Sophie Ward

Seven Deadly Psychologies

Seven Deadly Psychologies

A BBC Radio Series


A fascinating exploration of the psychology behind the seven deadly sins

Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a humorous and compelling look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins. Rolling with the order established by Pope Gregory the Great, first up is pride, followed by greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and (finally) lazy old sloth.

With contributions from leading experts in the field, including geneticist, writer and presenter Dr Adam Rutherford, Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and sexologist Dr Anand Patel, this is a fascinating, funny and revelatory series that explores what makes us who we are and busts some myths along the way.

Pride - How can we have confidence without veering into arrogance? Pride can be motivating and self-affirming. But then there’s the ugly side: thinking you’re better than others. How can we have one without the other?

Greed - Why do we want money, land, material things – and ultimately control, status, dominance, power? And can we be greedy for the good?

Lust - Lust is crucial to the continuation of our species, but it's also a form of neurochemical madness that can lead us astray. How can we best live alongside our drives and desires?

Envy - Is the grass always greener? Can we want what others have without being riddled with resentment?

Gluttony - Why do we crave what we crave? The odd bit of indulgence isn't such a bad thing - but sometimes we overdo it. We short circuit our dopamine reward systems, and before we know it, we can't stop. Can we control our cravings? And when does a little bit of binging become too much?

Wrath - Things can get pretty ugly when our blood starts to boil. Some of us are quick to flip, some of us brood, and some of us push down our anger. Anger is a motivator, a driver for change in the face of a perceived injustice. The question is, how are you going to act on it?

Sloth - Is there a place for rest in today’s hyper-productive world? Our brains and bodies need rest in order to recharge. But too much sloth, and you can get stuck in a downward spiral of apathy or depression. How can we get the balance right?

Join Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward on a fascinating journey through what it means to be human in today’s modern world.

Written and presented by Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward

Produced by Becky Ripley

First Broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21 November 2023 – 2 January 2024

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