‘Inside Out 2’ And The Psychology Behind Teenage Angst

Psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour helped make the film more scientifically accurate to how a teenager’s mind works.

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n the 2015 film “Inside Out,” audiences met 11-year-old Riley and her team of emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger, each represented by a different character. They lived inside Riley’s mind to help guide her feelings and actions, and towards the end of the film, their emotional control center gets an upgrade with a puberty button.

That’s where the new film “Inside Out 2” picks up. Riley is now 13 years old and dealing with the slew of emotions that come with puberty. In the new film, moviegoers meet a new crew of characters: Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui, who is always bored.

But what’s the science behind Riley’s newfound teenage angst? Guest host Annie Minoff talks with psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour, who served as a science advisor to the film.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. The original segment was produced by Rasha Aridi. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

Do you have science-inspired art you’d like to share with us for a future episode? Send us an email or a voice memo to universe@sciencefriday.com.

Meet the Writers

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

About Rasha Aridi

Rasha Aridi is a producer for Science Friday. She loves stories about weird critters, science adventures, and the intersection of science and history.

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