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Invisibilia

Author: NPR

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Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
49 Episodes
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The End of Empathy

The End of Empathy

2019-04-1200:52:2733

Invisibilia is a show that runs on empathy. We believe in it. But are we right? In this episode, we'll let you decide. We tell the same story twice in order to examine the questions: who deserves our empathy? And is there a wrong way to empathize? If you or somebody you know might need help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
A Very Offensive Rom-Com

A Very Offensive Rom-Com

2019-04-0501:01:0759

A young woman discovers a pattern in her dating habits that disturbs her - a pattern that challenges her very conception of who she is and what she believes in. The realization sets her off on a quest to change her attractions. But is this even possible? And should we be hacking our desire to match our values?
The Remote Control Brain

The Remote Control Brain

2019-03-2900:47:2157

What would it be like if you could control your mood with a hand held device? Literally turn the device to different settings and make yourself happier and sadder? Alix Spiegel talks to a woman who has that power. If you or somebody you know might need help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
The Weatherman

The Weatherman

2019-03-2200:43:3047

In this episode of Invisibilia, we explore our relationship with uncertainty through the eyes of a chief meteorologist. We wonder: what do you do when you don't know what to do? And how do we handle it when that question has no answer?
Post, Shoot

Post, Shoot

2019-03-1500:52:4037

What is the relationship between the version of you that lives online and the one that walks around the earth? We think of our online selves as shadow versions of us which we can control. But in this age when facts are malleable, something strange is happening: our online selves are sometimes eclipsing our real ones, even when we don't want them to.
The Fifth Vital Sign

The Fifth Vital Sign

2019-03-0801:01:5189

We look at how our culture's massive effort to address pain has paradoxically increased it. And we follow one young girl as she struggles through a bizarre and extreme treatment program. NOTE: The treatment in this episode is administered by trained professionals in a hospital setting (and should not be implemented without medical supervision).
Season 5 Trailer

Season 5 Trailer

2019-03-0400:01:364

This moment in our culture can feel fraught. From 'fake news' to the opioid crisis, there's a lot of uncertainty about the future. So this season, Invisibilia helps you discern truth from fiction, cure your pain, and find your true love with conviction. It's your very own Emotional Survival Guide!
Years ago, producer Yowei Shaw taught high school students how to make radio. And in one of her classes, something bizarre happened with one of her students, something that she's never been able to make sense of. In this episode, Yowei tracks down her former student and uncovers a story much stranger than she ever expected.
BONUS: The Prayer

BONUS: The Prayer

2018-12-0700:15:1538

Five years ago, Leena Sanzgiri was living her childhood dream... New York city apartment, job at Vogue, and a boyfriend she planned to marry. Until the July day she woke up in the hospital, and everything changed. Support for this episode provided by Charles Schwab: https://www.schwab.com/.
BONUS: Who Do You Let In?

BONUS: Who Do You Let In?

2018-10-1600:25:1750

An uncomfortable encounter with a stranger sets producer Abby Wendle on a quest to answer the question: who do you let in and who do you keep out? In her search for balance between openness and caution – she navigates the struggles of her long-distance relationship and chats up musician John Prine.
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Comments (145)

Cupcake Kitten

Why they had to play the sound of a man's "high voltage howling" so much? idk but it was AWFUL!

Jun 20th
Reply

Wendy St Pierre

love this show but the vocal fry is annoying

May 29th
Reply

Gee Whiz

Wendy St Pierre +1

May 30th
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Talina Torres

i feel like this doesn't really take into account environmental and cognitive factors in dating preferences. she went to a mostly white school. It sounds like, for the most part, that they were really all she was ever exposed to. because of this, to think there is a racial motivation is kind of short-sighted. I feel like ot was more racist of her to conduct her experiment. Like, she was almost trying to have sex with these guys to prove to herself she wasn't a racist. Of course she says this wasn't the case, but our unconscious motivations are in many cases more critical than those we choose to actually acknowledge. I like this episode because it makes me think.

May 28th
Reply

Katherine Thomas

I am sure that I am going to be wildly unpopular for this but he chose to join a enemy group. His crime was committed in Syria, he faces punishment there.

May 28th
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Gabe

I kept listening to this episode thinking that it was going to reach some point of significance, but it didn't. To summarize, the "journslist" found herself some confused, insecure creep (who hasn't actually harmed anybody), exploited his inadequacies in romance and relationships, and created her own narrative to villainize him. All of this for what purpose? To reinforce some pre established general distain towards men amongst feminists? Pretty Petty if you ask me.

May 21st
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Gabe

Katherine Thomas ps. maybe the last part of my first comment was wrong. I shouldn't paint any group of people with such a broad brush. From what I understand the fundamental principle of feminism is equality, which I agree with, but I'm sure we've both seen that principle get lost in translation.

May 27th
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Gabe

Katherine Thomas My point is that this story is a reach. The guy has issues with self image/self esteem. How is that significant subject matter? The girlfriend also sounds a little wacky but she wasn't even interviewed. I'm just struggling to understand the motive behind this story and the moral of it. To me it amounts to nothing more than gossip.

May 27th
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Miranda Elizabeth Remenar

I truly wish the songs were cited. some of them are so good and are hard to find. :(

May 17th
Reply

Princess Gilly

Miranda Elizabeth Remenar if you listen to the credits, they cite all the songs, bands, and sometimes even albums - plus give their website for more info. agree that the music is great and this podcast does a better job than most citing but it is verbal not in the description

Jun 12th
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David Morton

Dopamine and Oxytocin are increased during sex, causing pleasure and bonding. I'm wondering why people don't see the forest through the trees here. seems like the system is designed to create monogamous relationships, and make them enjoyable...

May 17th
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David Morton

Teresa Ellis Well, my 3 year old can take down his 6 year old brother, but that's more a matter of personality and 3ness than anything else 🤣

Jun 6th
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Teresa Ellis

David Morton Spot on. And human beings are designed to be raised in a stable, long term relationship. Our species evolved to encourage commitment. We are the only species that is helpless for YEARS. I just can't see a three-year-old hunter-gather taking down anything more dangerous than a grasshopper.

Jun 6th
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Mae Lee Arant

This episode infuriates me as there is a glossing over of Mr. Spann's culpability as a climate change denier. If he is so moved and determined to save lives, being blind and resistant to the science of climate change aligns him to the politicians in this administration being puppeted by the 1%Koch et.al. cabal, in creating policies that are accelerating the blockbuster hell coming our way that will wipe out millions, millions of lives. There is no kumbaya moment here folks.

May 4th
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Jones

Mae Lee Arant Wow.

May 14th
Reply

Cubbie Bear

this is so dumb.

Apr 27th
Reply

mia norris

oh poor Martin!!! what a strong mind and incredible soul! especially after all that barney torture!!! Martin, you are a true inspiration. Thankyou for telling your story

Apr 22nd
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Brad Cooper

HATED it. The producer came with a political agenda that ruined her credibility and the episode. In this "story" the producer admits she had no input from Jack's "victim", so she comes after him with inference based on other people's stories of incidents involving people who don't know Jack (sorry, couldn't resist), then she convicts him on the basis of what he didn't say. Don't get me wrong, this guy may be a creep, his story was thin, and I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if he was the psycho boyfriend he was portrayed to be. But we just don't know, and a journalist who doesn't have the facts doesn't have the story. It reminds me of the fraternity at UVA that was falsely accused of gang raping a female student -- the reporter wanted it to be true so she reported it without all the facts. The fact that your producer (sorry don't remember her name) quickly tied it back to the Cavanaugh hearing clinches it -- no matter who you believe, at least there was an apparently credible witness who accused Cavanaugh. In this piece the accuser was the producer who had a chip on her shoulder because of her feelings about that week's news. Hanna, as a journalist you should have questioned the producer rather than yourself, and you should not have aired the story without any facts. By the end, you got back to the truth of the matter from Jack himself -- he was a poor schmuck with no life who hated himself and behaved badly. We can judge him on that basis, with empathy or not, but not based on innuendo that paints him with the same brush as rapists and sexual harrassers. Bad job.

Apr 18th
Reply

Laxmi Woodham

Brad Cooper I think they did a good job exploring a gray matter. This isn't a peer reviewed research paper, it's a show with human stories and perspectives. I still view Hanna to be extremely fair as a journalist and highly skilled at viewing topics from multiple angles. I find it fascinating that she will even hold the journalistic light to herself and examine her own opinions and approach. Based on your comment, you heard a much more conclusive tone to this episode than I did. I don't think anyone set out to condemn Jack, but merely used this as an opportunity to explore the role empathy plays in modern life. Are you a journalist or in a field connected to the press? I'd like to understand why you feel so strongly this one episode can ruin someone's journalistic credibility.

May 2nd
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E Nash

Great episode

Apr 16th
Reply

Saulo Tristão

trump taboo ... amazing

Apr 15th
Reply

Amy

I love this episode! So eye-opening and thought- provoking. Thank you!

Apr 11th
Reply

some yuppy

Listen to Scene on Radio for a bigger breakdown on this - especially the season Seeing White

Apr 5th
Reply

Sam

certainly in this day and age people need to understand that violent or threatening looking images or statements can and will be used against you, also nudity. careful with what is posted on social media platforms, it becomes public property.

Apr 4th
Reply

Silvia Bruznican

excellent episode. so interesting

Apr 3rd
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Modus Pwnens

This stuff is well suited for philosophers more than just psychologists. I think it would help to have some on.

Mar 26th
Reply

Bonnie Nortz

I was surprised that mindfulness/mindfulness meditation wasn’t brought up in this episode, since the practice can do a lot to change one’s relationship to pain, and that seems to be a big factor in the diagnosis of amplified pain. With the treatment they do go through it seems like they incorporate some aspects of it, like regularly checking in with and naming one’s emotions, but yeah, I was just surprised it wasn’t a bigger part of it, or mentioned explicitly. Mindfulness meditation might not have solved the whole problem, but it does seem like a less extreme option to try than what they went with.

Mar 22nd
Reply

patrick James K (PatJayKay)

this is one of the most insightful episodes for me

Mar 20th
Reply
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