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What We Gain From Pain

What We Gain From Pain

2022-07-0451:10

We've all heard the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." But is there any truth to this idea? This week, we explore the concept of post-traumatic growth with psychologist Eranda Jayawickreme. He finds that suffering can have benefits — but not necessarily the ones we expect. If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about how we define intelligence. Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Those words, penned by Thomas Jefferson 246 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of enslaved people, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. This week, as we prepare to mark Independence Day in the United States, we revisit our 2018 conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed. We talk about the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions resonate in our own lives. If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about the power of subtraction.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
The Premonition

The Premonition

2022-06-2049:53

When Paul Burnham was a teenager, he received what felt like a premonition: he would die at the age of 54. Now, he's 54. This week, what his story of confronting death reveals about life.If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about the power of doing less.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
From the time we are schoolchildren, we are ranked and sorted based on how smart we are. But what if our assumptions about intelligence limit our potential? This week, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman proposes a more expansive notion of what it means to be "smart."If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about the power of subtraction.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
Do Less

Do Less

2022-06-0655:35

The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But  our desire for innovation can keep us from seeing one of the most powerful paths to progress: subtraction. Engineer Leidy Klotz says sometimes the best way forward involves removing, streamlining  and simplifying things.If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about the psychological traps we fall into when it comes to money. Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
What do the things you buy say about you? Many of us like to think of ourselves as immune to slick advertising and celebrity endorsements. But like it or not, we're communicating messages about ourselves every day with the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and the products we use. In the final installment of our Money 2.0 series, we revisit favorite conversations with Americus Reed and Neeru Paharia. We'll consider how companies create a worldview around the products they sell, and then get us to make those products a part of who we are.  If you like this show, be sure to listen to the other episodes in this series, including our conversation about the mental scripts that shape our choices around money.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
Where do you stand on the income ladder? Do you think of yourself as rich, as poor, or as somewhere in between? Our perceptions of wealth — our own, and other people's — can affect us more profoundly than we realize. This week in our Money 2.0 series, we revisit two of our favorite conversations about wealth and inequality. Sociologist Brook Harrington takes us inside the lives of the über wealthy and the people who manage their fortunes. Then, psychologist Keith Payne shares surprising research about income inequality and how it shapes our minds. If you like this show, be sure to listen to the other episodes in this series, including our conversation about the mental scripts that shape our choices around money.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.  
What’s the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: we need it to get paid for our work and to buy the things we need. But there’s also a deeper way to look at the role of money in our lives. This week in our Money 2.0 series, we revisit a favorite 2020 episode for an anthropologist’s take on the origin story of money. What if the cash and coins we carry are not just tools for transactions, but manifestations of human relationships?If you like this show, be sure to listen to last week's episode on how we can be better both at spending and at saving money.Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
Have you had a recent surprise expense? You're not alone. More than half of American households report facing an unplanned financial shock in the last year. This week, in the second part of our new "Money 2.0" series, psychologist Abigail Sussman points out our blindspots around money, and how we can be smarter about spending and saving.If you like this show, be sure to listen to last week's episode on how our unconscious attitudes towards money influence how we manage our finances. Also, check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Money worries are one of the biggest sources of anxiety in the lives of Americans. This week, we kick off our new "Money 2.0" series with psychologist Brad Klontz. He says that while external economic forces often shape our financial well-being, our unconscious beliefs about money also contribute to how well we manage our money. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
The Logic of Rage

The Logic of Rage

2022-04-2551:26

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. This week, we revisit a favorite 2020 episode about the secret logic of irrational anger.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Have you ever been in a position where you had to choose between someone you care about and a value that you hold dear? Maybe you had to decide whether to report a friend who was cheating on an exam, or a co-worker who was stealing from the tip jar. This week, we tell the story of a Detroit police officer who found himself in this sort of dilemma, forced to choose between people he loved and the oath he swore to serve his community. What happens in our minds when we have to decide what is right and what is wrong?If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
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? In this favorite episode from 2020, economist and political scientist Timur Kuran explains how our personal, professional and political lives are shaped by the fear of what other people think.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
How Rude!

How Rude!

2022-04-1154:15

It’s not your imagination: rudeness appears to be on the rise. Witnessing rude behavior — whether it's coming from angry customers berating a store clerk or airline passengers getting into a fistfight — can have long-lasting effects on our minds. But behavioral scientist Christine Porath says there are ways to shield ourselves from the toxic effects of incivility. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Healing Your Heart

Healing Your Heart

2022-04-0453:24

We’ve all heard about the five stages of grief. But what happens when your experience doesn’t follow that model at all? Resilience researcher Lucy Hone began to question how we think about grief after a devastating loss in her own life. She shares the techniques she learned to help her cope with tragedy.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
When disaster strikes — from the explosion of a space shuttle to the spread of a deadly virus — we want to know whether we could have avoided catastrophe. Did anyone speak up with concerns about the situation? And if so, why didn’t someone listen? This week, we revisit a favorite episode about the psychology of warnings, and how we can all become better at predicting the future.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Does power truly flow from the barrel of a gun? Pop culture and conventional history often teach us that violence is the most effective way to produce change. But is that common assumption actually true? Political scientist Erica Chenoweth, who has studied more than 100 years of revolutions and insurrections, says the answer is counterintuitive. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
You Can't Hit Unsend

You Can't Hit Unsend

2022-03-1753:15

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. Today, we revisit a 2019 episode about one teenager’s social media posts, and how they destroyed an opportunity he’d worked for all his life.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
We've all been in situations where we experience mixed emotions. Maybe you've felt both joy and sadness during a big life decision, such as whether to purchase a home or accept a job offer. Or maybe you've experienced mixed feelings about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped your life. Psychologist Naomi Rothman says that while these feelings of ambivalence are uncomfortable, they can also serve us in important ways. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Do you ever stop to wonder if the way you see the world is how the world really is?  Economist Abhijit Banerjee has spent a lifetime asking himself this question. His answer: Our world views often don't reflect reality. The only way to get more accurate is to think like a scientist — even when you're not looking through a microscope. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And if you’d like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.
Comments (984)

Anita Arpadarehi

That was super helpful.Thank you.

Jul 5th
Reply

Susannah Young

Did Paul make it to 55?

Jun 29th
Reply

Wessley Square

Can we please get an October update on Paul?

Jun 28th
Reply

Derral Hawthorne

I had an interesting reaction to this episode as an ex-Mormon. Even before you mentioned that he went to BYU and later traveled to SLC, I was thinking how this would be an extra heavy burden to carry if he were LDS because of the strong connection to prophecy and personal revelation that is prominent in the Mormon faith. I really felt for him, and even more for his wife because they, either are now or have been, part of a faith that lends great credibility to this idea of personal revelation.

Jun 26th
Reply

Raziyeh Dehghan

Hi. I didn’t get if Paul passed away or he’s living. Take me out of this worry! Knowing this can change the way I listen to his voice. 🥹

Jun 26th
Reply

Randall Marsh

It's sad there are so many evil people out there who jump at the chance to destroy those who hurt no one.

Jun 23rd
Reply

Erin Nelson

Mormons love to find extreme meaning in their dreams, of course this is about a BYU alum.

Jun 22nd
Reply

tonywlsn

Thought provoking…illuminates how little we know about measuring human intelligence…and how misapplied many of the techniques are.

Jun 14th
Reply

Jason Tran

Scott is obsessed with remembering exactly where things used to be.

Jun 14th
Reply

Nima Sedighi

THANKS A LOT.that was worth listening.

Jun 2nd
Reply

Azar Yarmohammadi

You are the best.

May 17th
Reply

Me Me

My children are the fourth generation to be told to fight or run but NEVER appease a person holding a weapon on them. so yes, there are those in their right minds who will take on a gunman. if holding a gun on you, you have nothing to lose. it's already a life and death situation.

May 13th
Reply

swaraj Bikram Jena

yes we need nore money talk episodes 🙏

May 11th
Reply

Mobina Dorri

The transcript below may be for an earlier version of this episode. Our transcripts are provided by various partners and may contain errors or deviate slightly from the audio. Shankar Vedantam: This is Hidden Brain, I'm Shankar Vedantam. When Saru Najarian was about 10, his pastime was collecting baseball and basketball cards. These were hard to come by in Cyprus where he grew up. So when Saru's cousin pestered him to share his cards with her, he always said no, but she didn't give up. As she pestered and begged and pleaded. Saru Najarian: It came to a boiling point where I got so angry that everything blacked out and I slapped her really hard. Shankar Vedantam: Saru's arm seemed to act of its own volition. A second later. Saru Najarian: I came back into the reality and I saw her crying and had no idea what I had done. Shankar Vedantam: Paula Reed experienced something similar at the same age. She was a budding environmentalist with a peace ecology flag hanging on her bedroom wall. One afternoon, she heard the cracking of trees and a low rumble. She realized that her neighbor was knocking down trees to build himself a shorter driveway. He was using a bulldozer. Paula Reed: This neighbor came up the road in the bulldozer and was pushing over trees and something in my head just snapped. Shankar Vedantam: Paula's dad had bought a machete in his travels to South America. Without thinking, Paula seized the weapon. Its blade was about as long as her arm. In shorts and bare feet, she climbed up on the bulldozer and swung the blade. Metal struck metal. As Paula rained down blows, the bulldozer stopped and retreated. Paula chased after it, cutting ribbons in the air with the machete. Paula Reed: I have no idea where that came from, but I was in a complete wild red rage. Shankar Vedantam: Today on the show, Wild Red Rage. The moments when we suddenly snap, and animal furies erupt within us. Such rage can harm others, it can harm us. It's easy to think we'd be better off without such wrath. But as blind as uncontrollable anger can be, it turns out we would be worse off without it. The deep logic of irrational rage, this week on Hidden Brain. Shankar Vedantam: This is the story of a woman who snapped. Jess Cavender: I would say that I'm a gentle person and that's me putting it optimistically. Shankar Vedantam: Jess Cavender always thought of herself as a timid person, timid to the point of pushover. Jess Cavender: My brother wasn't shy about telling me that I was a doormat for most of my life, and I didn't want to see myself as a doormat, but I also didn't have evidence to the contrary. Shankar Vedantam: In elementary school, for example, Jess saved up years of pocket money and birthday cash, storing her savings in a music box. Her dream, a much coveted trampoline. Finally, one day she had enough money. She and her dad drove to Sam's Club. Jess Cavender: I bought this trampoline and I was so excited. Shankar Vedantam: Until her trampoline was taken over by intruders. Jess Cavender: My two siblings, my older brother and younger sister would bounce on the trampoline as well and sometimes I couldn't get it to myself the way I'd like it. Shankar Vedantam: Jess's siblings didn't just hog the trampoline, they treated her as if she were an unwelcome guest. Jess tried to get her dad to step in. Instead of helping, he offered her some advice. Jess Cavender: My dad suggested to me that I charge them to use the trampoline since it was my trampoline and I had done all the work to save for it that I should charge them a fee to use it. Shankar Vedantam: He might as well have suggested she punch someone in the face. Her siblings didn't even bother arguing with her. They just ignored her. Jess Cavender: I don't know how I would have ever enforced charging 25 cents for my siblings to use it. They certainly would just be like, "No," walk past me and get on the trampoline. Shankar Vedantam: Jess did not experience the slights with fury, she accepted them with resignation. Over the years, there were other moments like this, moments that would have sparked anger in some people, but Jess usually kept her cool until one night years later, when she didn't. She was in graduate school, living with two roommates in off-campus housing. Jess Cavender: It has all of the trimmings of being college living, where you're paying for a lot and not getting very much. And people are packed in. Shankar Vedantam: Late one night, Jess was jolted awake by a sound. Jess Cavender: I hear heavy footfalls going down the stairs. Shankar Vedantam: Jess immediately thought she knew what had happened. Her roommate Kim had torn her Achilles tendon and was wearing a boot. Jess figured that Kim had fallen on the stairs. She leaped out of bed, threw on her robe and opened her bedroom door. Her other roommate, Shelby, opened her door at the same time. She'd also heard the noise. Jess Cavender: She's looking at me and I'm looking at her and Kim's not at the bottom of the stairs. So we both just run down the stairs to see what had happened. Well, the both of us arrive at the bottom of the stairs and a very large man with my kitchen rag held over his face, comes wheeling out of the kitchen with a gun pointed at us. Shankar Vedantam: The first thing Jess took in about the man was his size. He was at least six foot five. He was about a head taller than she was. Jess Cavender: All I could see was his eyes. This glare of his eyes were yellow. And aside from that, really I was staring at the barrel of the gun. Shankar Vedantam: The man yelled, "Where's the money? Get the money, go upstairs." Standing there in her robe with a gun pointed at her head, Jess did not snap. Instead her mind became cool and analytical. What could she do to get out of the situation? Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a movement. Another man had emerged from a side room. Jess Cavender: I know that they want something valuable, and I have nothing. I'm aware that I have no cash, I have no TV screens. Shankar Vedantam: The man with the gun motioned for the two women to go up the stairs, presumably to fetch their wallets. Shelby, normally a ball of energy, had gone still. Jess Cavender: I discovered that she's frozen, she isn't blinking, she's not looking at me, she's not moving. So I put my hand on her back and I say, "Everything's going to be okay. We're going upstairs. Just give them what they want." Shankar Vedantam: As Jess and Shelby climbed the stairs, the robbers came up behind them. Jess Cavender: One of the guys puts his hand on my butt to push me and that's when it occurred to me that something sexually violent might happen. Shankar Vedantam: Still, Jess felt no rage. The second robber took Shelby into her room. The first man, the one with the gun followed Jess into her bedroom. Jess Cavender: And he's yelling, "Get on the bed." And that's when this thought, "There's no way in hell that I will get on this bed. Not for anything. "It's a second-story building, I probably would have jumped out of the window before I actually got on the bed. Shankar Vedantam: Jess kept thinking, what could she give the man to make him leave? Jess Cavender: And I'm looking around my room and I'm looking for something of value. I have stacks of books, I have dance clothes, I have all sorts of things that I could not possibly in my mind register giving to him. I'm just looking around for something valuable to give to him so that he will leave. And I looked down and I see my camera. Shankar Vedantam: The camera she used for work. Jess Cavender: Now my camera is the main way that I provide for myself, and that's how I was making enough money to really, to feed myself. And so that represented to me my livelihood, my survival. I had a split second emotional response to it, thinking, "No, he doesn't get that." And that's when everything changed. Shankar Vedantam: Jess did not snap when two men invaded her home, she didn't snap when one of them touched her, she didn't snap when she was forced at gunpoint into her bedroom and told to get on the bed. But when she realized the robber might take her camera... Jess Cavender: That's when I realized, this person has no right to come in here and to demand my things or to even be in my space. That was really the first time that I had a strong response to this person violating me. I looked at the gun, just squarely faced him in a way that I don't think I've ever done to anyone and said, "Get out, get out of my house. You do not belong here." Shankar Vedantam: Jess could hear the man's accomplice in the other room shouting, "Shoot her, shoot her." Jess spotted her cell phone. She grabbed it. The robber saw what she was doing. Jess Cavender: And as I got my hand on it, he jumped on top of me and we were rolling on the floor, fighting each other. He's using one hand to try and pry the cell phone out, and I'm using the same hand that's on the cell phone to dig my fingernails into his skin, and then the other hand to try and pry the gun out of his hand. Shankar Vedantam: Something primal stirred inside Jess. She was suddenly consumed by blinding rage. Jess Cavender: His chest is on my back, his arms are around my arms. He's completely crouched over and around me as we're falling on our sides and I'm kicking and scratching.

May 9th
Reply (3)

Mahesh Mogullapally

hi

May 6th
Reply

ecoclimax

Очень актуально!

Apr 16th
Reply

Dani Malawista

I feel like experiencing rudeness has a long lasting impact for me. Like I still think about some terrible interactions I’ve had with complete strangers in my customer service jobs. I can definitely see how it hijacks my mind and whole day sometimes. Definitely hard to pivot.

Apr 12th
Reply

Janet Glenn

completely love your podcast! telling as many people as I can about it. now will also pay!! Tku for all your work!

Apr 10th
Reply

Zulema Silvernale

Wow, this was a very difficult episode to make it through. Thank you for sharing your story and experience ❤️

Apr 7th
Reply

Emerald Clem

It would be interesting to know her thoughts on people with asd ( different levels of it too).

Apr 7th
Reply
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