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Hidden Brain

Author: Hidden Brain

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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.
300 Episodes
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A Conspiracy of Silence

A Conspiracy of Silence

2020-11-3001:00:521

We all self-censor at times. We keep quiet at dinner with our in-laws, or nod passively in a work meeting. But what happens when we take this deception a step further, and pretend we believe the opposite of what we really feel? This week on Hidden Brain, economist and political scientist Timur Kuran explains how our personal, professional and political lives are shaped by the fear of what other people think.
Where Gratitude Gets You

Where Gratitude Gets You

2020-11-2353:5010

Many of us struggle with self-control.  And we assume willpower is the key to achieving our goals. But there's a simple and often overlooked mental habit that can improve our health and well-being. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with psychologist David DeSteno about that habit — the practice of gratitude.
If you're one of the 40 percent of Americans now working from home, you might be reveling in your daily commute to the dining room table. Or you might be saying, "Get me out of here." Economist Nicholas Bloom joins us from his spare bedroom to ponder whether working from home is actually working.
Between Two Worlds

Between Two Worlds

2020-11-0950:308

Determination, hard work and sacrifice are core ingredients in the story of the American dream. But philosopher Jennifer Morton argues there is another, more painful requirement to getting ahead: a willingness to leave family and friends behind. This week, we explore the ethical costs of upward mobility.
As election season comes to a close, we explore our contradictory relationship with winners and losers. We tend to idolize the powerful, but we also enjoy seeing the high and mighty fall. Today we explore this paradox with a 2017 episode that takes us from Hollywood and the White House to the forests of Tanzania.
Not at the Dinner Table

Not at the Dinner Table

2020-10-2652:336

We typically divide the country into two distinct groups: Democrats and Republicans. But what if the real political divide in our country isn't between "left" and "right"? What if it's between those who care intensely about politics, and those who don’t?  This week we talk to Yanna Krupnikov, a political scientist at Stony Brook University, about an alternative way to understand Americans' political views.
Moral Combat

Moral Combat

2020-10-1955:1614

Most of us have a clear sense of right and wrong. But what happens when we view politics through a moral lens? This week, we talk with psychologist Linda Skitka about how moral certainty can produce moral blinders — and endanger democracy.
Beyond Doomscrolling

Beyond Doomscrolling

2020-10-1253:0912

There’s no question that 2020 has been a tough year. We're grappling with a global pandemic. A deep recession. Fresh reminders of racial injustice. But today — without minimizing the justifiable pain that 2020 has brought to so many people — we wanted to explore another way of seeing things. We talk with psychologist Steven Pinker about why it's so hard to see things that are going well in the world.
The Logic of Rage

The Logic of Rage

2020-10-0551:4010

Neuroscientist Doug Fields was on a trip to Europe when a pickpocket stole his wallet. Doug, normally mild-mannered, became enraged — and his fury turned him into a stranger to himself. Today on Hidden Brain, we explore the secret logic of irrational anger.
An Update from Shankar

An Update from Shankar

2020-10-0248:511

It’s been five years since we launched this podcast. Today, we want to take a moment to thank the many people who’ve helped us over the years. And we want to share some changes with you.
If you listen closely to giggles, guffaws, and polite chuckles, you can discern a huge amount of information about people and their relationships with each other. This week, we talk with neuroscientist Sophie Scott about the many shades of laughter, from cackles of delight among close friends to the "canned" mirth of TV laugh tracks.
The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect

2020-09-2155:391

Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by a Chevy van. The Pinto caught fire, and the three teenagers wereburned to death. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk to a former Ford insider who could have voted to recall the Pinto years before the Ulrich girls were killed — but didn't. And we ask, is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out?
Why Nobody Feels Rich

Why Nobody Feels Rich

2020-09-1434:033

If you've ever flown in economy class on a plane, you probably had to walk through the first class cabin to get to your seat. Maybe you noticed the extra leg room. The freshly-poured champagne. Maybe you were annoyed, or envious. Social psychologist Keith Payne says we tend to compare ourselves with those who have more than us, but rarely with those who have less. This week, we revisit our 2019 episode on the psychology of income inequality, and how perceptions of our own wealth shape our lives.
The United States spends trillions of dollars on healthcare every year, but our outcomes are worse than those of other countries that spend less money. Why? Physician and healthcare executive Vivian Lee explains the psychological and economic incentives embedded in the American model of medicine, and makes the case for a different way forward.
You 2.0: Empathy Gym

You 2.0: Empathy Gym

2020-08-3153:023

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, in our final installment of You 2.0, we revisit a favorite episode about how to exercise our empathy muscles.
You 2.0: WOOP, WOOP!

You 2.0: WOOP, WOOP!

2020-08-2420:593

American culture is all about positive affirmations. Dream big! Shoot for the stars! But do positive fantasies actually help us achieve our goals? This week, as part of our You 2.0 summer series, we revisit a conversation with researcher Gabriele Oettingen about how we can make our goals more attainable.
Maya Shankar was well on her way to a career as a violinist when an injury closed that door. This week, as part of our annual You 2.0 series on personal growth and reinvention, we revisit our 2015 conversation with Maya, in which she shares how she found a new path forward after losing an identity she loved.
Some challenges feel insurmountable. But psychologist Emily Balcetis says the solutions are often right in front of our eyes. This week, as part of our annual series on personal growth and reinvention, Emily explains how we can harness our sight to affect our behavior.
Sometimes, life can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. No matter how hard you try to get happier, you end up back where you started. What's going on here? We kick off our annual You 2.0 summer series with happiness researcher Elizabeth Dunn, who explains how to fight the treadmill feeling.
Edge Effect

Edge Effect

2020-07-2738:53

There is great comfort in the familiar. It's one reason humans often flock to other people who share the same interests, laugh at the same jokes, hold the same political views. But familiar ground may not be the best place to cultivate creativity. Researchers have found that people with deep connections to those from other countries and cultures often see benefits in terms of their creative output. This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 episode about the powerful connection between the ideas we dream up and the people who surround us, and what it really takes to think outside the box.
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Comments (834)

Clinton Knight

Thank you for taking talking points without context as a real statement.

Dec 1st
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Ingrid Loennecken Lindstad

really, really beautiful!

Nov 28th
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Chanaka Hettige

"All of whom that love their jobs" "I love my job too" That's what they said 😉 But are you really? PS: Great epsiode Guy!

Nov 27th
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Kasra Hendi

wonderful 👏

Nov 24th
Reply

DD's Berries

Fauci's expertise has been called into question because he has lied to the American people. He openly admitted to it when questioned by congress about face masks that earlier on in the pandemic he lied about the utility of face masks because he wanted to avoid a certain outcome. It also doesn't help that other "experts" in his same field have disagreed with him.

Nov 23rd
Reply

Brandy E

Such a great podcast!

Nov 17th
Reply (1)

Deborah Morrison

o.xw g xzbthese61

Nov 14th
Reply

Andy Edwards

that restaurant owner encouraging people to ride horses to save gas has no concept of bicycles lol

Nov 13th
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Jonathan Hildebrand

The Encode episodes are super annoying, gotta skip every fifth episode cause I've already heard it... Don't know the purpose but its the one bad thing I have to say. Other than that love it

Nov 7th
Reply

Chanaka Hettige

Staring back at the very top of the political system of USA, it's obvious USA don't have a place for truth!

Nov 6th
Reply

Jas H

Oh how funny that this is the first episode I chose listen to - got curious because it was posted on my birthday and I'm Swedish!!

Nov 5th
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Chanaka Hettige

Such a wonderful episode. Thank you. Made me see a whole different perspective!

Nov 3rd
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Shilan G

Thank you Shankar, it was one of the best episodes that I've listened to lately. I loved the idea of group of 5, how it saved a family, how it brought meaning to the lives of the supporters and how it inspired me to do this one day. It's always been my dream to have such a positive impact on someone's life.

Nov 2nd
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Collin Baker

It had to be Colin Baker...

Oct 28th
Reply

Chanaka Hettige

Is it really a reliable study if the gain was "5 minutes saved"? I don't know anyone who would work above and beyond to save 5 minutes. It's obvious the reason the back-up-plan group took more time is you explicitly asked someone to "See how else you can save 5 minutes." Which nobody does naturally. Hence, time consuming.

Oct 22nd
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Chanaka Hettige

Reminds me of news outputs immidiately after the end of Terrorism in Sri Lankan back in 2009. People were concerned about why rape and other crimes have risen in the country while in actuality, it's only that news was focused on the bigger flair, the war, while it was ongoing. And afterwards, given that their main flair is gone, the next option to highlight was crimes and that shifted people's mindset.

Oct 16th
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shakiba asadi

Thanks😍🥰

Oct 15th
Reply

M E

Shankar, it's not only you, We are thankful to those great doctors (Emos Willis & Barry Mandell) as well. without their sense of responsibility we also were about to lose your warm voice in scientific areas. Please tell them how grateful are listeners for their efforts.💚

Oct 14th
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G Grewal

awesome

Oct 14th
Reply

Kurben Nnm

no one can live on $1.90 a day. that calculation for extreme poverty is so wrong. Doesn't adjust for purchasing power in different regions. That is lying with statistics and they are doing it right now at now with that IMF data

Oct 14th
Reply
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