Background image
⇠ Podcasting Articles

The Psychology of Listening to Podcasts: Why We Love Them and How They Affect Us

Last updated: 28 February 2023

Podcasts have taken the world by storm, with millions of people tuning in to their favorite shows each day. But why are we so drawn to this form of media? And how do podcasts affect our psychology and behavior? In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of podcast psychology and uncover the reasons behind our love for this unique medium.

First, it is important to understand the psychological benefits of listening to podcasts. One of the primary reasons people enjoy podcasts is the feeling of connection and intimacy they provide. Unlike other forms of media, such as TV or radio, podcasts allow listeners to develop a personal connection with the hosts and guests. This feeling of intimacy and connection can be especially important for people who may feel isolated or alone in their daily lives.

In addition to providing a sense of connection, podcasts also offer a wealth of knowledge and information. Many podcasts are created with the specific purpose of educating and informing their listeners, providing a valuable resource for learning and personal growth. Even if you have really niche interests then you can usually hear discussions by experts that help you explore further. Self-help and personal development genres have exploded in popularity in recent years. With podcasts that are independent and self-started, often the hosts are seen as inspirational for gaining support and their audience. For shows that aren’t mainstream, listeners can get a sense of finding a hidden gem and a new community that surrounds the show.

Being audio-only and available wherever we have our phone nearby means that podcasts can make mundane tasks more enjoyable and give us a sense that we are making better use of our time. The MIDAS Summer 2022 Survey showed that 81% of podcast listeners listened whilst doing something else — working/studying, driving/travelling, sports/exercise/hobbies, household chores and eating/drinking/cooking.

But podcasts also have a darker side. Just like any other form of media, podcasts have the potential to negatively impact our psychology and behaviour. For example, podcasts that focus on topics such as true crime or conspiracy theories can be particularly addictive and engrossing, leading listeners to become hyper-vigilant and paranoid.

In addition, the sheer amount of content available on podcasts can be overwhelming, leading some people to become obsessive about consuming as much as possible. This can lead to anxiety and feelings of inadequacy, as listeners may feel like they are falling behind if they don’t listen to every episode of their favourite shows. Realising this, it is important to take time for your own thoughts with periods of silence or music.

Despite these potential downsides, the overall impact of podcasts on our psychology is seemingly positive. Research has shown that listening to podcasts can lead to increased empathy, enhanced creativity, and improved mental well-being. In fact, many mental health professionals are now incorporating podcasts into their treatment plans, using them as a tool to help patients cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.

So why do we love podcasts so much? The answer is simple: they offer a unique combination of connection, knowledge, and entertainment that simply can’t be found in other forms of media. By tapping into our psychology and fulfilling our basic human needs for connection, learning, and self-improvement, podcasts have become an essential part of our daily lives.

In conclusion, podcasts have a profound impact on our psychology and behaviour, providing a wide range of benefits from increased empathy and creativity to improved mental well-being. While there are certainly some potential downsides to this medium, the overall impact of podcasts on our lives is overwhelmingly positive. By understanding the psychology of podcast listening, we can fully appreciate the unique and powerful impact this medium has on our lives.

Person shining an torch at night in front of a body of water

Photo credits: Oleksii Ihnatiev and Warren Wong

Whilst you’re here…

Audio Audit is an automatic benchmarking and proofing tool which checks the quality of your podcast MP3 files, giving you peace of mind before you publish.

It checks things like loudness, silences, restarted sentences, encoding, swearing and metadata.

Learn more ⇢Screenshot of an Audio Audit report

Sign up

Creating an account only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll soon be able to start uploading your own audio files and improving your shows.