17-47 Segment 2: “Helpful Lies”


We all tell a ‘white lie’ every now and then. Most of the time the motive is to be more polite or friendly. This is what Matthew Lupoli, social scientist at University of California, refers to as a prosocial lie. A recent study by Lupoli concluded that compassion plays a large role in prosocial lying. When it came to giving feedback to others, subjects feeling compassion were more likely to tell a prosocial lie and the extent to which they lie increased. Lupoli adds that there are situations where prosocial lying can cause damage. Sometimes people need to hear honest criticism to improve.  

Lupoli also asserts that people weigh honesty and kindness when making the decision of whether or not to lie. Another factor is the potential uncomfortableness of being completely honest, as well as the cost of getting caught in a lie.

Dr. Paul Eckman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California San Francisco, says most people aren’t very good at recognizing lies, partially because they don’t want to go through the conflict of exposing a lie. In addition, Dr. Eckman asserts that in many situations people don’t really want to know the truth. He offers the example of a teenage son lying about not using drugs. Most parents don’t want to believe their kids are using drugs, so it’s easy to convince themselves it’s true.

Dr. Eckman also explains micro-facial expressions, very brief expression that occur when feeling a strong emotion. When it comes to detecting lies, he says polygraphs are about as successful as blind chance, but by observing micro-facial expressions Dr. Eckman claims a 95% success rate.



  • Matthew Lupoli, social scientists, University of California, San Diego
  • Dr. Paul Eckman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, San Francisco

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17-03 Segment 1: Stoned Driving: How can police tell?

man making joint and a stash of marijuana in the car


With recreational marijuana use legal in eight states and 29 permitting medical pot use, there will be more drivers on the road who are potentially under the influence of marijuana. However, police have no way to determine who is dangerous and who is not, as blood levels of marijuana’s active ingredient are often meaningless. Experts discuss the problem and new scientific discoveries about marijuana impairment.

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16-06 Segment 1: New Findings on Stuttering


Synopsis: Stuttering has been blamed even fairly recently on parenting, but new research has several new findings: a structural deficiency in the brain’s wiring in stutterers; an inability to perceive rhythms; and a much more successful way to treat stuttering. Experts discuss the new advances.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Roger Ingham, Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara; Dr. Scott Grafton, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara; Dr. Devin McAuley, Professor of Psychology and Newuroscience, Michigan State University

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15-45 Segment 1: Thermogenesis and weight loss


Synopsis: The body uses extra calories to stay warm in cold conditions, creating heath through thermogenesis. However, it’s only recently that scientists have discovered one of the mechanisms the body uses for this–brown fat. Now they’re learning how to harness brown fat for weight loss. Experts discuss.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Aaron Cypess, Acting Chief, Translational Physiology Section, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Dr. Francesco Celi, Professor of Medicine and Chair, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Virginia Commonwealth University; Dr. Wayne Hayes, Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, visiting scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and CEO, The Cold Shoulder; Adam Paulin, founder & Managing Director, Thin Ice.

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15-38 Segment 1: Stem Cell Regeneration


Synopsis: Scientists have discovered that older research animals can seemingly be made young again with infusions of young blood which reactivate stem cells. Researchers have started to isolate factors in plasma that appear to be responsible, opening the door to possibly rolling back the clock on aging. Experts explain.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Harold Katcher, Professor of Biology, University of Maryland University College and co-founder, Turritopsis Corp.; Dr. Michael Conboy, researcher, University of California, Berkeley; Nelson Yee, founder, XVitality Sciences

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15-07 Story 1: The Gut Microbiome


Synopsis: Scientists are learning that the bacteria living inside us, most notably in the intestines, influence our bodies far more than previously suspected. Our microbiome influences many other organs, particularly the liver, brain, and immune system. Different mixes of these bacteria may account for a great deal of the variability among people, particularly in our weight.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Jack Gilbert, Group Leader, Microbial Ecology, Argonne National Laboratory; Dr. Rob Knight, Professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego

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