3 for Thursday: 3 Infinite Monkey Cage Podcasts on the Puzzle of the Human Mind

Robin Ince and Brian Cox of The Infinite Monkey Cage

Robin Ince and Brian Cox of The Infinite Monkey Cage. IMG: BBC Radio 4.

Take unscripted British humor and a conversation about science and you have a show that can go just about anywhere. That is, in fact, what happens on every episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage, one of my favorite podcasts.

A BBC Radio 4 show-podcast, it features comedian Robin Ince and physicist Brian Cox. There are guests each week, often other comedians or scientists. Most importantly, it’s smart, irreverent, and entertaining.

So for this week’s “three,” I’d like to feature three episodes on a theme, each taking us into the puzzle that is the human mind, including the illusion of perception, belief in the supernatural and magic, and the persistence of human irrationality. I’ve linked these to their home on iTunes because the podcast has extra material and you should really just do yourself a favor and subscribe to the show.


1) Through the Doors of Perception (42 min.)

“Brian Cox and Robin Ince attempt to walk through the doors of perception. On the way, they’ll encounter the nature of consciousness, the secret messages hidden in pop songs, the problem of objectivity (it’s subjective) and how time appears to warp. This week’s guests are psychologist and presenter of Radio 4’s All in the Mind, Claudia Hammond, Neuroscientist Beau Lotto and the writer Alan Moore. Producer: Rami Tzabar.” Listen on iTunes.

2) Science and the Supernatural (29 min.)

“Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by actor and magician Andy Nyman, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Bruce Hood as they take on the paranormal. They’ll be looking at some of the more popular claims of supernatural goings on, and asking whether a belief in ghosts, psychic abilities and other other-worldly phenomena, is just a bit of harmless fun, or whether there are more worrying implications in a belief in the paranormal.” Listen on iTunes.

3) Irrationality (45 min.)

“Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedians Josie Long and Paul Foot, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Stuart Ritchie to ask ‘is irrationality genetic?.’ The second of two programmes recorded at the Edinburgh Festival.” Listen on iTunes.

In search of belief changing ideas