What does happiness mean to you? Friends, family, the rush of a crowd or the joy of solitude? Happiness is a fundamental human desire, yet we often struggle to achieve it. Understanding what does and does not make us happy is a growing field of scientific study. In this edition of the Why Factor, Sandra Kanthal asks if we can really teach people how to be happy.
Laurie Santos – Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Bruce Hood – Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Bristol
Ellie Wright – Student, University of Bristol
Meike Wiking – CEO, Happiness Research Institute
Jan-Emmanuel de Neve – Associate Editor, World Happiness Report
Professor Dixon Chibanda – Psychiatrist and Founder of The Friendship Bench Project
(Photo: Note pad and smile emoticon on books. Credit: Getty Images)
Why do funerals matter?
Christopher Gunness explores why funerals matter so profoundly to us, as individuals and societies. He talks to people who have lost loved ones in Ghana, Pakistan and the UK about the challenges they have faced. He discovers how burial and cremation have become popular in different countries at different times, visits a green burial place and looks at the growing world of online memorials.
Presenter: Christopher Gunness
Producer: Bob Howard
(Photo: Ghana, Accra Funeral Service. Credit: Getty Images)
Why do we blend?
Blending ingredients to produce something new is a distinctively human urge, and one of our most creative acts. We blend all sorts of products, such as tea, champagne and perfume. Did you know that blended whiskies combine over 30 single malts? In this week’s Why Factor, Barry Smith asks - why we blend. And why some blends work whilst others don’t.
Presenter: Barry Smith
Producer: David Edmonds
Editor: Richard Knight
Why does nature calm anxiety?
As the world grows more urban, humanity moves further away from nature. Could this be the reason anxiety has become the most diagnosed mental illness in the west? The idea of mindfulness is becoming more popular as the mainstream grows more aware of how panicked we all are. How are we tackling this issue? Jordan Dunbar dives into a niche of researchers and therapists who are learning about and treating the negative symptoms of urban life with a dose of nature.
Lea Kendall, Therapist and James Kendall, Wilderness Instructor
Birgitta Gatersleben, Environmental Psychologist
Patricia Hasbach, Clinical Psychotherapist
Harini Negrenda, Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India
Layla McCay, Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health
Presented and Produced by Jordan Dunbar
Researcher Julia Webster
Editor Richard Knight
Why do we care so much about games?
The sports teams we support say something about who we are. Our identities are bound up with the men and women who play for our side – and we experience their success and failure as if they were our own. But, if supporting your team is so important, how can there be so many people who think these contests are of little consequence? Sandra Kanthal explores why we care so deeply about the outcome of a game.
Michael Sandel, professor of Government Theory - Harvard University
Dr Martha Newson, cognitive anthropologist - Oxford University
Dr Alan Pringle, faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - University of Nottingham
Stephen Reicher, professor of Social Psychology -University of St Andrews
Matthew Engel, sportswriter and author of That’s the Way It Crumbles
Nisha Nair, assistant professor of Business Administration – University of Pittsburgh
(Photo: Pakistan cricket superfans. Credit: Mohammed Arif, ECB National Growth Manager, Diverse Communities)