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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.

 

#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

Yesterday

50 MINS

50:04

Yesterday


#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


#400

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/do-less/) about the power of doing less. 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

20 Jun 2022

49 MINS

49:10

20 Jun 2022


#399

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] (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

13 Jun 2022

48 MINS

48:53

13 Jun 2022


#398

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] (https://engineering.virginia.edu/faculty/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/money-2-0-why-we-bust-our-budgets/) about the psychological traps we fall into when it comes to money.  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

06 Jun 2022

53 MINS

53:12

06 Jun 2022


#397

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] (https://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/amreed/) and [Neeru Paharia] (https://gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/contact/00336000014TdJqAAK/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/money-2-0-rewrite-your-money-story/) about the mental scripts that shape our choices around money. 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

30 May 2022

48 MINS

48:48

30 May 2022


#396

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/money-2-0-rewrite-your-money-story/) about the mental scripts that shape our choices around money. 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

23 May 2022

48 MINS

48:47

23 May 2022


#395

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/money-2-0-why-we-bust-our-budgets/) on how we can be better both at spending and at saving money. 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

16 May 2022

35 MINS

35:48

16 May 2022


#394

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] (https://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/s/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 ] (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/money-2-0-rewrite-your-money-story/) on how our unconscious attitudes towards money influence how we manage our finances.  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

09 May 2022

52 MINS

52:12

09 May 2022


#393

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] (https://www.creighton.edu/faculty-directory-profile/892/bradley-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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

02 May 2022

49 MINS

49:16

02 May 2022


#392

The Logic of Rage

Neuroscientist [Doug Fields] (https://nacs.umd.edu/facultyprofile/fields/douglas) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

25 Apr 2022

49 MINS

49:22

25 Apr 2022


#391

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

18 Apr 2022

48 MINS

48:34

18 Apr 2022


#390

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] (https://sites.duke.edu/timurkuran/) 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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

14 Apr 2022

56 MINS

56:07

14 Apr 2022


#389

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] (https://gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/contact/00336000014ReyuAAC/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

11 Apr 2022

49 MINS

49:59

11 Apr 2022


#388

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

04 Apr 2022

49 MINS

49:36

04 Apr 2022


#387

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

28 Mar 2022

49 MINS

49:28

28 Mar 2022


#386

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] (https://www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

21 Mar 2022

49 MINS

49:46

21 Mar 2022


#385

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

17 Mar 2022

49 MINS

49:47

17 Mar 2022


#384

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] (https://business.lehigh.edu/directory/naomi-b-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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you'd like to support our work, you can do so at support.hiddenbrain.org. ... Read more

14 Mar 2022

51 MINS

51:57

14 Mar 2022


#383

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] (https://economics.mit.edu/faculty/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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you’d like to support our work, you can do so at [support.hiddenbrain.org] (http://support.hiddenbrain.org/) . ... Read more

07 Mar 2022

52 MINS

52:14

07 Mar 2022


#382

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] (https://hiddenbrain.org/myunsunghero/) ! And if you’d like to support our work, you can do so at [support.hiddenbrain.org] (http://support.hiddenbrain.org/) . ... Read more

28 Feb 2022

51 MINS

51:57

28 Feb 2022


#381

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] (https://www.santafe.edu/people/profile/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] (https://news.hiddenbrain.org/) . Every week, we'll bring you interesting research on human behavior, along with a brain teaser and a moment of joy.  ... Read more

21 Feb 2022

44 MINS

44:48

21 Feb 2022