Secret Science

Tuesday 21 May at 9pm on ABC TV

Secret Science

A new smart and entertaining series exploring a range of topics. Learn how men can improve their sperm count, how we can all improve our capacity to learn - as well as ways we can exploit our emotions. Hosts for the series include Myf Warhust, Matt Okine and Sammy J.

Episode One Production details: An ABC Production. Producer / Director: Nicholas Searle, Associate Producer: Dominique Pile, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, Executive Producer: Penny Palmer, Head of Factual: Susie Jones

Episode Two and Three Production details: An ABC Production. Producer / Director: Robert Greig, Associate Producer: Alice Stevens, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, Executive Producer: Penny Palmer, Head of Factual: Susie Jones

Episode Four and Five Production details: An ABC Production. Producer / Director: Bruce Permezel, Associate Producer: Adam Finney, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, Executive Producer: Penny Palmer, Head of Factual: Susie Jones

Episode Six and Seven Production details: An ABC Production. Producer / Director: Bev Shroot, Associate Producer: Rachel Littley, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, Executive Producer: Penny Palmmoner, Head of Factual: Susie Jones

Episode one: Joy

Tuesday 21 May at 9pm

Of the six core emotions that humans feel, Joy is probably our favourite. So, what can we do to get more joy in our lives? Myf Warhurst is on a mission to find out.

When it comes to human emotions, we all think we understand them well, right? But as Myf discovers, they’re not as simple as they seem.

At a children’s birthday party where joy is visible on all the kid’s faces, Myf learns that our capacity to feel joy in adult life is determined in our childhood – creating a set point that we return to after both great lows and great highs. So, for those with a low set point, the good news is that there is a way to move the needle…

One way is to give more. In Brisbane, Myf joins charity group Hair Aid who provide free haircuts to the homeless. Hairdresser, Kerrie, who altruistically gives her time and skills says that she feels as much joy as the recipients of the haircuts.

Research also shows that people who place a lot of value on pursuing joy are often, paradoxically, more depressed. In fact, sometimes our more unpleasant experiences can lead to a greater sense of joy.

Myf heads to Noosa to meet some locals in their Golden Years. Their bodies and minds are slowing down, surely there’s less to be joyful about? Well, research shows when you look at happiness across the lifespan, there is a peak with young people and a peak in older age – which is referred to as the U Bend of Happiness.
So that’s something to be joyful about.

Production details: An ABC Production. Producer / Director: Nicholas Searle, Associate Producer: Dominique Pile, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, Executive Producer: Penny Palmer, Head of Factual: Susie Jones

Episode two: Anger

Tuesday 28 May at 9pm

Anger. This formidable emotion is often perceived as a menace, an uncontrollable force of destruction. It clouds our judgement and fuels reactions that we might later regret. But is anger really all that bad?

Myf Warhurst looks at anger through a different lens to uncover its full potential.

To see its raw power, Myf meets some of the angriest members of society. Toddlers! As their brains develop, most will be able to keep their anger in check, but for some people, it’s a life-long battle.

Michael Aicholzer spent half of his life consumed by anger. When he realised the destructive impact it was having, he sought help. Now he teaches young men how to deal with their anger.

As Myf discovers, anger can be used as an incredible tool for positive gain. From protesters channelling their collective anger to seek political change, to athletes using it to give them superhuman strength.

Most of us are not going to the extremes of a strongman event to release our frustrations. So what options are available to us?

In the ‘70s Primal Therapy was all the rage. A way to shout and scream ones anger out. More recently, ‘smash rooms’ are used to take our frustrations out on inanimate objects. While Myf destroys a car with a sledgehammer, she discovers that it’s not helping her at all. So, what does work?

The answer is head into nature. That sounds like common sense but Myf discovers that there’s a scientific reason why it works and it’s due to something called phytoncides.

With insights from neuroscientists, psychologists and those with personal stories, Myf illuminates the science of anger.

Episode three: Fear

Tuesday 4 June at 9pm

Myf Warhurst explores the fine line between healthy fear that guards us against danger and the overwhelming fears that can spiral into phobias, disrupting lives.

As babies, we quickly develop a fear of heights and loud noises - all others are learned as we grow. To test that theory Myf, who is afraid of snakes, sees how six-month old babies will happily play amongst large pythons and not bat an eyelid.

So, if fears are learned, can they be unlearned?

For arachnophobe, Emily, new research into how women’s menstrual cycle impacts their fear response, leads to a successful exposure therapy session ending in a spider walking over her face.

Our brains crave predictability, so when we’re faced with an unknown, our fear response escalates. Myf and improvisation comedian Carlo Ritchie discover this all too well when they have to put their hands into a box without knowing its contents.

Myf also wants to know how thrill seekers overcome their fear and why are they the kind of people we need in society
And emerging research has shown that recreational fear – such as watching horror films or going on a ghost tour can improve our response to other anxieties in life.

With the help of neuroscientists, psychologists, and individuals with unique experiences, Myf sheds light on the secret science of fear.

Will Sammy J’s episodes screen after Myf’s? On Tuesday 11 and 18 June?


Quite enjoyable show. I loved the steps segment.

Episode 4: How We Sense


Tuesday 11 June 9.00pm

Living among us are people who have honed their senses to astonishing levels – allowing them to achieve great feats. So, what can we learn from these extraordinary people to improve our own lives?

Climbing legend Ashlee Hendy teaches Sammy just how important his sense of touch really is. Blindfolded 22 metres above the ground, he learns to rely on the 20,000 receptors in his fingertips to keep him on the wall.

Sammy visits Master perfumers Yen Huyihn and Janelle Donnelly to discover if we all perceive smell the same by recreating smells from his childhood and putting his own nose to the test.

Damian McMorrow who has been blind since childhood, teaches Sammy how to navigate the world through echolocation.

But what if we can’t hear? Guus Hoevenaars, mixing engineer and music producer introduces Sammy to a new piece of tech, haptic vests. Which give the deaf and hard of hearing community the ability to experience music through vibrations on the skin.