what makes better stories


A podcast by


Remember when you were 12, at a party and wanted to go into the closet with your favorite crush? You knew just a few minutes together would turn your world upside down. Now you’re 22 – or maybe more – and you get the same butterflies over new ideas and the people behind them. This podcast takes you into the closet with your next research crush. Spend 7ish minutes discovering how our brains work and how we make decisions, and again, turn your world upside down. 

7 Minutes in Heaven With a Scientist is a product of frank, a gathering and online community of people who use and study strategic communication to ignite change. frank is housed in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.


Hosts / Dr. Lauren Griffin + Annie Neimand, almost Ph.D.
Music / Scott Kauffmann a.k.a The Captain
Written, Directed + Produced / Lauren Griffin + Annie Neimand
Sound and Mix / Brandon Telg



Season 1



The Science Behind This Crazy Election Season

In the first episode of 7 minutes in Heaven with a Scientist...Because Everyone is a Little Bit Curious, we dive deep into the science of this political election season.

We talk to three of your new favorite scholars about why misinformation spreads and how it is tied to identity and memory, how we perceive the moral minds of political others, and the history of conspiracy theories.

Featured Scientists:
Dr. Lisa Fazio, cognitive psychologist at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Kurt Gray, social psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Victoria Pagan, classics scholar at the University of Florida.



Save the planet or recycle? Make someone happy or make someone smile? Stick it to the man or change policy?  What is more effective: big, lofty goals or concrete, actionable ones?

In this episode of 7 Minutes in Heaven with a Scientist, we talk to Dr. Melanie Rudd, marketing scholar, about the power of concrete goals and calls to action in making people happy and driving social change.


This is your brain on climate change

"A lot of the messaging that we have heard for decades now...makes us all responsible. The implication there is that we should all feel guilty about this problem. The problem is, is that we are really good at getting out of feeling badly about ourselves," says Dr. Ezra Markowitz, leading climate conservation psychology scholar.

A major barrier in the way of climate change action may be the human mind. How we think is one of the greatest hurdles for solving some of our biggest climate problems. 

On this episode of 7 Minutes in Heaven with a Scientist, we talk to Dr. Ezra Markowitz about why it is so hard to move people to action on climate change and the power of tapping into social tribes and identities in driving climate action. 

Are You Ready for a Zombie Apocalypse?

In May 2011, the Center for Disease Control released its Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse campaign to raise the public’s awareness about the need to prepare for a potential emergency, such as a terrorist attack, flood, or earthquake. It was a viral success. But did extensive awareness and exposure lead people to actually make an emergency kit? Dr. Julia Fraustino would say no.

On this episode of 7 Minutes in Heaven with a Scientist, we talk to Dr. Julia Fraustino about why the CDC's zombie apocalypse campaign backfired, what she is working on next and her experience as a prize finalist at frank 2016.


7 minutes in heaven with a scientist live

Seven Minutes in Heaven With a Scientist was recorded live in front of the frank gathering of 300 scholars, activists, journalists and communicators. The show featured the finalists for the frank Prize for Research in Public Interest Communications. Kristen Grimm, president of Spitfire, interviewed Dr. James Druckman, Dr. Sander van der Linden and Dr. Lisa Fazio. Fazio took home the $10,000 prize following a vote from the audience.



For storytellers, no prize is more revered than the Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, director of Research Development and Environment at Cardiff University, has studied Pulitzer Prize-winning stories of the last 20 years. What she found provides insights for how scientists and communicators can tell engaging stories about data and complex issues. As it turns out, the best storytelling is personal and emotion-driven.

Journal of Public Interest Communications