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Hidden Brain podcast

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Hidden Brain

By Hidden Brain  

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

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

 

#299

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 explore that habit — the practice of gratitude. ... Read more

23 Nov 2020

51 MINS

51:46

23 Nov 2020


#298

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. ... Read more

16 Nov 2020

48 MINS

48:50

16 Nov 2020


#297

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. ... Read more

09 Nov 2020

46 MINS

46:43

09 Nov 2020


#296

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. ... Read more

02 Nov 2020

22 MINS

22:13

02 Nov 2020


#295

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. ... Read more

26 Oct 2020

50 MINS

50:07

26 Oct 2020


#294

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. ... Read more

19 Oct 2020

51 MINS

51:44

19 Oct 2020


#293

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. ... Read more

12 Oct 2020

52 MINS

52:14

12 Oct 2020


#292

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. ... Read more

05 Oct 2020

50 MINS

50:13

05 Oct 2020


#291

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. ... Read more

02 Oct 2020

04 MINS

04:11

02 Oct 2020


#290

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. ... Read more

28 Sep 2020

46 MINS

46:19

28 Sep 2020


#289

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 wereburned to death. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk to a former Ford insider who could have voted to recall the Pinto years before the Ulrich girls were killed — but didn't. And we ask, is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out? ... Read more

21 Sep 2020

53 MINS

53:06

21 Sep 2020


#288

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. ... Read more

14 Sep 2020

31 MINS

31:51

14 Sep 2020


#287

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. ... Read more

07 Sep 2020

50 MINS

50:23

07 Sep 2020


#286

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. ... Read more

31 Aug 2020

50 MINS

50:05

31 Aug 2020


#285

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. ... Read more

24 Aug 2020

18 MINS

18:56

24 Aug 2020


#284

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. ... Read more

17 Aug 2020

24 MINS

24:16

17 Aug 2020


#283

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. ... Read more

10 Aug 2020

45 MINS

45:29

10 Aug 2020


#282

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. ... Read more

03 Aug 2020

45 MINS

45:29

03 Aug 2020


#281

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. ... Read more

27 Jul 2020

36 MINS

36:15

27 Jul 2020