Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain

By Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

Episodes

Innovation 2.0: The Influence You Have

Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn’t stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we continue our Innovation 2.0 series with a 2020 episode about a phenomenon known as as “egocentric bias.” We talk with psychologist Vanessa Bohns about how this bias leads us astray, and how we can use this knowledge to ask for the things we need. Did you catch the first two episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series? You can find them in this podcast feed or on our website. And if you're enjoying this series, please share it with a friend or family member. Thanks! 
13/05/2452m 4s

Innovation 2.0: Multiplying the Growth Mindset

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that people wrote you off? Maybe a teacher suggested you weren't talented enough to take a certain class, or a boss implied that you didn't have the smarts needed to handle a big project. In the latest in our "Innovation 2.0 series," we talk with Mary Murphy, who studies what she calls "cultures of genius." We'll look at how these cultures can keep people and organizations from thriving, and how we can create environments that better foster our growth.Do you know someone who'd find the ideas in today's episode to be useful? Please share it with them! And if you liked today's conversation, you might also like these classic Hidden Brain episodes:  The Edge EffectThe Secret to Great TeamsDream Jobs
06/05/2452m 10s

Innovation 2.0: How Big Ideas Are Born

Why is it so hard to guess where we're meant to be? To predict where we'll end up? Nearly all of us have had the experience of traveling down one road, only to realize it's not the road for us. At the University of Virginia, Saras Sarasvathy uses the lens of entrepreneurship to study how we plan and prepare for the future. We kick off our new "Innovation 2.0" series by talking with Saras about how we pursue goals and make decisions.Do you know someone who might benefit from our conversation with Saras about expert entrepreneurs? Please share it with them if so! And be sure to check out our other conversations about how to get out of ruts and figure out a path forward: Who Do You Want to Be?You 2.0 : How to Break Out of a Rut
29/04/2450m 18s

Parents: Keep Out!

If you're a parent or a teacher, you've probably wondered how to balance play and safety for the kids in your care. You don't want to put children in danger, but you also don't want to rob them of the joy of exploration. This week, we talk with psychologist Peter Gray about how this balance has changed — for parents and children alike — and what we can do about it.For more of our reporting on children and parents, check out these classic Hidden Brain episodes:Kinder-GardeningBringing Up Baby  
22/04/2453m 40s

The Curious Science of Cravings

We've all had those days when all we want is a little treat. Maybe it's a bag of chips, an ice cream sundae or a glass of wine. But sometimes, these desires become all-consuming. This week on the show, psychiatrist Judson Brewer helps us understand the science of cravings, and how we should respond to them. If you liked today's conversation, be sure to check out other Hidden Brain episodes about ways to regain a feeling of control over your life: Creatures of Habit and Taking Control of Your Time.
15/04/2449m 5s

What Is Normal?

Anthropologist Tom Pearson was devastated after his daughter Michaela was diagnosed with Down syndrome. When he began to examine that emotional response, he found himself wrestling with questions that have roiled his field for decades. Early anthropologists would often compare people of different backgrounds and abilities, asking questions like: How is one group different from another? Which one is stronger or smarter? And how do we understand people who don’t fit our expectations? This week, we talk with Pearson about his family’s story, and the evolution of our thinking on disability and difference.If you liked today's show, be sure to check out these classic Hidden Brain episodes:"Emma, Carrie, Vivian""Why You're Smarter than You Think" 
08/04/2450m 54s

The Transformative Ideas of Daniel Kahneman

If you've ever taken an economics class, you were probably taught that people are rational. But about 50 years ago, the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky began to chip away at this basic assumption. In doing so, they transformed our understanding of human behavior. This week, we remember Kahneman, who recently died at the age of 90, by revisiting our 2018 and 2021 conversations with him. If you enjoyed this look at the work of Daniel Kahneman, you might also enjoy our conversations about behavioral economics with Kahneman's friend and collaborator Richard Thaler: Misbehaving with Richard Thaler Follow the Anomalies 
01/04/241h 38m

Are You Listening?

Have you ever sat across from your spouse, colleague or friend and realized that while they may be hearing what you're saying, they aren't actually listening? Poor listening can lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. But the good news is that active, thoughtful listening can profoundly benefit both people in the conversation. This week on the show, psychologist Guy Itzchakov helps us understand where interactions go awry, and how to become a more attentive listener. For more of our work on how to better connect with the people in your life, check out these episodes: Why Conversations Go Wrong with Deborah TannenA Secret Source of Connection with Amit KumarRelationships 2.0: What Makes Relationships Thrive with Harry ReisRelationships 2.0: How to Keep Conflict from Spiraling with Julia Minson  
25/03/2449m 41s

The Ventilator

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 revisit a 2019 episode featuring 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.If you enjoyed today's episode, here are some more classic Hidden Brain episodes you might like:The Cowboy PhilosopherWhen You Need It To Be True Me, Myself, and Ikea Thanks for listening! 
18/03/2449m 34s

Escaping the Matrix

A little more than a decade ago, researchers began tracking an alarming trend: a dramatic uptick in anxiety and depression among young Americans. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt, like many other researchers, says the increase is related to our use of social media and devices. But he believes it’s also deeper than that — connected to our deepest moral beliefs and how they shape the way we view the world. He says there are simple steps we can take to improve the mental health of kids growing up in the smartphone era.For more of our work on how technology is shaping our lives, check out our two-part series "The Paradox of Pleasure" and "The Path to Enough."  And don't miss our classic episode on social media, "Screaming into the Void."
11/03/2449m 59s

Fear Less

Fear is a normal and healthy response to things that may harm us. But fear can also hold us back from doing the things we want to do. This week, we talk to psychiatrist and neuroscientist Arash Javanbakht about the psychology of fear — how it helps us, how it hurts us, and what we can do to harness it.For more on the science of fear and anxiety, including how you can overcome it, check out our episode A Better Way to Worry. 
04/03/2451m 51s

US 2.0: Lincoln's Dilemma

Over the past few weeks, we've been exploring the psychology of partisanship, and how to effectively handle disagreements with those around us. This week, we conclude our US 2.0 series by turning to the past. We talk with journalist Steve Inskeep about how one of the most important leaders in American history — Abraham Lincoln — grappled with the pressing moral question of his time. When, if ever, is it worth compromising your own principles for the sake of greater progress?If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out our 2018 conversation about Thomas Jefferson with historian Annette Gordon-Reed. It's the episode called "A Founding Contradiction" in this podcast feed, or you can listen on our website.  
26/02/2452m 13s

US 2.0: Not at the Dinner Table

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 bring you a favorite 2020 conversation with political scientist Yanna Krupnikov, who offers an alternative way to understand Americans’ political views.For more of our reporting on the intersection between politics and psychology, check out our episode about political hobbyism. You might also like this classic episode about how we come to our political values and beliefs. Thanks for listening! 
19/02/2449m 29s

US 2.0: Living With Our Differences

Conflicts are inevitable — both at a global scale and in our personal lives. This week, in the latest in our US 2.0 series, psychologist Peter Coleman explains how minor disagreements turn into major rifts, and how we can defuse even the most salient of disputes in our lives.Interested in learning more?For additional ideas about how to keep conflict from spiraling, check out our conversation with researcher Julia Minson. And for a look at how violence shapes political outcomes on a global scale, be sure to listen to our interview with political scientist Erica Chenoweth. 
12/02/2452m 44s

US 2.0: Win Hearts, Then Minds

There's a saying that's attributed to the Dalai Lama: in the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. It's a nice idea, but in reality, when people don't share our values, it's hard for us to tolerate theirs. This week, we talk with sociologist Robb Willer about the common mistakes we make in trying to persuade others of our point of view — and how we can break out of our echo chambers.Did you catch last week's kick-off to our US 2.0 series? You can find it in this podcast feed, and here.  
05/02/2448m 32s

US 2.0: What We Have In Common

The United States, we’re told, is increasingly a house divided. Conservatives and progressives are so alienated from each other that conversation is virtually impossible. But are we really as divided as we’re led to believe? As we begin what promises to be a pivotal election season, we're kicking off a new series about how we form our political beliefs. We're calling it "US 2.0." We begin with psychologist Kurt Gray, who studies how we think about our political allies and  opponents — and how these insights can help us to chart a new path forward. Have you tried to talk with someone who disagrees with you about politics? Have you found effective ways to get through? If you’d be willing to share your stories with the Hidden Brain audience,  along with any questions you have for Kurt Gray, please record a voice memo and email it to us at ideas@hiddenbrain.org. Use the subject line “politics.”  And thanks!
29/01/2450m 35s

Are Your Memories Real?

We rely on our memory to understand the world. But what if our memories aren't true? This week, we talk to psychologist Elizabeth Loftus about the malleability of memory — what we remember, and what we think we remember.For more on the science of memory, including how you can strengthen your own ability to recall information, check out our episodes Remember More, Forget Less and Did That Really Happen? 
22/01/2449m 50s

Finding Focus

We spend more and more of our lives staring at screens. Our cellphones, smartwatches and laptops allow us to communicate instantly with people across the globe, and quickly look up obscure facts. But our digital devices are also altering our brains in profound ways. This week, psychologist Gloria Mark explores how our ability to focus is shrinking, and offers ways to protect our minds in a world filled with endless distractions.Want more suggestions on how to stay focused in a distracting world? Here are a few additional episodes to check out:You 2.0: Deep WorkTaking Control of Your TimeAnd if you love Hidden Brain, please consider joining Hidden Brain+, our podcast subscription! You can find it on Apple Podcasts, or by clicking  here. 
15/01/2448m 29s

Where Do Feelings Come From?

Most of us feel that our emotions are reactions to those outside of us. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and we say that the other driver made us upset. A friend brings over food when we're sick, and we say the friend offered us comfort. But psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett argues that our feelings are not, in fact, responses to the world — they're really predictions about the world. And she says we can exercise more control over those predictions than we realize.Did you know that Hidden Brain now has an app? You can download it and try out our first game — designed to help you sharpen your facial recognition skills — here.  
08/01/2450m 17s

Making the Most of Your Mistakes

When we're learning, or trying new things, mistakes are inevitable. Some of these mistakes provide us with valuable information, while others are just harmful. This week, we kick off the new year with researcher Amy Edmondson, who explains the difference between constructive failures and those we should try to avoid. If you know someone who would enjoy this episode, please share it with them. And thanks for listening! We look forward to bringing you many new Hidden Brain episodes in 2024. 
01/01/2451m 46s

What Would Socrates Do?

Humans have wrestled with questions about identity and purpose for millennia. So it’s no surprise that the insights of people who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago have stood the test of time. This week, philosopher Tamar Gendler explores how three great thinkers from ancient Greece understood the human psyche, and what we can still learn from their wisdom today.If you know someone who would enjoy this episode, please share it with them. And thanks for listening! We look forward to bringing you many new Hidden Brain episodes in 2024. 
25/12/2350m 27s

How to Believe in Yourself

When was the last time you set a goal and struggled to reach it? Perhaps you're trying to write a novel but can't seem to get started. Or maybe you want to master a sport, but you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. This week, organizational psychologist Adam Grant guides us through the science of human potential, and teaches us how to uncover our own abilities.If you love Hidden Brain, please consider joining Hidden Brain+, our podcast subscription! You can find it on Apple Podcasts, or by clicking  here.  
18/12/2349m 43s

The Ugly Side of Beauty

We like to tell kids, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But from a very early age, we humans are doing just that — judging others based on how they look. This week, we bring you the second part of our look at the science of beauty and talk with psychologists Vivian Zayas and Stefanie Johnson about how appearances can often lead us astray.If you haven't yet heard the first episode in this series, be sure to check it out! It's called "The Mystery of Beauty," and you can find it in this podcast feed, or on our website. 
11/12/2350m 54s

The Mystery of Beauty

Think about the last time you were struck by a gorgeous painting in a museum, or heard a song that brought you to tears. All of us know what it’s like to be stopped in our tracks by a beautiful sight. But scientists are still puzzling over why this is the case. What’s the point of beauty? Why is it seemingly so important to us? This week on the show, neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee explains the function of beauty in our daily lives. Then, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek describes how beauty served a purpose in some of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of our time.In case you missed it, make sure to listen to the last installment of our Healing 2.0 series, The Power of Apologies. Plus, if you're looking for a holiday gift for the Hidden Brain fan in your life, be sure to check out our online shop for mugs, t-shirts, and more! 
04/12/2349m 4s

Healing 2.0: The Power of Apologies

Why is it so hard to say 'I'm sorry?' In the final episode of our Healing 2.0 series, we talk with psychologist Tyler Okimoto about the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we've done something wrong, as well as the transformative power of apologies.If  you liked this episode, check out the rest of our Healing 2.0 series. And if you know someone who would benefit from the ideas we explored in this series, please share these episodes with them. Thanks! 
27/11/2349m 40s

Healing 2.0: Disrupting Death

In 2019, Justin Harrison's mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. But by the time she died, he had figured out how to keep a part of her alive...forever. This week, the strange and provocative story of a man who believes that grief is not inevitable — that we can, in a way, cheat death.If you missed the earlier installments of our Healing 2.0 series, you can find them in this podcast feed, or on our website: Life After Loss, What We Gain from Pain, and Change Your Story, Change Your Life.  
20/11/2352m 58s

Healing 2.0: Life After Loss

You've probably heard that people who lose a loved one may go through what are known as the "five stages" of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But many people find that their grief doesn't follow this model at all. In the latest installment of our Healing 2.0 series, we revisit our 2022 conversation with resilience researcher Lucy Hone. Lucy shares the techniques she learned to cope after a devastating loss in her own life. If you missed the earlier installments of our Healing 2.0 series, you can find them in this podcast feed, or on our website:  Healing 2.0: Change Your Story, Change Your Life and Healing 2.0: What We Gain from Pain. 
13/11/2349m 18s

Healing 2.0: What We Gain from Pain

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 pain can have benefits — but not necessarily the ones we expect.Enjoy this episode? Make sure to check out last week's kick-off to our Healing 2.0 series, where we explore how the stories we tell about ourselves shape our lives in profound ways.  
06/11/2349m 21s

Healing 2.0: Change Your Story, Change Your Life

We all tell stories about ourselves, often without realizing we’re doing so. How we frame those stories can profoundly shape our lives. In the kickoff episode to our month-long series on healing, psychologist Jonathan Adler shares how to tell our stories in ways that enhance our wellbeing.Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!  
30/10/2355m 7s

The Enemies of Gratitude

One of the mysteries of human behavior is that it’s often easier for us to focus on what’s going wrong than on what’s going right in our lives. Why is that? Psychologist Thomas Gilovich studies the barriers that prevent us from feeling gratitude, and how we can overcome them.Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!  
23/10/2349m 32s

Follow the Anomalies

As we move through our lives, we have to make decisions both big and small. Some are banal: What will I eat for breakfast today? Should I drive or bike to work? Others are more complicated: How much should I contribute to my 401k? What career should I pursue? Today on the show, behavioral economist Richard Thaler explains why our decision making is often far more nuanced than economic models would suggest.If you missed last week's show on how to keep yourself from getting conned, you can find it here: How to Spot a Scam.
16/10/2348m 51s

How to Spot a Scam

We like to think that con artists only prey upon the weak, or gullible. But psychologist Dan Simons says all of us can fall victim to scams, because the best scammers know how to take advantage of our biases and blindspots. Did you miss last week's episode about perfectionism? You can find it here. And thanks for listening!  
09/10/2351m 42s

Escaping Perfectionism

Perfectionism is everyone’s favorite flaw. It’s easy to assume that our push to be perfect is what leads to academic, athletic, and professional success.  But psychologist Thomas Curran says perfectionism has a dark side, and that there are much healthier ways to strive for excellence. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!  
02/10/2352m 50s

The Secret to Great Teams

It's easy to think that the best teams are collections of highly accomplished or talented individuals, working under a skilled leader. But that's no guarantee of success. Psychologist Anita Woolley says the best teams are far more than the sum of their parts, and they share certain basic characteristics. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!  
25/09/2350m 2s

Outsmarting Yourself

After we make a decision, we often tell ourselves a story about why our choice was the right one to make. It's a mental process that psychologist Elliot Aronson calls self-justification. These rationalizations can sometimes lead us to excuse bad behavior or talk ourselves out of a poor choice. But are there also times when self-justification can be used for good? This is the second part of our series on cognitive dissonance. Listen to the first episode: How We Live with Contradictions.
18/09/2346m 18s

How We Live With Contradictions

Think about the last time you did something you knew was wrong. How did you explain your actions to yourself? All of us tell stories about why we do the things we do. We justify our failures, and come up with plausible explanations for our actions. This week, Elliot Aronson explains the mental processes behind this type of self-justification, and shares how he helped develop one of the most widely-known concepts in psychology: cognitive dissonance.If you're interested in learning more about the origins of cognitive dissonance, listen to our episode When You Need It To Be True. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
11/09/2353m 53s

Being Kind to Yourself

How often do you say something negative to yourself that you'd never utter to someone else? Self-criticism can often feel like a way to hold ourselves accountable. But psychologist Kristin Neff says there’s a better path to personal growth: self-compassion. In a favorite conversation from 2021, Kristin remembers the painful moment when she learned to show herself self-compassion, and shares how being kind to ourselves can improve our wellbeing and relationships with others. Do you know someone who needs a reminder to be kind to themselves? Please share this episode with them! And if you have follow-up questions for Kristin Neff, please record a voice memo and send it to ideas@hiddenbrain.org. Use the subject line "self-compassion" in your email. Thanks! 
04/09/2351m 18s

You 2.0: Make the Good Times Last

Sorrows have a way of finding us, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Joys, on the other hand, are often hard to notice and appreciate. This week, we continue our conversation with psychologist Fred Bryant about the science of savoring, and how to make the most of the good things in our lives.Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about  how to turn even the smallest moments into opportunities for pleasure.   And thanks for listening! 
28/08/2347m 38s

You 2.0: Slow Down!

It’s understandable that we sometimes dwell on things that upset us. But our negative emotions can keep us from savoring the good things in our lives. This week, we continue our You 2.0 series with psychologist Fred Bryant. We’ll discuss the many benefits of savoring, and how we can turn even the smallest of moments into an opportunity for pleasure.Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about  how to set our "future selves" up for success.  And thanks for listening! 
21/08/2350m 29s

You 2.0: Your Future Is Now

Have you ever set a goal and had a really difficult time sticking to it? Maybe you decide you want to save more money, or go to the gym more often. This week on the show, psychologist Hal Hershfield explains why it can be difficult to set our "future selves" up for success. Plus, he shares tools to help us make commitments that will benefit us in the years to come. Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about how to break out of a rut. And thanks for listening! 
14/08/2351m 25s

You 2.0: How to Break Out of a Rut

There are times in life when the challenges we face feel insurmountable. Authors succumb to writer's block. Athletes and artists hit a plateau. People of a certain age fall into a midlife crisis. These are all different ways of saying: I'm stuck.  This week, in the kickoff to our annual You 2.0 series, psychologist Adam Alter shares his research on why we all get stuck at various points in our lives, and how to break free. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
07/08/2350m 0s

The Truth About Honesty

Think about how often you hold back honest opinions of someone else because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But there are times when this well-intended restraint can be a mistake. This week, in the second part of our series on failure and feedback, psychologist Taya Cohen helps us understand when — and how — to be honest. If you missed the first part of our series — which focuses on how we can become better at learning from difficult or negative feedback — you can find it here. 
31/07/2355m 2s

Learning From Your Mistakes

No matter who you are, it's guaranteed that at some point in life you'll make a mistake. Many of us find failures to be uncomfortable — so we try our best to ignore them and move on. But what if there was a way to turn that discomfort into an opportunity? This week, we begin a two part mini-series on the psychology of failure and feedback. Psychologist Lauren Eskreis-Winkler teaches us how to stop ignoring our mistakes, and instead, start to learn from them. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
24/07/2349m 20s

The Path to Enough

This week, we bring you the second part of our conversation on the perils of too much pleasure. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke explains the neuroscience behind compulsive consumption, and how it alters our brains. She also shares techniques she’s learned from her patients to overcome the lure of addictive substances and behaviors.Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
17/07/2350m 28s

The Paradox of Pleasure

All of us think we know what addiction looks like: it’s the compulsive consumption of drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. But psychiatrist Anna Lembke argues that this definition is far too narrow — and that a broader understanding of addiction might help us to understand why so many people are anxious and depressed. This week, we begin a two-part series that explains how and why humans are wired to pursue pleasure, and all the ways the modern world tempts us with addictive substances and behaviors.Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
10/07/2349m 47s

How Others See You

It's not easy to know how we come across to others, especially when we're meeting people for the first time. Psychologist Erica Boothby says many of us underestimate how much other people actually like us. This week, we revisit one of our most popular episodes to look at how certain social illusions give us a distorted picture of ourselves.Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks! 
03/07/2350m 57s

The Best Years of Your Life

Aging isn’t just a biological process. Our outlook and emotions also change as we age, often in ways that boost our well-being. Psychologist Laura Carstensen unpacks the science behind this surprising finding, and shares what all of us can learn from older people.Have you ever been torn about whether to pursue a passion project? In the latest episode of Hidden Brain+, novelist and physician Abraham Verghese tells us about the person who helped him navigate this dilemma in his own life. Try Hidden Brain+ for free on the Apple Podcasts app or at apple.co/hiddenbrain.
26/06/2350m 52s

When to Eat the Marshmallow

Think about the last time you resisted watching yet another episode of your favorite TV show, or decided not to have a second piece of cake at a friend's birthday party. In many societies, self-discipline is seen as an invaluable trait. But we often overlook what makes it possible to hold back in those moments of temptation. This week, psychologist Celeste Kidd offers a new way to think about self-control. Then, we talk with researcher Jacqueline Rifkin about how to find the right balance between indulgence and restraint.Have you ever been torn about whether to pursue a passion project? In the latest episode of Hidden Brain+, novelist and physician Abraham Verghese tells us about the person who helped him navigate this dilemma in his own life. You can hear the episode and become a subscriber to Hidden Brain+ at Apple Podcasts. 
19/06/2351m 48s

Between Two Worlds

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 revisit a favorite 2020 conversation about the ethical costs of upward mobility.Make sure to listen to our episodes about the science of meditation, Seeking Serenity: Part 1 and Seeking Serenity: Part 2. And if you like Hidden Brain and want more of it, please join our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+! 
12/06/2346m 52s

Seeking Serenity: Part 2

In the second part of our series on the science of meditation, Richard Davidson continues his endeavor to unite seemingly opposite ways of understanding the mind. Plus, he shares the latest research on mindfulness, and the unexpected ways it can benefit us.Missed the first episode in our series on meditation? You can find it here: Seeking Serenity: Part 1. And if you like Hidden Brain and want more of it, please join our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+! 
08/06/2349m 59s

Seeking Serenity: Part 1

In graduate school, neuroscientist Richard Davidson learned to use scientific tools as a way to examine the brain. At the same time, he also started studying under master meditators — who deeply contemplated their internal and external lives. This week, two ways of understanding the mind.Make sure to listen to our Success 2.0 episodes: Taking the Leap, Getting What You Want, and Getting to the Top and Staying There. And if you like Hidden Brain and want more of it, please join our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+! 
05/06/2349m 9s

Success 2.0: Getting to the Top and Staying There

There are plenty of talented people in the world. So why do only a tiny percentage of us reach the highest peaks of achievement? This week, we conclude our "Success 2.0" series by talking with researcher Justin Berg about whether there's a secret recipe for finding — and sustaining — success.  Make sure to listen to the rest of our Success 2.0 episodes: Taking the Leap, Getting What You Want, The Obstacles You Don't See, and The Psychology of Self Doubt. And if you like Hidden Brain and want more of it, please join our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+!   
29/05/2351m 38s

Success 2.0: The Psychology of Self-Doubt

We all have times when we feel like a fraud. In the latest installment of our Success 2.0 series, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with psychologist Kevin Cokley. We'll explore the corrosive effects of self-doubt, and how we can turn that negative voice in our heads into an ally.  Be sure to check out the rest of our "Success 2.0" series, including last week's episode about how to remove the obstacles that can impede our success. And don't miss the trailer for Hidden Brain+, our new podcast subscription debuting May 25! 
22/05/2349m 45s

Success 2.0: The Obstacles You Don't See

Think about the last time you tried to bring up an idea at work, and it was shot down. What did you do? Most of us think the best way to win people over is to push harder. But organizational psychologist Loran Nordgren says a more effective approach is to focus on the invisible obstacles to new ideas. In this episode of our Success 2.0 series,  we revisit a favorite 2021 interview about overcoming the obstacles that hold back innovation. We all rely on incentives to get people to do things they might otherwise avoid. If you missed last week's episode, "Getting What You Want," be sure to check it out for ideas about how to use incentives to achieve your goals. 
15/05/2348m 15s

Introducing Hidden Brain+

Do you love the ideas we explore on Hidden Brain and want more of them? Then please join Hidden Brain+, our new podcast subscription. You’ll find new episodes not available anywhere else, plus the chance to have your questions answered by the researchers we feature on the show. Find Hidden Brain+ exclusively on the Apple Podcasts app beginning May 25. Thanks, and see you there! -Shankar 
14/05/232m 11s

Success 2.0: Getting What You Want

We all rely on incentives to get people to do things they might otherwise avoid. Parents reward kids for doing their homework. Companies offer bonuses to their high-performing employees. Charities send gifts to their donors. In the second episode in our "Success 2.0" series, economist Uri Gneezy shares how incentives can help us to achieve our goals, if we know how to avoid their pitfalls. American culture celebrates those who persevere in the face of adversity. But how do we know when to walk away from something that's no longer working?  Economist John List says in every domain of our lives, it's important to know when to  pivot to something new. Be sure to check out Taking the Leap, the kick-off to our "Success 2.0" series. And for more Hidden Brain, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter! You can sign up at news.hiddenbrain.org.
08/05/2350m 53s

Success 2.0: Taking the Leap

American culture celebrates those who persevere in the face of adversity. So how do we know when to walk away from something that's not working? Today, we kick off our new "Success 2.0" series with economist John List. He says in every domain of our lives, it's important to know when to pivot to something new. Have you ever thought about helping a  family member or friend in need, but then held back for some reason?  You're hardly alone. If you want to understand why we sometimes hesitate to show we care, be sure to check out last week's episode, A Secret Source of Connection.  And for more Hidden Brain, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter! You can sign up at news.hiddenbrain.org. 
01/05/2349m 1s

A Secret Source of Connection

We all have moments in our lives when we see someone who could use a helping hand. It could be a friend who recently went through a breakup, an elderly person trying to load groceries into their car, or a stranger on the street who looks a little lost. We tell ourselves we should help, but then something stops us. This week, psychologist Amit Kumar helps us understand what keeps us from taking a moment to be kind, and how to overcome these barriers to create stronger, happier connections. Have you ever had a moment when you blank out on your best friend's name, or forget the passcode to your phone? If you want to understand why, and how to improve your memory, be sure to check out last week's episode, Remember More, Forget Less. And for more Hidden Brain, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter! You can sign up at news.hiddenbrain.org. 
24/04/2349m 51s

Remember More, Forget Less

It happens to the best of us — we blank on someone's name, or forget an important meeting, or bomb a test we thought we'd ace.   Today on the show, we talk to cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham about the mysteries of memory: How it works, why it fails us, and how to build memories that stick. It used to be that we tried our best to conceal disadvantages. But new research sheds a light on the strange phenomenon of people who pretend to be worse off than they really are.  Check out our recent episode "Crying Wolf". And if you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org.  
17/04/2349m 51s

Crying Wolf

It used to be that we tried our best to conceal disadvantages, hardships, and humiliations. But new research explores a curious shift: some people are flaunting limitations that don't exist. This week, we talk to psychologists Karl Aquino and Jillian Jordan about the strange phenomenon of wanting to seem worse off than we really are.Think back to the last time you tried to win an argument. What could you have done to bolster your case? Check out our recent episode "Less is More" for helpful strategies. And if you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org.  
10/04/2350m 23s

The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do some social movements take off and spread, while others fizzle? Today on the show, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with sociologist Damon Centola, who studies social contagion and how it can be harnessed to build a better world.Think back to the last time you tried to win an argument. What could you have done to bolster your case? Our recent episode "Less is More" has helpful strategies — you can find it here or in your podcast feed. And if you like our work, please consider supporting it. Thanks! 
06/04/2348m 58s

Less is More

At every stage of life, there are moments when we need buy-in from other people. Yet most of us make a fundamental error when we try to persuade others to see things our way. This week, we talk with Niro Sivanathan of the London Business School about how to make a convincing argument. Then, we learn about what happens to our brains and bodies when we're the recipients of information. Bryan McLaughlin of Texas Tech University shares why it's so hard, but so important, to unplug from the news. Have you ever wondered where the concept of implicit bias comes from? Be sure to check out our recent series, "Revealing Your Unconscious." You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. And if you like Hidden Brain, please consider supporting the show. Thanks!
03/04/2348m 6s

How To Make Amends

When James and Donovan first met, they knew little about each other, except that Donovan had stolen James' bike. Donovan got caught, and spent a month in jail. It was a story with a happy ending, as far as James was concerned. But then he found out, nearly a decade later, what happened to Donovan after his conviction. This week on the show, we look at the unexpected aftermath of a crime, and what happens when adversaries meet in conversation instead of a courtroom.Have you ever wondered whether you have beliefs that might be hidden from your conscious mind? Be sure to check out our recent series on implicit bias — you can find the first episode here. And if you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org.  
27/03/2351m 49s

Made of Honor

Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us heal from trauma. They also shape our cultural narratives, for better and for worse. This week, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with psychologist Ryan Brown, who explores the phenomenon of “honor culture” and how it dictates our beliefs and behaviors.Did you catch our two-part series on implicit bias? You can find part one part one here and part two here. And if you'd like to make a financial contribution to support our work, you can do so here. Thanks!
20/03/2347m 30s

Revealing Your Unconscious: Part 2

In the second part of our series on implicit bias, we explore the relationship between beliefs and behaviors. We also talk with psychologist Mahzarin Banaji about whether research on implicit bias tells us more about groups than it does about individuals.To learn more:Project ImplicitOutsmarting Implicit BiasHow do your beliefs about the world shape your reality, and your well-being? Be sure to listen to our recent episode about primal world beliefs for insights on that question. And if you enjoy our work, please consider supporting it. Thanks!
14/03/2352m 15s

Revealing Your Unconscious: Part 1

Would you consider yourself to be prejudiced against people who are different from you? Most of us would say no. But in the late 1990s, researchers created a test to measure biases that may be hidden from our conscious minds. Millions of people have taken it since, and not everyone likes what they've discovered. This week, we launch a two-part look at implicit bias with psychologist Mahzarin Banaji. We ask how is it that we can hold negative stereotypes — without being aware of them.To learn more:Project ImplicitOutsmarting Implicit BiasDid you hear all the episodes in our Happiness 2.0 series? Be sure to check out our conversation about awe, and how we can cultivate more of it in our lives. And if you like our work, please consider supporting it. Thanks!   
13/03/2354m 25s

How Your Beliefs Shape Reality

As you move through the world, it's inevitable that your way of seeing things won't always align with the people around you. Maybe you disagree with the way your neighbor raises her kids, or find your brother's politics to be troubling. But you may not realize how much your core beliefs shape your perception of the world. This week, we talk with psychologist Jer Clifton about how our beliefs shape our reality — and how we can use this knowledge to live happier and more harmonious lives.If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
06/03/2349m 20s

Happiness 2.0: The Reset Button

Many of us rush through our lives, chasing goals and just trying to get everything done. But that can blind us to a very simple source of joy that's all around us. This week, in the final installment of our Happiness 2.0 series, psychologist Dacher Keltner describes what happens when we stop to savor the beauty in nature, art, or simply the moral courage of those around us. Check out our previous episodes on happiness, including our conversations about chasing contentment and finding your purpose.If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
27/02/2355m 27s

Happiness 2.0: Surprising Sources of Joy

Sometimes, life can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. No matter how hard you try to feel happier, you end up back where you started. What’s going on here? Today in our Happiness 2.0 series, we revisit a favorite episode from 2020. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn helps us map out the unexpected ways we can find joy and happiness in our everyday lives. Check out our previous episodes on happiness, including our conversations about chasing contentment and finding your purpose.If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
23/02/2345m 31s

Happiness 2.0: Cultivating Your Purpose

Having a sense of purpose can be a buffer against the challenges we all face at various stages of life. Purpose can also boost our health and longevity. In this favorite episode from 2021, Cornell University psychologist Anthony Burrow explains why purpose isn’t something to be found — it’s something we can develop from within.Did you catch the kick-off episode to our Happiness 2.0 series? We talk with psychologist Iris Mauss about how to stop chasing happiness and build a lasting sense of contentment. And if you're enjoying this series, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
20/02/2350m 18s

Happiness 2.0: The Only Way Out Is Through

It's natural to want to run away from difficult emotions such as grief, anger and fear. But what happens when these feelings catch up with us? This week, in the second installment of our Happiness 2.0 series, psychologist Todd Kashdan looks at the relationship between distress and happiness, and how to keep difficult emotions from sabotaging our wellbeing. Did you catch the first episode in our series on happiness?  You can find last week's conversation on how to build a lasting sense of contentment here.  And if you enjoy the show and would like to help us make more episodes of Hidden Brain, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
13/02/2348m 14s

Happiness 2.0: The Path to Contentment

Many of us believe that hard work and persistence are the key to achieving our goals. But is that true when it comes to the pursuit of happiness? This week, we kick off a month-long series we're calling Happiness 2.0. We talk with psychologist Iris Mauss, who explains why happiness can seem more elusive the harder we chase it, and what we can do instead to build a lasting sense of contentment. Did you catch our two-part series on the science of influence? You can find part 1 here.  And if you enjoy the show and would like to help us make more episodes of Hidden Brain, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
06/02/2354m 31s

When You Need It To Be True

When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we revisit a favorite episode from 2021, bringing you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up. If you missed it, make sure to listen to last week's episode on how to turn a "no" into a "yes." And if you enjoy the show and would like to help us make more episodes of Hidden Brain, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
30/01/2349m 7s

Persuasion: Part 2

Think back to the last time someone convinced you to do something you didn't want to do, or to spend money you didn't want to spend. What techniques did that person use to persuade you? This week, we continue our look at the science of influence with psychologist Robert Cialdini, and explore how these techniques can be used for both good and evil. Did you listen to the first part of our episodes on influence? Don't miss last week's episode on how to turn a "no" into a "yes." And if you enjoy the show and would like to help us make more episodes of Hidden Brain, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
23/01/2350m 21s

Persuasion: Part 1

We all exert pressure on each other in ways small and profound. We recommend movies or books to a friend. We convince a colleague to take a different tactic at work. We lobby a neighbor to vote for our favored political candidate. This week, we launch the first of a two-part mini-series on the science of influence, and talk with psychologist Robert Cialdini about how we can all improve our techniques for persuading others. Trying to make a  big decision or fulfill a personal goal in the year to come? Don't miss our recent episode about how to figure out what you want in life. And if you enjoy the show and would like to help us make more episodes of Hidden Brain, please consider supporting our work. Thanks! 
16/01/2348m 30s

Who's In Your Inner Circle?

If you think about the people in your life, it's likely that they share a lot in common with you. Maybe they like the same kinds of food, or enjoy the same hobbies. But, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that they share much more: they might make the same amount of money as you, or share the same race. This week, we talk with economists Luigi Pistaferri and Matthew Jackson about why we often surround ourselves with people who are just like us — and how we can transform our lives by pushing back against this phenomenon.  Did you catch last week's episode on the science of figuring out what you want? You can find it  here. And if you'd like to make a financial contribution to support our work, you can do so here. Thanks!
09/01/2353m 29s

Who Do You Want To Be?

We all have to make certain choices in life, such as where to live and how to earn a living.  Parents and peers influence our major life choices. But they can also steer us in directions that leave us deeply unsatisfied. Psychologist Ken Sheldon studies the science of figuring out what you want. He says there are things we can do to make sure our choices align with our deepest values.Did you catch last week's episode about how to develop healthy habits? You can find it  here. And if you'd like to make a financial contribution to support our work, you can do so here. Happy New Year from all of us at Hidden Brain!
02/01/2351m 58s

You, But Better

It's the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. We pledge to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. Then a few weeks go by, and we abandon our best-laid plans. That’s because change is hard. This week, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with behavioral scientist Katy Milkman, who shares how we can structure our lives to do what we know is good for us.Did you catch last week's episode about why we complain — and how we can complain more effectively? You can find it here. And if you'd like to make a financial contribution to support our work, you can do so here. Happy New Year from all of us at Hidden Brain! 
26/12/2249m 25s

How to Complain Productively

We often look down on people who complain a lot. Yet when something goes wrong in our own lives, many of us go straight to griping, grumbling and kvetching. This week. we talk with psychologist Robin Kowalski about how we can complain more effectively. We'll also hear from psychologist Mike Baer, who offers ways we can give better feedback to a friend or colleague who comes to us with complaints.  Did you catch our recent episode about the power of rituals? You can find it here.  And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one.  
19/12/2252m 3s

An Ancient Solution to Modern Problems

People in every country and culture mark important milestones, such as births, marriages and deaths, with intricately choreographed scripts. We even appeal to supernatural forces  to give our favorite sports teams an extra advantage. This week on the show, anthropologist Dimitris Xygalatas explains the psychological power behind the sacred and secular rituals that structure our lives. Did you catch our recent episode about the secret to good gift giving? You can find it here .   And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
12/12/2251m 34s

The Secret to Gift Giving

With the holidays upon us, many of us are hunting for that special something for the special someones in our lives.  It's how we show we care about them.  So why is it so hard to find the right gift?  This week, we talk with researcher Jeff Galak about why the presents we give for holidays and birthdays often miss their mark, and how to become a better gift giver.  If you missed any of the episodes in our recent Relationships 2.0 series, you can find them all in this podcast feed, or on our website. And if you enjoyed this series, please consider supporting our work. 
05/12/2248m 54s

Relationships 2.0: What Makes Relationships Thrive

Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. In the final episode of our Relationships 2.0 series, we revisit a conversation with psychologist Harry Reis, who says there’s another ingredient to successful relationships that’s every bit as important as love. If you missed any of the episodes in our Relationships 2.0 series, you can find them all in this podcast feed, or on our website. And if you enjoyed this series, please consider supporting our work. 
28/11/2248m 2s

Relationships 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

No one will deny that marriage is hard. In fact, there's evidence it's getting even harder. This week on the show, we revisit a favorite episode from 2018 about the history of marriage and how it has evolved over time. We'll talk with historian Stephanie Coontz and psychologist Eli Finkel, and explore ways we can improve our love lives — including by asking less of our partners. For more of our Relationships 2.0 series, be sure to check out last week's episode, "An Antidote to Loneliness." And if you've found this series to be useful, please consider supporting our work! You can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
21/11/2252m 20s

Relationships 2.0: An Antidote to Loneliness

When you go to a medical appointment, your doctor may ask you several questions. Do you smoke? Have you been getting exercise? Are you sleeping? But rarely do they ask: are you lonely? U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes we are suffering from an epidemic of loneliness. This week, we revisit our 2020 conversation with Murthy about the importance of human connection to our physical and mental health, and how we can all strengthen our social ties.A note that this week's episode includes a discussion of suicide. If you're experiencing suicidal crisis or emotional distress and are based in the U.S., you can reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling 988. Did you catch last week's episode in this series, about the power of tiny interactions? You can find it here. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
14/11/2249m 54s

Relationships 2.0: The Power of Tiny Interactions

As you're going about your day, you likely interact with family, friends and coworkers. These relationships can help you feel cared for and connected. But what if there's a whole category of people in your life whose impact is overlooked? In the second episode of our "Relationships 2.0" series, psychologist Gillian Sandstrom reveals some simple ways to make your life a little more joyful and maybe even a little less lonely. Did you catch the first episode in this series, about how to engage in conflict more productively? You can find it here. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
07/11/2249m 40s

Relationships 2.0: How To Keep Conflict From Spiraling

When it comes to conflict, most of us just want to shut it down. But psychological research is increasingly taking a different approach to discord, with profound implications for disputes big and small. This week, we kick off our Relationships 2.0 series by asking: what if we stop trying to eliminate conflict and instead ask, how can we do conflict better?Did you catch our recent episode about how to make anxiety work for you? You can find it  here.   And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
31/10/2253m 58s

A Better Way to Worry

Anxiety is an uncomfortable emotion, which is why most of us try to avoid it.  But psychologist Tracy Dennis-Tiwary says our anxiety is also trying to tell us something. This week, we explore how we can interpret those messages and manage the intense discomfort these feelings can generate. Did you catch our recent episode about how to break free from either-or thinking? You can find it  here.  And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
24/10/2252m 33s

Thriving in the Face of Contradiction

We all face tough decisions in life, whether we're juggling the demands of work and family or deciding whether to take a new job. These situations often feel like either/or choices.  But psychologist Wendy Smith says this binary way of confronting dilemmas contains a trap.  She offers a different way to think about difficult choices, one that opens up unexpected possibilities. Did you catch our recent episode about why we sometimes confess to  things we didn't do? You can find it  here. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
17/10/2253m 38s

Did I Really Do That?

Have you ever been falsely accused of something? Many of us think there’s only one way we’d act in such a situation: we’d defend ourselves. We’d do whatever it takes to clear our name — and above all else, we’d never, ever confess to something we didn’t do. But psychologist Saul Kassin says that’s a myth. This week, why we sometimes act against our own self-interest — even when the stakes are at their highest.Did you catch our recent episode about how we can make better use of our time? You can find it here. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one. 
10/10/2252m 4s

Watch Your Mouth

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that different languages make you stretch in different ways. This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 conversation with cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky. She studies how the structure of the languages we speak can change the way we see the world. Then, a 2017 conversation with linguist and author John McWhorter, who shares how languages evolve, and why we're sometimes resistant to those changes.If you like today's show, be sure to check out our recent episode about how the culture we live in can shape the emotions we feel. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one.  
03/10/2249m 45s

Taking Control of Your Time

Many of us feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. We struggle to make time for all the competing demands at work and at home, and inevitably feel like we're letting someone down. But what if there were a way to reclaim our time and, as a result, get more joy out of our lives?  This week, psychologist Cassie Mogilner Holmes explains how we've fallen victim to the illusion of time scarcity, and what we can do to spend our time more wisely. Did you catch last week's episode about how we can better understand what's going on inside another person's head?  You can find it here. And if you like our work, please consider a financial contribution to help us make many more episodes like this one.  
26/09/2248m 58s

How to Really Know Another Person

So often, we think we know what other people are thinking. But researchers have found that our attempts at reading other people go wrong more often than we realize.  This week, we talk with psychologist Tessa West about what we can all do to read people more accurately.If you like today's show, be sure to check out last week's conversation about emotions, and how they're shaped by where we live. And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
19/09/2255m 5s

Decoding Emotions

We like to think that all humans are born with the same core emotions: anger, fear, joy, sadness and disgust.  But what if that's not true? This week, psychologist Batja Mesquita offers a different model of emotions — one that can help us to better understand our own feelings and those of the people around us. If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode on how technology and psychology can be used to radically transform our approach to crime. And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
12/09/2252m 22s

Making the World a Safer Place

All of us want to feel safe in our daily lives. Yet when we think about crime, our first response is often a blanket approach: find the bad guys, and punish them. But what if there were another way? This week on the show, researchers Sara Heller and Chris Blattman explore how technology and psychology can be used to radically transform our approach to crime. Don't forget to check out the episodes in this year's You 2.0 series, including last week's conversation with Adam Grant about how to open your mind and question your own assumptions. And if you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org.  
05/09/2249m 4s

You 2.0: How to Open Your Mind

In the United States, we often praise people with strong convictions, and look down on those who express doubt or hesitation.  In this favorite 2021 episode, psychologist Adam Grant pushes back against the benefits of certainty, and describes the magic that unfolds when we challenge our own deeply-held beliefs.Don't forget to check out the other episodes in our You 2.0 series, including last week's show on how to overcome stage fright. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks! 
29/08/2252m 21s

You 2.0: Overcoming Stage Fright

The pressure. The expectations. The anxiety. If there’s one thing that many of us have in common, it’s the stress that can come from performing in front of others. In this week’s episode, we revisit our 2021 conversation with cognitive scientist Sian Beilock about why so many of us crumble under pressure — and what we can do about it. Don't forget to check out the other episodes in our You 2.0 series, including last week's show about how we can harness our sight to achieve our goals. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks! 
22/08/2256m 45s

You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

Some challenges can 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, we revisit a favorite 2020 conversation about how we can harness our sight to achieve our goals.If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about how to make peace with your negative inner voice. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks! 
15/08/2249m 54s

You 2.0: How To See Yourself Clearly

How well do we know ourselves? Maybe the better question to ask is how well can we truly know ourselves? Psychologist Tim Wilson says introspection only gets us so far, and that we often make important decisions in life and love for reasons we don't even realize. But he says there are some simple ways to improve our self-knowledge. If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our two recent episodes on how our mindsets shape our lives in subtle but profound ways. Episode 1 looks at  how we respond to stress, and episode 2 examines how our beliefs about food and exercise affect our bodies. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks! 
08/08/2250m 4s

You 2.0: Befriending Your Inner Voice

You know that negative voice that goes round and round in your head, keeping you up at night?  When that negative inner voice gets switched on, it's hard to think about anything else. Psychologist Ethan Kross has a name for it: chatter. He says it's part of the human condition, but there are ways to keep our negative emotions from morphing into chatter. If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our two recent episodes on how our mindsets shape our lives in subtle but profound ways. Episode 1 looks at  how we respond to stress, and episode 2 examines how our beliefs about food and exercise affect our bodies. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks! 
01/08/2252m 33s

Reframing Your Reality: Part 2

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist Alia Crum says that our perceptions are always filtered through our mindsets — and these mindsets shape our lives in subtle but profound ways. In the second of two episodes, Alia explains how our beliefs about food and exercise affect our bodies.If you haven't yet listened to our first episode about mindsets, you can find it here. And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
25/07/2250m 56s

Reframing Your Reality: Part 1

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist Alia Crum says that our perceptions are always filtered through our mindsets — and these mindsets shape our lives in subtle but profound ways. In the first of two episodes, Alia explains how mindsets affect our response to stress.If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode about how group identities can affect our behavior. And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. 
18/07/2248m 37s

Separating Yourself from the Pack

Have you ever gotten into a heated argument about politics? Maybe you’ve said something you're not proud of during game night with friends, or booed the opposing team at a sporting event. Psychologist Mina Cikara studies what happens in these moments — when our mindset shifts from “you and me” to “us and them.” This week on the show, Mina shares the profound ways that becoming a part of a group shapes our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.If you like this show, be sure to check out our other work, including our recent episode exploring whether there's any merit to the idea that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."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. 
11/07/2254m 56s

What We Gain from Pain

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. 
04/07/2250m 21s

A Founding Contradiction

"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. 
27/06/2249m 32s

The Premonition

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. 
20/06/2249m 10s

Why You're Smarter Than You Think

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. 
13/06/2248m 53s

Do Less

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. 
06/06/2253m 12s

Money 2.0: Let's Go Shopping!

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. 
30/05/2248m 48s

Money 2.0: The Rich and the Rest of Us

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.  
23/05/2248m 47s

Money 2.0: Emotional Currency

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. 
16/05/2235m 49s

Money 2.0: Why We Bust Our Budgets

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.
09/05/2252m 12s

Money 2.0: Rewrite Your Money Story

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.
02/05/2249m 16s

The Logic of Rage

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.
25/04/2249m 22s

When Doing Right Feels Wrong

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.
18/04/2248m 33s

A Conspiracy of Silence

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.
14/04/2256m 7s

How Rude!

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.
11/04/2249m 58s

Healing Your Heart

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.
04/04/2249m 35s

You Don't Need a Crystal Ball

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.
28/03/2249m 28s

How to Change the World

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.
21/03/2249m 46s

You Can't Hit Unsend

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.
17/03/2249m 46s

The Benefits of Mixed Emotions

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.
14/03/2251m 57s

Putting Our Assumptions to the Test

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.
07/03/2252m 14s

Mind Reading 2.0: Why Conversations Go Wrong

Do you ever struggle to communicate with your mom? Or feel like you and your spouse sometimes speak different languages? In the final episode of our "Mind Reading 2.0" series, we bring back one of our favorite conversations, with linguist Deborah Tannen. She shows how our conversational styles can cause unintended conflicts, and what we can do to communicate more effectively with the people in our lives.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.
28/02/2251m 56s

Mind Reading 2.0: Our Better Angels

Turn on the news, and you'll be bombarded with stories of people who lie, cheat, and kill. Most of our public and economic policies take aim at these sorts of people — the wrongdoers and the profiteers. But is there a hidden cost to the rest of us when we put bad actors at the center of our thinking? Do the measures we put in place to curtail the selfish inadvertently hurt our capacity to do right by others? In the latest in our "Mind Reading 2.0" series, we revisit a 2020 episode with behavioral economist Sam Bowles. He argues that laws written to govern the lawless end up changing the behavior of the lawful — for the worse. If you like the show, don't forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Every week, we'll bring you interesting research on human behavior, along with a brain teaser and a moment of joy. 
21/02/2244m 48s

Mind Reading 2.0: The Double Standard

It’s easy to spot bias in other people, especially those with whom we disagree.  But it’s not so easy to recognize our own biases.  In the latest in our "Mind Reading 2.0" series, we revisit a favorite conversation with psychologist Emily Pronin. We'll look at one of the most bewildering aspects of how we read minds — in this case, our own. 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. 
14/02/2248m 22s

Mind Reading 2.0: How others see you

It's not easy to know how we come across to others, especially when we're meeting people for the first time. Psychologist Erica Boothby says many of us underestimate how much other people actually like us. In the second installment of our Mind Reading 2.0 series, we look at how certain social illusions give us a distorted picture of ourselves. 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. 
07/02/2250m 38s

Mind Reading 2.0: Why did you do that?

As we go through life, we’re constantly trying to figure out what other people are thinking and feeling. Psychologist Liane Young says this ability to assess other people's thoughts ​is an extraordinary feat of cognition. But this mental superpower can sometimes lead us astray. This week, we kick off a new series exploring how we understand — or fail to understand — the minds of other people.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.
31/01/2248m 50s

My Unsung Hero: Sanaa Kerroumi's Story

Sanaa is on her train ride home when an angry man begins threatening her. Before he gets too close, a stranger intervenes. Please share the story of your unsung hero with us! To do so, record a voice memo on your phone and email us at myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.
28/01/226m 57s

Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy

Life is often filled with hardships and tragedies. For thousands of years, philosophers have come up with strategies to help us cope with such hardship. This week, we revisit a 2020 conversation with philosopher William Irvine about ancient ideas — backed by modern psychology — that can help us manage disappointment and misfortune.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.
25/01/2252m 22s

What Makes Relationships Thrive

Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. But psychologist Harry Reis says there’s another ingredient to successful relationships that’s every bit as important as love.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.
17/01/2248m 40s

My Unsung Hero: Wendy McDowell's Story

It's 1979, and Wendy is eight years old, crying alone in an airport. Then she sees a woman in white walking towards her.In a few weeks we'll be running these episodes exclusively on the My Unsung Hero feed. Please don’t miss any of these wonderful stories —  subscribe now on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 
14/01/225m 50s

Changing Behavior, Not Beliefs

The rift between police and Black Americans can feel impossible to bridge. But in his work with police departments across the U.S., Yale psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff has found novel ways to address the problem.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. 
10/01/2248m 54s

Choose Carefully

All of us make choices all the time, and we may think we're making those choices freely. But psychologist Eric Johnson says there's an architecture behind the way choices are presented to us, and this invisible architecture can influence decisions both large and small. 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. 
03/01/2248m 41s

Creatures of Habit

At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, to procrastinate less, or to save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, we revisit our 2019 conversation with psychologist Wendy Wood, who shares what researchers have found about how to build good habits — and break bad ones.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. 
27/12/2148m 54s

My Unsung Hero: Justin Horner's Story

Justin is  sitting on the side of the freeway, hoping someone will help him fix his busted wheel. Right around the time he’s about to give up, a van pulls over.Would you like to share the story of an unsung hero who helped you in a moment of need? If so, please record a voice memo and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org. 
24/12/216m 6s

Bringing Up Baby

Bababa, dadada, ahgaga. Got that? Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To us non-babies, it all sounds like charming, mysterious gobbledegook. To researchers, though, babbling conveys important information about a baby's readiness to learn. This week, we'll revisit a favorite episode exploring the language and behavior of the newest members of the human family.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. 
20/12/2150m 25s

The Psychology of Self-Doubt

We all have times when we feel like a fraud. Psychologist Kevin Cokley studies the corrosive effects of self-doubt, and how we can turn that negative voice in our heads into an ally.  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. 
13/12/2149m 9s

My Unsung Hero: Leah Bartell's Story

It's 1994, and two men corner Leah on a dark street as she's walking home. Then she sees a car, and a glimmer of hope.To hear more stories like this, subscribe to our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. And we'd love to hear your own story: send a voice memo to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.
10/12/213m 41s

Both Things Can Be True

It’s psychologically simpler to see the world in black and white. But reality often comes in shades of gray. This week, how our minds grapple with contradictions, especially those we see in other people. 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. 
06/12/2147m 58s

Work 2.0: The One-Room Commute

If you’re 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.” In the final episode of our Work 2.0 series, economist Nicholas Bloom joins us from his spare bedroom to ponder whether working from home is actually working. 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. 
29/11/2148m 42s

My Unsung Hero: Tony Ludlow's Story

Tony is angry at his English teacher, Mrs. Holman, for making him stay after class. But on the last day of school, she takes his hand, and tells him something he'll never forget.To hear more stories like this, subscribe, and enjoy!
24/11/215m 18s

Work 2.0: Rebel with a Cause

Editor’s Note August 7, 2023: In 2023, a group of academic researchers publicly shared concerns about alleged fabrications in some of Francesca Gino’s work. You can find more information about their analysis at Data Colada.org. A number of the studies they flagged have since been retracted by the journals that published them. None of the studies referenced in Hidden Brain’s conversation with Francesca Gino were flagged or have been retracted to date. In a statement on LinkedIn, Francesca Gino said that she has “never, ever falsified data or engaged in research misconduct of any kind.Francesca Gino studies rebels - people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how and when to break 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 Francesca.  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. 
22/11/2148m 45s

Work 2.0: Life, Interrupted

Many of us spend our workdays responding to a never-ending stream of emails and texts. We feel stressed out and perpetually behind on our to-do list. But what if there was a better way to work? This week, we revisit a favorite conversation about "deep work" with computer scientist Cal Newport. And we'll visit a lab that's studying whether brain stimulation can improve our ability to handle multitasking and interruptions. If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
15/11/2150m 16s

My Unsung Hero: Terri Powers' Story

Today we're sharing another episode of our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. To hear more stories like this, subscribe, and enjoy! It's a few days after her mother's death, and Terri Powers is at the checkout line in a grocery store. As she turns to leave, the bagger stops her, and asks a question.
12/11/214m 23s

Work 2.0: Game On!

The world of play and the world of work are often seen as opposites. But they may have more in common than we think. In the second installment of our new Work 2.0 series, Ethan Mollick makes the case that we can make our jobs more engaging by incorporating elements of games. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
08/11/2153m 17s

Work 2.0: The Obstacles You Don't See

Introducing new ideas is hard. Most of us think the best way to win people over is to push harder. But organizational psychologist Loran Nordgren says a more effective approach is to focus on the invisible obstacles to new ideas. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
01/11/2150m 15s

We Broke the Planet. Now What?

We’ve grown accustomed to viewing climate change as an enemy we must urgently defeat. But is that the right metaphor for the greatest existential problem of our time? This week, we consider how to reframe the way we think about life on a changing planet. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
25/10/2148m 34s

My Unsung Hero: Rick Mangnall's Story

Today we're sharing another episode of our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. Subscribe, and enjoy! In 2008, while driving to work, Rick Mangnall crashes into a slab of granite rock. He's hanging upside down in his seatbelt when he sees an old Ford truck pull over across the road.
22/10/215m 30s

The Halo Effect

In 1978, Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by a van. The Pinto caught fire, and the three teenagers died. This week, we revisit a 2020 episode with a former Ford insider who played a key role in weighing the risks associated with the Pinto. And we consider what his story tells us about a question we all face: is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out? If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
18/10/2153m 10s

Being Kind to Yourself

Self-criticism is often seen as a virtue. But psychologist Kristin Neff says there’s a better path to self-improvement — self-compassion. She says people who practice self-compassion are more conscientious and more likely to take responsibility for their mistakes. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
11/10/2151m 52s

My Unsung Hero: Jackie Briggs' Story

My Unsung Hero is here! We're excited to share one of the first episodes of our new podcast. Episode one features listener Jackie Briggs from Portland, Oregon. In 2006, a stranger noticed an unusual mark on Jackie's arm, and realized something was wrong. You can subscribe to My Unsung Hero here.
08/10/215m 53s

When You Need It To Be True

When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we bring you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
04/10/2154m 17s

Passion Isn't Enough

Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere. In this episode from 2020, political scientist Eitan Hersh says there's been a rise in "political hobbyism" in the United States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.
27/09/2147m 53s

Introducing My Unsung Hero

Longtime Hidden Brain listeners know that for years, we've thanked an unsung hero at the end of every episode. Now, we're launching a new show inspired by that tradition. Each week, we'll share a short story about a moment when one person helped another in a time of need. And we'll show you how these acts of heroism — some big, some small — transformed someone's life.
24/09/212m 49s

Group Think

How do the groups you identify with shape your sense of self? Do they influence the beer you buy? The way you vote? Psychologist Jay Van Bavel says our group loyalties affect us more than we realize, and can even shape our basic senses of sight, taste and smell. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
20/09/2150m 2s

Just Sex

Casual sex typically isn't about love. But what if it's not even about lust? Sociologist Lisa Wade studies "hookup culture," and believes the rules and expectations around sex and relationships are different for college students today than they were for previous generations. This week we revisit our 2017 conversation with Wade, and consider how the pandemic may be changing students' views on hookups and intimacy.
13/09/2123m 58s

Where Happiness Hides

We all think we know what will make us happy: more money. A better job. Love. But psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky says happiness doesn't necessarily work like that. This week, we explore why happiness often slips through our fingers, and how to savor — and stretch out — our joys. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
06/09/2149m 56s

You 2.0: Regrets, I Have a Few...

We all have regrets. By some estimates, regret is one of the most common emotions we experience in our daily lives. In the final episode of our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite interview with Amy Summerville, the former head of the Regret Lab at Miami University in Ohio. After years of studying this emotion, she says she's learned something that may seem counterintuitive: regret doesn't always have to be a negative force in our lives. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
30/08/2128m 46s

You 2.0: Did That Really Happen?

Our memories are easily contaminated. We can be made to believe we rode in a hot air balloon or kissed a magnifying glass — even if those things never happened. So how do we know which of our memories are most accurate? This week, psychologist Ayanna Thomas explains how we remember, why we forget, and the simple tools we all can use to sharpen our memories. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
23/08/2148m 25s

You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

Marriage is hard — and there are signs it's becoming even harder. In the third episode of our You 2.0 summer series, we examine how long-term relationships have changed over time, and whether we might be able to improve marriage by asking less of it. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
16/08/2150m 8s

You 2.0: In the Heat of the Moment

In a fit of anger or in the grip of fear, many of us make decisions that we never would have anticipated. As part of our You 2.0 summer series, 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. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
09/08/2151m 49s

You 2.0: Cultivating Your Purpose

Having a sense of purpose can be a buffer against the challenges we all face at various stages of life. Purpose can also boost our health and longevity. In the kick-off to our annual You 2.0 series, Cornell University psychologist Anthony Burrow explains why purpose isn't something to be found — it's something we can develop from within. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
02/08/2151m 2s

Losing Alaska

As floods, wildfires, and heatwaves hit many parts of the world, signs of climate change seem to be all around us. Scientists have been warning us for years about the looming threat of a warming planet. And yet it’s really hard for many of us to wrap our minds around this existential challenge. Why is that? This week, we bring you a favorite episode about why our brains struggle to grasp the dangers of global climate change. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
26/07/2124m 23s

Stage Fright

The pressure. The expectations. The anxiety. If there's one thing that connects the athletes gathering for the Olympic games with the rest of us, it's the stress that can come from performing in front of others. In this week’s episode, we talk with cognitive scientist Sian Beilock about why so many of us crumble under pressure –– and what we can do about it. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
19/07/2152m 15s

Playing the Gender Card

What is it like to be the only woman at the (poker) table? Or a rare man in a supposedly "feminine" career? In this favorite episode from 2019, we tell the stories of two people who grappled with gender stereotypes on the job, and consider how such biases can shape our career choices. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
12/07/2149m 47s

You, But Better

Think about the resolutions you made this year: to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. If you're like most people, you probably abandoned those resolutions within a few weeks. That's because change is hard. Behavioral scientist Katy Milkman explains how we can use our minds to do what's good for us. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
05/07/2150m 23s

The Influence You Have

Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn't stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we revisit a favorite episode about a phenomenon known as "egocentric bias," and look at how this bias can lead us astray. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
28/06/2150m 33s

What Twins Tell Us

In December 1988, two sets of identical twins became test subjects in a study for which they had never volunteered. It was an experiment that could never be performed in a lab, and had never before been documented. This week, we revisit this fascinating story, told by psychologist Nancy Segal, about the eternal tug between nature and nurture in shaping who we are. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
24/06/2128m 22s

The Power of Apologies

Why is it so hard to say 'I'm sorry?' In part two of our series on forgiveness and apologies, we talk with psychologist Tyler Okimoto about the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we've done something wrong, as well as the transformative power of apologies. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
21/06/2149m 38s

The Power of Mercy

Granting forgiveness for the wrongs done to us can be one of the hardest things we face in life. But forgiveness can also be transformative. In the first of a two-part series on apologies and mercy, we talk with psychologist Charlotte Witvliet about the benefits of forgiveness, for both the mind and the body. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
14/06/2148m 55s

What are the Odds?

Coincidences can feel like magic. When we realize that a co-worker shares our birthday or run into a college roommate while on vacation, it can give us a surge of delight. Today, we revisit a favorite episode about these moments of serendipity. Mathematician Joseph Mazur explains why coincidences aren't as unlikely as we think they are, and psychologist Nicholas Epley tells us why we can't help but find meaning in them anyway.
11/06/2129m 26s

This is Your Brain on Ads

Have you ever opened your computer with the intention of sending one email — only to spend an hour scrolling through social media? Maybe two hours? In this favorite episode from our archives, we look at how media, tech, and entertainment companies hijack our attention. Plus, we consider how the commercials we saw as children continue to shape our behavior as adults. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
07/06/2148m 46s

Why We Hold on to Things

What do the things you own say about who you are? Psychologist Bruce Hood studies our relationship with our possessions – from beloved childhood objects to the everyday items we leave behind. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
31/05/2145m 45s

Loss and Renewal

No matter how hard we work, we won’t always achieve the goals we set for ourselves. When cognitive scientist Maya Shankar was a girl, she wanted to be a concert violinist. Then an injury forced her to imagine her life anew. This week, we revisit a favorite episode from 2015 with Maya. She’s now the host of a new podcast, A Slight Change of Plans. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
24/05/2126m 6s

Tribes and Traitors

In the past weeks, headlines around the world have focused on the violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In this favorite episode from our archive, we hear from a former Israeli soldier and a Palestinian man who asked a radical question: what happens when you empathize with your enemy? They found that showing such empathy can be powerful — but also carries risks. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
21/05/2131m 6s

Our Noisy Minds

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman says there are invisible factors that distort our judgment. He calls these factors “noise.” The consequences can be found in everything from marriage proposals to medical diagnoses and prison sentences. This week on Hidden Brain, we consider how to identify noise in the world, and in our own lives. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
17/05/2148m 39s

The Fake Bride

Have you ever felt as if someone else was writing your personal narrative? Controlling what you do, shaping how you act? This week on Hidden Brain, we bring you a surreal tale about a woman who became a reluctant character in someone else’s love story. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
10/05/2153m 35s

Josh Gitelson: My Unsung Hero

At the end of every episode, we take a moment to thank an Unsung Hero: someone who’s not on the staff of the show, but who went above and beyond in helping us out. In recent weeks, we've been asking you to share your own examples of someone who's made an impact on your life. This time, Josh Gitelson of State College, Pa., recalls a small gesture of kindness from a stranger on a plane. Do you have a story of an unsung hero you want to share with our listeners? Tell us about it! Please email us at ideas@hiddenbrain.org, with the subject line "Unsung Hero." For some guidelines on what we're looking for, go to hiddenbrain.org/unsunghero.
07/05/213m 12s

One Head, Two Brains

Your brain is divided in two: a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere. In this 2019 episode of Hidden Brain, we dive into Iain McGilchrist's research on how the left and right hemispheres shape our perceptions. Iain argues that differences in the brain — and Western society's preference for what one hemisphere has to offer — have had enormous effects on our lives. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. To learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org
03/05/2149m 30s

Deb Pierce: My Unsung Hero

In every episode of Hidden Brain, we thank an Unsung Hero — a colleague, a friend or a family member who has helped make our work possible from behind the scenes. Recently, we asked you to tell us about your own unsung heroes. This week, Deb Pierce remembers the nurse who showed up at one of the hardest moments in her life — when her newborn daughter passed away.
30/04/214m 33s

Why Conversations Go Wrong

Do you ever struggle to communicate with your mom? Or feel like you and your spouse sometimes speak different languages? We talk with linguist Deborah Tannen about how our conversational styles can cause unintended conflicts, and what we can do to communicate more effectively with the people in our lives. If you like our work, please try to support us! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. To learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org
26/04/2152m 6s

Unsung Hero: A Cold Nevada Night

In every episode of Hidden Brain, we thank an Unsung Hero. Many listeners have written to say they love this segment, even sharing their own Unsung Heroes. Today, we're sharing one of those stories with you.
23/04/214m 21s

Humor Us

Hahaha! The average four-year-old child laughs 300 times a day. By contrast, it takes more than two months for the average 40-year-old adult to laugh that many times. This week, we talk with behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University about why so many of us fall off a “humor cliff” as we become adults. Plus, how we can inject more laughter into our lives, even during the most difficult of times.
19/04/2152m 3s

An Unfinished Lesson

More than a century ago, millions of people around the world died in a massive influenza pandemic. The so-called "Spanish flu" outbreak of 1918 revealed a truth about viruses: they don't just infect us biologically. They also detect fissures in societies and fault lines between communities. Historian Nancy Bristow says this remains true today, as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.This week, we revisit our 2020 conversation with Bristow, and consider what history can tell us about human behavior during public health crises.
12/04/2149m 26s

Useful Delusions

Podcast hosts are used to being the ones asking the questions. This week, though, we’re going to flip that script, and put Shankar in the guest seat. We’ll hear a recent interview he did with Krys Boyd of the public radio show Think from KERA in Dallas. The discussion revolves around Shankar's latest book, Useful Delusions, and how self-deceptions can bind together marriages, communities, and even entire nations.
05/04/2149m 36s

Made of Honor

Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us to heal from trauma. They also shape our cultural narratives, for better and for worse. This week on Hidden Brain, we conclude our three-part series on storytelling with a look at the phenomenon of "honor culture," and how it dictates the way we think and behave.
29/03/2148m 45s

The Story of Your Life

We can’t go back and change the past. We can’t erase trauma and hardship. But what if there was a way to regain control of our personal narratives? In the second part of our series on storytelling, we look at how interpreting the stories of our lives — and rewriting them — can change us forever. Also, a note that this week's episode touches on themes of trauma and suicide. If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, please call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
22/03/2151m 14s

The Story of Stories

Why is my friend late? How does nuclear fission work? What occurs when I sneeze? We all need to understand why certain things happen. Some researchers think the drive to explain the world is a basic human impulse, similar to thirst or hunger. This week on Hidden Brain, we begin a three part series on why we tell stories. Psychologist Tania Lombrozo discusses how explanations can lead to discovery, delight, and disaster.
15/03/2151m 15s

Radically Normal

For generations, it was difficult, even dangerous, to express a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality in the United States. But in recent years, much has changed. This week, we revisit our 2019 episode about one of the most striking transformations of public attitude ever recorded. And we consider whether the strategies used by the LGBTQ community hold lessons for other groups seeking change.
09/03/2150m 5s

The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do some social movements take off and spread, while others fizzle? Today on the show, we talk with sociologist Damon Centola about social contagion, and how it can be harnessed to build a better world.
01/03/2154m 35s

The Match

We get messages all the time from listeners who say Hidden Brain has helped them to think differently about the world, and about themselves. As producers, nothing is more rewarding or gratifying. Today, we bring you a listener story that especially moved us. It’s a tale about two friends, and how our show played a small role in their dramatic story.
26/02/2119m 34s

Creating God

If you've taken part in a religious service, have you ever stopped to think about how people become believers? Where do the rituals come from? And what purpose does it all serve? This week, we bring you a 2018 episode with social psychologist Azim Shariff. He argues that we should consider religion from a Darwinian perspective, as an innovation that helped human societies to grow and flourish.
22/02/2151m 56s

Is It Better to Know?

Being able to see what’s happening around us can help us make smart decisions. But knowledge — especially knowledge of how others perceive us — can also hold us back, mire us in needless worry, and keep us from achieving our potential. This week, we look at the paradox of knowledge.
16/02/2152m 28s

Love is Blind

Why do some relationships last, while others falter? In this bonus episode, Shankar looks at one thing successful couples do well.
13/02/216m 15s

How They See Us

Stereotypes are all around us, shaping how we see the world – and how the world sees us. On the surface, the stereotypes that other people hold shouldn’t affect the way we think or act. But our concerns about other people’s perceptions have a way of burrowing deep into our minds. This week, social psychologist Claude Steele explains the psychology of “stereotype threat.”
08/02/2150m 26s

The Easiest Person to Fool

Physicist Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” One way we fool ourselves is by imagining we know more than we do; we think we are experts. This week on Hidden Brain, psychologist Adam Grant describes the magic that unfolds when we challenge our own deeply-held beliefs.
01/02/2153m 51s

Afraid of the Wrong Things

Around the world, people are grappling with the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. How do our minds process that risk, and why do some of us process it so differently? This week, we talk with psychologist Paul Slovic about the disconnect between our own assessments of risk and the dangers we face in our everyday lives.
25/01/2150m 14s

Our Brands, Our Selves

All of us are surrounded by brands. Designer brands. Bargain-shopper brands. Brands for seemingly every demographic slice among us. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself how brands influence you? This week, we bring you our 2019 conversation with Americus Reed, who studies how companies create a worldview around the products they sell, and then get us to make those products a part of who we are.
18/01/2134m 18s

The Secret Life of Secrets

It’s human nature to hide parts of ourselves that produce shame or anxiety. We tend to skip over details that could change how others perceive us. But no matter how big or small our secret, it will often weigh on our minds, and not for the reasons you might expect. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with psychologist Michael Slepian about the costs of secret keeping.
11/01/2147m 59s

The Double Standard

It's easy to spot bias in other people, especially those with whom we disagree. But it’s not so easy to recognize our own biases. Psychologist Emily Pronin says it’s partly because of our brain architecture. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore what Pronin calls the introspection illusion.
04/01/2148m 8s

A Creature of Habit

At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, to procrastinate less, or to save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, we revisit our 2019 conversation with psychologist Wendy Wood, who shares what researchers have found about how to build good habits — and break bad ones.
28/12/2049m 47s

Waiting Games

For so many people across the globe, 2020 has been a year of waiting and uncertainty. Waiting to see friends and family in far-flung locales. Waiting to hear about unemployment aid, or job opportunities. Waiting to hear about loved ones in the hospital. And even though the end of 2020 does not mean the end of these hardships, many of us are letting out a sigh of relief as we say goodbye to this difficult year. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the psychology of relief and waiting, and how we can make periods of limbo less painful.
22/12/2051m 12s

Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy

Life is filled with hardships and tragedies — a fact that 2020 has made all too clear for people across the globe. For thousands of years, philosophers have come up with strategies to help us cope with such hardship. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with philosopher William Irvine about ancient ideas — backed by modern psychology — that can help us manage disappointment and misfortune.
14/12/2052m 24s

Screaming into a Void

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, we revisit a favorite 2019 episode about how outrage is hijacking our conversations, our communities, and our minds.
07/12/2040m 29s

A Conspiracy of Silence

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.
30/11/2059m 2s

Where Gratitude Gets You

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.
23/11/2051m 45s

When You Start to Miss Tony from Accounting

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.
16/11/2048m 50s

Between Two Worlds

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.
09/11/2046m 42s

From Pedestals to Guillotines

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.
02/11/2022m 13s

Not at the Dinner Table

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.
26/10/2050m 6s

Moral Combat

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.
19/10/2051m 44s

Beyond Doomscrolling

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.
12/10/2052m 14s

The Logic of Rage

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.
05/10/2050m 13s

An Update from Shankar

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.
02/10/204m 11s

Laughter: The Best Medicine

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.
28/09/2046m 19s

The Halo Effect

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 were burned 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?
21/09/2053m 5s

Why Nobody Feels Rich

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.
14/09/2031m 51s

The Fee-for-Service Monster

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.
07/09/2050m 23s

You 2.0: Empathy Gym

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.
31/08/2051m 25s

You 2.0: WOOP, WOOP!

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.
24/08/2018m 55s

You 2.0: Loss And Renewal

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.
17/08/2024m 15s

You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

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.
10/08/2045m 29s

You 2.0: Our Pursuit of Happiness

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.
03/08/2045m 28s

Edge Effect

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.
27/07/2036m 15s

The Untold Story Of Lyndie B. Hawkins

In 2019, a novel by a new author, Gail Shepherd, arrived in bookstores. The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins tells the story of a young white girl growing up in the South. The book has been well received, but it is not the book Shepherd intended to write. In her original drafts, Shepherd, a white author, created a Lyndie who was Vietnamese-American, and dealing with issues of race in the deep South. This week we look at what it means to be a storyteller in a time of caustic cultural debate and ask when, if ever, is it okay to tell a story that is not your own?
20/07/2050m 4s

Romeo & Juliet In Rwanda

How do you change someone's behavior? Most of us would point to education or persuasion. But what if the answer lies elsewhere? This week, we revisit a 2018 story about human nature and behavior change — a story that will take us on a journey from Budapest to the hills of Rwanda.
13/07/2048m 54s

The Night That Lasted A Lifetime

Not long after his sixteenth birthday, Fred Clay was arrested for the murder of a cab driver in Boston. Eventually, Fred was found guilty — but only after police and prosecutors used questionable psychological techniques to single him out as the killer. This week on Hidden Brain, we go back four decades to uncover the harm that arises when flawed ideas from psychology are used to determine that a teenager should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
06/07/2052m 26s

The Founding Contradiction

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." These words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more than 240 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of slaves, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. As we mark Independence Day this week, we return to a 2018 episode with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed. We explore the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions might resonate in our own lives.
29/06/2045m 33s

Buy, Borrow, Steal

Policymakers have a tried-and-true game plan for jump-starting the economy in times of severe recession: Push stimulus packages and lower interest rates so Americans will borrow and spend. But economist Amir Sufi says the way we traditionally address a recession is deeply flawed. He argues that by encouraging "sugar-rush" solutions, the nation is putting poor and middle-class Americans and the entire economy at even greater risk. This week we look at the role of debt as a hidden driver of recessions, and how we might create a more stable system.
22/06/2048m 34s

A Rap on Trial

In the past few weeks, the nation has been gripped by protests against police brutality toward black and brown Americans. The enormous number of demonstrators may be new, but the biases they're protesting are not. In 2017, we looked at research on an alleged form of bias in the justice system. This week, we revisit that story, and explore how public perceptions of rap music may have played a role in the prosecution of a man named Olutosin Oduwole.
15/06/2054m 26s

The Air We Breathe

President Trump said this week that a few "bad apples" were to blame for police killings of black people. But research suggests that something more complicated is at play — a force that affects everyone in the culture, not just police officers. In this bonus episode, we revisit our 2017 look at implicit bias and how a culture of racism can infect us all.
12/06/2036m 26s

Playing Favorites

If we do a favor for someone we know, we think we've done a good deed. What we don't tend to ask is: Who have we harmed by treating this person with more kindness than we show toward others? This week, in the second of our two-part series on moral decision-making, we consider how actions that come from a place of love can lead to a more unjust world.
08/06/2052m 37s

Justifying The Means

When we are asked to make a moral choice, many of us imagine it involves listening to our hearts. To that, philosopher Peter Singer says, "nonsense." Singer believes there are no moral absolutes, and that logic and calculation are better guides to moral behavior than feelings and intuitions. This week, we talk with Singer about why this approach is so hard to put into practice, and look at the hard moral choices presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
01/06/2053m 30s

The Time Machine

In recent months, many of us have looked back with longing at our lives before COVID-19. For many of us, that world was one of bustle and activity — marked by scenes of packed restaurants, crowded subway cars, and chaotic playgrounds. In this audio essay, Shankar discusses our wistfulness for the world before the pandemic, and why such nostalgia can actually help to orient us toward the future.
30/05/205m 28s

The People Like Us

Far from being "the great equalizer," COVID-19 has disproportionately sickened and killed African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. Many of the reasons for these inequalities reach back to before the pandemic began. This week, we return to a 2019 episode that investigates a specific source of racial disparities in medicine and beyond—and considers an uncomfortable solution.
25/05/2035m 3s

Our Better Angels

In the months since the spread of the coronavirus, stories of selfishness and exploitation have become all too familiar: people ignoring social distancing guidelines, or even selling medical equipment at inflated prices. Most of our public and economic policies take aim at these sorts of people — the wrongdoers and the profiteers. But is there a hidden cost to the rest of us when we put bad actors at the center of our thinking? Do the measures we put in place to curtail the selfish inadvertently hurt our capacity to do right by others?
18/05/2039m 50s

A Hidden Brain Commencement Address

Commencement ceremonies allow us to take stock of what we've accomplished and where we're headed. This is one of the key opportunities that students and families have lost, as social distancing precautions lead schools to cancel in-person graduations. In this "commencement address," recorded at the request of the public radio program 1A, Shankar Vedantam offers thoughts on what it means to mark such a milestone at this moment, and how graduates can use the disruption caused by the pandemic to think about their lives in new ways.
13/05/206m 50s

The Dramatic Cure

In recent months, many of us have become familiar with the sense of fear expressing itself in our bodies. We may feel restless or physically exhausted. At times, we may even have trouble catching our breath. The deep connection between mind and body that seems so salient now was also at the center of our episode about the placebo effect. This week, we return to this 2019 story that asks what placebos might teach us about the nature of healing.
11/05/2050m 22s

The Choices Before Us

An abundance of choices is a good thing, right? In the United States, where choice is often equated with freedom and control, the answer tends to be a resounding 'yes.' But researchers say the relationship between choice and happiness isn't always so clear-cut. This week, we talk with psychologist Sheena Iyengar about making better decisions, and how she's thinking about the relationship between choices and control during the coronavirus pandemic.
04/05/2048m 41s

Starving The Watchdogs

Amidst the confusion and chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have sought out a long-trusted lifeline: the local newspaper. Though the value of local journalism is more apparent now than ever, newspapers are not thriving. They're collapsing. For many communities, this means fewer local stories and job losses. But new research suggests there's another consequence that's harder to spot — one that comes with a hefty price tag for residents. This week on Hidden Brain, we return to a 2018 episode that's acutely relevant today and ask, who bears the cost when nobody wants to pay?
27/04/2029m 53s

A Social Prescription

Confined to our homes, many of us are experiencing a newfound appreciation for our social relationships. What we may not realize — and what physicians and researchers have only recently started emphasizing — is the importance of these connections to our physical health. This week, we talk with former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about why he considers loneliness a matter of public health, and how we can all deepen our social ties.
20/04/2048m 43s

Sex Machines

From stone statues to silicone works of art, we have long sought solace and sex from inanimate objects. Time and technology have perfected the artificial lover: today we have life-size silicone love dolls so finely crafted they feel like works of art. Now, with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, these dolls are becoming even more like humans. This week, we revisit our 2019 story about the history of the artificial lover, and consider what love and sex look like in the age of robots.
13/04/2027m 7s

Playing Tight And Loose

We all know people who prefer to follow the rules, and others who prefer to flout them. Psychologist Michele Gelfand defines these two ways of being as "tight" and "loose." She says the tight/loose framework can help us to better understand individuals, businesses, and even nations. This week, we look at the core traits of tight and loose worldviews, and how they may shape our lives — from interactions with our spouses to global efforts to fight the coronavirus.
06/04/2049m 39s

Close Enough: Living Through Others

A silver lining of social distancing: you may have more time and space to pursue the projects you've bookmarked on your web browser. Whether your goal is to build a barn door or to update your makeup routine, online tutorials have made it easier than ever to bring the world into your living room or kitchen or bedroom. But a curious thing can happen when we watch experts doing expert things. This week, we explore the dangers and the delights of vicarious living, with a favorite episode from 2019.
30/03/2048m 36s

An Unfinished Lesson

A virus is more than a biological organism. It's a social organism. It detects fissures in societies and fault lines between communities. Historian Nancy Bristow shares the lessons about human behavior that we can take away from a century-old pandemic.
23/03/2048m 8s

Panic In The Street

It sounds like a movie plot: police discover the body of a young man who's been murdered. The body tests positive for a deadly infectious disease. Authorities trace the killing to a gang. They race to find the gang members, who may also be incubating the virus. This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit our 2016 story about disease, panic, and how a public health team used psychology to confront an epidemic.
16/03/2024m 42s

The Bomb That Didn't Explode

We know that we live in an ever-changing world, but one thing we often overlook is demographic change. Whether the world's population is growing or shrinking can affect many aspects of our lives, from the number of kids we have to the likelihood that we'll live to old age. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore how our planet's population is changing, and what that means for us in the century to come.
10/03/2035m 0s

The Tale of the Cowboy Philosopher

In 2009, an old man died in a California nursing home. His obituary included not just his given name, but a long list of the pseudonyms he'd been known to use. In this episode, which we originally released in 2019, we trace the life of Riley Shepard, a hillbilly musician, writer, small-time con man and, perhaps, a genius.
03/03/2048m 59s

The Influence You Have

Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn't stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we explore a phenomenon that psychologists refer to as "egocentric bias," and look at how this bias can lead us astray.
24/02/2049m 2s

Liar, Liar, Liar

Editor’s note: Since this episode first aired, researchers have raised concerns about a number of studies authored by Dan Ariely, including one cited in this episode. That study included data from an insurance company that purported to show that people are more truthful when they sign an ethics declaration at the beginning of a form than at the end. In an independent review, a group of researchers found evidence of data fabrication in that study. You can read more about their findings here, along with Dan Ariely’s response. The insurance company that provided the data, The Hartford, released a statement to NPR’s Planet Money in July 2023. In that statement, the company said that it had done a review of its records and that “there appear to be significant changes made to the size, shape and characteristics of our data after we provided it and without our knowledge or consent.” You can hear the full Planet Money story and read the full statement from The Hartford here. Additionally, a second study cited in this episode – in which Ariely reported reduced cheating among test-takers asked to recall the Ten Commandments before taking the test – has not stood up to replication by other researchers. You can read more about that here. We all lie. But what separates the average person from the infamous cheaters we see on the news? Dan Ariely says we like to think it's character — but in his research he's found it's more often opportunity. Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke University and the author of the book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves. We spoke to him in March 2017.
17/02/2028m 23s

Passion Isn't Enough

Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere. Political scientist Eitan Hersh says there's been a rise in "political hobbyism" in the United States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.
10/02/2050m 54s

When Things Click

There can be a lot of psychological noise involved in teaching. But what if we replaced all that mental clutter...with a click? This week, we bring you a 2018 episode exploring an innovative idea about how we learn. It will take us from a dolphin exhibit in Hawaii to a top teaching hospital in New York. It's about a method to quiet the noise that can turn learning into a minefield of misery.
04/02/2049m 29s

Secret Friends

Where is the line between what is real and what is imaginary? It seems like an easy question to answer: if you can see it, hear it, or touch it, then it's real, right? But what if this way of thinking is limiting one of the greatest gifts of the mind? This week, we meet people who experience the invisible as real, and learn how they hone their imaginations to see the world with new eyes.
27/01/2050m 6s

Warnings, Warnings Everywhere

After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see this coming? Many times, the answer is yes. So why didn't the warnings lead to action? This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 episode about the psychology of warnings. We visit a smelly Alaskan tunnel, hear about a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even listen to some ABBA.
20/01/2033m 25s

Emotional Currency

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 we explore 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?
13/01/2035m 28s

On The Knife's Edge

What would drive someone to take another person's life? When researchers at the University of Chicago asked that question, the answer was a laundry list of slights: a stolen jacket, or a carelessly lobbed insult. It made them wonder whether crime rates could be driven down by teaching young men to pause, take a deep breath, and think before they act. In this 2017 episode, we go inside a program that teaches Chicago teens to do just that. We also explore what research has found about whether this approach actually works.
06/01/2026m 49s

Creatures Of Habit

At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, procrastinate less, or save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, psychologist Wendy Wood shares what researchers have found about how to build good habits — and break bad ones.
30/12/1949m 40s

Why We Love Surprises

Why do we fall for surprise endings? It turns out that our capacity to be easily fooled in books and movies is made possible by a handful of predictable mental shortcuts. In this 2018 conversation, we talk with Vera Tobin, one of the world's first cognitive scientists to study plot twists. She says storytellers have been exploiting narrative twists and turns for millennia — and that studying these sleights of hand can give us a better understanding of the contours of the mind.
23/12/1928m 24s

Did That Really Happen?

Our memories are easily contaminated. We can be made to believe we rode in a hot air balloon or kissed a magnifying glass — even if those things never happened. So how do we know which of our memories are most accurate? This week, psychologist Ayanna Thomas explains how memory works, how it fails, and ways to make it better.
17/12/1948m 2s

Zipcode Destiny

There's a core belief embedded in the story of the United States — the American Dream. Today we look at the state of that dream as we revisit our 2018 conversation with economist Raj Chetty. We'll ask some questions that carry big implications: can you put an economic value on a great kindergarten teacher? How is it that two children living just a few blocks from each other can have radically different chances in life? And what gives Salt Lake City an edge over Cleveland when it comes to offering people better prospects than their parents?
09/12/1949m 59s

In The Heat Of The Moment

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.
03/12/1953m 57s

Counting Other People's Blessings

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.
25/11/1949m 2s

The Ventilator

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.
19/11/1952m 14s

Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus

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.
11/11/1926m 15s

The Talk Market

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.
04/11/1934m 54s

BS Jobs

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.
28/10/1942m 54s

The Monkey Marketplace

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.
21/10/1945m 59s

The Lonely American Man

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.
14/10/1946m 10s

Screaming Into The Void

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.
07/10/1939m 54s

Baby Talk

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.
30/09/1929m 16s

We're All Gonna Live Forever!

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.
23/09/1937m 27s

We're All Gonna Die!

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.
16/09/1930m 43s

You Can't Hit Unsend

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.
10/09/1951m 6s

You 2.0: Decide Already!

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.
02/09/1923m 28s

You 2.0: Deep Work

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.
27/08/1932m 17s

You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

Editor’s Note August 7, 2023: In 2023, a group of academic researchers publicly shared concerns about alleged fabrications in some of Francesca Gino’s work. You can find more information about their analysis at Data Colada.org. A number of the studies they flagged have since been retracted by the journals that published them. None of the studies referenced in Hidden Brain’s conversation with Francesca Gino were flagged or have been retracted to date. In a statement on LinkedIn, Francesca Gino said that she has “never, ever falsified data or engaged in research misconduct of any kind.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.
19/08/1945m 9s

You 2.0: Our Better Nature

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.
12/08/1925m 0s

You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

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.
05/08/1935m 8s

You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

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.
29/07/1953m 11s

Facts Aren't Enough

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.
22/07/1948m 58s

Finding Your Voice

At some point in our lives, many of us realize that the way we hear our own voice isn't the way others hear us. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the relationship between our voices and our identities. Plus, we hear how advances in technology might help people with vocal impairments, and consider the ethical quandaries that arise when we can create personalized, customized voices.
15/07/1933m 15s

The Fox And The Hedgehog

The Greek poet Archilochus wrote that "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This week, we'll use the metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog as a way to understand the differences between tacticians and big-picture thinkers. We'll explore the story of a pioneering surgeon whose hedgehog tendencies led him to great triumphs, and a heartbreaking tragedy. This episode first aired in May 2017.
08/07/1936m 22s

I Buy, Therefore I Am

All of us are surrounded by brands. Designer brands. Bargain-shopper brands. Brands for seemingly every demographic slice among us. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself how brands influence you? This week, we look at how companies create a worldview around the products they sell, and then get us to make those products a part of who we are.
01/07/1932m 25s

The Lazarus Drug

More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017 — many of them from heroin and other opioids. One of the most widely-used tools to confront this crisis is a drug called naloxone. It can reverse an opioid overdose within seconds, and has been hailed by first responders and public health researchers. But in 2018, two economists released a study that suggested naloxone might be leading some users to engage in riskier behavior — and causing more deaths than it saves. This week, we talk with researchers, drug users, and families about the mental calculus of opioid use, and why there's still so much we're struggling to understand about addiction. This episode originally aired in October 2018.
24/06/1946m 58s

Our Animal Instincts

Does living with animals really make us healthier? Why do we eat some animals and keep others as pets? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with psychology professor Hal Herzog about the contradictions embedded in our relationships with animals.
17/06/1948m 52s

Me, Myself, and IKEA

Are women named Virginia more likely to move to Virginia? Are people with the last name of Carpenter more likely to be carpenters? This week on Hidden Brain, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about our preference for things that remind us of ourselves, and why this tendency can have larger implications than we might at first imagine.
10/06/1923m 24s

People Like Us

Generations of Americans have struggled against segregation. Most of us believe in the ideal of a colorblind society. But what happens when that ideal come up against research that finds colorblindness sometimes leads to worse outcomes?
03/06/1933m 37s

More Divided Than Ever?

Many of us intuitively feel that the bitter partisanship of American politics is bad for our nation. So should we be concerned about the health of our democracy? This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit two of our favorite conversations about U.S. politics. We start by talking with political scientist John Hibbing about the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Then, we explore the role of conflict in democracy with historian David Moss.
27/05/1950m 21s

Losing Face

It happens to all of us: someone recognizes you on the street, calls you by name, and says hello. You, meanwhile, have no idea who that person is. Researchers say this struggle to read other faces is common. This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit a favorite 2016 episode about "super-recognizers" and the rest of us.
20/05/1922m 34s

What's Not On The Test

Smarts matter. But other factors may play an even bigger role in whether someone succeeds. This week, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman about the skills that predict how you'll fare in life. We'll also look at programs that build these skills in the neediest of children – and new research that suggests the benefits of investing in kids and families can last for generations.
13/05/1948m 47s

Creating God

If you've taken part in a religious service, have you ever stopped to think about how it all came to be? How did people become believers? Where did the rituals come from? And what purpose does it all serve? This week, we bring you a July 2018 episode with social psychologist Azim Shariff. He argues that we should consider religion from a Darwinian perspective, as an innovation that helped human societies to thrive and flourish.
06/05/1951m 14s

A Dramatic Cure

Placebos belong in clinical trials, not in the doctor's office. That's the conventional wisdom, anyway. This week, we ask what placebos might teach us about healing.
29/04/1949m 26s

Why No One Feels Rich

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 explore the psychology of income inequality, and how perceptions of our own wealth shape our lives.
22/04/1932m 6s

The Sorting Hat

The desire to find our tribe is universal. We like to know who we are and where we belong. This fascination has led to a thriving industry built on the marketing and sale of personality tests. These tests offer individuals – and, increasingly, employers – quick and easy insights that can be used to make some of life's biggest decisions. But most fail to stand up to scientific scrutiny. This week, we revisit our 2017 episode about the world of personality testing, and explore the many different ways we assess personality and potential – from the Chinese zodiac to Harry Potter houses to the Myers-Briggs test.
15/04/1948m 26s

Radically Normal

For generations, living openly as a gay person in the United States was difficult, and often dangerous. But there's been a dramatic change in public attitudes toward gay people. This week, we explore one of the most striking transformations of public attitude ever recorded. And we consider whether the strategies used by gay rights activists hold lessons for other groups seeking change.
08/04/1951m 24s

Don't Panic!

Chaos is a part of all of our lives. Sometimes we try to control it. And other times, we just have to live with it. On this week's Hidden Brain, we bring you two of our favorite stories about coping with chaos. They come from our 2016 episodes "Panic in the Streets" and "Embrace the Chaos."
01/04/1949m 31s

What Twins Tell Us

Twin studies aren't just for twins. They're a paradigm for all of us, a way to explore an old question: how much are we shaped by our genes, and how much by our environment?
25/03/1929m 10s

Never Go To Vegas

All social classes have unspoken rules. From A-list celebrities to teachers, doctors, lawyers, and journalists — there are social norms that govern us, whether we realize it or not. This week on Hidden Brain, we look celebrity culture, as well as another elite group: the yoga-loving, Whole Foods-shopping, highly-educated people whom one researcher calls the new "aspirational class." This episode is from December 2017.
18/03/1948m 13s

Unreal Sex

From stone statues to silicone works of art, we have long sought solace and sex from inanimate objects. Time and technology have perfected the artificial lover: today we have life-size silicone love dolls so finely crafted they feel like works of art. Now, with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, these dolls are becoming even more like humans. This week we talk with researcher Kate Devlin about the history of the artificial lover, and consider what love and sex look like in the age of robots.
11/03/1927m 6s

For Sale, By Owner

You own your body. So should you be able to sell parts of it? This week, we explore the concept of "repugnant transactions" with the man who coined the term, Nobel Prize- winning economist Al Roth. He says repugnant transactions can range from selling organs to poorly-planned gift exchanges — and what's repugnant in one place and time is often not repugnant in another.
04/03/1931m 20s

Radio Replay: Playing The Gender Card

Annie Duke was about to win $2 million. It was 2004, and she was at the final hand of the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. But as a woman at a table full of men, she wasn't sure she deserved to be there. In this week's Radio Replay, we tell the stories of two people who grappled with gender stereotypes on the job. Annie Duke shares her experiencing at the World Series of Poker, and then we hear the story of Robert Vaughan, a former Navy sailor who decided to pursue a new career as a nurse.
01/03/1949m 3s

Better Than Cash

Our modern world is saturated with awards. From elementary school classrooms to Hollywood to the hallways of academia, there's no shortage of prizes. But — do they work?
25/02/1926m 55s

Emma, Carrie, Vivian

The eugenicists were utopians, convinced that they were doing hard but necessary things. And that included making decisions about who could have children.
18/02/1939m 54s

Close Enough

Today, more and more of us are living through the people on our screens and in our headphones. It's not real, but for many of us, it's close enough.
11/02/1948m 36s

One Head, Two Brains

This week, we search for the answer to a deceptively simple question: why is the brain divided? Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist explains why popular distinctions between the "left brain" and "right brain" aren't supported by research. He argues that one hemisphere has come to shape Western society — to our detriment. For more information about this episode, please visit https://n.pr/2SxITco
04/02/1948m 55s

Radio Replay: Creative Differences

What happens when we connect with people whose view of the world is very different from our own? We look at the links between diversity, conflict, and creativity.
01/02/1948m 52s

Rewinding & Rewriting

All of us think back to turning points in our lives, and imagine how things could have unfolded differently. Why do we so often ask ourselves, "What if?"
28/01/1929m 27s

The Vegetable Lamb

We like to think that science evolves in a way that is...rational. But this isn't always the case. This week, we look at how information and misinformation spread in science.
21/01/1935m 55s

The Best Medicine

This week, a scientific look at what makes us laugh. Here's a hint — a lot of it isn't funny. We talk to neuroscientist (and stand up comedian) Sophie Scott.
14/01/1946m 9s

The Cowboy Philosopher

In 2009, an old man died in a California nursing home. His obituary included not just his given name, but a long list of the pseudonyms he'd been known to use. In this episode, we trace the life of Riley Shepard, a hillbilly musician, writer, small-time con man and, perhaps, a genius.
07/01/1948m 50s

Loss and Renewal

Maya Shankar was well on her way to an extraordinary career as a violinist when an injury closed that door. She eventually found a new path forward in a very different field.
31/12/1824m 53s

Compassion

This week, we look at the science of compassion, and why doing good things for others can make a big difference in your own life.
24/12/1816m 24s

Radio Replay: Yum and Yuck

We dig into the psychology that determines the foods that make us salivate and the scents that make us squirm.
21/12/1848m 52s

Alan Alda Wants Us To Have Better Conversations

Arguments and bickering can sour family gatherings during the holiday season. This week, we share tips on how to avoid miscommunication from our January 2018 conversation with actor Alan Alda. You might know him from his roles on television shows like MAS*H, The West Wing and 30 Rock, but in recent years Alda has also focused on helping scientists, and the rest of us, communicate better. His book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating.
17/12/1840m 37s

Starving the Watchdog

When a newspaper shuts down, there are obvious costs to the community it serves: job losses, fewer local stories. But new research suggests there's another consequence that's harder to spot—one that comes with a hefty price tag for residents. This week on Hidden Brain we ask, who bears the cost when nobody wants to pay? For more information about the research in this episode, visit https://n.pr/2zSPraS.
10/12/1828m 47s

Spoiler Alert!

Why do we always fall for surprise endings? It turns out that our capacity to be easily fooled in books and movies is made possible by a handful of predictable mental shortcuts. We talk this week with Vera Tobin, one of the world's first cognitive scientists to study plot twists. She says storytellers have been exploiting narrative twists and turns for millennia — and that studying these sleights of hand can give us a better understanding of the contours of the mind.
03/12/1828m 24s

A Founding Contradiction

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." These words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more than 240 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of slaves, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. This week, we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed about the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions might resonate in our own lives.
26/11/1848m 53s

Radio Replay: Bringing Up Baby

We try to translate the mysterious language of babies. And we ask, when should we step back and just let our children be?
23/11/1848m 54s

The Edge of Gender

Gender is one of the first things we notice about the people around us. But where do our ideas about gender come from? Can gender differences be explained by genes and chromosomes, or are they the result of upbringing, culture and the environment? In this encore episode from October 2017, we delve into debates over nature vs. nurture, and meet the first person in the United States to officially reject the labels of both male and female, and be recognized as "non-binary."
19/11/1850m 13s

Zipcode Destiny

There's a core belief embedded in the story of the United States: the American Dream. This week we discuss the state of that dream with economist Raj Chetty.
12/11/1849m 56s

Sounds Like a Winner

We're used to the idea that rhetoric sways voters. But what about another element of language: a candidate's voice? This week on Hidden Brain, what happens when our political system and ancient biological rules meet. For more information about the research in this episode, visit https://n.pr/2Pe1Fog.
05/11/1824m 16s

The Lazarus Drug

More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year — many of them from heroin and other opioids. One of the most widely-used tools to confront this crisis is a drug called naloxone. It can reverse an opioid overdose within seconds, and has been hailed by first responders and public health researchers. But earlier this year, two economists released a study that suggested naloxone might be leading some users to engage in riskier behavior — and causing more deaths than it saves. This week, we talk with researchers, drug users, and families about the mental calculus of opioid use, and why there's still so much we're struggling to understand about addiction. For more information about the research in this episode, visit https://n.pr/2OZfuGQ.
29/10/1846m 52s

Radio Replay: Too Little, Too Much

Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing? On this week's Radio Replay, we bring you a March 2017 story about the phenomenon of scarcity, and how it can blind us to the big picture. Then, we go to the opposite end of the spectrum to look at the perils of excess. We'll bring you an October 2016 conversation with Brooke Harrington, a sociologist who wanted to know what it's like to be one of the richest people on the planet. For more on these topics, visit us at https://n.pr/2O8DkdV.
26/10/1848m 53s

Be The Change

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." It's a popular quote that's made its way onto coffee mugs and bumper stickers — but it's not the easiest principle to live. On this week's Hidden Brain, we meet Royce and Jessica James, a couple who decided to raise their daughter in a gender-neutral way. It was far harder than they ever could have imagined. For further reading on children and gender norms, visit us at https://n.pr/2AmmiW1.
22/10/1849m 36s

Voting With Your Middle Finger

There is one truth that has endured through the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency: he has kept the support of the core voters who propelled him to the White House. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore two competing perspectives on the motivations of Trump supporters, and what they can tell us about the state of our union.
15/10/1846m 50s

Red Brain, Blue Brain

We often assume our life experiences are the root of our political ideologies. But what if there is something deeper at play?
08/10/1824m 41s

"Man Up"

You've certainly heard some variation of the phrase "be a man." But what does that even mean? On this episode of Hidden Brain, we discuss masculinity.
01/10/1840m 12s

Why Now?

Nearly a quarter century ago, a group of women accused a prominent playwright of sexual misconduct. For the most part, the allegations went nowhere. In 2017, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, more women came forward to accuse the same playwright of misconduct. This time, everyone listened. On this episode — originally broadcast in February 2018 — we explore the story through the lens of social science research and ask, "Why Now?" What has changed in our minds and in our culture so that allegations of sexual harassment and assault are being taken more seriously than they were in the past? A note: This story includes descriptions of sexual harassment and assault. It may not be suitable for all listeners.
24/09/1849m 13s

Radio Replay: Eyes Wide Open

When Randy Gardner was 17, he won a world record for going eleven days without sleeping. On this Radio Replay, Randy shares insights from that experience and warns others against copying his stunt. Later in the program, we speak with neuroscientist Matthew Walker about the mind and body benefits of eight full hours of sleep.
21/09/1848m 50s

The Cassandra Curse

After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see this coming? Many times, the answer is yes. So why didn't the warnings lead to action? This week, we explore the psychology of warnings with a visit to a smelly Alaskan tunnel, a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even some ABBA.
17/09/1833m 26s

Our Better Nature

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 discuss this topic with psychologist Ming Kuo, who has studied the effects of nature for more than 30 years.
11/09/1825m 0s

Bullshit Jobs

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 talk with anthropologist David Graeber about the rise of what he calls "bullshit jobs," and how these positions affect the people who hold them.
04/09/1842m 54s

You 2.0: Check Yourself

The simple "to-do" list may be one of humanity's oldest tools for getting organized. But checklists are also proving essential in many modern-day workplaces, from operating rooms to the cockpits of jumbo jets. As part of our summer You 2.0 series, we explore the power of the humble checklist to help us stay on track and focus on what's important, particularly when pressure is intense and the stakes are high.
28/08/1849m 43s

You 2.0: Originals

What does it mean to be an original? As part of our summer series, You 2.0, we talk with psychology professor Adam Grant about innovators and the challenges they face. Adam gives his take on what makes an original, how parents can nurture originality in their children, and the potential downsides of non-conformity.
21/08/1820m 32s

You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

There are signs it's getting even harder. In this episode, we explore how long-term relationships have changed over time and whether we might be able to improve marriage by asking less of it.
14/08/1849m 5s

You 2.0: The Ostrich Effect

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power...right? As part of our summer series, You 2.0, we try to understand why we stick our heads in the sand.
07/08/1825m 27s

You 2.0: Dream Jobs

Finding a new job may be the solution to your woes at work. But there may also be other ways to get more out of your daily grind. This week, we talk with psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski of Yale University about how we can find meaning and purpose in our jobs.
31/07/1820m 49s

You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

Editor’s Note August 7, 2023: In 2023, a group of academic researchers publicly shared concerns about alleged fabrications in some of Francesca Gino’s work. You can find more information about their analysis at Data Colada.org. A number of the studies they flagged have since been retracted by the journals that published them. None of the studies referenced in Hidden Brain’s conversation with Francesca Gino were flagged or have been retracted to date. In a statement on LinkedIn, Francesca Gino said that she has “never, ever falsified data or engaged in research misconduct of any kind.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? We kick off this year's You 2.0 series by pondering this question.
24/07/1845m 9s

Radio Replay: Watch Your Mouth

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that different languages make you stretch in different ways. In this month's Radio Replay, we ask whether the structure of the languages we speak can change the way we see the world. We'll also look at how languages evolve, and why we're sometimes resistant to those changes.
20/07/1848m 49s

Creating God

If you've taken part in a religious service, have you ever stopped to think about how it all came to be? How did people become believers? Where did the rituals come from? And most of all, what purpose does it all serve? This week, we explore these questions with psychologist Azim Shariff, who argues that we can think of religion from a Darwinian perspective, as an innovation that helped human societies to survive and flourish.
17/07/1851m 14s

Snooki and the Handbag

Look down at what you're wearing. You picked out that blue shirt, right? And those sandals — you decided on those because they're comfortable, didn't you? Well, maybe not. Researcher Jonah Berger says we tend to be pretty good at recognizing how influences like product placement and peer pressure affect other people's choices...but we're not so good at recognizing those forces in our own decisions. We talked with him in December 2016.
10/07/1823m 42s

The Edge Effect

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. From science and business to music and the world of fashion, researchers have found that people with deep connections to people from other countries and cultures often see benefits in terms of their creative output. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at 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.
03/07/1836m 15s

Fake News: An Origin Story

Fake news may seem new, but in reality, it's as old as American journalism. This week, we look at a tension at the heart of news coverage: Should reporters think of the audience as consumers, or as citizens? Should the media give people what they want, or what they need?
26/06/1825m 40s

Radio Replay: Looking Back

Why are we so often pulled into memories of the past? This week, two emotions we just can't shake: regret and nostalgia.
22/06/1849m 16s

Summer Melt

As many as 40 percent of students who intend to go to college don't actually show up to their new campuses in the fall. Education researchers call this phenomenon "summer melt," and it has long been a puzzling problem. These kids have taken the SATs, written college essays, applied to and been accepted by a school of their choice. Often they've applied for and received financial aid. So why would they not show up at college? This week, we bring you a 2017 episode looking more closely about the problem — and one way to address it.
19/06/1824m 30s

Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus

Anyone who's tried (and failed) to follow a diet knows that food is more than fuel. This week, we dig into the psychology behind what we eat, what we spit out, and when we come back for more.
12/06/1826m 15s

When Everything Clicks

There can be a lot of psychological noise involved in teaching. But what if we replaced all that mental chit chat....with a click? This week, we explore an innovative idea about how we learn. It will take us from a dolphin exhibit in Hawaii to a top teaching hospital in New York. It's about a method to quiet the noise. The sort of clutter that can turn learning into a minefield of misery.
05/06/1849m 29s

Kinder-Gardening

Many parents think they can shape their child into a particular kind of adult. Psychologist Alison Gopnik says the science suggests otherwise. This week, we revisit our December 2017 conversation with Gopnik, who thinks we'd all be better off if we had a different understanding of the relationship between parents and kids.
29/05/1827m 33s

Rewinding & Rewriting

All of us are time travelers. We go back in history to turning points in our lives, and imagine how things could have turned out differently. Psychologists refer to this as "counterfactual thinking." This week on Hidden Brain, we look at why some events prompt these "What if?" questions, while others do not.
22/05/1828m 44s

Radio Replay: This Is Your Brain On Ads

How many ads have you encountered today? On this week's radio replay, we discuss the insidiousness of advertising in American media. We begin with new reporting about the effects cereal commercials have on children. Later in the program, we revisit one of our favorite episodes of 2018, Buying Attention.
18/05/1848m 57s

Baby Talk

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'll get a primer on how to decipher babbling — the unique dialect of tiny humans.
15/05/1829m 16s

Rap on Trial

Olutosin Oduwole was an aspiring rapper and college student when he was arrested in 2007. He was charged with "attempting to make a terrorist threat." Prosecutors used his writings — which he maintains were rap lyrics — to build their case against him. The week, we revisit our June 2017 story about Oduwole, and explore how public perceptions of rap music may have played a role in his prosecution.
08/05/1854m 12s

The Fox and the Hedgehog

The Greek poet Archilochus wrote that "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This week, we'll use the metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog as a way to understand the differences between tacticians and big-picture thinkers. We'll explore the story of a pioneering surgeon whose hedgehog tendencies led him to great triumphs, and a heartbreaking tragedy. This episode first aired in May 2017.
01/05/1836m 22s

Emma, Carrie, Vivian

In 1924, a 17-year-old girl was admitted to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. The superintendent of the colony classified her as "feeble-minded of the lowest grade, moron class." With that designation, this girl, Carrie Buck, was set on a path she didn't choose. What happened next laid the foundation for the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people. This week, the story of the eugenics movement and one of the most tragic social experiments in American history.
24/04/1839m 54s

Radio Replay: The Weight of Our Words

Political correctness. Free speech. Terrorism. On this week's Radio Replay, we look at the language we use around race and religion, and what that language says about the culture in which we live. This episode draws upon two of our favorite podcasts, "Is He Muslim?" and "Hiding Behind Free Speech."
20/04/1848m 53s

Romeo and Juliet in Kigali

How do you change someone's behavior? Most of us would point to education or persuasion. But what if the answer lies elsewhere? Today we explore a revolutionary insight about human nature, one that will take us on a journey from Budapest to the hills of Rwanda.
17/04/1848m 58s

Liar, Liar

Editor’s note: Since this episode first aired, researchers have raised concerns about a number of studies authored by Dan Ariely, including one cited in this episode. That study included data from an insurance company that purported to show that people are more truthful when they sign an ethics declaration at the beginning of a form than at the end. In an independent review, a group of researchers found evidence of data fabrication in that study. You can read more about their findings here, along with Dan Ariely’s response. The insurance company that provided the data, The Hartford, released a statement to NPR’s Planet Money in July 2023. In that statement, the company said that it had done a review of its records and that “there appear to be significant changes made to the size, shape and characteristics of our data after we provided it and without our knowledge or consent.” You can hear the full Planet Money story and read the full statement from The Hartford here. Additionally, a second study cited in this episode – in which Ariely reported reduced cheating among test-takers asked to recall the Ten Commandments before taking the test – has not stood up to replication by other researchers. You can read more about that here. We all lie. But what separates the average person from the infamous cheaters we see on the news? Dan Ariely says we like to think it's character — but in his research he's found it's more often opportunity. Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke University and the author of the book The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves. We spoke to him in March 2017.
10/04/1828m 39s

Tunnel Vision

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, we bring you a March 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.
03/04/1834m 29s

Crickets and Cannibals

Imagine seeing a cockroach skitter across your kitchen counter. Does that thought gross you out? This week, we take an unflinching look at the things that make us say "ewww." Plus, why disgust isn't as instinctive as we might assume.
27/03/1831m 48s

The Lonely American Man

Boys get the message at a young age: don't show your feelings. Don't rely on anyone. This week, we take a close look at misguided notions of masculinity in the United States. We explore how those 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.
20/03/1846m 10s

Radio Replay: The Mind of the Village

A culture of racism can infect us all. On this week's Radio Replay, we discuss the implicit biases we carry that have been forged by the society around us.
16/03/1848m 34s

Think Fast with Daniel Kahneman

Do humans act rationally? Economic theory has long told us the answer is "yes." But a half century ago, two psychologists — Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky — began to challenge this notion. Their work laid the foundation for behavioral economics and influenced many scholars who've followed in their footsteps. This week, we mark our 100th episode by talking with Daniel Kahneman about his collaboration with Tversky, and how their work transformed our thinking about judgment, memory, and the mind itself.
13/03/1848m 54s

Men: 45, Women: 0

More women are running for political office than ever before in American history. But in politics and many other fields, women still struggle to attain positions of power. Researchers say they're often trapped in a "double bind" — a series of unconscious, interlocking stereotypes we have about men, women and the nature of leadership. This week, we take a closer look at the double bind as we revisit a favorite episode from October 2016.
06/03/1820m 38s

Counting Other People's Blessings

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.
27/02/1849m 2s

Filthy Rich

Several years ago, sociologist Brooke Harrington decided to explore the secret lives of billionaires. As she told us in this favorite episode from 2016, what she found shocked her.
20/02/1820m 38s

When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

Marriage is hard — and there are signs it's becoming even harder. This week on Hidden Brain, we examine how long-term relationships have changed over time, and whether we might be able to improve marriage by asking less of it.
13/02/1849m 5s

Why Now?

Nearly a quarter century ago, a group of women accused a prominent playwright of sexual misconduct. For the most part, the allegations went nowhere. In 2017, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, more women came forward to accuse the same playwright of misconduct. This time, everyone listened. On this episode, we explore the story through the lens of social science research and ask, "Why Now?" What has changed in our minds and in our culture so that allegations of sexual harassment and assault are being taken so much more seriously than they were in the past? A note: This story includes descriptions of sexual harassment and assault. It may not be suitable for all listeners.
06/02/1849m 13s

Lost in Translation

Learning new languages can help us understand other cultures and countries. Cognitive science professor Lera Boroditsky says the languages we speak can do more than that—they can shape how we see the world in profound ways.
30/01/1833m 40s

Radio Replay: The Power Hour

Call it adulation, adoration, idolization: we humans are fascinated by glamour and power. But this turns out to be only one side of our psychology — we also feel envious and resentful of the rich and powerful. In this Radio Replay, we explore the evolutionary history behind this ambivalence. Plus, we look at how we gain influence, and what happens to us once we have it.
26/01/1849m 26s

Alan Alda Wants Us To Have Better Conversations

We've all experienced miscommunications. Their consequences can range from hilarious... to disastrous. The actor Alan Alda — yes, THAT Alan Alda — wants to help us avoid them. You might know him from his roles on television shows like MAS*H, The West Wing and 30 Rock, but in recent years Alda has also focused on helping scientists, and the rest of us, communicate better. His new book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating.
23/01/1839m 27s

Give Me Your Tired...

Our airwaves are filled with debates about immigrants and refugees. Who should be allowed in the United States, who shouldn't, and who should decide? In the wake of President Trump's vulgar remarks about some immigrants — remarks that he has since denied — we're going to revisit a favorite episode from 2016 that explores the patterns and paradoxes of immigration in the U.S. Historian Maria Cristina Garcia joins us.
16/01/1820m 6s

Radio Replay: I, Robot

Do you ever catch yourself yelling at your Alexa? Or typing questions into Google that you wouldn't dare ask aloud? On this episode, our changing relationship with technology and what big data knows about our deepest, darkest secrets.
12/01/1848m 56s

E Pluribus Unum?

The tone of American politics can be...nasty. But is this nastiness really worse than in previous eras, and if so, what does that mean for our democracy? Historian David Moss takes the long view — arguing that American democracy is much more resilient than we realize. This week on Hidden Brain, we turn to history for insight about our current moment in American politics.
09/01/1835m 44s

Buying Attention

Have you ever opened your computer with the intention of sending one email — only to spend an hour scrolling through social media? Maybe two hours? In this episode, we examine the strategies media companies use to hijack our attention so they can sell it to advertisers.
02/01/1836m 37s

Radio Replay: Fresh Starts

Unpredictable things happen to us all the time. In the process of getting back on your feet, you may realize that something's different. On this Radio Replay, we mark the new year with two of our favorite stories of loss and the change it brings.
30/12/1748m 49s

I'm Right, You're Wrong

There are some topics about which it seems no amount of data will change people's minds: things like climate change, or restrictions on gun ownership. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot says that's actually for good reason. As a general rule, she says, it's better to stick to your beliefs and disregard new information that contradicts them. But this also means it's very difficult to change false beliefs. In this favorite episode from earlier this year, we look at how we process information, and why it's so hard to change our views.
26/12/1722m 32s

Radio Replay: Don't Panic!

Chaos is a part of all of our lives. Sometimes we try to control it. And other times, we just have to live with it. On this week's Radio Replay, we explore different strategies for coping with chaos.
22/12/1749m 31s

Never Go To Vegas

All social classes have unspoken rules. From A-list celebrities to teachers, doctors, lawyers, and journalists — there are social norms that govern our decisions, whether we realize it or not. This week on Hidden Brain, the invisible qualities that all celebrities have in common, and how our interest in them builds because of cues we get from one another. Later in the episode, we look at another elite group: the yoga-loving, Whole Foods-shopping, highly-educated group that researcher Elizabeth Currid-Halkett calls the "aspirational class."
19/12/1748m 13s

Kinder-Gardening

Many parents think they can shape their child into a particular kind of adult. Psychologist Alison Gopnik says the science suggests otherwise. She thinks we'd all be better off if we had a different understanding of the relationship between parents and kids.
12/12/1727m 33s

Radio Replay: Loving the Lie

In this week's Radio Replay, we bring you stories of fakes, phonies, and con men — and the people who fall for the false worlds they create. First, the tale of a middle-aged man who impersonates a series of women and gets thousands of men to fall in love with his creations. Then, we'll hear about a painter who tricks the world's greatest art experts into believing they're looking at masterpieces.
08/12/1748m 53s

The Sorting Hat

The desire to find our tribe is universal. We like to know who we are and where we belong. This fascination has led to a thriving industry built on the marketing and sale of personality tests. These tests offer individuals — and, increasingly, employers — quick and easy insights that can be used to make some of life's biggest decisions. But most fail to stand up to scientific scrutiny. This week, we delve into the world of personality testing, and explore the many different ways we assess personality and potential — from the Chinese zodiac to Harry Potter houses to the Myers-Briggs test.
05/12/1748m 37s

Radio Replay: Life, Interrupted

What price do we pay for the constant interruptions we get from our phones and computers? And is there a better way to handle distraction? In this week's Radio Replay we bring you a favorite conversation with the computer scientist Cal Newport. Plus, Shankar gets electrodes strapped to his head to test a high-tech solution to interruptions.
01/12/1748m 48s

Money Talks

How do you spend your money? On shoes, cars, coffee, fancy restaurants? You might think you use money just to, you know, buy stuff. But as Neeru Paharia explains, the way we spend often says a lot about who we are, and what we want to project. We use money to express our values — by going to the local coffee shop instead of Starbucks, or by boycotting — or buycotting — Ivanka Trump shoes. In this April 2017 episode of Hidden Brain, we explore the way we use money to tell stories about ourselves, and to ourselves.
28/11/1724m 19s

An American Secret

All countries have national myths. The story of the first Thanksgiving, for example, evokes the warm glow of intercultural contact: European settlers, struggling to survive in the New World, and Native American tribes eager to help. As many of us learned in history class, this story leaves a lot out. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore a national secret: that from the time Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World until 1900, there were as many as five million Native American people enslaved. We'll learn about this history, and the psychological forces that kept it unexamined for so long.
21/11/1721m 29s

Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

In moments of anger, it can be hard to take a deep breath or count to ten. But public health researcher Harold Pollack says five minutes of reflection can make all the difference between a regular life and one spent behind bars. This week, we visit a Chicago program that helps young men learn how to pause and reflect. Plus, we ask whether we should think of violence as a disease, similar to a blood-borne pathogen in its ability to spread from person to person.
17/11/1748m 4s

Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

What does the song "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones have in common with the periodic table of elements? Both are the products of dreams. The sleeping brain is far more active than we realize, argues neuroscientist Matthew Walker in this second part of our series on sleep.
14/11/1734m 34s

Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

Randy Gardner broke a world record in 1963, when he was only 17 years old. His feat? Going 11 days without sleeping. Randy, now 71, shares his wisdom about staying up past your bedtime — and why none of us should attempt to recreate his teenage stunt — on this week's Hidden Brain.
07/11/1723m 8s

Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making

Discussions about healthy living usually revolve around diet and exercise. Social interaction is often left out of the conversation, even though research shows that it's critical to our well-being. On this week's radio replay, we'll explore research on the extremes of social interaction: from the consequences of constant connection, to the high cost of solitary confinement.
03/11/1748m 58s

Check Yourself

The simple "to-do" list may be one of humanity's oldest tools for keeping organized. But checklists are also proving essential in many modern-day workplaces, from operating rooms to the cockpits of jumbo jets. This week, we explore the power of the humble checklist to help us stay on track and focus on what's important, particularly when pressure is intense and the stakes are high.
31/10/1749m 26s

Radio Replay: What's In It For Me?

Coincidences can make the everyday feel extraordinary. But are they magical, or just mathematical? On this week's Radio Replay, we explore our deep fascination with these moments of serendipity. New research suggests they reveal important things about how our minds work, and have a far more powerful effect on our lives than any of us imagine. We'll also explore the phenomenon of "implicit egotism" — the idea that we're drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves.
27/10/1750m 1s

Misbehaving with Richard Thaler

We don't always do what we're supposed to do. We don't save enough for retirement. We order dessert — even when we're supposed to be dieting. In other words, we misbehave. That's the title of Richard Thaler's most recent book: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. If you've read Thaler's previous book, Nudge, you know he's an economist who studies why people don't really act the way traditional economists say they will. Thaler recently won a Nobel Prize for his contributions to the field of behavioral economics — so we thought we'd celebrate by giving you this encore episode. It's still one of our favorites.
24/10/1723m 32s

The Good Old Days

Is nostalgia an emotion that's bitter, or sweet? Why are we so often pulled into memories of the past? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk about what prompts us to feel nostalgic, and the harms and benefits of this emotion. Plus, how Donald Trump employed nostalgia to win the 2016 presidential campaign.
17/10/1726m 12s

The Edge of Gender

Gender is one of the first things we notice about the people around us. But where do our ideas about gender come from? Can gender differences be explained by genes and chromosomes, or are they the result of upbringing, culture and the environment? This week, we delve into the debate over nature vs. nurture, and meet the first person in the United States to officially reject the labels of both male and female, and be recognized as "non-binary."
10/10/1749m 50s

Be The Change

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." It's a popular quote that's made its way onto coffee mugs and bumper stickers — but it's not the easiest principle to live. On this week's Hidden Brain, we meet Royce and Jessica James, a couple who decided to raise their daughter in a gender-neutral way. It was far harder than they ever could have imagined.
03/10/1749m 25s

Just Sex

We all know casual sex isn't about love. But what if it's not even about lust? Sociologist Lisa Wade believes the pervasive hookup culture on campuses today is different from that faced by previous generations. This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit a favorite episode exploring what this culture means for those who choose to participate, and for those who opt out.
26/09/1722m 42s

The Ostrich Effect

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power...right? In this episode of Hidden Brain, we explore why we sometimes avoid information that's vital to our well-being.
19/09/1725m 5s

Regrets, I Have A Few...

We all have regrets. By some estimates, regret is one of the most common emotions experienced in our daily lives. This week we'll hear listeners' stories of regret, and talk with psychology professor Amy Summerville. She runs the Regret Lab at Miami University in Ohio. Summerville says regret doesn't always have to be a negative force in our lives. Sometimes, it can be a hopeful emotion.
12/09/1728m 59s

Hiding Behind Free Speech

Several weeks ago, white supremacists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in a demonstration that left many Americans asking a lot of questions. Who are we as a nation? What do we stand for, and what do we tolerate? The United States goes further than many other countries to protect speech — even hate-filled speech like that used in Charlottesville. In this episode, we look at how people use free speech arguments, and why the motivations behind these arguments may not be apparent — even to the people making them.
05/09/1727m 45s

You 2.0: Getting Unstuck

At one time or another, many of us feel stuck: in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, the wrong city – the wrong life. Psychologists and self-help gurus have all kinds of advice for us when we feel rudderless. This week on Hidden Brain, we conclude our You 2.0 series with a favorite episode exploring a new idea from an unlikely source: Silicon Valley.
29/08/1727m 35s

You 2.0: Decide Already!

In the latest in our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite conversation with Harvard researcher Dan Gilbert. He tells us why we're bad at predicting our future happiness, how that affects our decision making, and why we are actually happier after making a decision that feels irrevocable.
22/08/1723m 28s
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