Season 4
Episode 422: Control :: The Stanford Prison Experiment

 

In 1971, Dr. Philip Zimbardo created a mock prison in the basement of Jordan Hall, the psychology building at Stanford. Mentally healthy college students were randomly assigned the roles of prisoner and guard. Dr. Zimbardo was trying to test how situations control human behavior, but within days, the situation spun out of control.

 

In this special episode, Drs. Philip Zimbardo and Christina Maslach tell the story of what ended up being one of the most infamous psychology studies in history - where young, mentally healthy participants turned brutal and desperate in only a few days. You'll learn surprising details of what inspired the Stanford Prison Experiment and how it ended, and hear how the experiment helped contribute to understanding the relationship between individuals and the situations they find themselves in.

Host: Bojan Srbinovski

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Bojan Srbinovski, Mischa Shoni, Charlie Mintz, Natacha Ruck, Victoria Hurst

Featuring: Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Dr. Christina Maslach

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Episode 421: Datafying

 

Today, we generate data with every mouse click, phone call, and even every breath. This week on State of the Human, you'll hear about how an 18th century historian, a poet, a computer scientist, a composer, and a mysterious future being are all trying to interpret that data to understand something about the human experience. We're asking: what do we learn from seeing ourselves as data? And what is lost in translation?

 

Host: Kate Nelson

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Miles S, Charlie Mintz, Kate Nelson, Rosie La Puma

Featuring: Dr. Dan Rosenberg, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jonathan Berger, Raven Jiang, Alec Glassford

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Episode 420: Belonging

 

Sometimes you’re in your own country, your own home, and you know in your bones you don’t belong. That feeling pushes you to change something. This week we bring you four stories of people who don’t quite belong in the world where they live, and who take matters in their own hands to construct their own belonging. A very young girl finds a sense of belonging while running away from an angry mob. A student creates a bridge between the Jewish and Irish sides of her family. Seven gender-defying divas share what it means to belong to yourself. And a young man discovers how to prove you belong, when the numbers are against you.

 

Host: Leslie Nguyen-Okwu

Producers: Will Rogers and Natacha Ruck

Featuring: Justine Beed, Carla Lewis, Eileen Williams, Josh Hoyt, Winona Azure, Raya Light, Macy Rodman, Peaches Christ, Alexis Blair Penney, Heklina, Sissy Spastik, Mathu Andersen, and Cher Noble.

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Episode 419: Beyond Human

 

Humans aren’t the fastest or strongest animal, but we do make the best tools. From plows to pacemakers, we’ve always used technology to transcend our human limits. This week, we ask how far that project can go. We’ll tell you how the first farmers in history transcended the limits of meat and muscle, only to create a very different kind of boundary. And we’ll present the story of two scientists excited to leave their human skin behind. Also, the story of a man who cannot walk, but who can fly; why PCs can be our friends; and finally, robot phenomenology.

 

Host: Mischa Shoni

Producers: Charlie Mintz and Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Ian Morris, Byron Reeves, BJ Fogg, Edward Maibach, Shyam Sundar, Laurie Mason, Henry Evans, Jackson Roach

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Episode 418: Joking

 

When we joke with our friends, our coworkers and our family, it’s not just about hearing them laugh. More often than not we’re looking for something beyond laughter. We’re after acceptance, bonding, release, shaming… and sometimes even more. This week on State of the Human we’re investigating how people use joking to create new realities for themselves and the people around them.

 

We have six stories, exploring the way jokes, pranks, and even puns can change our lives. We’ll hear stories from stand up comedian Tig Notaro and humor theorist Marvin Diogenes, and we’ll travel from Stanford’s cafeterias to the presidential suite on Air Force One. We’ll hear stories about how jokes can help us and synchronize our minds, stare cancer in the face and make us question our humanity along with everything we take for granted. And also, we'll laugh a lot.

Producers: Natacha Ruck and Nina Foushee

Featuring: Rosie La Puma, Jackson Roach, Nina Foushee, Miles S., Justine Beed, Charlie Mintz, Ken Grobe, Lora Kelley, Marvin Diogenes, David Demarest, Sam Roach, Jay Roach, the La Puma family, Claire Slattery, Nathaniel Nelson, Reggie Watts, and Tig Notaro.

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Episode 417: Crisis

 

Crises can take many shapes, from earthquakes, to chest pain… to a strange absence of strawberry blonde creatures in the forests of the Dominican Republic. In this show, four very different crises appear at four very different scales, affecting a person, a species, a city, and a human body. In each story, there is no emergency procedure, no obvious way out, and one person must make a choice: what are they going to save, and what are they going to sacrifice?

Host: Rosie la Puma

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Will Rogers

Featuring: Meg Smaker, César Abril, Nicolás Corona, Simon Winchester, Julian Lozos

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Episode 416: Storytelling

 

We can't live without stories, so today on State of the Human, we're investigating what stories do to us and for us. When are we in control of our story? When does our story control us?  We explore these questions with four stories. First, a woman is asked to come up with a story that will create life. Then, Buffalo Bill creates another kind of story: the American cowboy. Next, a cancer patient finds a new story. After this, children go beyond telling stories, and become them. Finally, two children look into strangers' houses and see stories.

Hosts/Producers: Christy Hartman, Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Nina Foushee, Richard White, Jess Peterson, Terri Wingham, Beth Wise, Jackson Roach, Tom Kealey

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Episode 415: Recovery

Recovery can be pretty straightforward - you take medicine, you sleep, you wait. But sometimes getting back on your feet requires a radical act. The stories in this show are about those acts: people who have to do something surprising in order to recover.

This week on State of the Human, people are changing radically in order to recover. They are learning about interior decoration for home recovery, how to get by in the emergency room, how to let go of a loved one, and how to trade broken legs for a set of hooves.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Xandra Clark

Host: Sophia Paliza

Featuring: Zubair Ahmed, Ryoko Hamaguchi, Lucas Loredo, Carlos Loredo, Nina Foushee, and Greg Wrenn

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Episode 414: Seeing in the Dark

 

This week on State of the Human, we're hearing stories about people whose vision changed, first throwing them in the dark, then revealing something new. When the lights go out, at first we can’t see anything, but eventually our eyes adjust. We slowly begin to see again, but the world looks a little bit different than it did before. This week, we’ve got four stories about people who learn to see in a new way after finding themselves in different kinds of darkness. A young kid has a superpower to see things no one else can see, but then he loses that ability. A mythologist embarks on a retreat in darkness on a mountain in Wales. An art student learns to see the human body in a new way. And an Oxford University student finds himself, unexpectedly, in darkness.

Producers: Xandra Clark and Sophia Paliza

Host: Xandra Clark

Featuring: Martin Lowenthal, Martin Shaw, Lauren YoungSmith, Ala Ebtekar, Tom Skelton, Dougie Walker

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Episode 413: Obsession

 

This week on State of the Human, we're looking at obsessions, the helpful and the debilitating. We've got four stories of people battling unwanted thoughts. A philosopher who is disgusted at the sight of food, battles his fears with the help of an obsession. A new father is obsessed with the thought that he's not feeling enough. An essayist finds that unwanted thoughts manifest in surprising ways. And Stanford athletes remind us that obsession helps you win at sports.

Host/Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Professor Elias Aboujaoude, Maria Hummel, Jon Kleiman, Nick DiBella, Kristian Ipsen, and Helena Scutt

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Episode 412: Wildness

 

When is wildness on our side, and when does it have to be eliminated? We’re not be talking about wilderness but wildness. We examine wildness as both a place of terror and a place to find meaning. And, as you’ll hear later, we don’t have to go into nature to find it. We’ll hear a story about what happens when you venture into nature for the first time. We’ll hear from a graduate student who holds some nontraditional ideas about his clothing and is a modern day outlaw because of it. We’ll introduce you to someone who studied Muay Tai in a gritty gym in Oakland. He has to be wild, right? We meet a wilderness rites of passage guide who tells us what happens when we don’t have elders, and finally, we’ll meet Tea. She may or may not raise wolves.

Hosts/Producers: Christy Hartman and Joshua Hoyt

Featured: Andrew Forsthoefel, Dr. Richard White, Andrew Todhunter, Osvaldo Murro, Mason Alford, "Jordan," Annalise Lockhart, Liam Purvis, Darlene Franklin, Martin Shaw, Melina Lopez, Teresa Yammamoto, Joshua Hoyt

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Episode 411: Breaking into Song

 

Sometimes, the only way to voice our feelings is to break into song. We’re not just talking about singing, we’re talking about that surprising moment - when melody, lyrics, and pure emotion swell inside us. When we have no choice but to open our mouths and let our voices soar. In that moment, our own voice escapes us and ventures into the world with what seems like a mind of its own. We hear ourselves like we never have. Others hear us too, and the results can be life-changing - for the better and for the worse. In our first story, we find out what really happens when you open your heart and break into song for the girl who may (or may not be) the one. In our second story, we explore what it takes to lend your voice to others, and break into song for them, whatever the consequences may be. In our third story, we go to France, to find out what happens when two lifelong enemies break into song together.

Host: Victoria Hurst

Producers: Natacha Ruck and Victoria Hurst

Featuring: Lecturer Wendy Goldberg, Danny Smith, Chris Worth, Andi Harrington, Jared Muirhead and Natacha Ruck

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Episode 410: Listening

 

Listening is way more than just paying attention, and this week's show explores how. To find out just what listening can do to us, we eavesdrop with a cochlear implant, learn what crying babies teach us about music, find out how silence can be full, how God enters our thoughts, and ask what a single moment of being listened to can achieve. We're finding out what happens when we listen to sounds we never expected to, when we take our listening where it's never been.

Host/Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Professor Tanya Luhrmann, Professor Jonathan Berger, Musikilu Mojeed , Rachel Kolb, Eoin Callery, D'or Seifer, Daniel Steinbock

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Episode 409: Questing

 

Whether or not there's a cape, a sword, or a noble steed involved, we all go on quests. We leave the comforts and routines of ordinary life in search of a light that hovers just beyond the horizon. In the old days, it was a better trade route, a new world, the holy grail. It's much the same today. But what is it about the quest that makes it so different from merely reaching for a goal? And what makes it worth leaving everything else behind? In this episode, a girl named Rachel searches the world in a quest for her holy grail. Accompanying her is an academic all-star named Bobby, who is questing for certain kind of community. In our last piece, a film editor named Giusepi goes on a quest around America for a better way to serve people.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Sophia Paliza

Host: Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Bobby Holley, Daniela Bize, Guisepi the Tea Guy

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Episode 408: Returning Home

What is it like to be a student who has fought in a war? In this episode, six Stanford students and recent alumni, all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tell their stories. With thoughtfulness, humor, and stone cold honesty, they share with us their decision to join, their experiences in boot camp, living and fighting in Iraq, and their eventual return home to civilian and student life. This is your chance to listen.

Producers: Xandra Clark and Natacha Ruck

Hosts: Natacha Ruck and Xandra Clark

Featuring: Dustin Barfield, Chris Clark, Josh Francis, Annie Hsieh, Heidi Toll, Russ Toll, and William Treseder

Music and scoring by Eoin Callery

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Episode 407: Haunting

 

October is full of ghosts, but in our show we will not be talking about little kids who wear white sheets. We're embracing the unseen, and talking about haunting: how things we can't see nonetheless press upon us, affect our choices, our actions, and sometimes even our beliefs. We'll be talking about the ghosts that inhabit California's highways, about a spirit who is very hungry, about the ghosts of our past selves that persist inside each of us, and finally, we'll bring you "What Can Be Named," the story of a young man haunted by a country.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Christy Hartman

Host: Christy Hartman

Featuring: Dr. Nicholas Jenkins, Dong-Nghi Huynh, Dr. Joshua Landy, Nina Foushee

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Episode 406: In Between

We all come from somewhere—and then life happens. In college maybe more than anywhere else, you're stuck between two worlds. This week on our show, the story of the Chi Theta Chi co-op, one of the most unusual houses at Stanford, and its residents' fight to preserve their independence from the university. Plus a story of animals being trained to act, a near death experience, and other tales of liminality.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Host: Natacha Ruck

Featuring: Sam Corrao Clanon, Abel Allison, Elif Tasar, Gerad Hanono, Adam Pearson, Nathaniel Nelson, Deborah Golder, and Logan Hehn

music by Mississippi John Hurt, Colleen, The Norskadelen Trio, Anaïs Mitchell

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Episode 405: Learning to Lie

 

When asked what trait they want to instill in their children, most parents answer “honesty.” But in truth, learning to lie is a crucial part of childhood. This week, we take a deep look at how and why we learn to lie, and what lying does to you. Our first story investigates the most common lie of the western world and how it ushers us into the world of lies. Our second story is about the irrepressible urge to tell the truth, and our third and final story is about lying as a form of love.

Producer: Natacha Ruck

Featuring: Joshua Hoyt, Victoria Hurst, Poncie Rutsch, Christy Hartman, Dana Kletter, Dr. Gail Heyman, Dr. Karl Rosengren, Anish Mitra, Ian Girard, Rebekah Morreale, and Ashley Artmann.

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Episode 403: How to Give

 

This week on our show, four stories of giving. First, it's a story about a charity fundraiser, and the woman who comes to question why fundraisers even exist. Then it's the story of a t-shirt entrepreneur's attempt to send one million shirts to Africa. Third, it's two interviews with people who had to decide if they were willing to donate bone marrow. Last, the story of Odyssey Works, a group of artists that create works of art for a single person.

 Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Rachel Hamburg, Will Rogers, Jason Sadler, Saundra Schimmelpfennig, TMS Ruge, Nick Hartley, Mandeep Gill, Kristina Kulin, Abraham Burickson, and Jen Harmon

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Episode 402: Seeing Ourselves

 

Since the days of Narcissus and the looking pool, we've known there's a danger in seeing ourselves. There's a possibility of caring too much, or seeing something we don't want to see. But that hasn't stopped humans from trying to see more and more. Today we have more ways to see ourselves than ever before. So it's time to take a look at looking. What do we want to see, and what do we do with that information? Today on our show, four stories of people who tried to see themselves clearly. A woman views her genetic profile, and learns why her tendency towards depression might be an asset. A true mirror--one that doesn't reverse your image--is deployed on Stanford students. A personality test called the Meyers Briggs profile is taken to the max. And a girl explains her point system that lets her keep track of exactly how people feel about her.

Producer: Jonah Willihnganz

Host: Xandra Clark

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock, Lone Frank, Colleen Caleshu, Hank Greely, John Nantz, Rachel Hamburg, Xandra Clark, Iris Clayter, Christy Hartman, and Alexzandra Scully

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Episode 401: Resilience

 

Almost 100 years ago, a rogue geologist named Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift. It didn't matter that he was right. He was laughed off the stage. And even though he spent the rest of his career proving his theory, he died unknown. But eventually the theory of continental drift was accepted. Talk about resilience. That's our theme this week and we have five stories of people discovering resilience and how to become resilient. In Wegenerʼs day, people thought character was like the continents, fixed. Either you were a resilient person or you werenʼt. Today we know we can cultivate resilience. We can all become Wegeners.

Producer: Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Jessica Talbert, Jordan Raymond, Michelle Powers, Adina Glickman, Michael Zeligs, Jane Reynolds

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