General

  • Animal Testing (with Dr. Katherine Roe & Dr. Emily Trunnell)

    We've all heard the arguments against animal testing: it's cruel, it's unethical. But you may not know the dirty truth: it doesn't even work most of the time. This week on Taboo Science, we dive deep into the animal testing controversy. We talk to researchers Katherine Roe and Emily Trunnell from PETA’s Science Advancement and Outreach Division about unethical experiments and flawed disease models. While scientists all over the world still rely on animal data, new technology like organs on chips and AI models offer a lot of promise. Tune in to hear what’s being done to end animal testing—and whether that’s really the best path forward. 

  • IQ / Intelligence (with Dr. Steven Piantadosi)

    The IQ test is supposed to be a measure of human intelligence. But is it? Today, we're joined by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Steven Piantadosi to understand why the diversity of human intellect can't be captured by a single number. We'll explore the history of IQ, from its innocent beginnings in French schools to its dark role in the eugenics movement. We'll understand why IQ testing is fallible, thanks to rising scores, the effects of motivation, and cultural bias, and learn about a test in the 1970s that was designed to flip that bias upside down. Go full galaxy brain and tune in to hear why IQ isn't all it's cracked up to be.

  • Climate Anxiety (with Dr. Thomas Doherty)

    Avoiding climate news? Do thoughts of the apocalypse keep you up at night? Feeling guilty about unsustainable habits? With climate change becoming a stark reality, more and more of us are grappling with anxiety over our planet's environmental crisis. Today, environmental psychologist Thomas Doherty sheds light on the emerging field of climate-conscious therapy — a response to this very real mental health impact. He explains how therapists are equipping themselves to counsel those struggling with climate anxiety, and how people can restructure their 'pyramid of issues' to create healthier coping mechanisms that will help them navigate these challenging times. You’ll hear about the three-pronged mental health impact of climate change: the direct disaster effects, far-reaching social implications, and the indirect repercussions. You’ll also learn strategies to help you express your environmental values and narratives so you can feel more empowered to get out there and do something.

  • Menstruation (with Dr. Kate Clancy)

    Menstruation is so much more than a useless byproduct of the reproductive cycle — it's a dang biological miracle. With the help of Dr. Kate Clancy, a professor at the University of Illinois and author of Period: The Real Story of Menstruation, this episode dives deep into the misconceptions, stigmas, and hidden truths about menstruation. Uncover the true purpose of periods, debunk the idea of a 'normal' period, and explore how environmental factors and personal experiences can impact menstrual cycles. We touch on premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PCOS, and endometriosis, along with the stigma associated with menstrual blood and why efforts to give menstrual products to girls in the global South are misguided. Also, retrograde menstruation. You've been warned.

  • Makeup (with Ilise S. Carter)

    It's both a method of empowerment and a tool of control — but it sure is pretty! Today's episode delves into how makeup reflects and perpetuates society's conflicting views on femininity, with the help of historian Ilise S. Carter, author of The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History. From its historical roots, like ancient Egyptian eyeliner and the opulent courtiers of Louis XIV, to the modern-day pressures women, POCs, and gender-nonconforming people face to adhere to impossible ideals, we uncover the dark side of makeup's impact. Hope you've got your no-makeup makeup on, 'cause this is one cute selfie we will not delete later.

  • Race (with Agustín Fuentes, Ph.D.)

    Get ready to rethink everything you know about race. With the help of anthropologist Agustín Fuentes, this episode debunks the idea that race exists within our biology. We're unraveling racist stereotypes, explaining why race is nothing like dog breeds, delving into the devastating effects of race in health and medicine, and explaining why your 23andMe results aren't what you think. This episode isn't just about debunking misconceptions - it's about highlighting our shared humanity.

  • Asexuality (with Canton Winer & Sarah Costello)

    This week, we challenge the common perceptions of attraction and explore the complexities of asexuality. Sociology PhD candidate Canton Weiner shares invaluable insights from his research while Sarah Costello, co-host of the podcast "Sounds Fake, But Okay," opens up about her personal experience as a romantic asexual. We examine the split attraction model and shed light on various types of attraction, delve into the history of asexuality with pioneers like Magnus Hirschfeld and Alfred Kinsey, and discover how the rise of the internet has shaped the asexual community. This episode challenges misconceptions, explores the intersection of asexuality and other identities like race and gender, and highlights the need for increased understanding and acceptance within the LGBT community.

  • Addiction (with Judy Grisel, Ph.D.)

    Today we're diving into the world of addiction and drug use with Judy Grisel, a behavioral neuroscientist who's been down the road of addiction herself. We'll cover why humans are so drawn to altering our consciousness with chemicals, how addictive drugs affect our brains, and some common misconceptions about drug use. Plus, we'll explore the factors that contribute to addiction, like age, genetics, and even random chance.

  • Bodily Fluids (with Erika Engelhaupt)

    Snot and pee and earwax, oh my! Why are we so full of gross substances? What do our fluids do for us? And is there really a chemical to catch people peeing in the pool?

    Featuring Erika Engelhaupt, a science writer and editor and author of the new book “Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science."

  • Eating Animals (with Dr. Melanie Joy)

    Why do we treat some animals as food and others as family? Is animal agriculture really as bad as vegans say it is? And if I want to change things, is veganism my only option?

    Featuring Melanie Joy, social psychologist, founding president of the NGO Beyond Carnism, and author of "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows."