If you’re interested in learning what makes people tick, there’s no shortage of podcasts about human behavior. Psychologists, students pursuing a degree in psychology, or even those who are just curious about the way the mind works may consider listening to a podcast in order to gain additional knowledge about the reasoning behind why we do the things we do. Whether it’s an hour-long compilation of novel ideas or a quick one-one-one chat about building good habits, the following are five of the best social work podcasts that can help to put life in perspective.
1. Arming the Donkeys
Dan Ariely, a Duke University behavioral expert, specializes in human irrationality. In his podcast, Arming the Donkeys, Ariely talks with fellow scientists, researchers, and authors to talk about the many ways that humans’ behaviors seem to destroy their own self-interest. Whether we are aware of our behaviors or not, humans have a tendency to purposefully act out without even realizing it. This can include anything from feeling bad when you should be feeling good, overpaying for certain goods, and generally misunderstanding the world around you.
2. Waking Up
Philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris blends cognitive science and current events in his podcast, “Waking Up.” Listeners may begin the series thinking of the brain as a source of control and agency but walk away with a different view. As Harris moves through the series, he encourages listeners to try to understand that the brain behaves much like a computer that is powered by chemicals. Harris and his guests also contemplate a number of topics that those intrigued by human behavior will find interesting, including society’s tendencies to stereotype, the nature of compassion, and the effects of meditation on one’s behavior and mind.
3. Hidden Brain
In his podcast, “Hidden Brain,” host Shankar Vedantam helps listeners along on their own personal journeys, guiding them through their own blind spots, biases, and missteps. He reveals the many hard-to-see ways that our judgment and decision-making are influenced by various forces, including our tendency to romanticize the past as well as our built-in fear of losing money. There is still a lot we don’t know about the human brain and why people do the things they do, but this social work podcast shows listeners that even what we do understand can be nearly impossible to notice if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
4. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is known for her extensive writings on happiness — both others’ and her own — and refines many of the bigger concepts in her weekly podcast, “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” The show, co-hosted by her sister, Elizabeth Craft, features many episodes that center around cultivating happiness through the avoidance of bad habits and the building of good ones. For something that is so elusive to thousands, or maybe millions, of people, these two ladies present happiness as something that is not intangible but rather as something that is well within reach, regardless of one’s age, education, background, current or past behaviors, and present state of mind.
5. All in the Mind
All in the Mind, a podcast put on by the Australian Broadcast Company, reminds listeners that all human behavior starts somewhere — and as it so happens, that place is a three-pound, squishy lump of tissue tucked right between our ears. The host, Lynne Malcolm, introduces her listeners to the many aspects of human psychology, including everything from our infatuation with conspiracy theories to the importance of staying social. To ensure the insights are reliable, each episode is backed by vetted research, so you can feel comfortable sharing the findings with others.
Regardless of whether you are interested in a certain aspect of human behavior or you’d like to learn more about the principles and science behind human behavior as a whole, there are a number of resources available that can help you to understand human behavior just a little better. Now that your podcast queues are nice and full, it’s time to start listening to these excellent podcasts about human behavior.