<-- code for revenge quiz -->
CBCradio

Strange Animal
with Mike O'Brien

Bookmark and Share

Why do we find fear fun? (July 26 & 30)

mike fear.jpg

This week on Strange Animal we're facing our fears. Not the truly terrifying type but the kind that causes that creepy-crawly feeling when you're watching a horror movie. Or that feeling of anxiety that starts low in your stomach when when you're in a roller coaster and it's climbing that first hilly track. If it's so scary, why do we find fear fun?

First, we'll meet this week's strange animal, Heather Porteous. She doesn't like heights. She gets queazy at the mere mention of a ferris wheel or a roller coaster. Yet, she has found the intestinal fortitude to jump out of a plane more than 600 times. We'll talk to Heather about her fear and prepare her for a "fun" ride on a roller coaster.

 Eduardo Andrade has been trying to figure out why some people think being terrorized, disturbed and grossed out is a great way to spend a Saturday night! He talks to Mike about getting over his own fear of horror movies and what he's learned about why people enjoy them.

Can you identify the eight classic horror films that these eight lines come from? If so, enter our contest by clicking the "contact us" link.

Listen to our horror movie montage:

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Dr. Jitender Sareen runs an anxiety clinic at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He gives this week's resident strange animal, Heather, a few tips about how she can prepare herself for her upcoming ride on a roller coaster.

Jeff Wise does scary things on purpose, from test-flying a jet pack to ice-diving in the Arctic. When he's not doing scary stuff, he's writing about it. Jeff is the author of the book Extreme Fear and writes a column for Popular Mechanics called, appropriately,  "I'll try anything..."  Jeff talks about the benefits of doing scary things.

Also, Mike takes Heather for a ride on a roller coaster.

To listen to the fear episode just press play! Or you can download the podcast here, or from iTunes.

Download Flash Player to view this content.

 

Bookmark and Share

Why do we lack willpower? (July 19 & 23)

 

mike willpower better.jpg 

This week on Strange Animal we're asking, "Why is temptation so tempting and our willpower so powerless?"

Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist at Stanford University in California. She writes a blog for Psychology Today called, The Science of Willpower. When it comes to controlling your self-control, she knows what works and what doesn't.

Recent research has shown that willpower works a lot like a muscle and can wear down with use. Tim Pychyl explains what this means for exercising your self-control.

Mike O'Brien takes to the streets to discover your greatest willpower challenges.

In this week's Strange Animal experiment, Mike tests whether it's really possible to wear out your willpower.

Do we have a deal for you!  We'll give you a marshmallow. You can eat it now. But if you're willing to wait 15 minutes,  we'll give you two marshmallows. Now imagine that you're just four years old. What would you choose?  Mike talks to psychologist Dave Walsh about the iconic marshmallow test and how that test can predict your child's success in life. David Walsh is the author of No: Why Kids-of All Ages-Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.

 Take a look at some of these kids' strategies for resisting eating that marshmallow.

 

 

To listen to the willpower episode just press play! Or you can download the podcast here, or from iTunes.

 

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Bookmark and Share

Why do we seek revenge? (July 12 & 16)

mike rev 250.jpgThis week on Strange Animal we'll delve into the underbelly of vengeance to discover the real reasons why we seek revenge.

Mike talks to a great - or maybe not so great - avenger, Ruby Yudai, to find out why she loves taking revenge.

Michael McCulllough, the author of Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct, explains the evolution of  our desire for revenge.

Men's and women's brains react quite differently when they experience revenge. Mike takes us through the fascinating experiment that revealed the male schadenfreude reaction to revenge.

Is revenge really a dish best served cold? Stacey MacKinnon is a professor of social psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island and she's discovered the best temperature for revenge. 

 

Getting even usually gets a bad rap. It's seen as petty, heavy-handed and even dangerous. But Kevin Carlsmith has a better reason to avoid it. It doesn't work. He discusses his research with Mike.

 

Oh and if all that research hasn't quelled your desire for revenge, take a look at this cautionary tale.

 

To listen to the revenge episode just press play! Or you can download the podcast here, or from iTunes.

 

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Bookmark and Share

Revenge Experiment

You be the judge!

Take a listen to the following three scenarios then compare your attitudes about revenge to the research being done in Canada.

Question # 1: Justice in a Jewel Case:

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Answer # 1: According to research being done by Stacey MacKinnon at the University of Prince Edward Island, most people approve of a man taking immediate revenge if it is seen as equal to the offence.

Back to the clip

Question # 2: The Fridge of Horror:

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Answer # 2:According to research being done by Stacey MacKinnon at the University of Prince Edward Island, most people disapprove of pre-meditated revenge even if it's seen as equal to the offence.

Back to the clip

Question # 3: The Case of the Bothersome Brother:

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Answer # 3: According to research being done by Stacey MacKinnon at the University of Prince Edward Island, most people disapprove of any revenge taken by a woman whether it is pre-meditated or immediate.

Back to the clip

Bookmark and Share

Why Do We Laugh? (July 5 & 9)

mike laugh.jpg

On this epsiode of Strange Animal we'll brave giggles, guffaws and gut-hurting howls to answer the riddle of why we laugh.

With his micophone in hand, Mike O'Brien steps into the streets to discover what everyone is laughing at.

The Laughter Lady aka Jo-anne Bacharowski connects the dots between the sound of laughter and our emotional states.

Mike puts four human guinea pigs into a room with a concealed microphone to test Robert Provine's theory that most laughter has nothing to do with humour. 

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you - whether they want to or not! Neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares her research into the contagiousness of laughter.

Not convinced that laughter is contagious? Take a listen to this cricket commentary from the BBC and see if you can keep yourself from laughing.

Is laughter really the best medicine?  If all the claims being made about the benefits of laughter are true then someone should really bottle it. Strange Animal presents a fanciful commercial for laughter.

Professor Rod Martin reveals the real benefits of laughter and humour.

 

As promised here's the video of a ticklish penquin:

 

If you can't get enough of the animal tickles check out this video of rats laughing their tails off:

 

 

To listen to the laughter episode just press play! Or you can download the podcast here, or from iTunes.

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Bookmark and Share

Web Only - Swearing Comedy Sketch

Despite the evidence that swearing is human nature and might even be good for you, there are some folks who would still prefer to use more acceptable language.  Here at Strange Animal we had fun imagining some scenarios where that would be really hard to pull off.

 

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Bookmark and Share

Why Do We Swear? (June 28th & July 2nd)

mike swear photo for web.jpgThis week on Strange Animal we'll take a crash course in coarse language as Mike O'Brien gets to the #%$$#@* bottom of why we swear.

We can't talk about the mysteries of human behaviour without a mysterious human. We'll meet this week's resident strange animal, Scott McGillivray. He's a Christian, an actor, a computer network manager and a swearer.

Mike hits the streets to find out what reasons people give for their cursing.

Psychology Professor Timothy Jay advocates for the much maligned four-letter words.

Four lab rats... oops, we mean people, agree to submerge their hands in icy-cold water to test a theory that swearing actually helps people to cope with pain. Check out the Scientific American article on the original experiment.

The team that swears together...Linguist Janet Holmes shares her insights into the surprising social role of foul language.

Strange things happen in our brains when we swear. Diana Sidtis takes us on a trip through our heads to show that swear words are actually more like gestures than language.

To listen to the swearing episode just press play! Or you can download the podcast here, or from iTunes.

 

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Bookmark and Share

The Pros of Profanity

We'll be kicking off the Strange Animal summer season with some good words about "bad" words. The CBC's behavioural columnist Mike O'Brien first turned his attention to why we curse way back in 2009.

Listen here 

Bookmark and Share

Show starts June 28th!

On Strange Animal, ever curious host Mike O'Brien talks human behaviour with both scientists and citizens who us understand why we do what we do.