Ep.73 – Guest episode with Professor Sophie Scott – Author, Ted Talker, Comedian and Neuroscientist

September 13, 2023

In Episode 73, The Occupational Philosophers chat with Professor Sophie Scott, who is the Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London and a Fellow of the British Academy. 


Sophie is an expert in cognitive neuroscience studying human vocal communication, from speech and sound to social interactions and nonverbal emotional expressions, and has become very well known for her work on laughter.

As a pioneering researcher in the science of laughter, she’s made some unexpected discoveries — including my favourite, that rats are ticklish, and that the one tactic that’s almost guaranteed to get someone to laugh is to show them someone else laughing.

She has appeared on UK TV many times, including The One Show (BBC1), Sunday Brunch (C4), Horizon (BBC2) – AND has presented the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. She also represented the Polytechnic of Central London in University Challenge (BBC2). 

In podcasting she co-hosts The Neuromantics (Great pun!), and is a series regular on the wonderful Infinite Monkey Cage.

She is an accomplished public speaker, her TED talks have amassed millions of views online, and she has presented at the World Economic Forum, The Royal Institute, and the Wired UK conference. She has performed science-based stand-up comedy and has appeared at the Hammersmith Apollo, the Bloomsbury Theatre and the Latitude Festival.

And to top it off, also an author or many books! 

In this episode, they explore:

  • How laughter is contagious and social
  • What words are genuinely funny…’Flank’ is one…!
  • Why brains are so fascinating these days
  • How laughter is the ‘gateway drug’ to play
  • What happens in the brain when we are creative
  • Why organisations need to build social spaces where laughter can live
  • Who is Brian Helverston?

And in this episode, they are lucky enough to have their listener’s questions to share with Sophie. 


Learn more about Sophie


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *