Episode 3

The Human Zoo, Series 1 Episode 3 of 6

Life will be so much better when we move to Spain, buy a new car, elect a different government, acquire those new shoes.....

We can all succumb to the promise of the new - change will be all we need to live the perfect lives. But we also know the reality rarely lives up to the promise. Shoes are scuffed, endless sun becomes wearisome and new governments - well lets just say they rapidly tarnish.

Yet disappointment after disappointment never seems to banish the lurking conviction that the grass is always greener on the other side. It appears we have within us a bias towards change.

Much of this is about the pursuit of happiness, but our own judgement about what makes us happy is often flawed.
This bias can manifest in the most unlikeliest of ways. The elation of winning that nick-nack in an online auction rapidly diminishes when we realise we've overbid significantly.

In the Human Zoo this week, you'll hear this lust for change in action, illustrated by experiment and discussed by some of the greatest minds in the field. We hear from perhaps the world's leading psychologist, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman. You'll hear how our bias for change interacts with our fickle memories which has led to a radical approach to making that hospital stay not feel quite so bad after all.

The Human Zoo, where we see public decisions viewed through private thoughts, is presented by Michael Blastland, with the trusted guidance of Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School.

Presenter: Michael Blastland
Producer: Toby Murcott
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 16 Mar 2015 23:00

Related topics

Online experiment

This week’s online experiment is on the theme of our inherent bias for change. That ill-defined itch that tries to convince us that that the world will be a better place if only we...
Go try it out and see how you turn out