The Why Factor

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The extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions

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Website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00xtky9
Description
The extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions
Language
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-05-25 00:05
last episode published
2019-05-20 13:00
publication frequency
6.97 days
Contributors
BBC owner  
BBC World Service author  
Explicit
false
Number of Episodes
351
Rss-Feeds
Detail page
Categories
Unsorted

Recommendations


Episodes

Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors
20.05.2019

Why do we admire confidence? (Part One)

From doctors to politicians to your boss, people often ask us to put our confidence in them. We’re often urged to build more confidence in ourselves. But one of the most consistent findings in psychology is that there is very little overlap between con...
BBC World Service author
6.05.2019

Why Do We Find It Hard To Cut Our Losses?

At some point in our lives, we’re all likely to make an investment, in time or money or effort, which goes wrong. But, when we know we’re in a hole, why do we find it so hard to stop digging? Realising when we should cut our losses is a decision making...
BBC World Service author
29.04.2019

Emotional labour

Many jobs require workers to manage their emotional expressions with others. Flight attendants are expected to smile and be friendly even in stressful situations, carers are expected to show empathy and warmth, whereas bouncers and prison guards might ...
BBC World Service author
22.04.2019

Why is climate change so politicised?

People on the left are more likely to accept climate change than those on the right in the USA, Australia and much of Western Europe. But it’s a question that starts with little more than a thermometer, a measurement of the temperature at the earth’s s...
BBC World Service author
15.04.2019

Separating the art from the artist

Why can’t we judge art at face value? How does the identity, behaviour and cultural context of the artist play a part in how we approach their artwork? Edwina Pitman explores why we can’t seem to separate the art from the artist. Guests: John Myatt, a...
BBC World Service author
8.04.2019

Cinderella

Popularly known through the1950 Disney film of the same name, Cinderella has become a childhood classic all over the world. But different versions of her story can be traced all the way from Asia to Africa and beyond. These variants provide a snapshot ...
BBC World Service author
1.04.2019

Why do stories matter?

Telling stories is one of the ways we connect to one and other. Stories teach us empathy and allow us to feel what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. They evolve to show us what our society considers acceptable - and what will not be forgiven. ...
BBC World Service author
25.03.2019

Mothers and daughters

Is there any truth to claim that the mother daughter relationship is more fraught than any other dynamic? Psychologist Professor Terri Apter explains how conflict can help mothers and daughters renew their bond. Mother and daughter team Sally and Sarah...
BBC World Service author
18.03.2019

Fathers and daughters

Fathers are often regarded as secondary parents in many cultures, perhaps even more so when they have girls. We examine why this can be damaging, and the ways in which fathers can have a profound influence on how their daughters navigate the world. Ev...
BBC World Service author
11.03.2019

Fattism

We’re told obesity is on the rise - globally. But if you think about it, how often do you see an obese Chief Executive, or tech entrepreneur, or politician even? Especially a female one. Perhaps the reason is because society discriminates against fat p...
BBC World Service author
4.03.2019

Beauty Pageants

Beauty pageants project an image of inspiring glitz and glamour. Often contestants enter these competitions to boost their confidence and take advantage of the platform they provide. But, there are plenty of critics who argue they objectify women, and...
BBC World Service author
25.02.2019

Why is architecture so big on Instagram?

Instagram’s one billion users love architecture. If you search for #architecture, you will get hundreds of millions of results. Some architecture publications have more followers than household names like Cosmpolitan for example. We also seem to love t...
BBC World Service author
18.02.2019

Meritocracy

The concept that you can get ahead on your work and talents, also called meritocracy, is something we mostly agree is good. We also equate it with a fairer society, one where the social order is not determined by birth but one which gives us some sort ...
BBC World Service author
11.02.2019

Speed

We live in a world where going fast – and faster – is an everyday fact of life. Where fast cars, fast boats and fast athletes command our attention. In theme parks we queue for the most fastest, most exciting rides. But why do we find speed so thrill...
BBC World Service author
4.02.2019

Blame

When things go wrong, we crave something or someone to blame. It’s a strategy which puts people on the defensive, and can create a toxic culture. People remember when they have been blamed for something, and will be quicker to deflect blame themselves....
BBC World Service author
28.01.2019

Smart Speakers

The number of smart speakers in US households has increased by 78% year-over-year, from 66 million in December 2017 to 118 million in December 2018. About ten million people in the UK now use one and, on average, one in 10 people in the world now own a...
BBC World Service author
21.01.2019

Giving Presents

A present connects, communicates and makes people generally happy. It can strengthen a relationship, but also jeopardise it. Have you ever wondered why a certain present was chosen for you? And how much thought goes into the presents you give? This Why...
BBC World Service author
14.01.2019

Fitness Apps

In a world increasingly obsessed with health, the fitness technology market is booming. Whether you’re a serious athlete or just enjoy a casual run or cycle around your local park on a Sunday morning, it seems more and more of us are using fitness devi...
BBC World Service author
7.01.2019

Extreme Sports

Whether it’s climbing Everest, hiking through the Amazon jungle or cycling round the world, why are more of us taking on extreme endurance challenges which push our minds and bodies to the limit? Marathons now seem commonplace and a whole new breed of...
BBC World Service author
31.12.2018

Zombies

We are asking why so many people are fascinated by Zombies. For many people the Zombie is a walking corpse that’s out to bite you, and turn you into a similarly mindless, flesh craving undead person. What’s not to like? And we seem to be going through ...
BBC World Service author
24.12.2018

Musical Instruments

Why do some instruments get all the tunes and the respect, while others are left at the bottom of the heap? The leader of the orchestra is always a violinist, and the guitarist usually gets to leap around at the front of the band. Meanwhile other inst...
BBC World Service author
17.12.2018

Wine

Wine has been referred to as the nectar of the gods, and has been tempting connoisseurs for centuries. But contained in this simple pleasure is an incredibly complex product; and anyone interested in reaching the pinnacle of the wine world must learn ...
BBC World Service author
10.12.2018

Why do we Collude with Corruption?

It’s a bite in Mexico, a sweetener in Britain, Tea money in Cambodia. Why do we collude with corruption when it’s unfair and costs us billions of dollars? Nastaran Tavakoli-Far examines the moral quandaries we face when asked to pay a bribe. She talk...
BBC World Service author
3.12.2018

Why Do Men Love Sheds?

We all need a place to call our own. For a lot of men, that place is the garden shed. Going to the shed is sometimes seen as eccentric or strange behaviour. What is it about the space inside those four wooden walls, among the tools and the junk, that m...
BBC World Service author
26.11.2018

Horses

The horse has been part of human society since earliest times – archaeologists have unearthed evidence from over 5000 years ago in central Asia. Over the centuries, the horse has been celebrated in myths and legend, it has played a role as human socie...
BBC World Service author
19.11.2018

Truth

Every day we’re bombarded with information and, with each new story or alternative fact, we have to decide what we believe to be true. But some of the mental short cuts we take to sift through this material allow us to be deceived: past experiences, ...
BBC World Service author
12.11.2018

Fact Checkers

Fake News - sometimes it’s obvious to spot, other times it requires more thoughtful investigation. That’s a fact checker’s job; dedicated researchers trying to flesh out what is true and what is not in the deluge of information we see every day. In 201...
BBC World Service author
5.11.2018

Why Scarcity Can Damage Decision Making

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith discovers how when we suffer a scarcity of mental resources, we fail to plan for our futures. That means, according to Princeton psychology professor Eldar Shafir, that millions of people on low incomes where money is scarce are fi...
BBC World Service author
29.10.2018

Plane, Train and Bird Spotting

Why do people love plane, train and bird spotting? Novice aviation geek Alys Harte enters the worlds of twitchers, birders, watchers and spotters. She meets Noel Marsh-Giddings, who has flown on the shortest and longest flights on the planet - just ...
BBC World Service author
22.10.2018

Why Have Women Taken To Wellness?

Women are increasingly seeking out ways to look after their minds, bodies and emotions. Nutrition and lifestyle changes - from meditating to drinking green smoothies full of so-called super foods - all come under the term wellness. There are wellness ...
BBC World Service author
15.10.2018

Why Do We Keep Open Secrets?

Open Secrets - when everybody knows something is going on but it is never officially acknowledged. Things are left unsaid, remaining in this strange unacknowledged state for decades. So why do some open secrets not come out sooner? Nastaran Tavakoli...
BBC World Service author
8.10.2018

Rhetoric

Rhetoric has been described as the art of persuasion. Used to its best effect, it can make what you say very convincing. In the age of non-stop tweets, news updates and digital distractions, discourse feels like it’s become more immediate, less conside...
BBC World Service author
1.10.2018

Compassion Fatigue

We hear about disasters and bad things happening in the world around the clock. Thanks to our TVs and smartphones we are bombarded 24/7. And charities use those same platforms to appeal to us for donations almost as frequently. Those whose job it is ...
BBC World Service author
24.09.2018

Why has Feminism Affected the Mother-son Bond?

You’re a feminist. You’re pregnant. It’s a boy. What next? Feminist mothers share with Nastaran Tavakoli-Far the complexities of bringing up a son. One mother feels she has failed to impart her feminist values to her 17-year-old son who insists on li...
BBC World Service author
17.09.2018

Why the Father-Son Relationship is Important

Fathers can influence their sons long after the two have stopped living together. The father can act as the role model or, conversely, a cautionary tale. In this edition of the Why Factor, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far talks with fathers and sons about how...
BBC World Service author
10.09.2018

Why do we forget the things we’ve learned?

Have you ever been captivated by a book, full of stories you never knew, revelled in that new knowledge …and then forgotten it all? If the answer is yes, take heart; you are not alone. Why is it we remember some facts easily, and others slip away? In ...
BBC World Service author
3.09.2018

Why Do We Feel Heartbreak?

Heartbreak after love lost has been written about for generations. Who can forget the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet? Or how Rose lost Jack in Titanic? Some of our favourite songs were inspired by heartbreak and as most of us have felt heartbrea...
BBC World Service author
27.08.2018

Antarctica

Why would you go to the coldest place on Earth? A place mostly devoid of life, where there are rarely more than a few thousand other humans spread out across a landmass twice the size of Australia. A place whose sublime beauty is matched by its capacit...
BBC World Service author
20.08.2018

Why Boredom Is Interesting

Boredom is a powerful emotion, one which many of us will go to lengths to avoid. Psychologists describe its purpose as trying to get us to do something else. Boredom can spur us on to do something more meaningful or tempt us into dangerous behaviours...
BBC World Service author
13.08.2018

Being at Sea

Lesley Curwen has sailed thousands of miles around Europe on her yacht and knows the strange joy of being out of sight of land. Talking to fellow sea-lovers - sailors, a marine biologist, an artist and a Captain of a merchant ship - she asks why we are...
BBC World Service author
6.08.2018

Why do we Love Boats?

Why do so many of us love boats? They are used as homes as well as for work and pleasure across the world. Lesley Curwen, a proud owner of a yacht, finds out how our love affair with the boat can be a deep, passionate attachment and how some vessels ca...
BBC World Service author
30.07.2018

Female Friendships

Just like in the TV show Sex and the City, female friendships tend to be uniquely close – women talk often and share a lot. But this level of intimacy can make the relationships susceptible to serious and even terminal breakdown. As friendships inc...
BBC World Service author
24.07.2018

Male Friendships

From the Obama – Biden bromance to the transformative experience of the men’s group, in this programme presenter Nastaran Tavakoli-Far explores what men can get from their friendships with other men that is unique. With theories from Aristotle to t...
BBC World Service author
16.07.2018

School Reunions

Why do people go to their school reunion? Caz Graham goes to a 50th anniversary school reunion in the North of England where she meets people who are encountering friends who have not seen each other for years. She hears how the event prompts their ...
BBC World Service author
9.07.2018

Us and Them

Dividing people into groups is part of our social experience. Be it through race, gender, nationality; we build our identities through groups we belong to. And these identities can be numerous and elastic. But, what makes us decide who is like ...
BBC World Service author
2.07.2018

Status

How often do you think about other peoples’ opinion of you? In many parts of the world status is something we can change through education, occupation and wealth but what if you come from a culture where the status you are born with is inescapable? ...
BBC World Service author
25.06.2018

Fishing

People have been fishing for thousands of years – it is one of the last hunter gatherer activities. But increasingly it is becoming more difficult, as fish stocks dwindle or regulation limits the number of fishes that can be caught. Caz Graham asks w...
BBC World Service author
18.06.2018

Why Football is the world’s game

Why has football becomes the world’s favourite team sport? Aasmah Mir asks why “soccer” has developed such a huge following. As the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia, Aasmah talks to players and fans across the world about the game’s accessibility, si...
BBC World Service author
11.06.2018

Why Do We Love Landscapes?

What is it about a beautiful landscape that people like so much? Caz Graham explores the appeal of landscapes, starting with a visit to the English Lake District and the site of William Wordsworth’s poem, Daffodils. Caz meet local poet Harriet Fraser...
BBC World Service author
4.06.2018

Self-Help

Why do we believe complete strangers can guide us in improving every aspect of ourselves. Mary-Ann Ochota explores whether the self-help industry really changes peoples’ lives. Mary-Ann visits a self-improvement workshop, talks to the owner of an Ind...
BBC World Service author