takes a deeply personal look at what lies behind our thoughts and behavior. Can a better understanding of human nature help us be more generous with other people’s weird behavior and even our own?Deeply Human is a BBC World Service and American Public Media coproduction with iHeartMedia.

Episodes

May 10, 2021 23 min

The experiences of being a teenager are deep and lasting — first break-ups, fierce arguments with parents, that time a friend tried to skateboard off the roof. Why is that time of life experienced so intensely and remembered so vividly?


Dessa finds that many answers lie in neuroanatomy and the way our brain wires itself as we grow. She meets teens and a brain scientist to find out why the rollercoaster highs and lows of teenage life...

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Listening to sad songs is a weird, counterintuitive thing to do. Why listen to something that moves you to tears?


As someone who’s sensitivity to sad songs sometimes means pulling over until the tears clear, Dessa mulls major versus minor, explores what melody has in common with the sound of human crying, and quizzes a fellow songwriter about the power of screaming. Do sad songs reveal some secrets about empathy?


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April 26, 2021 23 min

If you think you’re too young to learn about menopause, you’re wrong. Prepare to be both surprised and entertained — and maybe even become a kinder son or daughter.

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Our understanding of menopause has changed dramatically, and it’s our distant relatives the whales that may help explain what it’s for. And Dessa has a heart-to-heart with her dad about her grandmother, exploring the parts of our lives we should share more, generation t...

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April 19, 2021 23 min

Why, when we’re alone, do we sometimes feel like we’re not? Why are we eager to find signs of life in our surroundings — to see faces in clouds, or to get creeped out when the house creaks at night? 


Dessa investigates some of the most mystical, disorienting and disturbing experiences a person can have. She discovers that neuroscience, the study of our brains, might just help explain this big, important chunk of being human.


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April 12, 2021 23 min

Our ideas of what’s beautiful are tied to symmetry. Symmetry attracts. Why? What’s so compelling about faces that are the same on both sides of that nose in the middle? 


To study symmetry we dive into the world of asymmetry – where things are different. Dessa talks with a professor who studies right- and left-handedness, a graphic designer who explains the appeal of a bit of asymmetry and a woman who grew up with a distinctly asymme...

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April 5, 2021 23 min

Budging. Cutting in line. Skipping. Butting. Doesn’t it make your blood boil? The standing line evokes strong feelings about justice — breaking what we see as the rules for waiting in line can arouse anger and even violence that feel totally out of proportion to the length of our wait. Why are we such raging moralists when it comes to waiting our turn?


Dessa finds out what standing in line can reveal about social status and hidden p...

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March 29, 2021 23 min

Most female mammals schedule their sex life into just the couple of days in their cycle when they’re fertile. So why do humans do it whenever the mood strikes? (Well, in theory, at least.)


To find out, Dessa explores stinky t-shirt tests and all sorts of things we’d better not mention here. Parental discretion is strongly advised. 


Deeply Human is a BBC World Service and American Public Media coproduction with iHeartMedia.

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March 22, 2021 23 min

High-stakes lies have all sorts of consequences: perjurers are imprisoned and slanderers are sued. But when your coworker asks your opinion on his new haircut, a little lie feels obligatory. You lie much more than you’re probably aware of — but is that a bad thing? 


Dessa finds out why lying can be a dangerous habit. She discovers whether polygraph machines really work, and why a professor of psychology rejoiced when a hidden camera...

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March 15, 2021 23 min

Hurting, pain and suffering might just be some of the most important things that make you who you are. That pain, though, may be almost invisible to those around you. 


Suffering is often private and difficult to discuss. You can’t hold your pain up to the light for someone else to examine or drape it around their shoulders to see how it might fit. Yet our experience of pain can change the way we think about ourselves and others. 


In ...

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March 8, 2021 23 min

We spend a lot of time looking for love — but have we got that wrong? Is love something you discover, or something you’d be better off growing into? It’s all down to choice…but not too much! 


Dessa finds answers in the supermarket cereal aisle and the brain scans carried out by a biological anthropologist, which is basically someone who puts your life in the context of everyone else’s. Think you’re special? Think again. Plus Dessa h...

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February 10, 2021 2 min

Musician, writer and science fiend Dessa explores the hidden motors that drive human experience and behavior. Why do we get déjà vu? Why are we attracted to symmetrical faces? Why do we listen to music that makes us sad? Why is the female orgasm still such a mystery to sex researchers?

Here are tender and moving personal stories as well as the latest scientific and psychological understanding of human nature. All combined at times w...

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