The seven deadly sins get a bad rap don't they? But what if they have their uses? And why do we have these emotions if they're so deadly anyway? This thoroughly entertaining series brings together the science and the social aspects of each "sin" that will have you looking at your own emotions in a new light.
It seems like the New Year is an ideal time to think about the sins, right? Greed and gluttony are the obvious ones but then maybe you've also been envious of what other people have been doing, or getting; or perhaps you've been keen to show off what you have been up to and buying? Or was there a family row that made you angry? Did you just hibernate, and now can’t get going again from your sloth state? Maybe just the hint of Valentine’s Day and spring ahead is already creating some lusty stirrings…
January is prime real estate for marketing people to tap into these emotions and guilt can be a huge motivating factor for some wild promises of diets, gyms, and new beginnings.
It’s often a time to think about abstinence and denial after a time of indulgence - banish the booze, cut the carbs, bin the biscuits - the horror! - and exercise those demons in more ways than one.
In the new podcast series Seven Deadly Psychologies, Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward tackle each of the seven sins in order: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.
Each episode is under 30 minutes and it nips along with a spry sense of humour as we get the neuroscience and biological background via scientist Anna Machin, and then some social history and real world examples and testimony. And in each episode there is some carefully considered reflection on what you might be able to try if you feel that one of these emotions is having a detrimental effect on your day to day life.
It is genuinely fascinating and every episode had me at least once making the “ooohhhh” sound of enlightenment. One example of this is how neuroscientist Ian Robertson explained the different factors around sloth and the environmental factors that can induce this - almost like a paralysis. This was another one where the advice and potential steps you could take are really logical and practical - it's useful to know that a little confidence trick on your brain can work wonders.
Unlike some quick listicles or opinion pieces that are published around this time of year, there are no easy answers and it’s a welcome addition that they tackle some myths - the couch potato gene for one - and misconceptions and provide some fresh perspectives alongside the science.
Producer Becky Ripley and co-host Sophie Ward have crafted one of those special series here that you want to share with others and it is one I know that I’ll revisit. This is a great example of how you can have chemistry and fun from likeable and engaging hosts without them needing to waffle on for 10minutes of “banter” before we actually get started. Although I’m looking forward to listening to this again, I really do hope that they have an idea for another series and that it gets commissioned pronto.
All seven episodes of Seven Deadly Psychologies are available now via BBC Sounds and you can find the link below. You’ll be forgiven your gluttony if you binge them all in one go…
Seven Deadly Psychologies: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001sm83
My biscuit rating?
Chocolate chip shortbread - filling and rich with drops of fun and joy.