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Hidden Brain podcast

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.

 

#422

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] (https://www.stephaniecoontz.com/) and psychologist [Eli Finkel] (https://psychology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/profiles/eli-finkel.html) , 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/relationships-2-0-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] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) .  ... Read more

21 Nov 2022

52 MINS

52:20

21 Nov 2022


#421

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] (https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/vivek-murthy.html) 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] (https://988lifeline.org/) by calling 988.  Did you catch last week's episode in this series, about the power of tiny interactions? You can find it [here] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/relationships-2-0-the-power-of-tiny-interactions/) . And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

14 Nov 2022

49 MINS

49:54

14 Nov 2022


#420

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] (https://profiles.sussex.ac.uk/p555105-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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/relationships-2-0-how-to-keep-conflict-from-spiraling/) . And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

07 Nov 2022

49 MINS

49:40

07 Nov 2022


#419

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. ] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/a-better-way-to-worry/)  And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

31 Oct 2022

53 MINS

53:58

31 Oct 2022


#418

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] (https://www.drtracyphd.com/) 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.] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/thriving-in-the-face-of-contradiction/)  And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

24 Oct 2022

52 MINS

52:33

24 Oct 2022


#417

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] (https://lerner.udel.edu/faculty-staff-directory/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.] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/did-i-really-do-that/) And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

17 Oct 2022

53 MINS

53:38

17 Oct 2022


#416

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] (https://www.jjay.cuny.edu/faculty/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/taking-control-of-your-time/) . And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.  ... Read more

10 Oct 2022

52 MINS

52:04

10 Oct 2022


#415

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] (http://lera.ucsd.edu/) . 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] (https://americanstudies.columbia.edu/people/john-h-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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/decoding-emotions/) about how the culture we live in can shape the emotions we feel. And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.    ... Read more

03 Oct 2022

49 MINS

49:45

03 Oct 2022


#414

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] (https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/marketing/faculty/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/how-to-really-know-another-person/) . And if you like our work, please consider a [financial contribution] (https://www.patreon.com/HiddenBrain) to help us make many more episodes like this one.    ... Read more

26 Sep 2022

48 MINS

48:58

26 Sep 2022


#413

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] (https://as.nyu.edu/faculty/tessa-west.html) 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 ] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/decoding-emotions/) 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.  ... Read more

19 Sep 2022

55 MINS

55:05

19 Sep 2022


#412

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] (https://ppw.kuleuven.be/cscp/people/00052347) 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 ] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/making-the-world-a-safer-place/) 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.  ... Read more

12 Sep 2022

52 MINS

52:22

12 Sep 2022


#411

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] (https://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/people/profile/1387/Sara_Heller) and [Chris Blattman] (https://harris.uchicago.edu/directory/christopher-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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/the-easiest-person-to-fool/) 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.   ... Read more

05 Sep 2022

49 MINS

49:04

05 Sep 2022


#410

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] (https://mgmt.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/grantad/) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/stage-fright/) on how to overcome stage fright. Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks!  ... Read more

29 Aug 2022

52 MINS

52:21

29 Aug 2022


#409

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/you-2-0-the-minds-eye/) . Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks!  ... Read more

22 Aug 2022

56 MINS

56:45

22 Aug 2022


#408

You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

Some challenges can feel insurmountable. But psychologist [Emily Balcetis] (https://as.nyu.edu/faculty/emily-balcetis.html) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/you-2-0-befriending-your-inner-voice/) 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!  ... Read more

15 Aug 2022

49 MINS

49:54

15 Aug 2022


#407

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] (https://psychology.as.virginia.edu/wilson-0) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-1/) , and episode 2 examines how our beliefs about food and exercise [affect our bodies] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-2/) .  Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks!  ... Read more

08 Aug 2022

50 MINS

50:04

08 Aug 2022


#406

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] (https://lsa.umich.edu/psych/people/faculty/ekross.html) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-1/) , and episode 2 examines how our beliefs about food and exercise [affect our bodies] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-2/) .  Also, if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. Thanks!  ... Read more

01 Aug 2022

52 MINS

52:32

01 Aug 2022


#405

Reframing Your Reality: Part 2

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist [Alia Crum] (https://profiles.stanford.edu/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-1/) . And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.  ... Read more

25 Jul 2022

50 MINS

50:56

25 Jul 2022


#404

Reframing Your Reality: Part 1

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist [Alia Crum] (https://profiles.stanford.edu/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/separating-yourself-from-the-pack/) 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.  ... Read more

18 Jul 2022

48 MINS

48:37

18 Jul 2022


#403

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] (https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/what-we-gain-from-pain/) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.  ... Read more

11 Jul 2022

54 MINS

54:56

11 Jul 2022


#402

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] (https://jayawide.sites.wfu.edu/) . 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/why-youre-smarter-than-you-think/) about how we define intelligence.  Also, check out our new podcast, [My Unsung Hero] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.  ... Read more

04 Jul 2022

50 MINS

50:21

04 Jul 2022


#401

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] (https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10329/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/do-less/) about the power of subtraction. Also, check out our new podcast, [My Unsung Hero] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org.  ... Read more

27 Jun 2022

49 MINS

49:32

27 Jun 2022