Human behaviour under the microscope in new series

2017-06-09 14:25

Cape Town – What would you say to the class bully twenty years later if you had the chance to confront him?

In Meet The Humans a new series on BBC Earth (DStv 184) a trio of experts bring together a group of people who get the opportunity to do exactly that. 

Dr Michael Mosely, best known for presenting Inside the Human Body and History of Science, leads this new exploration of the human species. 

For this new show the idea was to look at the human behaviour and delve deeper into why people do what they do. 

"We thought it could be fun to make a show looking at humans in the way that you might look at animals," he says during a telephone interview. 

He continues: "I and two experts every week hide in a dark corner in the house and we observe the group of people there. We make predictions about how people will behave and sometimes we are right and other times we are spectacularly wrong."

What surprised him most was how incredibly unpredictable the participant's behaviour would be. 

"People don’t behave the way we expect them to – and that’s part of the joy of being human. People are complex and we do things for a whole variety of reasons and motives. We also wanted to explore what you might be driven to do rationally but what you might do emotionally," he explains.

The series is made up of five episodes which explores nostalgia, basic instinct, team work, competitiveness and fear.

The participants were chosen by the production team who were looking for interesting and entertaining people and people who fit the script such as old high school mates, singles looking for love and fear junkies. 

High risk exercise

The twist though was that they weren't told exactly what kind of reality show they would be on. 

"The point of the programme was for them not to know what was going on because that could change their behaviour."

He continues: "It’s only at the end when I come out with my two experts and reveal to them what the real purpose of the program was and then we have to ask their consent to appear on the show – at that point they could decide not to and we would not have a show. So it was quiet high risk."

But luckily by the time the participants find out the truth they were all on board.

Dr Mosely says he's particularly enjoyed the singles weekend and the school reunion episodes.

"I really enjoyed the school reunion in a way I didn’t expect to. We brought together people who are about 50 who haven’t seen each other since they were 16. One of the guys who was known as the school bully and he had created a lot of disruptions and a lot of people didn’t like him."

He continues: "It was interesting watching the dynamics of that because I am sure we all have that one person at school who made our lives a bit miserable and you kind of want to say to them as an adult, 'you did this you were horrible.' We also discover through the episode why he was like that."

If he had the opportunity to explore another topic he would look at greed. 

And what does he hope viewers will take away from the show?

"I hope they will be surprised, I hope they will find it good fun and take away from how they behave and learn to try to understand other people’s behaviour a bit better." 

Watch a trailer here:

Tune in to Meet The Humans on Monday, 12 June at 20:30 on BBC Earth (DStv 184).

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