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Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain
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.

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Episodes

Our God-Shaped Brains

Some think of religious faith as just that: a leap of faith. But psychologists are increasingly filling in the gaps... more

17 Jun 2024 · 50 minutes
Why You Feel Empty

Have you ever had an unexplainable feeling of emptiness? Life seems perfect - and yet - something is missing. This... more

10 Jun 2024 · 49 minutes
Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You

Thinking is a human superpower. On a daily basis, thinking and planning and effort bring us innumerable benefits. But like... more

03 Jun 2024 · 52 minutes
Innovation 2.0: Do Less

The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire... more

27 May 2024 · 46 minutes
Innovation 2.0: Shortcuts and Speed Bumps

Most of us love to brainstorm with colleagues. But so often, our idea-generating sessions don't lead to anything tangible. Teams... more

20 May 2024 · 49 minutes
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... more

13 May 2024 · 52 minutes
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... more

06 May 2024 · 52 minutes
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... more

29 Apr 2024 · 50 minutes
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... more

22 Apr 2024 · 53 minutes
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... more

15 Apr 2024 · 49 minutes
What Is Normal?

Anthropologist Tom Pearson was devastated after his daughter Michaela was diagnosed with Down syndrome. When he began to examine that... more

08 Apr 2024 · 50 minutes
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,... more

01 Apr 2024 · 1 hour, 38 minutes
Are You Listening?

Have you ever sat across from your spouse, colleague or friend and realized that while they may be hearing what... more

25 Mar 2024 · 49 minutes
The Ventilator

Many of us believe we know how we’d choose to die. We have a sense of how we’d respond to... more

18 Mar 2024 · 49 minutes
Escaping the Matrix

A little more than a decade ago, researchers began tracking an alarming trend: a dramatic uptick in anxiety and depression... more

11 Mar 2024 · 49 minutes
Fear Less

Fear is a normal and healthy response to things that may harm us. But fear can also hold us back... more

04 Mar 2024 · 51 minutes
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... more

26 Feb 2024 · 52 minutes
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... more

19 Feb 2024 · 49 minutes
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... more

12 Feb 2024 · 52 minutes
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.... more

05 Feb 2024 · 48 minutes
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... more

29 Jan 2024 · 50 minutes
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... more

22 Jan 2024 · 49 minutes
Finding Focus

We spend more and more of our lives staring at screens. Our cellphones, smartwatches and laptops allow us to communicate... more

15 Jan 2024 · 48 minutes
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,... more

08 Jan 2024 · 50 minutes
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... more

01 Jan 2024 · 51 minutes
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... more

25 Dec 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

18 Dec 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

11 Dec 2023 · 50 minutes
The Mystery of Beauty

Think about the last time you were struck by a gorgeous painting in a museum, or heard a song that... more

04 Dec 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

27 Nov 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

20 Nov 2023 · 52 minutes
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"... more

13 Nov 2023 · 49 minutes
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?... more

06 Nov 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

30 Oct 2023 · 55 minutes
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... more

23 Oct 2023 · 49 minutes
Follow the Anomalies

As we move through our lives, we have to make decisions both big and small. Some are banal: What will... more

16 Oct 2023 · 48 minutes
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... more

09 Oct 2023 · 51 minutes
Escaping Perfectionism

Perfectionism is everyone’s favorite flaw. It’s easy to assume that our push to be perfect is what leads to academic,... more

02 Oct 2023 · 52 minutes
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... more

25 Sep 2023 · 50 minutes
Outsmarting Yourself

After we make a decision, we often tell ourselves a story about why our choice was the right one to... more

18 Sep 2023 · 46 minutes
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?... more

11 Sep 2023 · 53 minutes
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... more

04 Sep 2023 · 51 minutes
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... more

28 Aug 2023 · 47 minutes
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... more

21 Aug 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

14 Aug 2023 · 51 minutes
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... more

07 Aug 2023 · 50 minutes
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.... more

31 Jul 2023 · 55 minutes
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... more

24 Jul 2023 · 49 minutes
The Path to Enough

This week, we bring you the second part of our conversation on the perils of too much pleasure. Psychiatrist Anna... more

17 Jul 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

10 Jul 2023 · 49 minutes
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.... more

03 Jul 2023 · 50 minutes
The Best Years of Your Life

Aging isn’t just a biological process. Our outlooks and emotions also change as we age, often in ways that boost... more

26 Jun 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

19 Jun 2023 · 51 minutes
Between Two Worlds

Determination, hard work and sacrifice are core ingredients in the story of the American dream. But philosopher Jennifer Morton argues... more

12 Jun 2023 · 46 minutes
Seeking Serenity: Part 2

In the second part of our series on the science of meditation, Richard Davidson continues his endeavor to unite seemingly... more

08 Jun 2023 · 49 minutes
Seeking Serenity: Part 1

In graduate school, neuroscientist Richard Davidson learned to use scientific tools as a way to examine the brain. At the... more

05 Jun 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

29 May 2023 · 51 minutes
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... more

22 May 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

15 May 2023 · 48 minutes
Introducing Hidden Brain+

Do you love the ideas we explore on Hidden Brain and want more of them? Then please join Hidden Brain+,... more

14 May 2023 · 2 minutes
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... more

08 May 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

01 May 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

24 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
Remember More, Forget Less

It happens to the best of us — we blank on someone's name, or forget an important meeting, or bomb... more

17 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
Crying Wolf

It used to be that we tried our best to conceal disadvantages, hardships, and humiliations. But new research explores a... more

10 Apr 2023 · 50 minutes
The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do... more

06 Apr 2023 · 48 minutes
Less is More

At every stage of life, there are moments when we need buy-in from other people. Yet most of us make... more

03 Apr 2023 · 48 minutes
How To Make Amends

When James and Donovan first met, they knew little about each other, except that Donovan had stolen James' bike. Donovan... more

27 Mar 2023 · 51 minutes
Made of Honor

Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us heal from trauma. They also shape our... more

20 Mar 2023 · 47 minutes
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... more

14 Mar 2023 · 52 minutes
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.... more

13 Mar 2023 · 54 minutes
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... more

06 Mar 2023 · 49 minutes
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... more

27 Feb 2023 · 55 minutes
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... more

23 Feb 2023 · 45 minutes
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.... more

20 Feb 2023 · 50 minutes
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... more

13 Feb 2023 · 48 minutes
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... more

06 Feb 2023 · 54 minutes
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... more

30 Jan 2023 · 49 minutes
Persuasion: Part 2

Think back to the last time someone convinced you to do something you didn't want to do, or to spend... more

23 Jan 2023 · 50 minutes
Persuasion: Part 1

We all exert pressure on each other in ways small and profound. We recommend movies or books to a friend.... more

16 Jan 2023 · 48 minutes
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.... more

09 Jan 2023 · 53 minutes
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.... more

02 Jan 2023 · 51 minutes
You, But Better

It's the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. We pledge to quit smoking,... more

26 Dec 2022 · 49 minutes
How to Complain Productively

We often look down on people who complain a lot. Yet when something goes wrong in our own lives, many... more

19 Dec 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

12 Dec 2022 · 51 minutes
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... more

05 Dec 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

28 Nov 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

21 Nov 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

14 Nov 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

07 Nov 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

31 Oct 2022 · 53 minutes
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... more

24 Oct 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

17 Oct 2022 · 53 minutes
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... more

10 Oct 2022 · 52 minutes
Watch Your Mouth

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that different languages make you stretch in different ways. This week,... more

03 Oct 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

26 Sep 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

19 Sep 2022 · 55 minutes
Decoding Emotions

We like to think that all humans are born with the same core emotions: anger, fear, joy, sadness and disgust.... more

12 Sep 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

05 Sep 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

29 Aug 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

22 Aug 2022 · 56 minutes
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.... more

15 Aug 2022 · 49 minutes
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?... more

08 Aug 2022 · 50 minutes
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? ... more

01 Aug 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

25 Jul 2022 · 50 minutes
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... more

18 Jul 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

11 Jul 2022 · 54 minutes
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?... more

04 Jul 2022 · 50 minutes
A Founding Contradiction

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Those words, penned by Thomas Jefferson 246... more

27 Jun 2022 · 49 minutes
The Premonition

When Paul Burnham was a teenager, he received what felt like a premonition: he would die at the age of... more

20 Jun 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

13 Jun 2022 · 48 minutes
Do Less

The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire... more

06 Jun 2022 · 53 minutes
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... more

30 May 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

23 May 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

16 May 2022 · 35 minutes
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... more

09 May 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

02 May 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

25 Apr 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

18 Apr 2022 · 48 minutes
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.... more

14 Apr 2022 · 56 minutes
How Rude!

It’s not your imagination: rudeness appears to be on the rise. Witnessing rude behavior — whether it's coming from angry... more

11 Apr 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

04 Apr 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

28 Mar 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

21 Mar 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

17 Mar 2022 · 49 minutes
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... more

14 Mar 2022 · 51 minutes
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? ... more

07 Mar 2022 · 52 minutes
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?... more

28 Feb 2022 · 51 minutes
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... more

21 Feb 2022 · 44 minutes
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... more

14 Feb 2022 · 48 minutes
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.... more

07 Feb 2022 · 50 minutes
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... more

31 Jan 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

28 Jan 2022 · 6 minutes
Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy

Life is often filled with hardships and tragedies. For thousands of years, philosophers have come up with strategies to help... more

25 Jan 2022 · 52 minutes
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... more

17 Jan 2022 · 48 minutes
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... more

14 Jan 2022 · 5 minutes
Changing Behavior, Not Beliefs

The rift between police and Black Americans can feel impossible to bridge. But in his work with police departments across... more

10 Jan 2022 · 48 minutes
Choose Carefully

All of us make choices all the time, and we may think we're making those choices freely. But psychologist Eric... more

03 Jan 2022 · 48 minutes
Creatures of Habit

With the new year close at hand, we revisit our 2019 conversation with psychologist Wendy Wood, who shares what researchers... more

27 Dec 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

24 Dec 2021 · 6 minutes
Bringing Up Baby

Bababa, dadada, ahgaga. Got that? Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue... more

20 Dec 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

13 Dec 2021 · 49 minutes
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,... more

10 Dec 2021 · 3 minutes
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... more

06 Dec 2021 · 47 minutes
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... more

29 Nov 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

24 Nov 2021 · 5 minutes
Work 2.0: Rebel with a Cause

Francesca Gino studies rebels — people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. So how can you... more

22 Nov 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

15 Nov 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

12 Nov 2021 · 4 minutes
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... more

08 Nov 2021 · 53 minutes
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.... more

01 Nov 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

25 Oct 2021 · 48 minutes
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,... more

22 Oct 2021 · 5 minutes
The Halo Effect

In 1978, Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from... more

18 Oct 2021 · 53 minutes
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.... more

11 Oct 2021 · 51 minutes
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... more

08 Oct 2021 · 5 minutes
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... more

04 Oct 2021 · 54 minutes
Passion Isn't Enough

Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere.... more

27 Sep 2021 · 47 minutes
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,... more

24 Sep 2021 · 2 minutes
Group Think

How do the groups you identify with shape your sense of self? Do they influence the beer you buy? The... more

20 Sep 2021 · 50 minutes
Just Sex

Casual sex typically isn't about love. But what if it's not even about lust? Sociologist Lisa Wade studies "hookup culture,"... more

13 Sep 2021 · 23 minutes
Where Happiness Hides

We all think we know what will make us happy: more money. A better job. Love. But psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky... more

06 Sep 2021 · 49 minutes
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... more

30 Aug 2021 · 28 minutes
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... more

23 Aug 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

16 Aug 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

09 Aug 2021 · 51 minutes
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.... more

02 Aug 2021 · 51 minutes
Losing Alaska

As floods, wildfires, and heatwaves hit many parts of the world, signs of climate change seem to be all around... more

26 Jul 2021 · 24 minutes
Stage Fright

The pressure. The expectations. The anxiety. If there's one thing that connects the athletes gathering for the Olympic games with... more

19 Jul 2021 · 52 minutes
Playing the Gender Card

What is it like to be the only woman at the (poker) table? Or a rare man in a supposedly... more

12 Jul 2021 · 49 minutes
You, But Better

Think about the resolutions you made this year: to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. If you're like... more

05 Jul 2021 · 50 minutes
The Influence You Have

Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person... more

28 Jun 2021 · 50 minutes
What Twins Tell Us

In December 1988, two sets of identical twins became test subjects in a study for which they had never volunteered.... more

24 Jun 2021 · 28 minutes
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... more

21 Jun 2021 · 49 minutes
The Power of Mercy

Granting forgiveness for the wrongs done to us can be one of the hardest things we face in life. But... more

14 Jun 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

11 Jun 2021 · 29 minutes
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... more

07 Jun 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

31 May 2021 · 45 minutes
Loss and Renewal

No matter how hard we work, we won’t always achieve the goals we set for ourselves. When cognitive scientist Maya... more

24 May 2021 · 26 minutes
Tribes and Traitors

In the past weeks, headlines around the world have focused on the violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In this... more

21 May 2021 · 31 minutes
Our Noisy Minds

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman says there are invisible factors that distort our judgment. He calls these factors “noise.” The consequences can... more

17 May 2021 · 48 minutes
The Fake Bride

Have you ever felt as if someone else was writing your personal narrative? Controlling what you do, shaping how you... more

10 May 2021 · 53 minutes
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... more

07 May 2021 · 3 minutes
One Head, Two Brains

Your brain is divided in two: a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere. In this 2019 episode of Hidden Brain,... more

03 May 2021 · 49 minutes
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... more

30 Apr 2021 · 4 minutes
Why Conversations Go Wrong

Do you ever struggle to communicate with your mom? Or feel like you and your spouse sometimes speak different languages?... more

26 Apr 2021 · 52 minutes
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... more

23 Apr 2021 · 4 minutes
Humor Us

Hahaha! The average four-year-old child laughs 300 times a day. By contrast, it takes more than two months for the... more

19 Apr 2021 · 52 minutes
An Unfinished Lesson

More than a century ago, millions of people around the world died in a massive influenza pandemic. The so-called "Spanish... more

12 Apr 2021 · 49 minutes
Useful Delusions

Podcast hosts are used to being the ones asking the questions. This week, though, we’re going to flip that script,... more

05 Apr 2021 · 49 minutes
Made of Honor

Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us to heal from trauma. They also shape... more

29 Mar 2021 · 48 minutes
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... more

22 Mar 2021 · 51 minutes
The Story of Stories

Why is my friend late? How does nuclear fission work? What occurs when I sneeze? We all need to understand... more

15 Mar 2021 · 51 minutes
Radically Normal

For generations, it was difficult, even dangerous, to express a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality in the United States. But... more

09 Mar 2021 · 50 minutes
The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do... more

01 Mar 2021 · 54 minutes
The Match

We get messages all the time from listeners who say Hidden Brain has helped them to think differently about the... more

26 Feb 2021 · 19 minutes
Creating God

If you've taken part in a religious service, have you ever stopped to think about how people become believers? Where... more

22 Feb 2021 · 51 minutes
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... more

16 Feb 2021 · 52 minutes
Love is Blind

Why do some relationships last, while others falter? In this bonus episode, Shankar looks at one thing successful couples do... more

13 Feb 2021 · 6 minutes
How They See Us

Stereotypes are all around us, shaping how we see the world – and how the world sees us. On the... more

08 Feb 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

01 Feb 2021 · 53 minutes
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... more

25 Jan 2021 · 50 minutes
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... more

18 Jan 2021 · 34 minutes
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... more

11 Jan 2021 · 47 minutes
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... more

04 Jan 2021 · 48 minutes
A Creature of Habit

At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work... more

28 Dec 2020 · 49 minutes
Waiting Games

For so many people across the globe, 2020 has been a year of waiting and uncertainty. Waiting to see friends... more

22 Dec 2020 · 51 minutes
Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy

Life is filled with hardships and tragedies — a fact that 2020 has made all too clear for people across... more

14 Dec 2020 · 52 minutes
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... more

07 Dec 2020 · 40 minutes
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.... more

30 Nov 2020 · 59 minutes
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... more

23 Nov 2020 · 51 minutes
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... more

16 Nov 2020 · 48 minutes
Between Two Worlds

Determination, hard work and sacrifice are core ingredients in the story of the American dream. But philosopher Jennifer Morton argues... more

09 Nov 2020 · 46 minutes
From Pedestals to Guillotines

As election season comes to a close, we explore our contradictory relationship with winners and losers. We tend to idolize... more

02 Nov 2020 · 22 minutes
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... more

26 Oct 2020 · 50 minutes
Moral Combat

Most of us have a clear sense of right and wrong. But what happens when we view politics through a... more

19 Oct 2020 · 51 minutes
Beyond Doomscrolling

There’s no question that 2020 has been a tough year. We're grappling with a global pandemic. A deep recession. Fresh... more

12 Oct 2020 · 52 minutes
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... more

05 Oct 2020 · 50 minutes
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... more

02 Oct 2020 · 4 minutes
Laughter: The Best Medicine

If you listen closely to giggles, guffaws, and polite chuckles, you can discern a huge amount of information about people... more

28 Sep 2020 · 46 minutes
The Halo Effect

Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by... more

21 Sep 2020 · 53 minutes
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... more

14 Sep 2020 · 31 minutes
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... more

07 Sep 2020 · 50 minutes
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... more

31 Aug 2020 · 51 minutes
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... more

24 Aug 2020 · 18 minutes
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... more

17 Aug 2020 · 24 minutes
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... more

10 Aug 2020 · 45 minutes
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... more

03 Aug 2020 · 45 minutes
Edge Effect

There is great comfort in the familiar. It's one reason humans often flock to other people who share the same... more

27 Jul 2020 · 36 minutes
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... more

20 Jul 2020 · 50 minutes
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... more

13 Jul 2020 · 48 minutes
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,... more

06 Jul 2020 · 52 minutes
The Founding Contradiction

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." These words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more... more

29 Jun 2020 · 45 minutes
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... more

22 Jun 2020 · 48 minutes
A Rap on Trial

In the past few weeks, the nation has been gripped by protests against police brutality toward black and brown Americans.... more

15 Jun 2020 · 54 minutes
The Air We Breathe

President Trump said this week that a few "bad apples" were to blame for police killings of black people. But... more

12 Jun 2020 · 36 minutes
Playing Favorites

If we do a favor for someone we know, we think we've done a good deed. What we don't tend... more

08 Jun 2020 · 52 minutes
Justifying The Means

When we are asked to make a moral choice, many of us imagine it involves listening to our hearts. To... more

01 Jun 2020 · 53 minutes
The Time Machine

In recent months, many of us have looked back with longing at our lives before COVID-19. For many of us,... more

30 May 2020 · 5 minutes
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... more

25 May 2020 · 35 minutes
Our Better Angels

In the months since the spread of the coronavirus, stories of selfishness and exploitation have become all too familiar: people... more

18 May 2020 · 39 minutes
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... more

13 May 2020 · 6 minutes
The Dramatic Cure

In recent months, many of us have become familiar with the sense of fear expressing itself in our bodies. We... more

11 May 2020 · 50 minutes
The Choices Before Us

An abundance of choices is a good thing, right? In the United States, where choice is often equated with freedom... more

04 May 2020 · 48 minutes
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... more

27 Apr 2020 · 29 minutes
A Social Prescription

Confined to our homes, many of us are experiencing a newfound appreciation for our social relationships. What we may not... more

20 Apr 2020 · 48 minutes
Sex Machines

From stone statues to silicone works of art, we have long sought solace and sex from inanimate objects. Time and... more

13 Apr 2020 · 27 minutes
Playing Tight And Loose

We all know people who prefer to follow the rules, and others who prefer to flout them. Psychologist Michele Gelfand... more

06 Apr 2020 · 49 minutes
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... more

30 Mar 2020 · 48 minutes
An Unfinished Lesson

A virus is more than a biological organism. It's a social organism. It detects fissures in societies and fault lines... more

23 Mar 2020 · 48 minutes
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... more

16 Mar 2020 · 24 minutes
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... more

10 Mar 2020 · 35 minutes
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... more

03 Mar 2020 · 48 minutes
The Influence You Have

Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person... more

24 Feb 2020 · 49 minutes
Liar, Liar, Liar

We all lie. But what separates the average person from the infamous cheaters we see on the news? Dan Ariely... more

17 Feb 2020 · 28 minutes
Passion Isn't Enough

Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere.... more

10 Feb 2020 · 50 minutes
When Things Click

There can be a lot of psychological noise involved in teaching. But what if we replaced all that mental clutter...with... more

04 Feb 2020 · 49 minutes
Secret Friends

Where is the line between what is real and what is imaginary? It seems like an easy question to answer:... more

27 Jan 2020 · 50 minutes
Warnings, Warnings Everywhere

After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see... more

20 Jan 2020 · 33 minutes
Emotional Currency

What's the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: we need it to get paid for our work, and... more

13 Jan 2020 · 35 minutes
Hidden Brain
When Things Click
Hidden Brain
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Description

There can be a lot of psychological noise involved in teaching. But what if we replaced all that mental clutter...with a click?... more