All in the Mind

All in the Mind

United Kingdom

Programme exploring the limits and potential of the human mind


Psychology of a Mars mission, Superforecasters, MPs guide to mental health, Recovery College  

As Tim Peake is launched on his trip to spend 6 months on the International Space Station Claudia Hammond talks to Alexander Kumar, the doctor who has been to Antarctica to investigate the psychology of a human mission to Mars. How will the confined spaces, the dark and distance from planet Earth affect Mars astronauts of the future? Professor Philip Tetlock explains why his newly discovered elite group of so-called Superforecasters are so good at predicting global events. Claudia talks to MP James Morris about why some of his constituents are coming to him and his staff for help in a mental health crisis. He talks about the advice available for other MPs and constituency staff in the same situation. Claudia visits the South London and Maudsley Recovery college to find out how their educational courses are helping people in south London with their mental health.

Brain bank dismantling, Climate change psychology, Trigger warnings for books  

Europe's largest brain bank is to be dismantled. The Corsellis Collection in west London contains tissue from 4000-6000 brains and includes a wide and unusual range of pathologies, some dating back as far as the 1950s. But now funding pressures mean that new homes must be found for as many as possible. Claudia asks which brains will be kept and hears about the value of brains without pathology. As the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 21, continues in Paris, Claudia talks to Dr Sander van der Linden in Princeton about how psychological science can help policy makers to communicate about climate change. We hear what being nominated for the All in the Mind Awards meant to last year's finalists in the groups category. And at Lancaster University English literature students have requested that trigger warnings be added to texts on their reading lists which contain potentially distressing passages. Richard McNally, Professor of psychology and expert in anxiety and trauma, talks to Claudia about the evidence. Producer: Lorna Stewart.

Bilingualism, Kevan Jones MP, Talking therapies and memorising art  

Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Catherine Loveday to find out why being bilingual can protect against the damage caused by a stroke. She explains why it might all be down to something called cognitive reserve. Kevan Jones MP explains why he chose to talk about his own experience of depression to parliament and explains his role as judge on this year's All in the Mind awards. In 2008 the government introduced 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies' services for people with depression and anxiety across parts of England. IAPT has expanded in the 7 years since then but new figures just out reveal a huge variation in recovery rates and waiting times across England. Claudia talks to one of the founders of IAPT, Professor David Clark to ask why there is such a variety of success across the country and what can be done to improve it. Claudia visits Tate Liverpool and their 'An Imagined Museum' exhibition to find out how the brain remembers works of art.

Mindfulness, Rest and slothfulness, All in the Mind Awards, Compulsive sexual behaviour and the internet  

Over the last decade mindfulness has grown in popularity and is recommended in many settings such as the NHS, schools, the work place and prisons. But how strong is the scientific data? Mental Elf blogger Andre Tomlin and Professor Willem Kuyken review the evidence. All in the Mind Awards Judge Marion Janner talks to Claudia Hammond on the mindfulness of gardening and how to take part in the awards. Plus the search for rest: is being slothful still a sin? New research from Valerie Voon, a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist at Cambridge University, uncovers what's happening in the brains of people with compulsive sexual behaviour. The results suggest that the constant supply of novel images from the internet can drive this behaviour and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist Graham Music discusses how the findings could be translated to the clinic.

Astronauts, All in the Mind Awards, Crying and Lying  

Claudia Hammond finds out why astronauts' experiences of seeing Earth from space can have profound effects on their feelings towards planet Earth. She talks to astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria, and trainee counselling psychologist, Annahita Nezami, about the Overview Effect and how the power of planet Earth may have therapeutic value for everyone back on terra firma. Clinical psychologist, Linda Blair, is one of the judges on the All in the Mind awards. She talks about how to have a conversation with someone who may be having problems with their mental health and what makes a good, empathetic listener. Thomas Dixon, Director of the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University, London, talks about the history of crying and why the stiff upper lip was just a blip in history. Also, Claudia talks to forensic psychologist, Bruno Verschuere, about his research into why we become worse at lying as we get older.

Launch of 2016 All in the Mind Awards, Latest results from Big Brain Projects  

The launch of the 2016 All in the Mind awards. Judge and novelist Matt Haig tells us what he will be looking for and 2014 finalists Pat Rose and Maya Pillay give their top tips for winning entries. Plus can we recreate the human brain? The latest results from two major neuroscience projects with very different approaches are giving fascinating insights into how the brain works.

The Rest Test, Treatment for arsonists, From psychologist to MP  

The Rest Test. What exactly is rest, are you getting enough and what's the best way to do it? A global investigation of rest needs your help to find out. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Felicity Callard about why she wants to find out about the nation's resting habits. Arson costs the UK economy around £45 million every week. So why do people start fires and what can be done to change their behaviour? Professor Theresa Gannon discusses her research into the unique psychology of people who set fires and why her findings have helped her to develop a new treatment programme. Claudia also talks to Dr Lisa Cameron, the first clinical psychologist to become an MP. She talks about her plans for changing mental health and her psychological insights into the machinations of politics in the House.

Teenage Mental Health  

As evidence accumulates that mental health problems are on the rise amongst adolescents, are services keeping up? Claudia Hammond is joined by a panel of experts to discuss teenage mental health. Professor Shirley Reynolds, Dr Dickon Bevington, Kimberley Robinson and Sarah Hulyer discuss the pressures teenagers face and how the mental health of our adolescents is changing. They also offer thoughts on how services could be reshaped to cope with this changing demand and what parents can do to help their teenagers.

Conspiracy theories, New MPs on mental health, Raw Sounds music project  

Claudia Hammond talks to Chris French, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths University of London about conspiracy theories. Are they really harmless, and why is it that some people believe in them but not others? She meets two newly elected MPs, Naz Shah from Bradford West and Johnny Mercer from Plymouth, to discuss their plans for mental health and how to get things done as a new back bench MP. Also in the programme, Claudia visits Raw Sounds' studio in Brixton, South London - an innovative music project where people with mental health problems can make and perform music with the help of professional music producers.


Claudia Hammond with the latest in psychology, neuroscience and mental health. What happens in the brain when someone goes on a drinking binge? Twins Drs Chris and Xand Van Tulleken took up the challenge to drink 21 units a week for a month for Horizon on BBC 2. Chris drank 3 drinks a day and Xand 21 units in one day. For the experiment their livers and immune systems were monitored, but All in the Mind wondered how alcohol impacted on the neurotransmitters in the brain. Addiction expert Sally Marlow explains. Children who fidget in the classroom are often in trouble for not sitting still but new research by Mark Rapport at the University of Central Florida suggests that children with ADHD need to wriggle to help them learn. "held" is the title of an exhibition opening soon at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind and artist Jane Fradgley explores some of the issues around restraint through photographs of strong dresses which patients were sometimes forced to wear. It has been known for a long time that music in different keys is associated with different emotions but much of the research focuses on Western music. Now Dr Bhishma Chakrabati from Reading University has been studying the effects of classical Indian ragas on mood.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Social Media and PTSD, Preventing Procrastination  

Claudia Hammond investigates Body dysmorphic disorder and asks if social media can really cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She also talks to the psychologist who explains why describing events in terms of the number of days away they are, rather than years could help prevent people procrastinating.


Claudia Hammond with the latest in psychology, neuroscience and mental health. This week her studio guest is neuroscientist Phil Beaman from Reading University. His latest research suggests a novel way to prevent those irritating earworms that plague most of us at one time or another. Plus that dress: earlier in the year pictures of a dress went viral and it divided families. But does it matter if you think it's blue and black or white and gold? Researcher Brad Pearce asks an audience at the Wellcome Collection. And how to be invisible: researchers in Sweden have discovered a way to trick the brain so people feel invisible.


As the general election approaches, Claudia Hammond finds out who is saying what about mental health. She talks to BBC health care and social affairs analyst, Emily Craig, who has been through the parties' manifestos. Claudia meets Matt Haig to discuss his new book, a surprise bestseller about his recovery from depression; and psychopharmacologist, Val Curran talks about her drug trial to tackle cannabis addiction using an ingredient found in the older versions of the drug, cannabidiol. And psychologists from Ohio have been trying to find out why paracetamol can blunt both positive and negative emotions. Do physical and emotional pain share the same brain systems?


Claudia Hammond examines the evidence asking whether screen time is bad for young people.

London Bombings, Insight and Analysis  

As the ten year anniversary of the 2005 London bombings approaches, Claudia Hammond talks to Rachel Handley, a clinical psychologist whose first job was to treat people for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and travel phobia after the bombings. She talks about the overwhelming guilt felt by many people she counselled and how cognitive behavioural therapy helped stop people experience terrifying flashbacks. She explains why PTSD can also have a delayed onset, even as much as ten years after the original event. Also in the programme, Gary Klein discusses his research into insights and whether it's impossible to improve our own capacity to have them. Claudia is joined by cognitive neuropsychologist, Catherine Loveday to talk about new research into emotions and the brain.

Psychology of voting, media portrayals of mental health, designer asylum  

Are you an undecided voter? Claudia Hammond finds out what psychology can tell us about some of the influences on our decision making in the run up to the election. Cognitive psychologist, Professor Colin Davis talks about his research on TV election debates and the influence of the on screen 'worm' used to show what a group of undecided voters think about what's being said throughout the debate. How is mental health portrayed in the media? Paul Whitehouse's recent comedy, Nurse, showed him playing a range of people being visited by community psychiatric nurse, Liz. Is it funny and does it matter if people with mental health problems are used as the subject of comedy? Claudia is joined by real life CPN, Lin, and by anti-stigma campaigner, Nikki Mattocks, to discuss the programme. Also - the call for picture editors not to use 'head clutching' shots to accompany stories about mental health in the media. Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change explains. And what would an ideal asylum look like? Artist James Leadbitter shows reporter, Victoria Gill, his creation.

Musical hallucinations and mental health in the novel  

Claudia Hammond finds out how neuroscientists are understanding musical hallucinations by looking at the brains of those who experience them. Tim Griffiths and Vicky Williamson talk about their research into musical imagery and what it reveals about the workings of the brain and why musical hallucinations are more common in people with hearing loss. Nathan Filer and Matt Haig join Claudia to talk about their novels: The Shock of the Fall and The Humans and why they chose to write about mental health. Dr Catherine Loveday discusses recent research into why some people are hard-wired to be better navigators than others and why drawing could improve learning.

Hypnotism; Automatic Writing; Magic and Memory  

A show with a touch of magic, as Claudia discovers how magicians and conjurers use the power of our own beliefs as well as the power of suggestion, to perform their tricks. Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, describes his latest study where a fake psychic bends keys using "psychokinetic" energy. Belief in the paranormal and the influence of others who claim to have seen the key bend, both affect what we see and remember. And the use of hypnosis in science and medicine. Former President of the Section for Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Peter Naish, describes how this altered brain state is providing a useful new tool for researchers investigating how our brains function, as well as clinicians treating patients in the NHS. Claudia visits the hypnosis unit at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College, London, and finds out about a unique study that has volunteers, hypnotised, in a brain scanner while "thoughts" are inserted in their brains. The result: automatic writing. Just like Caravaggio, 400 years ago, painted St Matthew, inspired and directed by an angel as he wrote the Bible, volunteers in this study are told "an engineer" is inserting thoughts into their heads and controlling their hand movements as they write. Dr Quinton Deeley, Dr Eamonn Walsh and Dr Mitul Mehta tell Claudia how their research is shining light on our brains and the nature of thought and consciousness. Producer: Fiona Hill.

Perinatal obsessive compulsive disorder, Mirror neurons, Baby anxiety  

Claudia Hammond investigates an often hidden condition: perinatal obsessive compulsive disorder which can affect pregnant women or new mothers. Women with perinatal OCD can have obsessive thoughts about contamination and cleanliness or a less well known aspect of the condition which is compulsive thoughts and intense fear of seriously harming their children. They go to extreme measures to prevent themselves doing any harm, although they never would. Women can be treated successfully with cognitive behavioural therapy. Claudia talks to Fiona Challacombe, clinical psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry about the condition and its treatment. Also in the programme, the brains cells that have been described by one neuroscientist as underpinning civilisation - have they been overhyped? Claudia talks to mirror neurons expert, Cecelia Heyes from Oxford University. And does a baby pick up anxiety more from its mother or father? Claudia talks to researcher, Eline Moller from Amsterdam University.

Hoarding Disorder; Unfitness to Plead; Mood Phone Apps  

Stockpiling possessions and collecting obsessively can tip into Hoarding Disorder, a condition recently recognised as a diagnosable mental health condition. Martin tells Claudia Hammond how his growing collection of cars, trucks and bikes awaiting "renovation" was growing out of control, and how a self help group for hoarders helped him to come to face up to his problem. NHS Clinical Psychologist Sophie Holmes describes the need for services to provide help and support for this often hidden group of people and tells Claudia about the success of the self help group set up with the Mary Francis Trust in Surrey in supporting those struggling with hoarding problems. The test for whether somebody is fit to plead and face a criminal Crown Court trial in England and Wales dates back almost 200 years, and it's universally accepted that these ancient rules are hopelessly out of date and need urgent reform. Many are concerned that people with serious mental illness and intellectual disabilities are finding themselves in the dock, when they're not fit to stand trial, creating a real risk of miscarriages of justice. The Law Commissioner is putting the finishing touches to a new Report and Draft Bill that will go before parliament next year and Ronnie Mackay, Professor of Criminal Policy and Mental Health at Leicester's De Montfort Law School in Leicester tells Claudia why the current law isn't fit for use in the 21st Century. Apps for smart phones and tablets that track our mood and our emotions is a growth area, but how many of the latest offerings are based on sound psychological principles, and could some do more harm than good? Clinical psychologist Lucy Maddox reviews a selection of these apps for All in the Mind (Headspace; Mindfulness in Schools; Mindshift; Dream:ON; Moodtracker; Thought Diary Pro; Mood Kit). Producer: Fiona Hill.

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