Recent Posts

  • 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.

  • Remastered: Depression (with Dr. Gerard Sanacora)

    How much do we really know about depression? In this remastered episode, Gerard Sanacora, director of the Yale Depression Research Program and Co-director of the Yale Interventional Psychiatry Service, reveals that even doctors don't fully get the biological roots behind depression's mix of mental and physical woes. But that doesn't mean we don't have effective treatments — and those treatments are only getting better. For example, ketamine and psilocybin are being studied as unconventional treatments to reshape depressed brains. Tune in to learn how medicine moves forward in understanding this serious condition, even when the science isn't clear.

  • 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.

  • Heterosexuality (with Dr. Hanne Blank Boyd)

    Heterosexuality isn't what you think it is. In this episode, historian Hanne Blank Boyd flips the script on how we view sexual orientation, showing how the concept of "heterosexuality" has only existed for around 150 years. Hanne traces how modern capitalism led "heterosexual" to emerge as a term for normal, moral sexuality, allowing the middle class to prove their respectability. Even now, assuming heterosexuality as the default norm skews scientific research on sexuality. Being straight isn't as simple as being attracted to the opposite sex — it's all encompassing and ever changing. Tune in to find out why.

  • 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.

  • Nudity (with Ruth Barcan, Ph.D.)

    What do the Pioneer 10 plaque and communal bathhouses of Renaissance Europe have in common? Today we're stripping down the complicated concept of nudity with Dr. Ruth Barcan, honorary associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. We'll explore the meanings, reactions, and laws surrounding nudity, from how art influenced our perception of nudity to the complex legalities of female toplessness in the US. Oh yeah, and we're getting deep into the nudism movement, which has an origin story you'll be telling people about at parties.

  • Breastfeeding (with Bridget McGann & Sascha Mayer)

    Did you know lactation is older than the dinosaurs? Latch onto the mysteries of breastfeeding with help from lactation scientist Bridget McGann and Mamava co-founder Sascha Mayer in today's episode, which delves into the incredible components of breastmilk, the way that feeding itself influences a baby's development, the debate between breastfeeding versus formula feeding, and why workplace support for pumping can be the single thing that keeps a mother breastfeeding. Plus: why have we seen so many boobs in bikinis and so few boobs feeding babies?