Many key findings in psychological research are under question, as the results of some of its most well-known experiments – such as the marshmallow effect, ego depletion, stereotype threat and the Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment – have proved difficult or impossible to reproduce. This has affected numerous careers and led to bitter recriminations in the academic community. So can the insights of academic psychology be trusted and what are the implications for us all? Featuring contributions from John Bargh, Susan Fiske, John Ioannidis, Brian Nosek, Stephen Reicher, Diederik Stapel and Simine Vazire.
Presenter: David Edmonds
Producer: Ben Cooper
How to kill a democracy
How many democracies around the world are gradually being dismantled. Democracies today are less and less likely to be overthrown in violent coups. Today’s methods of establishing one party rule are much more subtle and insidious. Political scientist Professor Matt Qvortrup explores how the modern authoritarian leader takes control of his or her country. High on their list will be subtly manipulating elections to win with a comfortable but credible majority: appointing their own supporters to the judiciary whilst watering down their powers: silencing critics in the press while garnering positive coverage from their media supporters: punishing opponents by denying them employment while rewarding lackeys with key positions. And using technology to help rig votes and spread propaganda. Matt traces these methods back to Roman times while looking at their contemporary relevance in countries as diverse as Kenya, Poland, Hungary, and Venezuela.
Producer: Bob Howard
Do Assassinations Work?
Poison, exploding cigars and shooting down planes: tales of espionage and statesmanship.
Government-ordered assassinations may seem the stuff of spy novels and movie scripts, but they seem to have entered the realm of reality of late. Why do states choose to take this action and can we measure their success? Edward Stourton assesses how various governments -including Israel, Russia, America and the UK - have dabbled in assassination and asks whether it works as a tool of foreign policy.
Producer: Phoebe Keane
The Pupil Premium
How do you increase the attainment of disadvantaged children? Poorer children consistently perform worse at school by not reaching higher grades at age 16, compared to richer children. There is broad agreement, across party lines that they require more money to help them succeed and reduce inequality. Therefore, schools in England adopted the pupil premium policy in 2011 where extra funding was attached to each child in receipt of free school meals. Professor of Education at University College London, Dr Rebecca Allen assesses how well the policy has been working. Producer: Nina Robinson Editor: Hugh Levinson
Northern Ireland - Where Next?
Could Northern Ireland soon face a huge decision - whether to leave the UK? Andrea Catherwood returns to where she grew up to discover why the biggest question of all is looming beyond Brexit. Demography may soon leave Catholics as the largest population group. And Brexit debate over new border controls in Ireland has challenged the uneasy compromise of the Good Friday Agreement. So how could a vote on creating a united Ireland come about? How would different traditions and generations decide what to do? And away from political debate, how do the people of Northern Ireland feel about the prospect of such a sensitive and fundamental choice?
Producer: Chris Bowlby
Editor: Hugh Levinson