Instant Genius is a bite-sized masterclass in podcast form. In this week's episode, we talk to Dr Monty Lyman, author of the book The Painful Truth (£20, Bantam Press).

Monty tells us what pain really is, how the placebo effect works, and why our emotions have a huge effect on the pain we feel.

And if that's not enough, you can hear even more from Monty on Instant Genius Extra.

On this subscription-only show, available on Apple Podcasts, we take a deeper dive into the topics covered on Instant Genius. In this episode, Monty tells us about using hypnosis and virtual reality as pain relief, and about the people who don’t feel pain at all.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of Instant Genius:


Sara RigbyOnline staff writer, BBC Science Focus

Sara is the online staff writer at BBC Science Focus. She has an MPhys in mathematical physics and loves all things space, dinosaurs and dogs.