Science Focus Podcast: This is why we sin © Getty Images

Sin: Why we do the things we shouldn’t

In this Science Focus Podcast episode we speak to Jack Lewis about the neuroscience of sin, how we can resist it, and the wacky experiments that test our ability to behave.

Christian teachings have laid down the idea of seven deadly sins – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth – and to some extent, we all sin, whether that’s eating more cake than we know is good for us, or something more serious.

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In this week’s Science Focus Podcast, we to neurobiologist Jack Lewis, who in his new book, The Science of Sin (£14.99, Bloomsbury Sigma), talks us through why we sin; illuminating the neural battles between temptation and restraint, and helping us understand why we do the things we shouldn’t, so we can make better decisions in the future.

He argues that ancient religions have been studying human behaviour for millennia, starting well before science got in on the game. By taking these ancient religious teachings, and examining them through the lens of neuroscience, he says we can take the best teachings from both the religious and scientific worlds.

Here he is, explaining how neuroscience interprets the seven deadly sins.

But before we start, a quick warning. A few of the studies mentioned include references to sexual arousal, pornography and paedophilia, and they might not be suitable for all listeners.

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