Topic: Psychology

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Current Event March 9, 2018

Debate: Does Birth Order Matter?


Firstborn children often have an advantage over their younger siblings. They get more attention from their parents because they are alone for the first months or years of their lives. But are they more successful? A new research study finds that firstborn sons are more likely to become CEOs. The research on birth order is interesting since some things can influence a person’s behavior, but a person’s fate is not determined solely by birth order. Listen to hear more about what this research study found and then debate: Does birth order matter?

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Current Event March 2, 2018

Debate: Should All Kids Get a Trophy?

Psychology Sports

Many kids receive a trophy, medal or ribbon for participating in sports, science fairs, or other competitions. Some think it’s sending a dangerous message to kids, telling them that they will be rewarded regardless of their effort or success. Some think the trophies are an important marker of participation and they mean something to kids. Listen to experts, as well as the reporter, as they describe their thoughts on giving trophies for participation, and then debate: Should all kids get a trophy?

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Current Event January 26, 2018

Debate: Should Children Play with Electronic Toys that Collect Data?

Technology Psychology

Electronic toys for children have existed since the 1950s. However, new toys are causing privacy concerns for parents as well as politicians. A new device called Aristotle was created to help children by learning their behavior and providing soothing responses. But after many parents expressed concern about the amount of information the toy would be collecting, the manufacturer stopped production. Listen to learn more about this invention and then debate: Should children play with electronic toys that collect data?

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Current Event January 25, 2018

Whale Saves Woman from Shark

Psychology Animals

An experienced marine biologist who has worked with whales for many years, was terrified when a humpback whale took her under its fin. Suddenly, she was being rolled around by the whale and forced to hold onto its head. But the scientist then realized there was a very good reason for this strange behavior. Listen to learn how her story made front page news and what happened to her a few days after the story broke.

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Current Event January 23, 2018

Why Some Teens Join Fringe Groups


Some adolescents in America can be influenced by ISIS recruiting groups. These groups exploit the teen’s sense of duty, religious obligation, or desire to belong to a group. Vulnerable high school students might be convinced that they need to go to Syria to fight with ISIS against the Syrian regime. One experimental rehabilitation program has been established to help young people who have been recruited by ISIS understand how they were targeted. Listen to learn one teen’s story and how this new rehab program worked for him.

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Current Event January 19, 2018

Debate: Are People Born Messy or Clean?

Psychology India

A village in India has gotten the reputation for being very clean. Mawlynnong's residents try to make sure their houses and streets are spotless. Now many visitors come to see this sparkling clean village. Listen to this story and think about whether you think cleanliness is hereditary or influenced by surroundings and then debate: Are people born messy or clean?

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ELA High School

Teens and Stress

Education Psychology

For many high school students, stress related to academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and homework affects their mental and physical health. In this audio story, psychologists discuss when stress is helpful and when it is hurtful. Some parents and their teens discuss ways they have tried to lessen school stress, allowing life to be more manageable and enjoyable. Listen to hear more about how high school students and their parents have decided to make changes to lessen stress while still aiming to be high achievers.

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Current Event December 6, 2017

Crisis Intervention Via Text Message

Technology Psychology

For people facing issues from stress to self-harm, there is a new way to get support. The Crisis Text Line provides free crisis intervention through text messages. Counselors have exchanged more than 50 million messages with people who are in crisis and need to talk with someone right away, but might not feel comfortable making a phone call to a traditional crisis hotline. In this story you’ll hear one volunteer counselor explain how she intervenes when people are in crisis and text for help.

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Current Event November 17, 2017

Debate: Should Social Media Sites Be Fined for Not Removing Fake News and Hate Speech?

Technology Psychology Law

Like the United States, Germany is grappling with fake news and hate speech and what to do about it. Offenses are banned under law, but on the Internet what is fake and what is hate speech is not always clear. The German parliament recently passed a controversial law imposing big fines on social media companies that fail to remove illegal, racist or slanderous posts. German ministry officials are anticipating a large volume of complaints about censorship. Listen to this story about social media and offensive posts, and the debate: Should social media sites be fined for not removing fake news and hate speech?

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Current Event November 14, 2017

Dads at School

Education Psychology KERA

A group of fathers in Texas wanted to be sure every student in their schools had a father figure. So they created a group called All Pro Dads. This group of volunteers now has 1,300 fathers who serve the school district. At every school there are dads who welcome students as they are dropped off to help them start their day. They provide male role models in an effort to support students with mentorship, positivity, and encouragement. Listen to hear from volunteers as well as students about this program.

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Current Event October 31, 2017

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy

Life Science Psychology

On Halloween, many children come home with bags full of candy. Some is eaten right away, some is left in the bag for later, and some is traded for more desirable candy. Some people rank their favorite candy based on texture or according to the proportion of ingredients such as the ratio of chocolate to caramel. What candy would be on your favorite list? Listen to this story to hear about one person’s ranking of Halloween candy based on her preferences.

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ELA High School


How ‘Anna Karenina’ Inspired Empathy

Literature Psychology

Two men imprisoned in Somalia began tapping messages to each other through a thick wall. One man had Leo Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina”. Because they were forbidden to talk, one man tapped the story out on the wall, letter by letter, to the other man. The more the other man heard of the novel, the more he understood his own situation and feelings and ultimately, how to get through one of the most difficult experiences of his life. Listen to this story about how a book can inspire empathy and change your life.

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Science Middle School


Challenger Engineer Blames Himself

Psychology Engineering Space

Thirty years ago, the nation watched in shock as the space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after take off, tragically killing all seven crew members, including a civilian teacher. This shuttle had launched and landed successfully nine times before this tenth launch. One of the rocket engineers feels partially responsible to this day. In a recent interview, he explains that he and his colleagues had anticipated the failure, and had warned officials that conditions weren’t right for the launch. When NASA ignored their warnings, the consequences were fatal. Listen to hear more from a NASA engineer’s perspective on this tragic event.

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Current Event October 10, 2017

How Your Body Responds to Stress

Life Science Health Psychology

Everyone has experienced stress, which is your body’s response to a demand made on it. A surge of hormones is released when people are stressed and that helps them deal with the danger or threat, but it also affects the nervous system and can cause health problems. When we experience a lot of stress, our bodies don’t easily return to a relaxed state. Listen to hear more about what stress does to our bodies and what we can do about the impact of stress.

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Current Event October 6, 2017

Debate: Should Athletes Be Considered Role Models?

Psychology Sports

A role model is a person who can be imitated by younger people, and have an impact on their behavior, choices, and values. Sports stars have been looked up to as role models, however some such as Charles Barkley, a retired professional basketball player, have declared that he is not a role model. What are the responsibilities of people who are paid to play sports? Listen to this commentator’s opinion, and then debate: Should athletes be considered role models?

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ELA Middle School

Reading ‘Harry Potter’ and Developing Empathy

Literature Psychology

"Harry Potter" is a series of fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the life of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends and teachers. It turns out that the boy wizard can also have an effect on the real world. According to a recent study, reading "Harry Potter" books could have an effect on empathy and the attitudes of readers. Listen to find out how J.K. Rowling’s work might make a real difference to its readers.

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