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Hidden Brain

Author: NPR

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Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.
244 Episodes
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In The Heat Of The Moment

In The Heat Of The Moment

2019-12-0300:56:4863

In a fit of anger or in the grip of fear, many of us make decisions that we never would have anticipated. This week, we look at situations that make us strangers to ourselves — and why it's so difficult to remember what these "hot states" feel like once the moment is over.
Envy is one of the most unpleasant of all human emotions. It also turns out to be one of the most difficult for researchers to study. And yet, there's mounting evidence that envy is a powerful motivator. This week, we explore an emotion that can inspire us to become better people — or to commit unspeakable acts.
The Ventilator

The Ventilator

2019-11-1900:55:1758

Many of us believe we know how we'd choose to die. We have a sense of how we'd respond to a diagnosis of an incurable illness. This week, we have the story of one family's decades-long conversation about dying. What they found is that the people we are when death is far in the distance may not be the people we become when death is near.
Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus

Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus

2019-11-1100:28:0464

Anyone who's tried (and failed) to follow a diet knows that food is more than fuel. This week, we revisit our 2018 episode about the psychology behind what we eat, what we spit out, and when we come back for more.
The Talk Market

The Talk Market

2019-11-0400:37:2258

Can we affect the rise and fall of the economy? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller about the powerful ways in which stories and psychology shape our economic lives. He argues that narratives affect not just the purchases we make as individuals, but the fate of our entire economic system.
BS Jobs

BS Jobs

2019-10-2800:45:1395

Have you ever had a job where you had to stop and ask yourself: what am I doing here? If I quit tomorrow, would anyone even notice? This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit our 2018 conversation with anthropologist David Graeber about the rise of what he calls "bullsh*t jobs," and how these positions affect the people who hold them.
The Monkey Marketplace

The Monkey Marketplace

2019-10-2100:49:0453

What makes the mind of a human different from that of other animals? Psychologist Laurie Santos says we can't know the answer to that question if we only study humans. This week, we turn to Laurie's work with monkeys to understand which parts of human behavior are distinct, and which we share with other species.
The Lonely American Man

The Lonely American Man

2019-10-1400:49:01148

Boys get the message at a young age: don't show your feelings. Don't rely on anyone. This week, we bring you a favorite 2018 episode about misguided notions of masculinity in the United States. We explore how these notions create stressed-out romantic relationships, physical health problems, and a growing epidemic of loneliness. Plus, we consider how we might begin to tell a different story about what it means to be a man.
Screaming Into The Void

Screaming Into The Void

2019-10-0700:43:0991

Turn on the news or look at Twitter, and it's likely you'll be bombarded by outrage. Many people have come to believe that the only way to spark change is to incite anger. This week on Hidden Brain, how outrage is hijacking our conversations, our communities, and our minds.
Baby Talk

Baby Talk

2019-09-3000:30:5971

Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To researchers, though, the babbling of babies is knowable, predictable, and best of all, teachable to us non-experts. This week, we revisit our May 2018 primer on how to decipher the secret language of babies and young children.
We're All Gonna Live Forever!

We're All Gonna Live Forever!

2019-09-2300:39:1986

Last week, we spoke with psychologist Sheldon Solomon about the fear of death and how it shapes our actions. This week, we pivot from psychology and politics to religion and history as we explore how people have tried to resolve these fears. We talk with philosopher Stephen Cave about the ways we assure ourselves that death is not really the end.
We're All Gonna Die!

We're All Gonna Die!

2019-09-1600:32:1998

Death may be inescapable, but we do our best to avoid thinking about it. Psychologist Sheldon Solomon says we're not very successful though. This week on Hidden Brain, we confront how death anxiety courses through our actions, even when we don't realize it.
You Can't Hit Unsend

You Can't Hit Unsend

2019-09-1000:53:37113

Social media sites offer quick and easy ways to share ideas, crack jokes, find old friends. They can make us feel part of something big and wonderful and fast-moving. But the things we post don't go away. And they can come back to haunt us. This week, we explore how one teenager's social media posts destroyed a golden opportunity he'd worked for all his life.
You 2.0: Decide Already!

You 2.0: Decide Already!

2019-09-0200:25:04133

For the last episode in our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite conversation with Harvard researcher Dan Gilbert. He explains why we're bad at predicting our future happiness, how that affects our decision making, and why we're actually happier after making a decision that feels irrevocable.
You 2.0: Deep Work

You 2.0: Deep Work

2019-08-2700:33:45153

When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you're doing to look and respond? That's what many of us are doing. Even though we think we should be less distracted by technology, we haven't admitted the true cost of these interruptions. This week, we revisit our 2017 conversation with computer scientist Cal Newport, and consider ways we can all immerse ourselves in more meaningful work.
You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

2019-08-1900:47:36112

Francesca Gino studies rebels — people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how, and when, to break the rules that should be broken. So how can you activate your own inner non-conformist? This week, we ponder the traits of successful rebels as we revisit our 2018 conversation with Gino.
You 2.0: Our Better Nature

You 2.0: Our Better Nature

2019-08-1200:26:19103

If you live in a big city, you may have noticed new buildings popping up — a high-rise here, a skyscraper there. The concrete jungles that we've built over the past century have allowed millions of us to live in close proximity, and modern economies to flourish. But what have we given up by moving away from the forest environments in which humans first evolved? This week, we revisit our 2018 conversation about the healing power of nature with psychologist Ming Kuo.
You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

2019-08-0500:36:36157

When you're hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you're desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you're lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week, as part of our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. Researchers say this form of tunnel vision can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.
You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

2019-07-2900:52:59165

Some people are good at putting themselves in another person's shoes. Others may struggle to relate. But psychologist Jamil Zaki argues that empathy isn't a fixed trait. This week: how to exercise our empathetic muscles. It's the first episode in our You 2.0 summer series.
Facts Aren't Enough

Facts Aren't Enough

2019-07-2200:51:31168

Sometimes when we believe something, we resist data that can change our minds. This week, we look at how we rely on the people we trust to shape what we believe, and why emotions can be more powerful than facts. This episode features new reporting and favorite conversations with neuroscientist Tali Sharot and philosopher of science Cailin O'Connor.
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Comments (635)

Rudolpho Ersatz

is there a link between hot and cold states and consensual sex ?

Dec 6th
Reply

Jack greenz

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Dec 4th
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snosaer

i shouldnt feel so bad at myself for at the moment thinkin this episode is kinda hot .

Dec 3rd
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Fernando Martinez

This is a conversation that my husband and I have. This was a really hard podcast to listen to.

Dec 2nd
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Mahdi laadhari

I really love this episode, but I can't find the part of mesuring the negative emotions!!??

Dec 1st
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Shea Watson

What an emotional rollercoaster.

Nov 25th
Reply (1)

David Estrada

As a respiratory nurse, I can tell you it is hard to do the job. That episode he described when the oxygen when down was so easy to fix and I can't believe the lack of professionalism from the nurse and the EMT team.

Nov 25th
Reply (1)

Israel Orduña

What an emotional ride. Made me reflect on life and death with my family. Great episode. Thank you.

Nov 24th
Reply

bestdulce13

suffering doesnt yield, it just switches onto the family/caregivers. This story highlights the importance of making decision ahead of time when you are not "in the moment" because its just our animal innate SURVIVAL INSTINCT that makes us "grasp at straws". No one considers IVs, feeding tubes, vents, bed sores, dressing changes, diarrhea, spreading your parents genitals to clean them, caregiver's exhaustion, financial burden, effect on love ones-memories of the patients decline/suffering will be forever etched in their minds as clearly as it happened the day before...etc. Living wills are the kindest thing people can do.

Nov 24th
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Jonny

Great and moving episode. Thank you for sharing this story John and fam.

Nov 23rd
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ezzie83

heartbreaking episode but beautifully done. excuse me while I finish crying for the next 2928271 hours

Nov 21st
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slivka

THIS EPISODE IS FRICKIGN BRUTAL WTH

Nov 21st
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Rachel Weiss

this episode is much more emotional than their other ones...and now I'm crying

Nov 20th
Reply (1)

Justin Jose

my god, listening to Julie's made up voice is so awful.

Nov 13th
Reply (1)

Mostafa Wahied

I have been a fan of Hidden Brain for over 2 years now. i am on a journey to go back and start listening to each podcast from the beginning to end. I disagree with one pivotal point in this episode though.. When Shankar was talking about feeling empathy to others especially about the Israelis towards the Palestinians and their Nakba, and about the Palestinians towards the Israelis and the Holocaust, there's one key difference that i think was important to be mentioned. The Holocaust as much as it was a disastrous awful event it was done by the Nazis to the Jews, but the Nakba was done to the Palestinians by the Israelis themselves. this is key difference that plays a huge tole in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Nov 13th
Reply (1)

Andrew Davies

To add on to the idea that being too efficient means you'll get work made up, I once had a job in which we worked ourselves out of a job for being too efficient. it was a temp agency job boxing clothes to be shipped at a warehouse. a coworker and I figured out a really fast and efficient way to scan and box items, much faster than our other coworkers. Little did we know, there was a limit to the orders and once they were finished and we cleaned up, that was it. After leaving early a few days and not getting paid for a full day, and our other co-workers getting pissed off at us, we realized there is no point in efficiency. We slowed down so that we would get paid for a full work day.

Nov 13th
Reply

bestdulce13

I'd like to add that TASK MASTERS are not only a waste of a salary, when there are task masters in the MEDICAL FIELDS(ESPECIALLY in ACUTE CARE ARENAS) those task master are causing an UNSAFE ENVIRONMENT by not only taking up a salary that could be used for example to hire another RN/MD/Tech to care for a person, but in addition to NOT HELPING their extra BS forms/task for the people actually working make less time to provide critical care to patients. hospitals would be much safer with more medical staff and less administrators hired soley to prove that hospitals cant afford more medical staff.

Nov 12th
Reply

Adrian 'Yobi' Blumberg (A.Yobi B.)

it is pointless to worry about what is after death. the one thing everyone agrees on is we are all going to die. fron the moment of birth, you are dying. it IS the point of life. DUH! So what does that mean? FACE IT NOW! We all die alone. Fact! So, in light of that incontrovertible truth, when you die, aling with your thoughts, you will realise WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS ALL THAT EVER ACTUALLY MATTERED IN LIFE! Knowning that now, how do you ensure a peaceful death? I asked myself this. The answer is, as ling as i know i did my best, i can dir peacefully. The question then becomes, how do i know i did my best. The answer to that is INCREDIBLY SIMPLE! I am the only example of me that exists. By definition that means, I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO ME, IN FACT, I DO ME PERFECTLY! Armed with this fact, i know whatever i did. i did it perfectly the way I would. If I am perfectly me, and i did everything they way i would, of course, then how i felt about it at the time is irrelevant to the fact that I could have done NOTHING ELSE THAN WHAT WAS DONE and can ACCEPT my life as done perfectly. Cool! Life was done perfectly. AWESOME, I GOT A PERFECT SCORE! Commence walking through deaths door "enaged" i lived perfectly and can accept death. The Game of Life Accepted and Accomplished GAME OVER.

Nov 12th
Reply (4)

Cody Cook

one more repeat episode passed off as a new one

Nov 12th
Reply (10)

Charlie Bradley

I see men of all ages going through this and I see parents with good intentions forcing these robots stereotypes on to their children, sexism hurts everyone : I'd like to help our culture change!

Nov 11th
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