The Why Factor
Jargon - 1 May 2015
The deliberate obfuscation of language. Why do we use jargon? Mike Williams explains
Animals Are Us? 24 Apr 2015
Maria Margaronis asks why we project human qualities onto animals, and whether we are as distinct from other species as we think.
From clowns to lion trainers, the modern circus has been around for centuries. Mike Williams explores its origins and asks why it appeals to adults and children around the world.
Daydreaming - 10 Apr 2015
Does everyone’s mind wander at some point during the day? And what happens to us, and our lives, when we daydream?
Suicide - 3 Apr 2015
Our desire to live is strong. But it’s not always enough. And every year, across the world, around a million people take their own lives. Why?
The Refugee Journey - 28 Mar 2015
At the mercy of people smugglers, how do refugees make their often perilous journeys? And who are the people who smuggle them across the planet?
Death Penalty - 21 March 2015
Mike Williams asks why the death penalty still exists in so many countries around the world.
Forgetting - 14 Mar 2015
In this week’s edition of The Why Factor … forgetting… we’ll be looking inside the brain to find out why we lose our memories, and why there are some things we can’t forget.
Crime Fiction - 7 Mar 2015
Why do so many people all over the world enjoy stories about criminals and the people who bring them to justice?
Skyscrapers - 28 Feb 2015
Mike Williams asks why we build skyscrapers. Are they just vanity projects or are the a necessary part of our cities?
Chasing Riches 21 Feb 15
Why do the rich want to get richer? Why when you’ve got a million or even a billion do you want more? Mike Williams asks what drives the wealthy to want more.
Watches As A Status Symbol - 7 Feb 2015
Watches have been a status symbol for the wealthy and powerful for centuries. As part of the BBC World Service’s ‘A Richer World series’ Mike Williams asks why.
Sad Music - 31 Jan 2015
A study has shown that sad music has become increasingly popular, but why do people choose to listen to it?
Flags - 24 Jan 2015
Why do we fly flags? They have many uses, from identifying symbols to signalling tools. But why a piece of cloth? Mike Williams explains
Loyalty - 17 January 2015
Mike Williams asks why are we loyal, and who are we really loyal to? Is it other people, or our own values?
Portrait Photography - 10 Jan 2014
With photography, the portrait is now available to all. Mike Williams explores our fascination for capturing images of the human face; others and our own.
The Moon - 03 Jan 2015
Mike Williams explores the moon in culture, how it affects life on Earth and he asks Alan Bean – one of the handful of people who have walked on it – what the moon is really like.
Honour - 27 December 2014
Honour. People have fought for it and died for it. From honour-codes of the Japanese samurai, to the persistence of so-called honour killings. Why is this notion so powerful?
Perfume - 20 Dec 2014
Mike Williams asks why do we use perfume, what does it say about us and the image we’re trying to project?
- United Kingdom
More informationWhy do we do the things we do?
Mike Williams searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions to inform us about the way we live in the 21st century. Broadcast and podcast every Friday from September 2012.